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Science & Research News


Gene doping in equines can now be tested for, thanks to Penn Vet researchers.

Veterinary experts work to stay ahead of equine doping

Elite athletes train for years to reach the top of their game. Yet some succumb to temptation, using performance-enhancing drugs to gain a slight edge over their competitors.

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Innovative vaccine offers canine cancer patients a shot at a longer, happier life

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer to affect dogs. It is a painful and aggressive disease. Affecting more than 10,000 dogs annually, predominantly larger breeds, it kills more than 85 percent within two years. 

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How working dogs are sniffing out cancer

At Penn, collaboration is as ingrained in the culture as innovation. And, it turns out, some teams end up having quite the crew. One specific group—working to detect early stage ovarian cancer—maintains experts spanning obstetrics and gynecology, chemistry, physics, and veterinary care. It also includes human’s best furry friends: dogs.

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Cancer and Autoimmune Disease

Immunosuppression by regulatory T cells—the key to reducing some autoimmune diseases—Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a critical role in immunosuppression and therefore have the potential to reduce or prevent harmful autoimmune and inflammatory immune responses.

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Penn Vet Announces Student Research Awards Recognizes Scholarly Achievements of VMD and VMD-PhD Candidates

Forty-five students presented their research, conducted over the course of one year, during last week’s Student Research Day held at the Vernon and Shirley Hill Pavilion at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet). Dr. Patricia Conrad, from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis, delivered the keynote lecture.

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Agricultural Sustainability Project Reached 20.9 Million Smallholder Farmers Across China

Smallholder farmers who cultivate perhaps only a few hectares of land dominate the agricultural landscape in places like China, India, and sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing their efficiency while reducing their environmental impact are critical steps to ensuring a sustainable food source for the world’s growing population.

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Penn Vet’s Gustavo D. Aguirre Formally Recognized as AAAS Fellow for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Inherited Blindness

Dr. Gustavo D. Aguirre, V'68 was recognized by the Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on February 17, 2018.

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Gene Therapy and Inherited Macular Degeneration

Researchers have developed a gene therapy that successfully treats a form of macular degeneration in a canine model, opening the possibility of treatment in humans.

Owner’s Personality Can Impact Dog’s Behavior

Every year, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. shelters and adoption centers, and one in five of them are euthanized. Behavior problems are the most common reason.

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Pets pick up on their owner’s personality

When a baby is born, many new moms and dads pore over parenting books, striving to strike the right balance of firmness and warmth to raise their children into kind, intelligent, strong individuals. While nature plays a critical role, research supports the idea that parenting style and parents’ personalities do influence a child’s behavior.

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Intestinal Regeneration After Injury

Research has shown that animals fed restricted-calorie diets are also better able to regenerate numerous tissues after injury.

Using a naturally occurring species of mouse Cryptosporidium, a team led by researchers from Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has developed a model of infection that affects immunologically normal mice.

Intestinal Infection and Immunity Symposium

The Intestinal Infection and Immunity Symposium explore how recent scientific advances in microbiology, immunology, and medicine can help solve this global problem.

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Special Session - CUGH Global Health Conference

Penn Vet Dean Joan Hendricks welcomed a special session of the CUGH Global Health Conference exploring how a One Health approach can tackle pressing global issues.

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Therapeutic Targets for Aggressive Breast Cancers

New findings from Penn researchers have made inroads into a strategy to identify TNBC tumors at risk for metastasis, and eventually target these cancers with drugs. 

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‘Silent Code’ of Nucleotides, Not Amino Acids, Determines Discrete Functions of Proteins Vital For Life

Humans possess six forms of the protein actin, which perform essential functions in the body. Two in particular, β-actin and γ-actin, are nearly identical, only differing by four amino acids. Yet these near-twin proteins carry out distinct roles. A long standing question for biologists has been, how is this possible?

Dr. Boris Striepen, Penn Vet Faculty

Penn Vet’s Boris Striepen Receives $1.8M Grant to Find Drugs against Deadly Diarrheal Disease in Infants

Boris Striepen, PhD, Professor of Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received a $1.8-million, three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable the development of drugs for cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites.

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Diseases caused by parasites

Toxoplasma infection in humans is very common, but is largely asymptomatic unless the patient is immunosuppressed or infected in utero, in which case it can have devastating consequences.

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Commonalities in Late Stages of Different Inherited Blinding Diseases Suggest Targets for Therapy

Gene therapy holds promise for treating a variety of diseases, including some inherited blinding conditions. But for a gene therapy to be effective, one must know the precise gene responsible for a given individual’s disorder and develop a tailored treatment. For diseases that may be caused by mutations in many different genes, developing individual gene therapy approaches can be prohibitively costly and time-intensive to pursue.

Dr. James Lok, A Lethal Parasite's Vulnerabilities

Finding a lethal parasite’s vulnerabilities

An estimated 100 million people around the world are infected with Strongyloides stercoralis, a parasitic nematode, yet it’s likely that many don’t know it. The infection can persist for years, usually only causing mild symptoms. But if the immune system is compromised by the use of immunosuppressing drugs such as steroids or chemotherapeutics, for example, the parasite can reproduce uncontrollably, leading to a potentially life-threatening infection.

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Can Canines Sniff Out Smuggled Artifacts?

Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research and the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Vet Working Dog Center, in collaboration with the Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology), have launched the K-9 Artifact Finders research program. The project aims to fight cultural heritage crime with the help of working dogs.