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Two Decades Since 9/11: Penn Vet’s Working Dog Center Launches Tribute Video

Penn Vet's Working Dog Center has launched a new video, “Two Decades Since 9/11: A Tribute.”

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Igor Brodsky, PhD, Named Chair of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet

Igor Brodsky, AB, PhD, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet effective October 1, 2021.

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Forging healthy bonds with canine companions

Penn Vet postdoc Lauren Powell’s research illuminates how the personalities of both dogs and their owners influence the pairs’ ability to overcome behavioral challenges.

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Penn Vet Names Dr. Mark Oyama Interim Chair of Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine

Mark Oyama, DVM, MSCE, DACVIM, has been named Interim Chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine (CSAM) at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) effective September 1, 2021.

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Tracking the earliest steps in parasite infection

The parasite Cryptosporidium, a leading global cause of diarrheal diseases in children, injects host cells with a cocktail of proteins. Using powerful video microscopy, Penn Vet researchers tracked the process in real time.

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The search for the culprit behind songbird deaths

Across the United States, songbirds are dying from a mysterious condition. Working with long-established partners, Penn Vet researchers are striving for a diagnosis.

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Protein’s ‘silent code’ affects how cells move

The protein actin is ubiquitous and essential for life. In mammals, every cell expresses two of its forms, beta-actin and gamma-nonmuscle-actin. Despite having distinct roles, the two forms are nearly identical, sharing 99% of their amino acid sequence.

De'Broski Herbert Named Penn Presidential Professor

Penn Vet Parasitologist Named Penn Presidential Professor

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann appointed De’Broski R. Herbert, PhD, in the Department of Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, as Presidential Associate Professor.

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With remarkable similarities to MS, a disease in dogs opens new avenues for study

The canine disease granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME), the most common neuroinflammatory disease that affects dogs, shares key features of its pathology and immunology with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study.

MARS Equestrian™ & Penn Vet launch innovative educational research

Penn Vet New Bolton Center, Royal Veterinary College Launch New MARS EQUESTRIAN™ Veterinary Scholarship Program for Equine Research

The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) – together with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and MARS EQUESTRIAN™ – has launched a new, international scholarship program aimed at advancing the health and welfare of the horse while providing an unparalleled learning experience for one aspiring veterinary investigator.

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Pinpointing how cancer cells turn aggressive

Penn scientists have developed a new method for tracing the lineage and gene expression patterns of metastatic cancer at the single-cell level.

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Boris Striepen, PhD, Named the Mark Whittier and Lila Griswold Allam Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Boris Striepen, PhD, Professor of Pathobiology, an internationally recognized parasitologist, has been named the Mark Whittier and Lila Griswold Allam Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet).

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Blocking viruses’ exit strategy

The Marburg virus, a relative of the Ebola virus, causes a serious, often-fatal hemorrhagic fever. Transmitted by the African fruit bat and by direct human-to-human contact, Marburg virus disease currently has no approved vaccine or antivirals to prevent or treat it.

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Leaky blood-brain barrier and schizophrenia

The blood-brain barrier keeps out anything that could lead to disease and dangerous inflammation—at least when all is functioning normally.

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With impressive accuracy, dogs can sniff out coronavirus

Many long for a return to a post-pandemic “normal,” which, for some, may entail concerts, travel, and large gatherings. But how to keep safe amid these potential public health risks?

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Turning back the clock on a severe vision disorder

Gustavo Aguirre and William Beltran, veterinary ophthalmologists and vision scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, have studied a wide range of different retinal blinding disorders. But the one caused by mutations in the NPHP5 gene, leading to a form of Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), is one of the most severe.

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Penn Vet's Carlo Siracusa Receives Morris Animal Foundation Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award

DENVER/March 16, 2021 -- Morris Animal Foundation has awarded its second Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award to Dr. Carlo Siracusa, Associate Professor of Clinical Behavior Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet), for a groundbreaking study on how chronic inflammation affects cognition, behavior and the overall health of senior cats.

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From animals to people and back again

Last month, it was gorillas. Before that, it was mink. And earlier still, tigers and lions. All of these species have been confirmed to have had a diagnosis of COVID-19, infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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A new role for a triple-negative breast cancer target

These changes require energy. In a study using a new, genetically altered mouse model, researchers led by Rumela Chakrabarti of Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine have uncovered a key protein involved in supplying the mammary gland with fuel during puberty. It’s a protein that her group had earlier shown to play a role in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a particularly aggressive form of the disease

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

Fingerprints of an invisible, restricted horseracing therapy

A treatment called extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is used in patients both human and equine to speed healing of injured tendons and ligaments. Using high-pressure sonic waves, ESWT is thought to increase blood flow to the treated area, and has been shown to reduce pain over the short term.

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Penn Vet Scientists Receive Two of Six Penn Center for Innovation Annual Commercialization Awards

[December 9, 2019; PHILADELPHIA, PA – Three researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet) are among the recipients of the annual Innovation awards from the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), which recognizes the six most significant scientific discoveries or partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania during the preceding twelve months.

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Predicting treatment outcome for leishmaniasis

For patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis, a skin infection transmitted by a sand fly that can lead to painful and disfiguring ulcers, treatment can be grueling. The first-line therapy offered to many requires daily infusions of the metalloid pentavalent antimony for three weeks, and half of patients don’t respond to just one round of therapy. Some fail two or even three courses. And the side effects of therapy can range from mere irritation to far more serious conditions.

