Perelman School of Medicine

Tall people: Your hearts are at risk

The research team reveals a strong link between the genetic variants associated with height and one’s risk for arterial fibrillation, and is the among the first to demonstrate that height may be a causal—not correlated—risk factor for the condition.

Penn Today Staff

Reprogramming ant ‘soldiers’

A Penn study reveals the epigenetic pathway that controls social behavior in carpenter ants, finding that the ants reprogram up to five days after they hatch, while reprogramming was ineffective at the 10-day mark.

Penn Today Staff

Tweets from Twitter users could predict loneliness

By identifying similar themes across tweets, researchers are uncovering markers that could be used to predict loneliness, something that could lead to depression, heart disease, and dementia.

Penn Today Staff

Mentoring circles support a journey through STEM

An initiative of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council Diversity Committee has established an informal network of “mentoring circles” for postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates in STEM, with a particular emphasis on including participants from underrepresented backgrounds.

Katherine Unger Baillie

In the News

Fast Company

How old are you really? Elysium Health will tell you—for $500

Joseph Baur of the Perelman School of Medicine said the startup Elysium Health’s claims that they can make cells behavior as though they were younger is “one of these things that is based mostly on benefits in mouse models. I think it’s a wide open question how beneficial this will ultimately turn out to be in humans.”


Veterans with PTSD struggle to parent, but help is available

Leah Blain of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about the difficulties of parenting for veterans with PTSD. “That feeling being jumpy or on guard—you can imagine how that is going to translate with the kiddos. They have so much energy, which is wonderful, but it is a lot to process all the time if your symptoms are working all the time,” she said.


PRI/WGBH Innovation Hub

Virtual reality is having a senior moment

PIK Professor George Demiris said virtual reality has shown early promise for dementia patients, though it’s not a substitute for human contact. “We have to look at innovation and different tools to come up with new solutions to address issues of social isolation and loneliness and allow people to stay engaged and active,” he said.


Science News

People who lack olfactory bulbs shouldn’t be able to smell. But some women can

PIK Professor Jay Gottfried commented on a study that suggests some women can smell even if missing parts of the brain associated with the olfactory system. “I am not convinced that the women are indeed missing their bulbs,” he said, noting that MRIs may not adequately detect all evidence of the structures.


The Wall Street Journal

A new approach to gene therapy—Now in dogs, maybe later in humans

James Wilson of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about his efforts to develop gene therapy therapeutics for pets. “If we can show these approaches using gene therapy for cats and dogs work, then it’s going to be an easier lift to move into humans,” he said.