Method for producing sulfur compounds in cells shows promise for tissue repair

lab image showing a needle dropping a sample into a structure

Sulfur-based compounds produced in our bodies help fight inflammation and create new blood vessels, among other responsibilities, but the compounds are delicate and break down easily, making them difficult to study. A team led by Penn State scientists have developed a new method to generate the compounds — called polysulfides — inside of cells, and the work could potentially lead to advances in wound treatment and tissue repair.

Combining novel biomaterial and microsurgery might enable faster tissue recovery

Illustration of biomaterial and microsurgery

By Jamie Oberdick

For soft tissue to recover and regrow, it needs blood vessels to grow to deliver oxygen and nutrients. Sluggish vascularization, however, can slow or even prevent recovery and regrowth of lost or damaged soft tissue after a severe injury or serious illness such as cancer. To speed up the formation and patterning of new blood vessels, Penn State researchers have combined a novel biomaterial with a microsurgical approach used in reconstructive surgery, enabling improved recovery of soft tissue.

Growing biofilms actively alter host environment, new study reveals

3D image of biofilm reconstruction

By Adrienne Berard

Dental plaque, gut bacteria and the slippery sheen on river rocks are all examples of biofilms, organized communities of microorganisms that colonize our bodies and the world around us. A new study led by Penn State researchers reveals exactly how growing biofilms shape their environments and fine-tune their internal architecture to fit their surroundings. The findings may have implications for a wide variety of applications, from fighting disease to engineering new types of living active materials.

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.