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Estrogen’s opposing effects on mammary tumors in dogs

Dogs that are spayed at a young age have a reduced risk of developing mammary tumors, the canine equivalent of breast cancer. Early spaying reduces levels of estrogen production, leading many veterinarians and scientists to cast estrogen in a negative light when it comes to mammary cancer.

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Genes play a role in dog breed differences in behavior

Given the dazzling array of dog breeds, from dachshunds to mastiffs, from poodles to bloodhounds, it’s easy to forget that most of that diversity arose only in the last few centuries or so, thanks to human tinkering. People have bred dogs for their looks, but the lion’s share of breeding efforts have taken aim at eliciting particular behaviors, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s James A. Serpell.

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Identifying a gene for canine night blindness

Creating an effective gene therapy for inherited diseases requires three key steps. First, scientists must identify and characterize the disease. Second, they must find the gene responsible. And finally, they must find a way to correct the impairment.

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Penn Vet Opens the First Academic Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility in the United States, Supports Investigators in the Growing Field of Extracellular Research

[PHILADELPHIA, September 12, 2019] - A new core facility, the first on the east coast to exclusively focus on the isolation and characterization of extracellular vesicles, has opened at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet). The Extracellular Vesicle Core Facility at Penn Vet supports investigators with the necessary scientific and technical capabilities to define, standardize and monitor research in pathological and physiological conditions.

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Is treatment forever? Success of gene therapy for inherited blindness depends on timing

Nearly two decades ago, a gene therapy restored vision to Lancelot, a Briard dog who was born with a blinding disease. This ushered in a period of hope and progress for the field of gene therapy aimed at curing blindness, which culminated in the 2017 approval of a gene therapy that improved vision in people with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a rare, inherited form of blindness closely related to the condition seen in Lancelot. It represents the first FDA-approved gene therapy for an inherited genetic disease.

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The diet-microbiome connection in inflammatory bowel disease

Much remains mysterious about the factors influencing human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but one aspect that has emerged as a key contributor is the gut microbiome, the collection of microorganisms dwelling in the intestines.

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Lung cell transplant boosts healing after the flu

Some cases of the flu are so severe they cause lasting injury to the lungs. New research from the University of Pennsylvania now points to a strategy that may one day offer protection against this damage.

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Keeping parasites from sticking to mosquito guts could block disease transmission

A group of microorganisms known as kinetoplastids includes the parasites that cause devastating diseases such as African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis. They share an ability to adhere to the insides of their insect hosts, using a specialized protein structure. But what if scientists could prevent the parasite from adhering? Would the parasites pass right through the vectors, unable to be passed on to a human?

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University of Pennsylvania Researcher Earns 100,000 Grant

The Leukemia Research Foundation is proud to announce a grant of $100,000 in blood cancer research funding to M. Andres Blanco, Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, for the research project titled Dual Targeting of LSD1 and KAT6A to Induce Therapeutic Differentiation in AML. The one-year grant is awarded through the Foundation’s Hollis Brownstein Research Grants Program for New Investigators.

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Annual Boehringer Ingelheim Awards Showcase Emerging Veterinary Talent

A veterinary student conducting research into stem cell repair, another studying the use of CAR T cells against canine B cell lymphoma, and a student with an interest in equine neuromuscular disorders and protein aggregate diseases are being recognized for their efforts -- and the promise they hold -- by Boehringer Ingelheim’s Animal Health business.

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Small horned dinosaur from China, a Triceratops relative, walked on two feet

Many dinosaur species are known from scant remains, with some estimates suggesting 75% are known from five or fewer individuals. Auroraceratops rugosus was typical in this regard when it was named in 2005 based upon a single skull from the Gobi Desert in northwestern China. But that is no longer the case.

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A new drug target for chemically induced Parkinson’s disease

More than three decades ago, scientists discovered that a chemical found in a synthetic opioid, MPTP, induced the onset of a form of Parkinson’s disease. In a new study led by scientists from the School of Veterinary Medicine, researchers found that an enzyme in the body can metabolize compounds formed in the brain from alkaloids present in certain foods and tobacco into MPTP-like chemicals, triggering a neurodegenerative condition in mice.

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Meaningful science, with students at the helm

Shoulder to shoulder at a lab bench in the basement of Penn’s Levin Building, Sonia Luthra, Johanna Fowler, and Tracy Tran compare small microscope slides they’re preparing.

Fowler, a rising junior at Haverford College, and Tran, a rising sophomore at Penn, observed Luthra’s technique, drawing a sample of canine blood carefully across the slide to make a thin smear. The high school senior at Friends Central School had a leg up on the undergrads: whereas their 10-week project was only just beginning, Luthra had already logged a month in the lab.

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Novel model for studying intestinal parasite could advance vaccine development

The intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, which causes a diarrheal disease, is very good at infecting humans. It’s the leading cause of waterborne disease from recreational waters in the United States. Globally, it’s a serious illness that can stunt the growth of, or even kill, infants and young children. And people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are also highly susceptible. There is no vaccine and no effective treatment.

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Better prognosticating for dogs with mammary tumors

Mammary tumors in dogs are the equivalent of breast cancers in people, and, as in the human disease, the canine tumors can manifest in a variety of ways. Some are diagnosed early, others late, and they can be either slow growing or aggressive.

