Frontiers - Nature

  • January 2015

    Expanding Access (Video)

    Professor of Physics and Astronomy Philip Nelson discusses the ins and outs of authoring a science textbook.

    When Philip Nelson couldn't find a textbook that suited the needs of his biophysics class, he didn't take any shortcuts—he wrote one. "I didn’t feel that there was a book that really spoke to physics students about why this subject might be interesting to them,” he says. “There was a gap there.” Physical Models of Living Systems was the result.

  • January 2015

    Blowing Up Proteins

    Graduate student Beatrice Markiewicz is using novel techniques to disassemble the amyloid proteins responsible for diseases like Alzheimer’s.

    Alzheimer’s disease and other serious neurodegenerative disorders have been the subject of a tremendous research effort in recent decades. Much of the work, however, has gone into understanding the formation of the signature amyloid deposits—proteins that fold the wrong way.

  • December 2014

    The Science of Sleep

    Professor of Biology Ted Abel and Senior Research Associate Robbert Havekes examine how losing sleep affects memory.

    “There’s this view that sleep is for the weak,” says Ted Abel. “‘I’m getting ready for final exams, I’m just gonna stay up, I’ll be fine.’” Not so fast: New research from Abel’s lab has illuminated the specific molecular mechanism in mice of how sleep deprivation can sap the ability to remember things.

  • November 2014

    An Astronomer’s Quest: Searching for the Known Unknown

    Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Cullen Blake searches for earth-like planets.

    Cullen Blake was smitten by the sky when his third-grade class studied stars and planets. “It piqued my curiosity,” he recalls, adding that his intellectual trajectory was influenced by the 1995 discovery of an exoplanet, the first planet known to orbit a star outside our solar system.

  • November 2014

    See Psittacosaurus Run

    Graduate student Brandon Hedrick is using statistics to show how dinosaurs looked, moved, and evolved.

    Brandon Hedrick always wanted to be a paleontologist. “That’s kind of the norm in my field—you figure out when you’re three or four that you’re interested in dinosaurs,” says the doctoral candidate in Earth and Environmental Sciences. At Penn, he’s been able to link that first love with his interests in math and biology to give a better picture of how dinosaurs looked and walked.

  • October 2014

    Seeing the World

    Undergraduate Leah Davidson uses the visual arts to energize environmentalism.

    Leah Davidson is no stranger to charting new territory. In her senior year of high school she embarked on a journey to Antarctica with Students on Ice, an organization which seeks to provide students, educators, and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities in a natural setting.

  • September 2014

    Keeping Science Fun

    Doctoral students Kelsey VanGelder and Lyndsay Wood found science learning program for local students.

    Creating chemistry between kids and lab science is the passion of graduate students Kelsey VanGelder and Lyndsay Wood. Together, they founded the Activities for Community Education in Science (ACES) program to introduce local students to the sciences with a hands-on approach. Both Ph.D.

  • August 2014

    Protein Pathways

    Associate Professor of Biology Kimberly Gallagher examines plant growth mechanisms.

    We pass them every day on the sidewalk. Chances are they have taken up residence in your home or office. But we don't often pause to reflect on the maturation of plants. Kimberly Gallagher does. The associate professor of biology and her lab explore the mechanisms of intercellular protein movement in plants, and how this form of communication impacts plant growth.

  • July 2014

    Finding the First Galaxies

    Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy James Aguirre looks deep into the history of the night sky.

    Imagine the universe billions of years ago as a lump of Swiss cheese. About 400,000 years after the Big Bang, it had cooled enough to produce hydrogen atoms—the “cheese.” As stars began to form, they emitted radiation that ionized these hydrogen atoms, a process which caused the holes to appear.

  • May 2014

    Mercury Rising: A Q&A on Climate Change with Alain Plante (VIDEO)

    The soil expert uses biogeochemistry to better understand the delicate balance of the carbon cycle.

    To Alain Plante, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, soil isn’t just the ground under our feet. For starters, it’s a repository containing three times more carbon than the atmosphere and five times more than all the earth’s plant matter.