Research Spotlight

In this section, we would like to highlight innovation, research and news.

Many Americans will be treated to a rare total solar eclipse on August 21, when the shadow of the moon crosses in front of the sun in a path from Oregon to South Carolina. The eclipse, which will occur in the late morning on the West Coast, is expected to produce a 70-mile-wide band of darkness that will be seen by tens of millions of people. The same event happened back in 1878, and it was an important occurrence for three scientists who wanted to learn more. Journalist David Baron chronicles that story in his book, American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. Baron visited the Knowledge@Wharton show on SiriusXM channel 111 to shed some light on those notable scientists.
Watch this short film directed by Christopher Kao and Xiaofei Ye about the energy industry in Philadelphia. Fossil Fuels companies have called on Philadelphia to become an "Energy Hub" where natural gas, oil, and coal can be processed and consumed easily. This film examines the positives and negatives of such a plan.
"Penn Compact 2020 builds on the past decade of progress we have made in advancing the University of Pennsylvania. It is a far-reaching vision that outlines next steps to increase access to Penn's exceptional intellectual resources; integrate knowledge across academic disciplines with emphasis on innovative understanding and discovery; and engage locally, nationally, and globally to bring the benefits of Penn's research, teaching, and service to individuals and communities at home and around the world." - President Amy Gutmann
University of Pennsylvania engineers have developed a rapid, low-cost genetic test for the Zika virus. The $2 testing device, about the size of a soda can, does not require electricity or technical expertise to use. A patient would simply provide a saliva sample. Color-changing dye turns blue when the genetic assay detects the presence of the virus.The engineers demonstrated the design and efficacy of their test in a study published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. It was conducted by Research Assistant Professor Changchun Liu and Professor Haim Bau of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, along with members of the Bau lab, Jinzhao Song and Michael Mauk. They collaborated with Sara Cherry, associate professor of microbiology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, and Brent Hackett, a member of her lab.
In PennDesign’s Fabrication Lab, students and faculty use three-dimensional printers to craft geometric forms, architectural models, and other products of the imagination. But in a recent collaboration with the School of Veterinary Medicine, the printers have been put to work making models based very much on reality. These models could help vets plot out and practice surgical procedures in advance of an operation. Full-color models may even allow for testing new approaches that avoid contact with critical blood vessels and other tissues.