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

New Bolton Center Developing Biological Passports, With Help From Pennsylvania Breeders

It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie: Rows of vials in a laboratory freezer, each containing detailed biological maps of what's going on inside the bodies of dozens of horses at specific moments in time. The frozen blood samples might one day hold the keys to making racing clean and drug-free, predicting injuries before they happen and helping veterinarians fight illness with new and powerful tools. Sound too good to be true? Researchers at Penn Vet's New Bolton Center hope it's not.

Mitochondrial damage is linked to the bone degradation seen in osteoporosis

A Link Between Mitochondrial Damage and Osteoporosis

New research from the School of Veterinary Medicine lays out a possible mechanism by which alcohol, cigarette smoke, and exposure to certain medications and toxins can weaken bone.

Some risk factors for osteoporosis such as being older and female or having a family history of the condition cannot be avoided. But others can, like smoking cigarettes, consuming alcohol, taking certain medications, or being exposed to environmental pollutants. But until now researchers haven’t gained a firm picture of how these exposures link up with bone loss.

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Unlocking the female bias in lupus

The autoimmune disease lupus, which can cause fatigue, a facial rash, and joint pain, strikes females far more often than males. Eight-five percent of people with lupus are female, and their second X chromosome seems partly to blame. According to a new study by Penn researchers, females with lupus don’t fully “silence” their second X chromosome in the immune system’s T cells, leading to abnormal expression of genes linked to that chromosome.

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A bad bout of flu triggers ‘taste bud cells’ to grow in the lungs

Most people who weather an infection with influenza fully recover after a week or two. But for some, a severe case of the flu can actually reshape the architecture of their lungs and forever compromise their respiratory function.

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Making headway against a killer virus

Ebola just isn’t going away. Following the major 2014 outbreak in West Africa, the deadly infection came back with a vengeance last year in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has claimed nearly 550 lives to date.

The impact has been felt closer to home as well.

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Hindering melanoma metastasis with an FDA-approved drug

For cancer to spread, it needs a hospitable environment in distant organs. This fertile “soil” can provide a home to circulating malignant cells. Recent research has shown that cancer cells from the primary tumor can help ready this soil by sending out small vesicles. These vesicles contain a cocktail of molecules that “educate” healthy cells to prepare the target tissues for cancer cells to seed and thrive. Blocking this process offers one strategy to stop metastasis, which is often responsible for cancer’s lethality.

The Penndemic, a fictional scenario, presented to 81 Penn students, constituted the launch of an infectious disease outbreak simulation exercise.

Staging the plague

A child with a swollen armpit and high fever dies in Washington, D.C. The cause is found to be Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague. Two days later, a 35-year-old man goes to a Philadelphia-area hospital with similar symptoms and is later confirmed to also have the plague. If you’re a public-health professional, what questions do you have? What do you need to know in order to protect your community?

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Sniffing for science

Bonnie, a sleek border collie mix, is practically vibrating with excitement. After getting a signal to start her search, her owners release her. She bounds, snuffling and wriggling, to a stainless-steel wheel, roughly 4 feet in diameter, with 12 numbered ports along its edge. Upon locating her target, she crouches down to signal her find, only to spring back up as she hears a mechanical click and cries of, “Good girl! Well done!” She finds her owner to receive a treat, and then gets ready to do it all over again.

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Penn Vet, Penn Medicine, and CHOP to Host Fifth Annual Microbiome Symposium Featuring New York Times Columnist and Science Writer Carl Zimmer

Microbes are a critical component of human health. Scientists recognize that an imbalance in our bodies’ vast community of life-sustaining microbes can lead to heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune disease, and cancer. Methods for studying microbes have greatly improved in recent years. Researchers now understand the tremendous potential in managing microbe populations that can lead to positive, healthy outcomes.

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

PA Horse Breeders Association Joins with Penn Vet New Bolton Center to Fund Cutting Edge Research into Gene Doping, Improve Integrity of Horse Racing

As part of its ongoing commitment to maintaining integrity in the horse racing industry, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (PHBA) has donated $300,000 to Penn Vet New Bolton Center’s Equine Pharmacology Laboratory to fund revolutionary research to detect gene doping in equine athletes. Gene doping involves the transfer or modification of genes or genetically modified cells of healthy human athletes, as well as equine athletes, for non-therapeutic purpose to enhance athletic performance.

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Dr. Cynthia Otto awarded for her work with the human-animal bond

Dr. Cynthia Otto, founder and executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named the winner of the 2018 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.

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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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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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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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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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.

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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.

"Push-Pull" method at Ryan Hospital

Taking Blood Using ‘Push-Pull’ Method Gets Accurate Results With Fewer Pokes

A new study by University of Pennsylvania veterinary researchers has found that blood samples collected from an intravenous catheter using a special “mixing” technique are as accurate as those collected via venipuncture, in which a needle is used to access the vein directly.

Dr. Boris Striepen, Penn Vet Faculty

Penn Vet’s Boris Striepen, PhD, Earns William Trager Award

Penn Vet’s Boris Striepen, Professor of Pathobiology, has earned the American Committee of Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology’s prestigious William Trager Award for Basic Parasitology. Striepen received his award on November 5th at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Named in honor of malaria research pioneer Dr. William Trager, the annual award recognizes scientists who have made a fundamental breakthrough in basic parasitology that allows for new areas of investigation.

