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A multi-page list of all research press releases since 1997

Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae
Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae 26 October 2015New research reveals that some corals are more protective than others of their partner algae in harsh environmental conditions. This individual variation among corals could reflect a greater capacity than currently recognized to adapt to changing ocean conditions brought about by climate change. The study, led by marine biologists at Penn State University, will be published online October 26, 2015 in the open access journal Scientific Reports.
Black hole caught in the act of ripping apart a star
Black hole caught in the act of ripping apart a star 22 October 2015New details about what happens when a black hole tears apart a star have been gathered by a multi-national astronomy team using a trio of orbiting of orbiting observatories that includes NASA’s Swift Gamma-ray-Burst Explorer. Science and flight operations for Swift are controlled by Penn State from the Mission Operations Center at the University Park campus. The astronomers tracked material being blown away from a black hole after it tore a star apart in the center of a galaxy that is about 290 million light years away from Earth. The new observations give scientists an extraordinary opportunity to understand the extreme environment and events around a black hole.
New mathematical method reveals structure in neural activity in the brain
New mathematical method reveals structure in neural activity in the brain 19 October 2015A newly-developed mathematical method can detect geometric structure in neural activity in the brain. "Previously, in order to understand this structure, scientists needed to relate neural activity to some specific external stimulus," said Vladimir Itskov, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State University. "Our method is the first to be able to reveal this structure without our knowing an external stimulus ahead of time. We've now shown that our new method will allow us to explore the organizational structure of neurons without knowing their function in advance."
New approach discovered for brain repair: Chemical transformation of human glial cells into neurons
New approach discovered for brain repair: Chemical transformation of human glial cells into neurons 15 October 2015For the first time, researchers have used a cocktail of small molecules to transform human brain cells, called astroglial cells, into functioning neurons for brain repair. Their results provide proof-of-principle that chemical reprogramming may one day lead to the development of drugs that could regenerate neurons and restore brain functions to patients affected by traumatic injuries, stroke, or diseases such as Alzheimer's. Previous research, such as conventional stem cell therapy, requires brain surgery and therefore is much more invasive and prone to immune-system rejection and other problems. The research, led by Gong Chen, Professor of Biology and the Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences at Penn State University, will be published online in the journal Cell Stem Cell on Oct. 15th, 2015.
Chance effect of lab's fluorescent lights leads to discovery
Chance effect of lab's fluorescent lights leads to discovery 09 October 2015An accidental discovery of a "quantum Etch-a-Sketch" that may lead to the next generation of advanced computers and quantum microchips has been made by team of scientists from Penn State University and the University of Chicago. The team accidentally has discovered a new way of using beams of light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits on topological insulators, a unique class of materials with intriguing electronic properties.
Ecology on the wing: Aerial photography enhances conservation research
Ecology on the wing: Aerial photography enhances conservation research 18 September 2015Drones have been flying over the Ugalla Forest in Western Tanzania. Far from being part of a military operation, these drones are being used to map chimpanzee habitat as part of an international research collaboration.
Graduate students develop sustainability solutions to change the world
Graduate students develop sustainability solutions to change the world 31 August 2015Five interdisciplinary teams, made up of Penn State graduate students, presented their sustainability-related solutions to world challenges at the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Awards (SISCA). These students highlighted the connection to their homes and their research, showing why their work matters not just to them, but to those around the world.
Software can automatically critique composition of digital photographs
Software can automatically critique composition of digital photographs 13 August 2015Software provides digital photographers with constructive feedback
Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms
Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms 12 August 2015For any computer, being able to manipulate information is essential, but for quantum computing, singling out one data location without influencing any of the surrounding locations is difficult. Now, a team of Penn State physicists has a method for addressing individual neutral atoms without changing surrounding atoms.
New Milky Way Map Reveals Stars in Our Galaxy Move Far from Home
New Milky Way Map Reveals Stars in Our Galaxy Move Far from Home 30 July 2015Scientists with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III (SDSS) have created a new map of the Milky Way, which provides the first clear evidence that migration of stars occurs throughout our Galaxy. The study, which determined that 30 percent of stars have moved far across the Galaxy, is bringing a new understanding of how stars are formed and travel throughout the Milky Way.
Clump of a star's gas, catapulting into space at 40 million miles per hour, appears to be picking up speed
Clump of a star's gas, catapulting into space at 40 million miles per hour, appears to be picking up speed 28 July 2015A fast-moving pulsar appears to have punched a hole in a disk of gas around its companion star and to have launched a fragment of the disk outward at a speed of about 40 million miles per hour. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is tracking this cosmic clump, which appears to be picking up speed as it moves out. The catapulted material weighs about as much as all the water in the Earth's oceans.
From twitching lizards to noisy frogs, adaptation is often survival of the weird
From twitching lizards to noisy frogs, adaptation is often survival of the weird 28 July 2015Forces like climate change and globalization are making the world smaller, hotter, noisier and weirder than ever and this is putting even more pressure on species to quickly adapt, according to Tracy Langkilde, associate professor of biology.
