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NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
GLASSBORO Months after it became the second state-recognized public research university in New Jersey, Rowan University on Tuesday announced a new effort to connect faculty and student research initiatives with the dollars needed to kick-start them. The Rowan University Foundation, a fund-raising branch of the university, has allocated $5 million to the new program, called the Rowan Venture Fund. University officials said that the new fund was unique in the region and that it would help research ideas get started at "their earliest stages," potentially breeding job growth and economic activity.
NEWS
March 9, 2014 | By Samantha Melamed, Inquirer Staff Writer
With surgery and chemotherapy, Roberta Bash, 67, of Downingtown beat advanced-stage ovarian cancer in 2010. Then, it came back. "Cancer can go dormant, and I didn't know that," she said. The second time, Bash wanted to explore all her options - including an experimental treatment at Penn Medicine that manipulates a patient's tumor cells to trigger an immune response. So, during her surgery last March, instead of allowing her tumor to be tossed out or donated for research, she saved it. The company StoreMyTumor, which markets itself as a concierge service for tumors, negotiated the tissue's harvest, processing, and cryopreservation.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
University of Pennsylvania researchers have snipped out a single gene in patients' immune cells to make them partly resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The study, in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, bolsters hope for controlling HIV without daily antiviral drugs - a so-called functional cure. But even more important, as the first paper to report the modification of an exact spot in human DNA, it marks the arrival of the age of gene editing.
NEWS
March 5, 2014 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
Wind turbines have been lauded as carbon-free energy sources, and denounced as whirring monsters that kill birds, bats, and scenic views. The twain have yet to meet. But what if wind energy could do more than just crank out electricity? What if it could blow away Mother Nature with a massive offshore array of turbines powerful enough to blunt the force of hurricanes? Researchers from the University of Delaware and Stanford University have concluded it is possible. Their computer model showed that a large wind farm off the East Coast could have have reduced the wind speed of Hurricane Sandy about 80 m.p.h., and lessened the storm surge - the flooding that ruined so many homes and businesses - up to 21 percent.
NEWS
March 2, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Last fall, the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center briefed the legislative cancer caucus on the center's groundbreaking research on a variety of potentially deadly forms of the disease. In one case detailed by Chi Dang, doctors with Penn and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia used a novel cell-engineering treatment on a young leukemia patient as part of a clinical trial involving acute forms of leukemia. That was two years ago. The little girl remains cancer-free.
NEWS
February 28, 2014 | By Stacey Burling, Inquirer Staff Writer
Personalized medicine is all the rage in cancer treatment, as doctors increasingly tailor medicines to specific mutations in patients' tumors. Now, the approach is making its way into addiction treatment. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania found that heavy drinkers significantly reduced their drinking when they took the anticonvulsant drug topiramate - but only if they had a specific genetic profile. Henry R. Kranzler, director of Penn's Center for Studies of Addiction and the study's lead author, said researchers also have found that genes affect response to two other drugs being tested in alcoholics: naltrexone and ondansetron, an antinausea drug.
NEWS
February 19, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Slavica Matacic, 80, of Haverford, a pioneering researcher and professor of biology at Haverford College who worked to widen the study of sciences among women and minorities, died of pneumonia Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Bryn Mawr Hospital. When Dr. Matacic arrived at Haverford in 1964, the faculty was predominantly male. Over the next three and a half decades, until retiring in 1999, she worked to promote the success of women, minorities, and students who were the first in their families to attend college.
NEWS
February 5, 2014 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
Greek and Roman historians were fond of depicting northern Europeans as beer-swilling barbarians, incapable of appreciating the fruits of sun-splashed Mediterranean vineyards. Writing in the late first century B.C., Dionysius of Halicarnassus sniffed that northerners were known to drink a "foul-smelling liquor made from barley rotted in water. " Time to give the barbarians some credit, says University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Patrick E. McGovern. Chemical analysis of residues from ancient drinking vessels and strainers, found in what are now Denmark and Sweden, reveal traces of elaborate hybrid beverages made from berries, birch resin, honey, and herbs, McGovern said.
BUSINESS
February 4, 2014 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
Seniors often look to a reverse mortgage for extra cash. But if you have savings, a family with whom you could live, or low-income assistance, a reverse mortgage should be your very last option. Why? A reverse mortgage, also referred to as a "home equity conversion mortgage" (HECM), allows homeowners 62 years and older to convert their house into cash. But most don't realize a reverse mortgage may not be appropriate for their financial situation. Seniors are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to take financial counseling classes if they want a reverse mortgage, says Mike Sullivan, chief education officer for Take Charge America.
NEWS
February 4, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Timothy Perper, 74, of Bella Vista, a writer and independent researcher on human courtship, died of cardiac arrest Tuesday, Jan. 21, at his home. As a biology professor at Rutgers University in the 1970s, Dr. Perper became fascinated by how couples meet and then decide whether they are attracted to each other. He obtained a grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation to study conversations in bars. His 1985 book, Sex Signals: The Biology of Love , was described in the New York Times as "lively and provocative.
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