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Penn Vet to Host Inaugural Cancer Center Symposium Featuring Research Professor Cheryl London

Over the past decade, new discoveries about cancer cell growth have enhanced our ability to prevent, diagnose, treat, and manage the disease. Recent breakthroughs, such as immunotherapy, have put scientists at the threshold of radically transforming care and potentially discovering a cure.

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Targeting Enzyme in ‘Normal’ Cells May Impede Pancreatic Cancer’s Spread, Penn Vet Team Shows

Cancer of the pancreas is a deadly disease, with a median survival time of less than six months. Only one in 20 people with pancreatic cancer survives five years past the diagnosis. The reason is the cancer’s insidiousness; tumor cells hide deep inside the body, betraying no symptoms until late in the disease, when the cancer has almost invariably spread to other organs.

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Penn Vet to Host Translational Retinal Research & Therapies Symposium

The Translational Retinal Research & Therapies Symposium brings together a group of internationally recognized scientists and clinician scientists from the veterinary and human medical fields. They will present the latest research in areas of retinal disease gene discovery, disease mechanisms, viral vector development and applications, translational studies in animal models, and clinical applications.

Swine Production Facilities at New Bolton Center

Penn and Chinese pork producers swap ideas to share and learn

Pork is the world’s most consumed meat, thanks in large part to the Chinese. China consumes half of the planet’s pork and, accordingly, is home to roughly 50 percent of the world’s pigs.

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Penn Study Shows How Female Immune Cells Keep Their Second X Chromosome Shut Off

Autoimmune diseases tend to strike women more than men and having multiple X chromosomes could be the main reason why. While a process called X chromosome inactivation serves to balance out gene dosage between males and females, some genes on the “inactive X” chromosome in immune cells can sometimes escape this process, giving women an extra dose of immunity-related gene expression.

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Penn Vet to Host Fourth Annual Microbiome Symposium Featuring Science Journalist Ed Yong

Philadelphia, PA] – Microbes are ubiquitous and vital to humans: they sculpt our organs, defend us from disease, break down our food, educate our immune systems, guide our behavior, bombard our genomes with their genes, and grant us incredible abilities.

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Penn Team Shows How Seemingly Acute Viral Infections Can Persist

Infections caused by viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, measles, parainfluenza and Ebola, are typically considered acute. These viruses cause disease quickly and live within a host for a limited time.

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Developing a drug to fight a deadly childhood parasite

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 people around the world do not have a safe water supply close to home. Around the world, diarrheal diseases are responsible for one in 10 deaths of children under the age of 5. One of the leading causes is Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that is typically transmitted through contaminated water and usually lives in the small intestine. Yet it doesn’t lend itself to easy laboratory investigation and, until recently, scientists have been flummoxed in their attempts to make progress toward finding a treatment.

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Confronted With Bacteria, Infected Cells Die So Others Can Live, Penn Study Finds

The immune system is constantly performing surveillance to detect foreign organisms that might do harm. But pathogens, for their part, have evolved a number of strategies to evade this detection, such as secreting proteins that hinder a host’s ability to mount an immune response.

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Penn Vet Working Dog Center to Celebrate Five-Year Anniversary with Ceremony and Live Demonstrations

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center, widely recognized as the nation’s premier research and training facility dedicated to the health and performance of detection dogs, will celebrate its five-year anniversary on Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.

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Penn Vet Researchers Contribute Expertise to Checklist for ‘One Health’ Studies

A growing body of scientific research is focused on One Health, the integration of knowledge concerning humans, animals and the environment. Yet there is no clear, unified definition of what a One Health study is or how such a study should be conducted.

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A Perturbed Skin Microbiome Can Be ‘Contagious’ and Promote Inflammation, Penn Study Finds

Even in healthy individuals, the skin plays host to a menagerie of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Growing scientific evidence suggests that this lively community, collectively known as the skin microbiome, serves an important role in healing, allergies, inflammatory responses and protection from infection.

At right, Dr. Gustavo Aguirre receives the Proctor Medal from ARVO Board Trustee Steven J. Fliesler

2017 ARVO Award Recipients Honored at Annual Meeting

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is pleased to announce its 2017 ARVO Achievement Award recipients. These award recipients will be acknowledged at the ARVO 2017 Annual Meeting, May 7 – 11, in Baltimore, MD.

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New treatments for laminitis, a horse disease that felled Barbaro

Andrew van Eps, now an associate professor of equine musculoskeletal research at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center, was a resident at Penn Vet back in 2006 when Derby winner Barbaro was treated there for a broken leg sustained in the Preakness. Though Dean Richardson, Penn Vet’s Charles W. Raker Professor of Equine Surgery, was able to repair the jigsaw-puzzle-like fracture, the New Bolton Center team was not able to spare the horse from the laminitis that followed.

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Penn Vet prof updates popular book on domestic dogs

Penn Vet professor James Serpell has updated his popular book “The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions With People,” which was originally published in 1995. The new edition captures the latest scientific information about dogs and their relationship with humans.

