Katherine Unger Baillie
Science News Officer
Katherine Unger Baillie covers the School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, and in the School of Arts and Sciences, manages media relations for biology, earth and environmental science, and history and sociology of science. She also occasionally covers scientific research coming from other parts of Penn.
Targeting enzyme in ‘normal’ cells may impede pancreatic cancer’s spread, Penn Vet team shows
Cancer of the pancreas is a deadly disease, with a median survival time of less than six months. Only one in 20 people with pancreatic cancer survives five years past the diagnosis. The reason is the cancer’s insidiousness; tumor cells hide deep inside the body, betraying no symptoms until late in the disease, when the cancer has almost invariably spread to other organs.
Penn Study Shows How Female Immune Cells Keep Their Second X Chromosome Shut Off
Autoimmune diseases tend to strike women more than men and having multiple X chromosomes could be the main reason why. While a process called X chromosome inactivation serves to balance out gene dosage between males and females, some genes on the “inactive X” chromosome in immune cells can sometimes escape this process, giving women an extra dose of immunity-related gene expression.
Penn and Chinese pork producers swap ideas to share and learn
Pork is the world’s most consumed meat, thanks in large part to the Chinese. China consumes half of the planet’s pork and, accordingly, is home to roughly 50 percent of the world’s pigs.
Penn-led Study Identifies Genes Responsible for Diversity of Human Skin Colors
Human populations feature a broad palette of skin tones. But until now, few genes have been shown to contribute to normal variation in skin color, and these had primarily been discovered through studies of European populations.
Penn Team Shows How Seemingly Acute Viral Infections Can Persist
Infections caused by viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, measles, parainfluenza and Ebola, are typically considered acute. These viruses cause disease quickly and live within a host for a limited time. But in some cases the effects of the infection, and presence of the virus itself, can persist.
Earth’s Tectonic Plates Are Weaker Than Once Thought, According to Research by Penn Geologists
No one can travel inside the earth to study what happens there. So scientists must do their best to replicate real-world conditions inside the lab.
Confronted With Bacteria, Infected Cells Die So Others Can Live, Penn Study Finds
The immune system is constantly performing surveillance to detect foreign organisms that might do harm. But pathogens, for their part, have evolved a number of strategies to evade this detection, such as secreting proteins that hinder a host’s ability to mount an immune response.
Melanoma Cells Rewire to Resist Drug Treatment, Penn-Wistar Team Finds
In 2014, new combination therapies to treat patients with metastatic melanoma hit the market, helping extend the lives of those with this aggressive disease. Yet unfortunately, after several months of treatment, almost all patients on the regimen eventually relapsed.