Novel hydrogel finds new aptamers, or ‘chemical antibodies,’ in days

Image of hands holding sample in the lab

By Tim Schley

One double-helix strand of DNA could extend six feet, but it is so tightly coiled that it packs an entire sequence of nucleotides into the tiny nucleus of a cell. If that same DNA was instead split into two strands and divided into many, many short pieces, it would become trillions of uniquely folded 3D molecular structures, capable of bonding to and possibly manipulating specifically shaped molecules — if they’re the perfect fit.

Soft tissue restoration, blood vessel formation focus of $3M grant

Soft tissue restoration, blood vessel formation

By Mariah R. Lucas

The ability to regenerate and pattern blood vessels, the literal lifelines extending deep into soft tissues, remains an elusive milestone in regenerative medicine. Known as tissue revascularization, stimulating blood vessel growth and pattern formation in damaged or diseased tissues could accelerate the field of regenerative medicine, according to Penn State researchers. 

Penn State researchers use ultrasound to control orientation of small particles

two men reviewing research findings on a laptop in a lab.

By Sarah Small

Acoustic waves may be able to control how particles sort themselves. While researchers have been able to separate particles based on their shape — for example, bacteria from other cells — for years, the ability to control their movement has remained a largely unsolved problem, until now. Using ultrasound technology and a nozzle, Penn State researchers have separated, controlled and ejected different particles based on their shape and various properties.  

Improved, self-healing medical sensor responds to temperature, adapts to skin

image of a sensor

By Sarah Small

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For wearable electronics to live up to their promise for health care monitoring, they need to do at least two things: transform from rigid to soft to accommodate changing structural needs, and heal their own normal wear-and-tear. With the help of liquid metal and specialized polymers, researchers have developed sensors that can do both.  

Standalone sensor system uses human movement to monitor health and environment

Person blowing on a sensor

By Ashley WennersHerron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For mere dollars, a Penn State-led international collaboration has fabricated a self-powered, standalone sensor system capable of monitoring gas molecules in the environment or in human breath. The system combines nanogenerators with micro-supercapacitors to harvest and story energy generated by human movement. 

Neuron movements caused by push, pull of motor proteins, study finds

image showing motor proteins moved along a microtubule using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy

By Mariah R. Lucas

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Neurons, which are responsible for producing the signals that ultimately trigger an action like talking or moving a muscle, are built and maintained by classes of motor proteins that transport molecular cargo along elongated tracks called microtubules. A Penn State-led team of researchers uncovered how two main groups of motor proteins compete to transport cargo in opposite directions between the cell body and the synapse in neurons.