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Penn Team Characterizes the Underlying Cause of a Form of Macular Degeneration

Best disease causes blindness, named for Friedrich Best, who characterized the disease in 1905, Best disease, also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy, affects children and young adults and can cause severe declines in central vision as patients age. The disease is one in a group of conditions known as bestrophinopathies, all linked to mutations in the BEST1 gene. This gene is expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE, a layer of cells that undergirds and nourishes photoreceptor cells, the rods and cones responsible for vision.

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Look to Lactate to Help Predict Ill Cats’ Prognoses, Penn Vet Study Says

Many factors go into evaluating the prognosis of a critically ill animal, usually involving a combination of objective metrics, such as blood pressure or blood oxygenation, and more subjective clinical signs, such as alertness or lethargy.

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Penn Vet Establishes the Ralph L. Brinster President’s Distinguished Professorship in Honor of National Medal of Science Laureate

Through the generosity of Henrietta Alexander, Penn Vet will establish the Ralph L. Brinster President’s Distinguished Professorship in honor of Dr. Ralph Brinster, renowned faculty member, scientist, and National Medal of Science laureate. The Professorship will allow Penn Vet to recruit a faculty member who will contribute to the preeminence of the School and University.

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Mathematical Models Lend Penn Vet Professor Insights Into Diabetes

The model also identified a potential mechanism for glucose effectiveness. Stefanovski was among those who collaborated with Francis Collins, now director of the NIH, to find risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. Among the genetic variations that increased susceptibility were mutations in glucokinase.

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Penn Vet Team Identifies New Therapeutic Targets for the Tropical Disease Leishmaniasis

Each year, about 2 million people contract leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of a sand fly. The cutaneous form of the disease results in disfiguring skin ulcers that may take months or years to heal and in rare cases can become metastatic, causing major tissue damage.

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T Cells Support Long-lived Antibody-producing Cells, Penn-led Team Finds

If you’ve ever wondered how a vaccine given decades ago can still protect against infection, you have your plasma cells to thank. Plasma cells are long-lived B cells that reside in the bone marrow and churn out antibodies against previously encountered vaccines or pathogens.

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Penn Vet Study Shows How Solid Tumors Resist Immunotherapy

Immunotherapies have revolutionized cancer treatment, offering hope to those whose malignancies have stubbornly survived other existing treatments. Yet solid tumor cancers are often resistant to these approaches.

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Working Dog Center adds full-time law enforcement trainer

Bob Dougherty, who served for three decades as a police K9 officer for Cheltenham Township, recently joined the Penn Vet Working Dog Center as a full-time law enforcement trainer to enhance the Center’s teaching resources for police dogs and their handlers.

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Penn Vet Research Identifies New Target for Taming Ebola

Viruses and their hosts are in a eternal game of one-upmanship. If a host cell evolves a way to stop a virus from spreading, the virus will look for a new path. And so on and so forth.

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Epigenetic Change Ties Mitochondrial Dysfunction to Tumor Progression

In a new report published in the journal Cell Discovery, a team led by researchers in the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has identified a mechanism by which mitochondria can drive changes in nuclear gene expression that are associated with tumor progression. The epigenetic process is carried out by a protein that is triggered in response to mitochondrial oxidative or metabolic stress. When this interaction was blocked by chemical compounds, the team was able to reduce cancer gene expression.

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Equine Laminitis Expert Dr. Andrew van Eps Joins New Bolton Center Faculty

Renowned for his research on equine laminitis, Dr. Andrew van Eps joined the faculty of Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center in December as Associate Professor of Equine Musculoskeletal Research.

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Ten Penn Professors Named AAAS Fellows for 2016

Ten professors from the University of Pennsylvania have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are among a class of 391 members honored for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Election as a Fellow of AAAS, the world’s largest scientific society, is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

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Penn Vet Professor’s Work in the Lab Aims to Improve Surgical Results

Oftentimes the most important scientific work is accomplished via serendipity; by following up on an unexpected finding and uncovering an entirely new area of research.

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Penn Study Shows How Some Intestinal Cells Resist Chemotherapy and Radiation

When treating cancer with chemotherapy and radiation, decisions about dose must walk a fine line between attacking cancerous cells and preserving healthy ones. Overly aggressive radiation therapy to the torso, for example, can damage the epithelial cells that line the intestines, leading to chronic gastrointestinal problems.

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Drs. John Farrar, Elliot Hersh, and Rosemary Polomano to Receive 2016 One Health Award

Dr. John T. Farrar, MD, PhD, of the Perelman School of Medicine; Dr. Elliot V. Hersh, DMD, PhD, of the School of Dental Medicine; and Dr. Rosemary Polomano, RN, PhD, of the School of Nursing Science at the University of Pennsylvania have been named the 2016 recipients of Penn’s One Health Award, recognizing their exemplary contributions to expanding interdisciplinary collaboration and improving health care for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment.

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Penn Vet Study Identifies New Mechanism for Antibacterial Immunity

The innate immune system serves as a first-line defense, responding to infections almost immediately after a pathogen makes its way into the body. This response is carried out in two major ways: the cell can amplify the message that the body has been invaded, triggering an inflammatory response to recruit other cells to help fight off the pathogen, or the cell can undergo programmed cell death in order to stop the spread of infection and perhaps even release signaling molecules that alert neighboring cells to the presence of an invader.

