Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Basic Science

Using the Penn High Performance Computing Cluster to Unravel the Spider’s Web

Golden Silk Orb Weaver L Church Flickr Creative Commons
Uncovering the genomic architecture of spider silk genes wasn’t top of mind for Benjamin Voight, PhD, when he first came to Penn a few years ago. But he and postdoctoral researcher Paul Babb are now deep into sequencing the whole genomes of two spider species: a Golden Silk Orb Weaver and Darwin's Bark Spider.

Penn Medicine at the 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival

PSF 2011 Carnival Dry ice
PSF 2011 Carnival Dry icePenn Medicine will again play a starring role in the 4th annual Philadelphia Science Festival, a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every spring.

Twenty Years Later: How Breast Cancer Risk Genes are Changing Patient Care

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In the mid-1990s, scientists for the first time were able to isolate and clone the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations in which were thought to increase susceptibility to early onset breast and ovarian cancers. A new Perspective published last week in Science takes a look back at the last twenty...

Oxygen in our Bones

Vinogradov Nature image
Working with many colleagues, a Penn team published in Nature the first application of 2PLM to directly quantify the physiological environment of blood stem cells, called haematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs.

Beyond the Ivory Tower: Penn’s Neuroscience Grad Students Reach Out During Brain Week, and Beyond

NGG KidsJudge 2013 Synpatic Land
Philadelphia is a cerebral city this spring. To start, every March, Brain Awareness Week brings together institutions worldwide to celebrate the brain.

Transcription Factors Key to Using T Cells Against Cancer, Chronic Infection

Wherry BATF spiral blog post Mar 14
Business is brisk in the lab of John Wherry and his team from the Department of Microbiology and the Institute for Immunology for papers on killer and helper T cells. Two studies -- bound by their focus on transcription factors important in the immune response – have come out of the lab in the last few weeks. And, they both identify potential new targets for cancer immunotherapies.

A Rare-fied Friday at the End of Every February

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Rare Disease Day is an annual event to raise awareness with the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives.

Where Do We Go From Here? Public Health and Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling

CEET Symposium flyer Feb 14
Last week the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) and the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania co-hosted a symposium on the public health effects of natural gas drilling operations

Celebrating a Lifetime of Dual Career Success

Armstrongs Clay Clara
The five decades of research of Clara Franzini-Armstrong and Clay Armstrong, hers on electron microscopy of the inner workings of cells and his on ion channels in cell membranes, was recognized recently by their professional society -- the Society of General Physiologists – with a named lecture series.

Cancer in Waiting: Latency in Viral-Based Cancer Explained

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The lab of Erle Robertson, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology, and program leader of Tumor Virology at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, has been studying how Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus (KSHV) subverts normal cell machinery to cause cancer for more than a decade.

Could Statins be Used to Fight a Deadly Viral Infection?

Hanta entry path Hannah Barbian
Two Perelman School of Medicine microbiologists may have found a way to use statins, the well-known blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drugs, to fight the hantavirus, a mysterious and lethal microorganism that appeared suddenly in the US southwest over 20 years ago

The “Other”Circulatory System

Kahn JCI image graphic Jan 14
Blood is the life force of animals. But behind the more well-known system of veins, arteries, and capillaries functions the mop-up crew, the vascular network called the lymph system.

Penn Medicine Year in Review 2013

With 2014 just around the corner, the Penn Medicine Department of Communications is taking a look back at the many highlights and achievements of our faculty, staff, and students in 2013. From landmark breakthroughs in medical research to system-wide growth, moving forward with new leadership to celebrating milestone accomplishments in...

A Day in the Life at Penn Medicine

Each autumn, the University of Pennsylvania showcases its myriad activities — scholarly and otherwise — in a photo project called A Day in the Life. One day a year, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., everybody at UPenn is invited to submit photographs of what they're up to at any...

Renaissance Biochemist

Dutton head shot sketch Nov 13
Les Dutton, Ph.D., will be awarded the 2013 John Scott Award next week. He will be honored with a medal, certificate, and $12,000 for his "work on the elementary processes of oxidation-reduction and the diverse biological events coupled to it." Dutton is the Eldridge Reeves Johnson Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, the director of the Johnson Foundation for Molecular Biophysics, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and former chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. And an accomplished artist, but more on that later.

Finding Antitumor T cells in a Patient’s Own Cancer for Personalized Therapy

Powell Clinical Cancer Research schematic Nov 13
Patients with tumors that contain increased numbers of T lymphocytes generally survive longer than those with tumors without T-cell involvement, suggesting that T cells with potent antitumor function naturally exist in cancer and control tumor progression. With the exception of melanoma, it has been difficult to identify and isolate the tumor-reactive T cells from common cancers, however, the ability to do so could be used to fight a patient’s own cancer.

Postdocs Building Community, and Experience

Postdoc Symposium poster session Nov 13
Clearly, interest in career issues for postdocs is not new, but ways to expand the postdoc experience to ready for budding careers takes constant creativity and communication. To that end, the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, held its 12th annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium last week.

Cancer Hitchhikers

Simon Cancer Discovery image cancer hitchhiker no label Oct 13 take 2
With this zoomed-in view, the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (AFCRI) lab of Celeste Simon, PhD, and postdoctoral fellow, T.S. Karin Eisinger-Mathason PhD, report in Cancer Discovery about the potential of the collagen-modifying enzyme PLOD2 as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of metastatic undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma.

Hanging Cancer on the Fulcrum of the Acidic Hinge

Roth Cell Reports Acidic Hinge blog post image genomic instability Sept 13
Converging lines of evidence just go to show that there are many types of cancer associated with chromosomal translocations, and likely more to be found.

The Med Days of Summer

PARS 1
On the Penn Med campus, mid-August marks the start of the end for many undergrads and high-school students who are wrapping up lab experiments and making presentations about their work in an array of programs designed to showcase what research is all about.

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