Some Vaccines Support Evolution of More-Virulent Viruses
Some Vaccines Support Evolution of More-Virulent Viruses 27 July 2015Scientific experiments with the herpesvirus that causes Marek's disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.
Increasing prevalence of autism is due, in part, to changing diagnoses
Increasing prevalence of autism is due, in part, to  changing diagnoses 22 July 2015The greater than three-fold increase in autism diagnoses among students in special education programs in the United States between 2000 and 2010 may be due in large part to the reclassification of individuals who previously would have been diagnosed with other intellectual disability disorders, according to new research. In a paper to be published online in the American Journal of Medical Genetics on July 22, 2015, scientists at Penn State University report their analysis of 11 years of special-education enrollment data on an average of 6.2 million children per year. The researchers found no overall increase in the number of students enrolled in special education. They also found that the increase in students diagnosed with autism was offset by a nearly equal decrease in students diagnosed with other intellectual disabilities that often co-occur with autism. The researchers conclude that the large increase in the prevalence of autism is likely the result of shifting patterns of diagnosis that are complicated by the variability of autism and its overlap with other related disorders.
2D materials researchers aim 'beyond graphene': In the realm of 2D materials, weirdness works
2D materials researchers aim 'beyond graphene': In the realm of 2D materials, weirdness works 20 July 2015Joshua Robinson recalls the day in 2006 when he learned of a material that is, for all practical purposes, two-dimensional. At the time, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. His advisor, Eric Snow, was raving about graphene, a newly isolated form of carbon. A cousin of the widely known buckminsterfullerene (or "buckyballs") and carbon nanotubes, graphene was a flat sheet only one carbon atom thick. The atoms were linked together in a six-sided, chicken-wire pattern, forming a lattice with astonishing properties. It was flexible, transparent, and stronger than steel. It conducted electricity better than copper and heat better than anything. In short, carbon in this form didn't behave like carbon anymore. It acted like an entirely new material.
How the Mammoth Got its Wool: Genetic changes are identified that helped the woolly mammoth survive in the Arctic
How the Mammoth Got its Wool: Genetic changes are identified that helped the woolly mammoth survive in the Arctic 02 July 2015Evolutionary change in a gene resurrected in the lab from the extinct woolly mammoth altered the gene's temperature sensitivity and likely was part of a suite of adaptations that allowed the mammoth to survive in harsh arctic environments, according to new research. In a study published in Cell Reports on July 2, 2015, researchers determined the whole-genome sequence of two woolly mammoths and three modern Asian elephants, predicted the function of genetic changes found only in the mammoths, and then experimentally validated the function of a woolly mammoth gene reconstructed in the lab. The research team includes scientists from Penn State University, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and the University of Chicago.
Black hole, quiet since 1989, now caught burping a rare X-ray flare
Black hole, quiet since 1989, now caught burping a rare X-ray flare 30 June 2015A NASA satellite controlled by Penn State University has detected a brief, super-bright, high-energy flare -- an X-ray nova -- erupting from a star system 8,000 light-years away from Earth named V404 Cygni. This system is in the constellation Cygnus and includes a black hole and a star just slightly smaller than the Sun. This black hole has been known to burp up an X-ray nova occasionally, but it had been slumbering since 1989 until the detection by NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer on June 15, just before 2:32 p.m. EDT. About 10 minutes after the detection by Swift, the Japanese " MAXI" experiment (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image) on the International Space Station also picked up the flare.
Lord of the Rings: Astronomers Pinpoint the Location of a Mysterious Neutron Star with Superlative Rings of X-ray Light
Lord of the Rings: Astronomers Pinpoint the Location  of a Mysterious Neutron Star with Superlative  Rings of X-ray Light 23 June 2015The largest and brightest set of cosmic rings resulting from echoes of X-ray light has been discovered by a science team that includes a Penn State astronomer. The team used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover the beautiful and extraordinary rings, which were produced by an intense burst of energy from a neutron star. Rings of this type give astronomers a rare chance to determine the distance from Earth to an object in our Milky Way Galaxy.
A First: Exoplanet smaller than Earth gets its size and mass measured
A First: Exoplanet smaller than Earth gets its  size and mass measured 16 June 2015A team of astronomers has measured the mass and size of a Mars-sized planet orbiting a red dwarf star about 200 light years from our solar system. The planet, named Kepler-138b, is the first exoplanet smaller than the Earth to have both its mass and its size measured. A paper by the team, which includes astronomers at Penn State University, NASA Ames Research Center, the SETI Institute, and the University of Chicago, will be published in the journal Nature on 18 June 2015.
Disabling infection-fighting immune response speeds up wound healing in diabetes
Disabling infection-fighting immune response speeds up wound healing in diabetes 15 June 2015One of the body's tools for fighting off infection in a wound may actually slow down the healing process, according to new research by a team of Harvard University, Boston Children's Hospital, and Penn State University scientists. In a study published online in Nature Medicine on June 15, 2015, the researchers show that they can speed up wound healing in diabetic mice by preventing immune cells called neutrophils from producing structures called NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps) that trap and kill bacteria.

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