Joel and Darren Marshak Dairy

Penn Vet-CHOP partnership probes link between cattle and Crohn’s disease

Researchers still have a lot to learn about Crohn’s disease, a chronic form of inflammatory bowel disorder that affects as many as 700,000 Americans. It’s unknown, for example, precisely how heredity, environment, diet, and stress all interact to influence the risk of developing Crohn’s. But new insights into a possible cause of the disease are emerging from a surprising source: cattle researchers at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

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Author Maryn McKenna to Discuss Antibiotic Use in Livestock During 3rd Annual Microbiome Symposium

In the late 1940s, pharmaceutical companies seeking an additional market for newly achieved antibiotics happened on “growth promoters” – microdoses of antibiotics given to livestock that boosted the animals’ weight, got them to market faster, and jumpstarted profits for both pharma and agriculture. Today, many recognize the growth-promoter effect as a deliberate perturbation of the gut microbiome.

The Changing Landscape of Mosquito- and Tick-borne Diseases

Targeting Mosquito Immunity to Fight Disease

Before a mosquito can transmit a disease like dengue fever, Zika, or malaria to a human, the mosquito itself must get infected. That means the parasite or virus must find a way around the natural defenses of the insect’s immune system.

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Penn: Blinding Disease in Canines and Humans Shares Causative Gene, Pathology

Ciliopathies are diseases that affect the cilia, sensory organelles that most mammalian cells possess and which play a critical role in many biological functions. One such disease is Senior Løken Syndrome, a rare condition that can involve both a severe kidney disease and the blinding disease Leber congenital amaurosis, or LCA.

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Reversing Dyskeratosis Congenita

Typically diagnosed in childhood, Dyskeratosis congenita, or DC, is a rare, inherited disease for which there are limited treatment options and no cure.

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Researchers Explore Animal Microbiomes

Three new studies, facilitated by Penn Vet’s Center for Host-Microbial Interactions, explore how microbes impact viral susceptibility, infection response, and infection predisposition.

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Multi-photon Microscope Offers Faster, Deeper Images

Penn Vet's new multi-photon microscope that specializes in capturing 3-D images of thick living and fixed tissues will enhance the bio-imaging infrastructure at Penn.

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New Bolton Center’s Robots Scan Turtle Fossil

Veterinarians at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center used a new robotics-controlled imaging system to scan an exceedingly rare turtle fossil, estimated at about 65 million years old.

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Mitochondrial Stress and Cancer-related Metabolic Shifts

Mitochondrial stress alone can trigger metabolic shifts through a pathway that involves p53, a protein widely known to play multiple important roles in cancer.

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China Research and Engagement Fund Awards

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price announced the first recipients of the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund (CREF) awards.

Dr. Chakrabarti's Lab at Penn Vet is studying stem cell signaling and its relationship to breast cancer.

Resolving a Dispute About Stem Cell Populations

A Penn team has helped identify key characteristics that distinguish reserve stem cells from other stem cell populations that had been purported to have similar properties. 

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Canine and Children Craniofacial Patients Meet

During the fourth annual Best Friends Bash, craniofacial patients from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) meet canines who have undergone similar procedures.

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Identifying Animals at Risk of Blood Clots

Patients who are critically ill, be they dog, cat or human, have a tendency toward blood clotting disorders, whether the clotting time is too long or too short.

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Fossil Dog Represents a New Species

A doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania has identified a new species of fossil dog, found in Maryland, approximately 12 million years old.

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Placental RNA May Protect Embryo

The human placenta is an organ unlike any other. During the course of nine months it is formed by the embryo, sustains life and then is shed.

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Antibiotic-free Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition and the most common form of eczema, is estimated to afflict as much as 10 percent of the population in the United States.

Dr. William Beltran

William Beltran Honored for Blindness Research

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology has recognized William Beltran with the 2016 Pfizer Ophthalmics Carl Camras Translational Research Award.

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Explaining Female Bias in Autoimmunity

Females are better at fighting off infection than males, but they are also more susceptible to many autoimmune conditions, such as lupus.

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Before Retinal Cells Die, They Regenerate

Until relatively recently, the dogma in neuroscience was that neurons, including the eye’s photoreceptor cells, do not regenerate. But, in some species, neurons can be stimulated to divide.

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Promoting One Health Concepts in Education

Two Penn Vet researchers are advancing the concept of One Health, the idea that the health and wellbeing of humans, animals and the environment are interconnected.

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Parasite Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier

Some 30 percent of the world’s population is chronically infected with Toxoplasma gondii, which can be life-threatening for people with suppressed immune systems.

Swine Production Facilities at New Bolton Center

Monitoring reduces illnesses on pig farms

Infectious disease can take a major toll on swine farms. Thanks to a monitoring effort at Penn Vet, the impact of these illnesses has been significantly reduced.

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Zoobiquity Conference at Penn Vet

Experts in veterinary and human medicine present results and work in progress from collaborative studies in human and animal medicine during the Zoobiquity Conference. 

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German Shepherd First to Graduate from Penn Vet Working Dog Center Patrol School for Law Enforcement K9s

German Shepherd Rookie, at 19 months of age, is the first dog to graduate from the new Penn Vet Working Dog Center Patrol School. Previously, all law enforcement K9s from the Center attended patrol school at other facilities.

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Gene Pair Plays Crucial Role in Colon Cancer, Penn Vet Team Shows

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and researchers are hard at work to understand the disease’s complex molecular underpinnings. In a new study out this month in the journal Cell Reports, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania describe two related genes in the Musashi family that are required for colon cancer to develop, and that may be useful targets for effective treatment.

