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Alternative literary history

A decade of research and writing by English Professor Emily Steiner has resulted in a new book about the work of John Trevisa, a 14th century English author who translated encyclopedias and other reference books, helping to create a body of general knowledge for non-specialists.

Louisa Shepard

Inside Penn

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I'm fully vaccinated and I also had COVID. Do I need a booster?

John Wherry of the Perelman School of Medicine said the COVID-19 booster shot is safe for those with hybrid immunity, which occurs when someone who has already had the virus gets vaccinated. However, he said, hybrid immunity is already powerful on its own.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Like blood pressure and temperature, sleep should be an important vital sign for every patient

Jason Han, a cardiac surgery resident at Penn Medicine, wrote an opinion piece about the importance of sleep to patients’ recovery and providers’ wellness. “I consider sleep as another vital sign for them—and for me,” he wrote.



Can a digital reality be jacked directly into your brain?

Researchers led by Daniel Yoshor of the Perelman School of Medicine are developing better electrode arrays, which are used to induce neural activity. Current arrays approved for human use are bulky and contain around 1,000 electrodes, whereas the arrays Yoshor and colleagues are working on would have 64,000 electrodes, and eventually 1,000,000 electrodes.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Telemedicine is here to stay, but how it will be covered by insurance is still being debated

Rolando Vega, a graduate student at the School of Nursing, wrote an opinion piece about the future of telemedicine. If signed by the governor, a Pennsylvania State Sensate Bill would mandate full insurance reimbursement for these services going forward. “This bill is essential and there is a sense of urgency as many patients, as well as health care providers are counting on its final approval,” Vega wrote.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Almost 500 people dead: Philadelphia is about to set a grim record for homicides

Aaron Chalfin of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the rise in gun violence that accompanied the pandemic. “So many things changed at the same time, and that means that it’s very hard to disentangle what the drivers are,” he said. “I don’t know that we ever fully will.”


Philadelphia Inquirer

Penn Wharton Budget Model enjoys public lashings from both the Biden and Trump administrations

While U.S. presidents on both sides of the aisle have rejected analyses from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, their findings have been supported by estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. Wharton’s Kent Smetters said, “We’re an honest broker, regardless of the party in power.”


The Guardian

‘Indentured servitude’: Low pay and grueling conditions fueling US truck driver shortage

Steve Viscelli of the School of Arts & Sciences said the trucking industry has been relying on newly recruited drivers to keep costs low. “What the industry wants is super cheap, flexible labor and that’s what it’s had for years,” said Viscelli. “They’ve been cycling through literally millions of people, who decide to become truck drivers and then get burned by the industry.”



Getting personal with college admission: Requesting the right recommendations

Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule said letters of recommendation used in college applications should highlight specific examples of a student’s characteristics. “If a recommender can focus on how the applicant does something rather than telling us what the applicant does, it helps a lot,” she said.


Times Higher Education U.K.

Progress on gender equality ‘set back by lost generation’

Scott Kim, a Ph.D. student at the Wharton School, worked with NYU’s Petra Moser on a study that found the post-WWII baby boom created a dearth of women scientists. “By eliminating a generation of female role models, this loss affects science to this day,” they wrote.


BBC News

Could mRNA make us superhuman?

Research by Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman of the Perelman School of Medicine laid the groundwork for mRNA vaccines.