Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Genetics

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...

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.

The Med Days of Summer

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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.

Angelina Jolie’s Cancer Prevention Surgery Puts Basser Research Center for BRCA In National Spotlight

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Basser.graphic.blue.background.expanded This week, when Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie revealed that she underwent surgery to remove her breasts after learning that she carries one of the BRCA gene mutations that put her at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, the news hit home here at the University of Pennsylvania. Just a year ago, Penn announced the creation of the Basser Research Center for BRCA, which was made possible by a $25 million gift from Penn alums Mindy and Jon Gray, in honor of Mindy Gray’s sister, Faith Basser, who died of ovarian cancer at age 44. As the only center in the United States devoted solely to research on prevention and treatment for cancers related to BRCA mutations, Jolie’s story turned a spotlight on the important work in progress there, and the experiences of the many other families with similar cancer risks.

2013 Philadelphia Science Festival Recap

PSF 2013 Carnival Penn tent village 1
Penn Medicine faculty, staff, and students shared their love and knowledge of biomedical science with families, students, and the general public at a dozen events during the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival.

Celebrating the Work of Medical Laboratory Professionals

Lab Week 2013 Poster Winner
To show its gratitude to all laboratory professionals, the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine celebrated Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 22-26, with a host of activities, such as Phillies Night, in appreciation of all the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of staff and faculty members working in more than 30 different laboratories across the Penn campus.

“We Found a Change In Your DNA And We Don’t Know What it Means” – Questions and Challenges in the Era of Massively Parallel Gene Sequencing

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Women who develop breast cancer while they’re young are often searching for answers about the cause for their disease or what they can do to improve their chances of being cured. While an increasing number of large genetic testing panels promise to scrutinize their DNA to uncover clues, a team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center has found that those powerful tests tend to produce more questions than they answer.

Penn Med at the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival

PSF logo 2013
Penn Medicine will play a starring role in the Philadelphia Science Festival again this year. The Festival is a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every April. This year it runs from April 19 - 28, 10 days to celebrate the region’s strengths in science and technology, bringing together more than 100 partners from academia to museums to restaurants.

Defining the Traits of Transmitted HIV-1 to Make Better Vaccines

HIV Red Ribbon by Trygve.u Mar 13
Knowing the traits of HIV-1 strains capable of establishing new infections could be important for AIDS vaccine development.

Penn Medicine at the Forefront of the Quest to Cure Cancer

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Cover image via TIME.com This week’s TIME magazine makes an eye-catching, bold proclamation. HOW TO CURE CANCER, the cover reads, with a subhead previewing the story contained inside: “Yes, it’s now possible – thanks to new cancer dream teams that are delivering better results faster.” Much of that team science...

Heart Research Hits Close to Home for a New Penn Med Prof

Voight Ben desk shot Jan 13
 To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all areas of Penn Medicine. “I know this sounds like a cliché, but one of the main reasons I’m interested in learning about the genetic basis of heart...

Are You at Risk for Breast Cancer?

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Genetic Counseling Can Help Identify Clues Confusion and fears surrounding breast cancer abound. While researchers have long since put some myths to rest -– such as ideas that using anti-perspirant, drinking caffeine, and wearing an underwire bra will all increase your risk -- others issues related to breast cancer risk...

Reconciling ENCODE and CODIS

DNA image From tmkeesey httpwww.flickr.comphotoskeesey3746669149
The use of DNA in forensics is powerful yet subject to uncertainties. Jennifer Wagner, JD, PhD, a Research Associate at the Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn CIGHT), and Sara Katsanis, MS, an Associate in Research at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University (Duke IGSP) conducted an exhaustive search of the literature and genome databases to put forensic markers used in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) into a context of current understanding of the human genome. Their findings are available in an early online issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Mutations in a Common Molecular Motor Cause Rare Diseases

Holzbaur Neuron blog post image June 12
The lab of Erika Holzbaur, a professor of Physiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, has been using live-cell imaging to get a better handle on what happens when the transport of cellular cargo goes off track, and how that may be the start of neurodegenerative diseases. In this case, a Parkinson’s-like disorder and a hereditary form of motor neuron disease.

Growing Pains: Adult Congenital Heart Disease Patients Find a Home at Penn

To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all parts of Penn Medicine. Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the number one birth defect in the U.S., affecting one out of 120 babies. This group of conditions consists...

New Diagnostic Tools and Advanced Research Go Hand-in-Hand to Prevent Heart Disease

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Physicians and scientists at Penn Medicine are combining the power of new diagnostic tools and advanced research to help patients learn about their cardiovascular health and prevent disease. This month – celebrated as American Heart Month by health professionals across the country – is the perfect time to highlight some...

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