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Mindy and Andrew Heyer Endow President’s Distinguished Professorship to Dr. Christopher Hunter

Dr. Christopher Hunter, BSc, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, has been named the inaugural Mindy Halikman Heyer President’s Distinguished Professor. Established by Penn alumni Mindy and Andrew Heyer, the $3 million endowment will advance Hunter’s research on how the immune system protects animals and humans from infectious disease.

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Wiederhold Foundation Funds Challenge Match for Penn Vet Shelter Animal Medicine Program Mobile Unit

A $150,000 challenge match from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation will support a new mobile unit for the Penn Vet Shelter Animal Medicine Program. The medical-grade mobile clinical unit will significantly expand the program’s teaching capacity and elevate the quality and breadth of services offered to the Greater Philadelphia community. Through the generous support of the Wiederhold Foundation, all gifts made by December 31, 2015, toward the purchase of the mobile unit will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $150,000. Click here to make a gift.

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Penn Vet-led Research Elucidates Genetics Behind Salmonella’s Host Specificity

It’s called bird flu for a reason. Particular characteristics about the influenza virus known as H5N1 allow it to primarily affect avifauna, though in some worrying cases the disease has been passed to humans.

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Penn Vet Study Blocks Ebola Virus Budding by Regulating Calcium Signaling

The Ebola virus acts fast. The course of infection, from exposure to recovery, or death, can take as little as two weeks. That may not leave enough time for the immune system to mount an effective response.

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Penn Engineering’s Drs. Haim H. Bau and Changchun Liu to Receive 2015 One Health Award

Haim H. Bau, PhD, and Changchun Liu, PhD, of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at the University of Pennsylvania have been named the 2015 recipients of Penn’s One Health Award, recognizing their exemplary contributions to expanding interdisciplinary collaboration and improving health care for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment. The One Health Award was established in 2013 by the deans of the four health schools at Penn—the Perelman School of Medicine (Penn Medicine), the School of Nursing Science (Penn Nursing), the School of Dental Medicine (Penn Dental), and the School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet).

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Stressed Dads Affect Offspring Brain Development Through Sperm MicroRNA

More and more, scientists have realized that DNA is not the only way that a parent can pass on traits to their offspring. Events experienced by a parent over a lifetime can also have an impact.

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Penn Study Stops Vision Loss in Late-stage Canine X-linked Retinitis Pigmentosa

Three years ago, a team from the University of Pennsylvania announced that they had cured X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, a blinding retinal disease, in dogs. Now they’ve shown that they can cure the canine disease over the long term, even when the treatment is given after half or more of the affected photoreceptor cells have been destroyed.

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Mother’s Stress Alters Babies’ Gut and Brain

Stress during the first trimester of pregnancy alters the population of microbes living in a mother’s vagina. Those changes are passed on to newborns during birth and are associated with differences in their gut microbiome as well as their brain development, according to a study by Penn researchers.

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Penn Vet, Penn Medicine, CHOP to Host 2nd Annual Microbiome Symposium; White House's Dr. Jo Handelsman Featured Speaker

Antibiotic resistance. Innate immunity. Pathogenic microbes. Research on the microbiome continues to pique the interest of many, as scientists explore how bacteria, parasites, viruses, and other organisms interact with their animal and human hosts in ways that either maintain health or lead to disease. These topics and more will be discussed at the upcoming Microbiome Symposium, presented by Penn Vet’s Center for Host-Microbial Interactions and the PennCHOP Microbiome Program.

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Penn Vet-Temple Team Characterizes Genetic Mutations Linked to a Form of Blindness

Achromatopsia is a rare, inherited vision disorder that affects the eye’s cone cells, resulting in problems with daytime vision, clarity and color perception. It often strikes people early in life, and currently there is no cure for the condition.

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Penn Vet Team Identifies a Form of Congenital Night Blindness in Dogs

People with congenital stationary night blindness, or CSNB, have normal vision during the day but find it difficult or impossible to distinguish objects in low light. This rare condition is present from birth and can seriously impact quality of life, especially in locations and conditions where artificial illumination is not available.

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Penn Study Identifies Viral Product That Promotes Immune Defense Against RSV

Almost all human beings are exposed to the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, before their second birthdays. For most, the symptoms mimic those of the common cold: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever. But in some very young infants — and some older adults — the disease can be serious, causing respiratory problems that require hospitalization and increase the risk of developing asthma later in life.


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Penn/Baylor Med Study Describes Underlying Cause of Diabetes in Dogs

In a new effort, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Baylor College of Medicine have used advanced imaging technology to fill in details about the underlying cause of canine diabetes, which until now has been little understood. For the first time, they’ve precisely quantified the dramatic loss of insulin-producing beta cells in dogs with the disease and compared it to the loss observed in people with type 1 diabetes.

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Penn Vet and Francisvale Partner to Maximize Welfare and Adoptablility of Pets

Behavior problems are the leading cause of pet relinquishment. In order to maximize the welfare and adoptability of pets in need of forever homes, animal behavior experts from Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital are partnering with the team at the Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals.

A new drug target for chemically induced Parkinson’s disease

Penn Vet Study Shows Immune Cells in the Skin Remember and Defend Against Parasites

Just as the brain forms memories of familiar faces, the immune system remembers pathogens it has encountered in the past. T cells with these memories circulate in the blood stream looking for sites of new infection.

