Chemistry Research News

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A collection of press releases about chemistry research conducted by Penn State scientists.
Hot temperatures can trigger an RNA response in plants

Hot temperatures can trigger an RNA response in plants

The stress of hotter temperatures may trigger a response in a plant's RNA -- part of a cell's genetic messaging system -- to help manage this change in its environment, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

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Pathogens may evade immune response with metal-free enzyme required for DNA replication

Pathogens may evade immune response with metal-free enzyme required for DNA replication

New study shows that some bacterial pathogens, including those that cause strep throat and pneumonia, are able to create the components necessary to replicate their DNA using a ribonucleotide reductase enzyme that does not require a metal ion cofactor.

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New NSF-funded ultrafast microscopy laboratory to support research of 2D materials

New NSF-funded ultrafast microscopy laboratory to support research of 2D materials

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.4 million to a team of Penn State scientists led by John Asbury, associated professor of chemistry, to develop a new laboratory at Penn State with ultra-fast microscopes that will provide a high-resolution look at two-dimensional materials.

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Shake, Rattle, and Roll to High Efficiency Photovoltaics

Shake, Rattle, and Roll to High Efficiency Photovoltaics

New insight into how a certain class of photovoltaic materials allows efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity could set up these materials to replace traditional silicon solar cells.

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Lab Bench to Commercialization 2018–19 grant recipients announced

Three faculty members will receive $75,000 each toward commercializing intellectual property

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New NSF-funded center to explore chemistry of “nanothreads”

New NSF-funded center to explore chemistry of “nanothreads”

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.8 million to a team of scientists led by John Badding, professor of chemistry, physics, and materials science and engineering at Penn State, to establish the NSF Center for Nanothread Chemistry (CNC).

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Mechanical force controls the speed of protein synthesis

Mechanical force controls the speed of protein synthesis

As 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.

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A designer’s toolkit for constructing complex nanoparticles

A designer’s toolkit for constructing complex nanoparticles

A 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.

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New sodium-ion electrolyte may find use in solid-state batteries

New sodium-ion electrolyte may find use in solid-state batteries

A 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.

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Nova-like explosion of spinning live bacteria explained

Nova-like explosion of spinning live bacteria explained

Suspensions 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.

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New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

Using 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.

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Understanding enzyme cascades key to understanding metabolism

Understanding enzyme cascades key to understanding metabolism

Breaking down sugars create a gradient of chemicals in the body, providing an environment where intracellular complexes might form. This new research may lead to a better understanding of human metabolism.

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Renewable resource: sulfur is used, replenished to produce lipoic acid

Renewable resource: sulfur is used, replenished to produce lipoic acid

New research shows how a protein is consumed and then reconstituted during the production of lipoic acid, a compound required by our bodies to convert energy from food into a form that can be used by our cells.

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Two-dimensional materials gets a new theory for control of properties

Two-dimensional materials gets a new theory for control of properties

Desirable properties including increased electrical conductivity, improved mechanical properties, or magnetism for memory storage or information processing may be possible because of a theoretical method to control grain boundaries in two-dimensional materials, according to Penn State materials scientists.

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New, more sensitive sensor for evaluating drug safety

New, more sensitive sensor for evaluating drug safety

A new technique for evaluating drug safety can detect stress on cells at earlier stages than conventional methods, which mostly rely on detecting cell death. The new method uses a fluorescent sensor that is turned on in a cell when misfolded proteins begin to aggregate -- an early sign of cellular stress.

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Flexible flagella fight flow: Bacteria change a liquid’s properties and escape entrapment

Flexible flagella fight flow: Bacteria change a liquid’s properties and escape entrapment

A flexible tail allows swimming bacteria to thin the surrounding liquid and to free themselves when trapped along walls or obstacles, according to Penn State researchers. This finding could influence how bacterial growth is controlled.

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Low cost, scalable water-splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy

Low cost, scalable water-splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy

The "clean-energy economy" always seems a few steps away but never quite here. Fossil fuels still power transportation, heating and cooling, and manufacturing, but a team of scientists from Penn State and Florida State University have come one step closer to inexpensive, clean hydrogen fuel with a lower cost and industrially scalable catalyst that produces pure hydrogen through a low-energy water-splitting process.

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Catalytic Conveyer Belt: A new method for controlled delivery of particles via fluid flow

Catalytic Conveyer Belt: A new method for controlled delivery of particles via fluid flow

Researchers have developed a new method of transporting particles that utilizes chemical reactions to drive fluid flow within microfluidic devices. The research, which capitalizes on previous studies in self-powered chemo-mechanical movement, is a collaboration between scientists at Penn State’s Department of Chemistry and the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.

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New, carbon-nanotube tool for ultra-sensitive virus detection and identification

New, carbon-nanotube tool for ultra-sensitive virus detection and identification

A new tool that uses a forest-like array of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes that can be finely tuned to selectively trap viruses by their size can increase the detection threshold for viruses and speed the process of identifying newly-emerging viruses. The research, by an interdisciplinary team of scientists at Penn State, is published in the October 7, 2016 edition of the journal Science Advances.

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RNA, gravitational waves focus of two new grants

Four Penn State researchers have been awarded a total of $450,000 by the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation to carry out basic science research over the next two years.

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