Biology Research News

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A collection of press releases about biology research conducted by Penn State scientists.

Turning pathogens against each other to prevent drug resistance
Turning pathogens against each other to prevent drug resistance 11 December 2017Limiting a much-needed resource could pit pathogens against one another and prevent the emergence of drug resistance.
Mimicking biological process, hydrogel signals and releases proteins
Mimicking biological process, hydrogel signals and releases proteins 26 October 2017An artificial system using a DNA-laced hydrogel can receive a chemical signal and release the appropriate protein, according to Penn State researchers. Further stimulation by the chemical signal continues to trigger a response.
Gene associated with schizophrenia risk regulates neurodevelopment
Gene associated with schizophrenia risk regulates neurodevelopment 22 September 2017A gene associated with the risk of schizophrenia regulates critical components of early brain development, according to a new study led by researchers from Penn State University. The gene is involved in the translation of proteins from RNA and in the proliferation and migration of neurons in the brain.
Viruses up their game in arms race with immune system
Viruses up their game in arms race with immune system 14 August 2017In a classic example of the evolutionary arms race between a host and a pathogen, the myxoma virus -- introduced to control the rabbit population in Australia in 1950 -- has developed a novel and deadly ability to suppress the immune response of its host rabbits.
Antibodies may reveal timing of previous influenza infection
Antibodies may reveal timing of previous influenza infection 31 July 2017The amount of influenza-specific antibodies present in an individual’s blood can indicate not only if they experienced the flu, but potentially when -- a finding that could improve disease monitoring in the tropics, where flu season is unending.
Newly Described Algae Species Toughens Up Corals to Endure Warming Oceans
Newly Described Algae Species Toughens Up Corals to Endure Warming Oceans 14 July 2017Using innovative methods, researchers at Penn State University have identified a new species of stress-tolerant algae that associate with corals in a partnership that promotes the health and growth of coral reef ecosystems.
Research expedition continues monitoring impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep sea corals
Research expedition continues monitoring impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep sea corals 07 June 2017The 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the deaths of 11 oil rig workers and ultimately the largest marine oil spill in history. As this environmental disaster recedes into history, researchers from institutions across the U.S. continue to study its enduring ecological impacts.
Two-part system turns stem cells into whatever you want
Two-part system turns stem cells into whatever you want 06 June 2017Whether using embryonic or adult stem cells, coercing these master cells to convert to the desired target cell and reproduce flawlessly is difficult. Now an international team of researchers has a two-part system that can convert the cells to the targets and then remove the remnants of that conversion, leaving only the desired DNA behind to duplicate.
Lessons from Ebola: New approach improves disease outbreak management
Lessons from Ebola: New approach improves disease outbreak management 15 May 2017A new approach to information gathering could allow scientists to quickly identify the most effective way to manage a disease outbreak, an advance that could save lives. Developed by an international team of researchers led by Penn State scientists using insights from the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the method pinpoints critical pieces of missing information required to improve management decisions during an outbreak.
Penn State University and Salus University Establish Strategic Alliance through Memorandum of Understanding
12 April 2017Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry (Salus PCO) and Penn State University (Penn State) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create an Early Assurance Admission Program.
Study reveals 10,000 years of genetic continuity in northwest North America
Study reveals 10,000 years of genetic continuity in northwest North America 05 April 2017A study of the DNA in ancient skeletal remains adds to the evidence that indigenous groups living today in southern Alaska and the western coast of British Columbia are descendants of the first humans to make their home in northwest North America more than 10,000 years ago.
Discovery rewriting the evolutionary history of the nervous system
Discovery rewriting the evolutionary history of the nervous system 08 March 2017Penn State researchers at the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences uncover a long-standing, fundamental error in the story of the nervous system’s evolution.
$2.35 million grant enables better prediction of infectious disease outbreaks
02 March 2017Researchers at Penn State have received $2.35 million from the National Science Foundation to study disease transmission among animals with a goal of better predicting outbreaks of infectious diseases within humans.
How best to treat infections and tumors: Choice of containment versus aggressive treatment depends on drug resistance
How best to treat infections and tumors: Choice of containment versus aggressive treatment depends on drug resistance 09 February 2017In cases where drug resistance can lead to treatment failure, new research shows that therapies tailored to contain an infection or a tumor at tolerable levels can, in some cases, extend the effective life of the treatment and improve patient outcomes. In other cases, aggressive treatments aimed at eliminating as much of the infection or tumor as possible — the traditional approach — might be best. But how can we know which stands the better chance of working?
An ecological invasion mimics a drunken walk
An ecological invasion mimics a drunken walk 11 January 2017A theory that uses the mathematics of a drunken walk describes ecological invasions better than waves, according to Tim Reluga, associate professor of mathematics and biology, Penn State.
Stressed snakes strike first
Stressed snakes strike first 21 December 2016Whether a wild cottonmouth snake will attempt to strike in an encounter depends on its baseline stress level, according to a team of scientists led by Penn State undergraduate researcher Mark Herr.
Key regulator of bone development identified
Key regulator of bone development identified 07 December 2016Loss of a key protein leads to defects in skeletal development including reduced bone density and a shortening of the fingers and toes -- a condition known as brachydactyly. The discovery was made by researchers at Penn State University who knocked out the Speckle-type POZ Protein (Spop) in the mouse and characterized the impact on bone development.
Coral genomes reveal how populations rebound after environmental catastrophes
Coral genomes reveal how populations rebound after environmental catastrophes 17 November 2016New genome-sequence data show that Caribbean corals that have survived mass-extinction events caused by environmental change can rebound and expand their populations. An international team of researchers, led by scientists at Penn State University, sequenced the genomes of three species of corals in the genus Orbicella and used the data to model the population histories of these corals over the past several million years.
New strategy for antidepressant therapies: Increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brains of depressed mice has antidepressant effects
New strategy for antidepressant therapies: Increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brains of depressed mice has antidepressant effects 08 November 2016Experimentally increasing the activity of a subclass of nerve cells that produce the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) has antidepressant effects similar to pharmaceutical antidepressants in depressed mice. The discovery lends new credence to the idea that GABA-enhancing drugs could serve as rapidly acting and more effective antidepressants. A paper describing the research, led by Penn State scientists, appears online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry on November 8, 2016.
Parasitic Plants May Form Weapons Out of Genes Stolen from Hosts
Parasitic Plants May Form Weapons Out of Genes Stolen from Hosts 27 October 2016Sneaky parasitic weeds may be able to steal genes from the plants they are attacking and then use those genes against the host plant, according to a team of scientists.

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