October 3, 2014 |
JUDY Spitzer suffered through two great upheavals in her life, one caused by human venality and the other by nature. As a teenager, she was caught up in the Holocaust, but managed through guts and ingenuity to escape the Nazis, who murdered her father and other family members. Then, 70 years later, Hurricane Katrina drove her and her husband out of New Orleans, where they were teaching at a medical school. Finally settling in the relative peace of the Philadelphia area, Judy could look back on a life of accomplishment realized in the toils of catastrophes that might have wrecked less fearless souls.
September 18, 2014 |
"Are you sure you have the right person?" Danielle S. Bassett asked. The University of Pennsylvania brain researcher is just 32, one year into her first faculty position. So when the MacArthur Foundation people called her last week, Bassett figured they were planning to award one of their coveted $625,000 grants to an older colleague, and wanted to ask her opinion. No, they wanted Bassett. The foundation named her and 20 others Wednesday as the winners of its annual fellowships, informally dubbed the "genius grants" by the media in 1981, the first year they were awarded.
September 14, 2014 |
It's getting harder to find the line between science and science fiction. One of the hot research techniques these days, "optogenetics," uses gene therapy to deliver light-sensitive proteins to specific cells. Then researchers use light to control the cells. The field got its start in the brain, where scientists have demonstrated the technique by making contented mice fly into a rage - a remarkable, if slightly creepy, achievement. Brian Chow, a University of Pennsylvania bioengineer, has bigger ambitions than that.
September 12, 2014 |
Amid a slew of administrative actions Wednesday, Rowan University's board of trustees granted the dean of its engineering school a number of requests that will keep him busy this year: a new doctoral program, an undergraduate major in engineering entrepreneurship, an undergraduate minor in civil engineering, and the renovation of its Rowan Hall engineering building. After the board passed its stack of resolutions, Tony Lowman, the dean of the College of Engineering, reported to the board on the status of the school.
September 11, 2014 |
Move over, ice bucket challenge. Borrowing the basics of the numbingly shared social-media fad, physicians and staff at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on Tuesday volunteered to be showered with tennis balls to benefit pancreatic cancer research. The "Bucket of Tennis Balls Challenge" honored Joe Strub of West Chester, an avid tennis player and information-systems technician who lost his battle with the disease four years ago at age 62. While the oft-publicized ice bucket challenge calls awareness to Lou Gehrig's disease and has raised more than $110 million to aid research in just a couple of months, Tuesday's event hopes to call similar attention to a disease that claims the lives of 33,000 Americans per year, according to Dr. Jonathan Brody.
August 29, 2014 |
When May Wang got her first glimpse of the effluent flowing from the Camden sewage treatment plant into the Delaware River, she was not impressed. "It was not a pleasant experience, necessarily," she recalled. "But it was educational. " A subsequent research project by the 16-year-old student from Holland, Bucks County, won her a President's Environmental Youth Award, announced Wednesday. The award is given annually to one student in each of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 10 regions.
August 23, 2014 |
The woman accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl last year after abducting her from a West Philadelphia elementary school researched child sex crimes on her personal computer, a city prosecutor disclosed Thursday. The new allegations about Christina Regusters, 21, were detailed by Assistant District Attorney Erin O'Brien in a pretrial-motions hearing before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. Minehart permitted O'Brien to use the evidence at trial over the objections of defense lawyer W. Fred Harrison Jr. Also Thursday, the judge and lawyers completed jury selection with two final alternate jurors.
August 14, 2014 |
A study that said more money has not helped city schools is flawed and presents a skewed picture of the Philadelphia School District's reality, a local nonprofit says. The conservative Commonwealth Foundation said in an analysis released earlier this month that while the system's budget had grown over the past decade, its students were still struggling, and that "serious reform" was needed to fix the city's schools. But Research for Action, a Philadelphia-based organization whose mission is to strengthen public schools, found the Commonwealth Foundation brief "misleading, inaccurate, and devoid of context needed for an informed understanding of what is happening in the city's schools.
August 3, 2014 |
On a state-funded trip to Denver last week, Pennsylvania State Sen. Daylin Leach aimed to study every aspect of Colorado's legal marijuana industry. Even the customer side. After touring growers and processors, visiting dispensaries, and talking with the National Conference of State Legislatures, Leach said, he returned to his hotel room and took two marijuana hits off a vaporizer pen. The Montgomery County Democrat has cosponsored a bill to legalize medical marijuana, and said he was optimistic that it will pass in September.
July 31, 2014 |
It's not every day - maybe not any day - that scientists disclose their religion and method of circumcision in an academic paper. But that's what University of Pennsylvania researchers Brian Leas and Craig Umscheid did in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Their topic was the spread of infection through the use of "direct oral suction" during a rare type of Jewish circumcision. Leas and Umscheid found 30 reported cases - two of them fatal - of the spread of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1)