Biology

How superstitions spread

Superstitious beliefs may seem irrational, but they catch on in a society. Using an evolutionary approach to studying the emergence of coordinated behaviors, Erol Akçay and Bryce Morsky showed how a jumble of individual beliefs, including superstitions, coalesce into an accepted social norm.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Unlocking the female bias in lupus

The majority of lupus patients are female, and new findings from Montserrat Anguera of the School of Veterinary Medicine and colleagues shed light on why. The research suggests that female lupus patients don’t fully silence their second X chromosome in T cells, leading to an immune response gone awry.

Katherine Unger Baillie

The ‘off’ button that lets plants make flowers

Flowers aren’t just pretty to look at; without them, plants couldn’t reproduce. Investigating the critical process of flower formation in plants, School of Arts and Sciences biologist Doris Wagner and colleagues discovered how a key gene is shut off in order for blooms to form. “Identity is not just what you are; it’s what you aren’t,” she says.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Hands-on learning in the greenhouse

A revamped lesson in plant diversity added a tour of the campus greenhouse for students in introductory biology courses. Greenhouse coordinator Samara Gray worked with Linda Robinson and Karl Siegert to enhance the curriculum, incorporating lessons about plant biology and taxonomy that rely on the wide range of specimens present.

Katherine Unger Baillie

What does a dolphin have in common with a fruit fly?

To determine what goes on during sleep, a trio of Penn experts studied sleep function across phylogeny—that is, the evolutionary development of species—to find the origins of the need for sleep.

Penn Today Staff



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Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Scientists Isolate Human Lung Progenitor Cells That Repair Alveolar Damage

Edward E. Morrisey, of the Perelman School of Medicine, has co-authored a paper on lung stem cells in mice and humans, which may lead to the development of new strategies for human lung regeneration.

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The Scientist

Parasitologist, Reprogrammed: A Profile of David Roos

David Roos of the School of Arts and Sciences was profiled for his journey from art major to scientist and for his current work developing EuPathDB, a catalog of “parasites and other pathogens.”

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