Science & Technology

The science of sensations

To confront the ills of the opioid epidemic, scientists must develop a fundamental understanding of the biology of pain. Biologist Ishmail Abdus-Saboor’s work is setting the stage for screening alternative drugs and uncovering new pathways that an opioid-alternative could target.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Engineers solve the paradox of why tissue gets stiffer when compressed

Tissue gets stiffer when it’s compressed. That stiffening response is a long-standing biomedical paradox, as common sense dictates that when you push the ends of a string together, it loosens tension, rather than increasing it. New research explains the mechanical interplay between that fiber network and the cells it contains.

Penn Today Staff

New chip poised to enable handheld microwave imaging

Penn researchers show that the new microwave imager chip could form images of simple objects. Unlike light, microwaves can travel through certain opaque objects, making microwave imagers potentially useful in a wide variety of applications.

Penn Today Staff

Identifying a gene for canine night blindness

An international team of researchers led by the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Keiko Miyadera has identified the gene mutation responsible for a form of night blindness in dogs. Strategies to treat this condition could also inform treatment of other diseases that rely on targeting this cell type.

Katherine Unger Baillie



In the News


Mashable.com

Experts warn smartphone voting is ‘extremely risky,’ yet here it comes

Matt Blaze of the School of Engineering and Applied Science weighed in on a Washington state district’s plans to implement smartphone voting. “This extremely risky decision runs counter to the findings of the authoritative National Academies ‘Securing the Vote’ study, which represents the consensus of experts,” he said.

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The Hill

Critics fear Facebook fact-checkers losing misinformation fight

Eugene Kiely of the Annenberg Public Policy Center spoke about Factcheck.org and how the site manages Facebook content for review.

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Scientific American

Artificial intelligence is rushing into patient care—and could raise risks

PIK Professor Ezekiel Emanuel and Saurabh Jha of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about the potential hazards of using artificial intelligence in medicine.

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The New York Times

Shuttered Philadelphia refinery may get new life after fire

Mark Alan Hughes of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy spoke about the possibility of converting the old Philadelphia refinery into a hybrid plant that also produces renewable fuels. “They’re predicting a steadily declining place for things like the refinery that was,” he said. “The kind of mix that tries to lower the profile of fossil fuel activity is, I think, the most likely outcome.”

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The New York Times

How Narwhal the ‘unicorn’ puppy may have grown a tail on his head

Margret Casal of the School of Veterinary Medicine explained that the puppy with a tail on its face that went viral is likely the result of another embryo that didn’t fully separate in utero.

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Forbes

The real story about organoids: What you should know about ‘brains in a dish’

Hongjun Song of the Perelman School of Medicine explained how brain organoids were developed. “In the last five years scientists figured out how to turn stem cells into 3D cell structures, and eventually [developed] so-called brain organoids, which look like not only cell types in the brain but also cell architectures,” he said.

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The New York Times

You got a brain scan at the hospital. Someday a computer may use it to identify you

Aaron Roth of the School of Engineering and Applied Science commented on research that paired MRI scans with facial recognition software. “It is clear that eventually this will be a worrying attack” on stored medical data, he said.

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Inside Higher Ed

Twitter’s gender imbalance

Rachel Werner of the Perelman School of Medicine authored a study that found that while men and women use Twitter at equal rates, the site has not reduced gender disparities in academia overall.

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PBS

Study finds kittens bond with their human caregivers like babies do

Carlo Siracusa of the School of Veterinary Medicine advised readers to keep in mind that while babies and kittens are similar, they’re not analogous; scientific findings about one may not hold true for the other. “We should be open-minded about the idea that there are other variables [at play],” he said.

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Smithsonian Magazine

Women scientists were written out of history. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s lifelong mission to fix that

M. Susan Lindee of the School of Arts and Sciences praised academic Margaret Rossiter’s research on women’s contributions to science. “We have to look at her past work carefully,” said Lindee, “and re-examine all those brilliant strategies that women used to contest institutional power, which was oriented around preventing them from succeeding.”

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