Strategies for Survival on Planet Earth (videos)

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Video recordings of the 2014 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science.

Video: "Engineering SuperMicrobes to Save Us" by Howard Salis

Salis revealed the innovations his lab is developing to engineer microorganisms capable of manufacturing fuels, materials, and drugs from biorenewable and sustainable sources. Although building a new industry to replace existing uses of petrochemicals remains a big challenge, Salis's lecture highlighted not only the challenges but also the promises and benefits of building a sustainable biorenewables industry. Lecture presented by Howard Salis, 1 February 2014.

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Video: "Hot Chocolate: Helping the cacao plant adapt to climate change" by Siela Maximova and Mark Guiltinan

Siela Maximova and Mark Guiltinan, professors in the Department of Plant Science at Penn State, focus their research on finding ways to help the cacao plant, and other food crops in a similar situation, to survive the rise in temperature that research predicts will drastically affect production in the major cacao-growing areas by 2050. Cocoa farmers, exporters, the cocoa industry, and consumers all will feel the impact if action to adapt to climate change is not taken. Farmers are particularly vulnerable since cocoa is often their primary source of income. This lecture was presented by Siela Maximova and Mark Guiltinan on 8 February in the 2014 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science includes the potential role of scientific research in developing adaptation strategies to benefit the cocoa plant.

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Video: "Protecting the Earth from Killer Asteroids" by Rachel Stevenson

Rachel Stevenson, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Rachel Stevenson will describe her research with JPL's NEOWISE team in an effort that now is underway to discover and characterize dangerous asteroids that are potentially hazardous to life on Earth. Large asteroids crashing into Earth have caused catastrophic damage, including the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other species. Since the NEOWISE team began searching in 2010, it has discovered more than 34,000 previously unknown asteroids and over 130 near-Earth objects. Lecture presented by Rachel Stevenson 15 February 2014.

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Video: "Combating malaria: New approaches to an ancient problem" by Manuel Llinás

With half of the world's population at risk of malaria, it is one of the most pervasive diseases of modern humankind. Manuel Llinás, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, will explain why malaria continues to ravage people in over 100 countries worldwide and why it remains a threat to the United States. This devastating disease is caused by the highly sophisticated single-celled Plasmodium parasite, which invades and takes over the blood of humans. Llinás will outline major challenges in combating this global disease and will describe recent progress and cutting-edge approaches being used to combat the deadly malaria parasite. Lecture by Manuel Llinás 22 February 2014.

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