Posts tagged ‘research’

Penn State Health mentors cutting-edge student scientists

By Jennifer Vogelsong

Two teenage girls in a research lab look into microscopes. Both are wearing lab coats and gloves.

Science Research Institute participants Rachel Maurer, front, and Rachel Kesselring examine the shape and structure of mammalian cells under a microscope.

Rini Kaneria suspects that a peptide found in wasp venom could break down cancer cells.

Kyle Blimline wants to know if DNA extracted from maggots found on corpses could help identify crime victims.

And Rachel Maurer works as part of a team developing a way to use 3D printing and bioglass to create custom bandages and heal wounds faster.

These researchers aren’t employed by scientific laboratories, academic institutions or medical centers. They’re all teenagers who spend their days attending a rural public high school in Berks County.

Their work has drawn the attention of medical professionals at Penn State Health, financial support from cutting-edge companies and invitations to international science and engineering fairs.

Adelle Schade, a science teacher at Conrad Weiser High School in Robesonia, Pa., spent the past decade building a program now known as the Science Research Institute (SRI) that engages 130 students in scientific research of personal interest, some of which has patent potential.

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June 12, 2018 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

College of Medicine grad student among young scientists chosen to meet Nobel laureates

By Carolyn Kimmel

A young man working in a medical research lab inserts liquid into a test tube. He is pushing a plunger with his thumb. The photo is shot at an angle. The man is wearing a lab coat and rubber gloves. Other lab equipment is on the table, and a door is behind him out of focus.

Robert Nwokonko performs research on calcium signaling in cells, which can help improve understanding of autoimmune diseases and diseases that compromise the immune system.

When he started his studies at Penn State College of Medicine, Robert Nwokonko never imagined his research would land him in the company of 43 Nobel laureates.

The fourth-year biomedical science graduate student from Downingtown, Pa., will travel to Lindau, Germany, for the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting from June 24-29. He will join 600 students, doctoral candidates and post-doctoral scholars under the age of 35 competitively selected for the rare chance to hear from some of the world’s most lauded scientists and researchers.

This year’s meeting is dedicated to physiology and medicine and will set two records—the most Nobel laureates ever assembled at a medicine meeting and the most diverse set of participants who represent 84 countries of origin, according to meeting organizers.

“To be among most of the living Nobel laureates and hear them talk about the future of research and their sciences—that’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Nwokonko, the first College of Medicine student to attend the event. “I was really excited and surprised when I found out I was chosen.”

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May 29, 2018 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

From One Cancer to Another

By Katherine Brind’Amour

Man with beard looks through microscope. He wears a white lab coat with Penn State Hershey College of Medicine logo. In the background are test tubes and lab equipment.

David DeGraff examines tumor samples of bladder cancer.

In all of the ways you might think of fighting cancer, perhaps one of the last things on your mind would be to turn one type of cancer into another. After all, who wants to turn a tumor into…a different kind of tumor?

David DeGraff does.

As a 2018 recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Research Scholar Grant for nearly $800,000 over the next four years, DeGraff has big plans for his latest funding. Hear him discuss his findings in this video:

“If we understand what makes a given type of tumor tick, we may be able to force it to become another type of tumor—something that responds to therapy,” says DeGraff, assistant professor of pathology and surgery and a member of Penn State Cancer Institute.

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February 21, 2018 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Gowda receives 2017 Young Investigator Award

Dovat_and_Gowda_in_Lab_03-29-2017_02

Dr. Chadrika Gowda with her mentor, Dr. Sinisa Dovat.

It’s been fewer than four years since Dr. Chandrika Gowda completed her fellowship with Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Children’s Hospital, but she already has been recognized as one of the nation’s top young medical researchers.

Now an assistant professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine, Dr. Gowda is a recipient of the prestigious 2017 Young Investigator Award from The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO), an annual award that recognizes excellence in research in the field. (more…)

April 12, 2017 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Penn State Colorectal Diseases Biobank links genetics and colorectal cancer

 By Heidi Lynn Russell

What if your family’s DNA could become the blueprint for your very own precise and personalized treatment for colorectal cancer? Or, better yet, what if it could be used to help doctors screen you earlier for the disease, before it has a chance to strike?

This isn’t a science-fictional, futuristic ideal. Cutting-edge research at Penn State College of Medicine and the Penn State Colorectal Diseases Biobank is revealing how genetics play a role in treating this disease. (more…)

March 15, 2017 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Zebrafish help researchers study human genes

zebrafish

New Zebrafish Functional Genomics Core provides Penn State scientists tools to advance research

While a popular fixture of home aquariums, zebrafish have become a popular and important tool for studying human disease. The fish have more in common with humans than meets the eye, and provide an effective and efficient way to study genes.

Perhaps nowhere in central Pennsylvania is that more apparent than at Penn State College of Medicine’s newly-constructed Zebrafish Functional Genomics Core.

The core provides the Penn State research community with a modern, centralized facility for housing, breeding and performing experiments with zebrafish, one of the fastest growing model systems in biomedical research. (more…)

July 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

Penn State collaboration to bring malaria power bar to children in need

There’s an awful calculus that takes place in malaria stricken regions of the world.

Due to malnutrition, children in these areas often suffer from iron deficiency anemia, which can lead to serious cognitive and motor impairments. While iron supplementation may sound like an obvious solution, there’s been a big problem with it.

Studies in mice and humans suggest that iron promotes malarial infection, likely by increasing the number of red blood cells—the target for the Plasmodium parasites that cause the disease.

More blood cells mean more infection, which means more inflammation. When the disease spreads to the brain in cerebral malaria, this inflammation causes neurological and cognitive damage in survivors.

This conundrum has left health experts at odds with each other about whether children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions of the world where malaria is prevalent should get iron supplementation. More than 70 percent of malaria deaths occur in children under age 5. This year alone, according to the World Health Organization, the disease has killed more than 300,000 African children in this age group.

(more…)

March 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

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