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2018 Research Press Releases

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Capturing light in a waveguide array: Confined, insensitive light could improve lasers, solar cells
Capturing light in a waveguide array: Confined, insensitive light could improve lasers, solar cells 04 June 2018Cheaper and more efficient photonic devices, such as lasers, optical fibers, and other light sources, may be possible with confined light that is unaffected by imperfections in the material that confines it, according to new research.
Climate change forced zombie ant fungi to adapt
Climate change forced zombie ant fungi to adapt 30 May 2018Zombie ants clamp on to aerial vegetation and hang for months spewing the spores of their parasitic fungi, but researchers noticed that they do not always clamp on to the same part of the plant. Now the researchers know that the choice of leaves or twigs is related to climate and that climate change forced the fungi to adapt to local conditions.
Mechanical force controls the speed of protein synthesis
Mechanical force controls the speed of protein synthesis 16 May 2018As cells create proteins, the proteins modulate synthesis speed by exerting a mechanical force on the molecular machine that makes them, according to a team of scientists who used a combination of computational and experimental techniques to understand this force.
Altered body odor indicates malaria even if microscope doesn't
Altered body odor indicates malaria even if microscope doesn't 14 May 2018Typhoid Mary may have infected a hundred or more people, but asymptomatic carriers of malaria infect far more people every year through mosquito vectors. An international team of researchers is working toward a way to identify malaria patients including infected individuals who show no malaria symptoms.
A designer’s toolkit for constructing complex nanoparticles
A designer’s toolkit for constructing complex nanoparticles 03 May 2018A team of chemists at Penn State has developed a designer’s toolkit that lets them build various levels of complexity into nanoparticles using a simple, mix-and-match process.
New sodium-ion electrolyte may find use in solid-state batteries
New sodium-ion electrolyte may find use in solid-state batteries 20 April 2018A newly discovered structure of a sodium-based material allows the materials to be used as an electrolyte in solid-state batteries, according to researchers from Penn State and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The team is fine-tuning the material using an iterative design approach that they hope will shave years off the time from research to everyday use.
Nova-like explosion of spinning live bacteria explained
Nova-like explosion of spinning live bacteria explained 06 April 2018Suspensions of live bacteria in a viscous liquid do not act as expected when spun at certain speeds and now a team of researchers knows why the bacterial aggregation appears to explode when the spinning stops.
Penn State–developed plant-disease app recognized by Google
Penn State–developed plant-disease app recognized by Google 02 April 2018A mobile app designed by Penn State researchers to help farmers and others diagnose crop diseases has earned recognition from one of the world's tech giants.
Penn State to participate in consortium to demonstrate remote monitoring of nuclear reactors
Penn State to participate in consortium to demonstrate remote monitoring of nuclear reactors 27 March 2018Penn State researchers will participate in a new international multi-laboratory and multi-university collaboration that harnesses the unusual characteristics of the elusive subatomic particles known as antineutrinos for nuclear nonproliferation.
New insights into how cellulose is built could indicate how to break it apart for biofuels
New insights into how cellulose is built could indicate how to break it apart for biofuels 26 March 2018A comprehensive look at how plants build cellulose, the primary building block of the walls of most plant cells that is used in a wide variety of manmade materials, could have important implications for its use in biofuels. Researchers at Penn State have identified the major steps in the process as well as the tools used by plant cells to create cellulose, including proteins that transport critical components to the location where cellulose is made.
NASA set to launch Penn State led experiment
NASA set to launch Penn State led experiment 26 March 2018NASA will launch a suborbital sounding rocket carrying a Penn State led experiment to test a newly-developed X-ray spectrograph and study the X-rays from a supernova remnant in the Milky Way galaxy.
Study of climate change could lead to understanding future of infectious disease
Study of climate change could lead to understanding future of infectious disease 20 March 2018Over the past 34 years, rainfall in Uganda has decreased by about 12 percent even though many of the global climate models predict an increase in rainfall for the area, according to an international team of researchers. Rainfall levels in Uganda impact agriculture, food security, wildlife habitats and regional economics as well as the prevalence of certain diseases.
New crystal structures reveal a mysterious mechanism of gene regulation by the "magic spot"
New crystal structures reveal a mysterious mechanism of gene regulation by the "magic spot" 22 February 2018Using an innovative crystallization technique, an international team of researchers, led by scientists at Penn State, has revealed new insights into the long debated action of the “magic spot”—a molecule that controls gene expression in Eschericahia coli and other bacteria when the bacteria are stressed.
Big black holes outpace their galaxies in growth
Big black holes outpace their galaxies in growth 15 February 2018The growth of the biggest black holes in the universe is outrunning the growth of the galaxies that they inhabit, according to a new study led by researchers at Penn State.
Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs
Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs 12 February 2018An international team of researchers, including Penn State biologist Charles Fisher, discovered egg cases of deep-sea fish near hydrothermal vents. The team believes that deep-sea skates use the warm water near the vents to accelerate the typically years-long incubation time of the eggs.
New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components
New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components 22 January 2018Using a new method to create synthetic neurons, a team of researchers from Penn State explores how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. The team describes a core enzyme involved in the synthesis of these building blocks, called purines, and how the enzyme might change during infection by herpes simplex virus.
Three types of extreme-energy space particles may have unified origin
Three types of extreme-energy space particles may have unified origin 22 January 2018New model connects the origins of very high-energy neutrinos, ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, and high-energy gamma rays with black-hole jets embedded in their environments.
Researchers map druggable genomic targets in evolving malaria parasite
Researchers map druggable genomic targets in evolving malaria parasite 11 January 2018Researchers have used whole genome analyses and chemogenetics to identify new drug targets and resistance genes in the parasite the causes malaria.
Have RNA, will travel: Malaria parasite packs genetic material in preparation for trip from mosquitoes to humans
Have RNA, will travel: Malaria parasite packs genetic material in preparation for trip from mosquitoes to humans 10 January 2018The parasite that causes malaria has not one, but two, specialized proteins that protect its genetic material until the parasite takes up residence in a new host.
How massive is supermassive? Astronomers measure more black holes, farther away
How massive is supermassive? Astronomers measure more black holes, farther away 10 January 2018A team of astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), including several Penn State scientists, announced new measurements of the masses of a large sample of supermassive black holes far beyond the local universe.

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