Science & Technology

Antidepressants May Change Personality, Leading to Reduced Depression, Says Penn Collaboration

PHILADELPHIA –- Examining data obtained from a University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University psychology study, researchers at these universities and Northwestern University have reported the first placebo-controlled evidence that antidepressant medications—particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs—can substantially change patients’

Jordan Reese

Researchers Say Cooperation Is Key to Reducing Greenhouse Gases

 PHILADELPHIA — A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Delaware shows that cooperation between local and regional governments and organizations is crucial to achieve carbon-reduction goals being negotiated in the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties, or COP15, summit.

Jeanne Leong

Penn, Georgia Collaboration Awarded $14.6 Million to Expand Pathogen Database, Expedite Worldwide Research

PHILADELPHIA -– Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Georgia have been awarded a five-year, $14.6 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the US National Institutes of Health, to expand and extend work on the Eukaryotic Pathogen Genome Database Resource, http://EuPathDB.org.

Jordan Reese



In the News


Penn Live

Wildlife diseases in Pennsylvania targeted by $10 million Game Commission-Penn partnership

Julie Ellis and Lisa Murphy of the School of Veterinary Medicine commented on a new collaboration between Penn Vet and the Pennsylvania Game Commission: the Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program, based at New Bolton Center.

FULL STORY →



Axios

Looking to AI to understand how we learn

PIK Professor Konrad Kording said, “There is a big undercurrent in neuroscience [saying] we should go back to neural networks,” which rely on technology that allows machines to learn from their mistakes.

FULL STORY →



Philadelphia Inquirer

‘Why not fly over it?’ Uber picks New Jersey firms in ambitious bid to beat traffic congestion

Rahul Mangharam of the School of Engineering and Applied Science commented on Uber’s new air taxi venture. “It’s going to be a very congested sky,” he said. “You want to make sure that each flight plan is safe by design, and that even if they do mess up for some reason, they have a fallback option.”

FULL STORY →



The New York Times

A feisty Google adversary tests how much people care about privacy

Joseph Turow of the Annenberg School for Communication commented on DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine. “I’m almost embarrassed to say that I don’t use it more than I do,” he said. “There is something in my head that tells me I’ll get a better search from Google, even when I don’t know if that is demonstrably correct or not.”

FULL STORY →



Wired

Twitter and Instagram unveil new ways to combat hate—again

Jessa Lingel of the Annenberg School for Communication said “we need humans” to help parse what is and isn’t offensive language based on context. “The tech just isn’t there yet.”

FULL STORY →



Gizmodo

This freaky robotic fish is powered by ‘blood’

James Pikul of the School of Engineering and Applied Science co-authored a study in which researchers developed a soft, robotic lionfish powered by a blood-like compound. “This robot blood is our first demonstration of storing energy in a fluid that is normally only used for actuation,” he said.

FULL STORY →



Scientific American

How the mind emerges from the brain’s complex networks

Danielle Bassett of the School of Engineering and Applied Science co-authored an article about network neuroscience, which allows us to see the origins of mental activity in the brain. One day, they write, “a neuroscientist who knew all the principles of brain function and everything about someone’s brain could predict that person’s mental conditions—the future, as well as the past, would be present inside the person’s mind.”

FULL STORY →



The Guardian

Reversible superglue proves strong enough to hold average man

Shu Yang and colleagues from the School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a new glue from hydrogel, inspired by snail slime. “The mucus [snails] produce is a viscous liquid, but when it dries they become firmly stuck,” said Yang.

FULL STORY →



Scientific American

Domestication made dogs’ facial anatomy more fetching to humans

James Serpell of the School of Veterinary Medicine said humans may have bred dogs to appear more infantile over time. “We are innately predisposed to respond with a kind of nurturing behavior towards certain physical characteristics,” he said. “Over time, [humans selected] for traits that satisfy that parental nurturing response.”

FULL STORY →



WBUR Boston

What Puerto Rico’s monkeys post-Maria teach us about survival

PIK Professor Michael Platt joined a conversation about surviving trauma and Puerto Rico’s “monkey island.”

FULL STORY →