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Penn Vet Team Shows a Protein Modification Determines Enzyme’s Fate

The human genome encodes roughly 20,000 genes, only a few thousand more than fruit flies. The complexity of the human body, therefore, comes from far more than just the sequence of nucleotides that comprise our DNA, it arises from modifications that occur at the level of gene, RNA and protein.

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Disrupting Cells’ ‘Powerhouses’ Can Lead to Tumor Growth, Penn Study Finds

Cancer cells defy the rules by which normal cells abide. They can divide without cease, invade distant tissues and consume glucose at abnormal rates.

A biopsy of an infertile man's testis shows the precursors of sperm, but no mature sperm.

Penn Team Identifies Gene Responsible for Some Cases of Male Infertility

In the most severe form of male infertility, men do not make any measurable levels of sperm. This condition, called azoospermia, affects approximately 1 percent of the male population and is responsible for about a sixth of cases of male infertility.

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Penn Vet Research Confirms a More Accurate Method for Blood Glucose Testing

For diabetics, a quick prick of the finger can give information about their blood glucose levels, guiding them in whether to have a snack or inject a dose of insulin. Point-of-care glucose meters, or glucometers, are also used in the veterinary world to monitor cats and dogs with diabetes or pets hospitalized for other reasons. In both cases, the device’s readout can literally be a matter of life and death.

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Penn Study Identifies Molecular Link Between DNA Damage and Premature Aging

Like a beloved pair of jeans, human DNA accumulates damage over time, and older people’s bodies can’t repair it as well. Many scientists believe a build up of damage can cause cells to enter an irreversible dormant state known as senescence. Cellular senescence is believed to be responsible for some of the telltale signs of aging, such as weakened bones, less resilient skin and slow-downs in organ function.

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Penn Vet, Montreal and McGill Researchers Show How Blood-Brain Barrier Is Maintained

The brain is a privileged organ in the body. So vital to life, the brain is protected from alterations elsewhere in the body by a highly regulated gateway known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only selected molecules to pass through.

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Penn Scientists Describe the Function of an Enzyme Critical to Male Fertility

Researchers are one step closer to unraveling the extraordinarily complex series of processes that lead to an event crucial to human reproduction: the creation of sperm.

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Penn Vet Researchers Identify Effective Treatment for Niemann Pick Type C

Niemann Pick Disease type C, or NPC, is a disease most people have never heard of, affecting just one person in 150,000. Yet the disease is a devastating one. Frequently diagnosed in children in their elementary school years, sufferers usually die by the time they’re 20. The disease is sometimes referred to as “childhood Alzheimer’s” because of the progressive mental and physical decline seen in the children it afflicts.

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Mosquitoes Ramp Up Immune Defenses After Sucking Blood

If you were about to enter a crowded subway during flu season, packed with people sneezing and coughing, wouldn’t it be helpful if your immune system recognized the potentially risky situation and bolstered its defenses upon stepping into the train?

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The “Barth” Memorial Fund for Mitral Valve Disease Research Established at Penn Vet

A $450,000 gift from Bruce Wiltsie and William Davenport will support Penn Vet research in the treatment of canine Mitral Valve Disease (MVD). Named in honor of their beloved dog, Barth, who passed away from MVD, the “Barth” Memorial Fund for Mitral Valve Disease Research will enable experts at Penn Vet to investigate new medications to stop or reverse the process of the disease. This work also has important implications for non-surgical treatment of MVD in people. 

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Gut cells sound the alarm when parasites invade

To effectively combat an infection, the body first has to sense it’s been invaded, and then the affected tissue must send signals to corral resources to fight the intruder.

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Penn Vet’s Gustavo D. Aguirre Wins the Sanford and Susan Greenberg Prize for Ending Blindness

Penn Vet's Dr/ Gustavo D. Aguirre is the recipient of the Sanford and Susan Greenberg End Blindness Outstanding Achievement Prize which distinguishes scientists for their groundbreaking medical contributions to eradicate blindness.

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AAEP Bestows Research Award upon Renowned Theriogenologist Dr. Katrin Hinrichs

The American Association of Equine Practitioners presented the 2020 AAEP Research Award to Katrin Hinrichs, DVM, Ph.D., DACT, whose pioneering research in the field of equine assisted reproductive techniques (ART) has transformed the state of equine reproductive practice around the world.

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Inaugural Penn Vet New Bolton Center, MARS Equestrian™ research program to accelerate transformative advancements in equine musculoskeletal health

Together with MARS Equestrian™, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) has launched an innovative educational research program dedicated to advancing critical frontiers in equine health.

 

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Parasitic worms offer ‘the missing link’ on the dual nature of a key immune regulator

De’Broski Herbert has a philosophy that’s guided his career researching helminths, or parasitic worms, and their interaction with their hosts’ immune systems: “Follow the worm.”

 

Dr. William Beltran

Five Penn faculty elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Five faculty members from Penn have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the nation’s highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, including Penn Vet's Dr. William Beltran.

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Novel canine scent detection program holds promise in PA’s fight against Spotted Lanternfly

A new pilot training program from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) points to a promising solution in Pennsylvania’s efforts to thwart the Spotted Lanternfly. By utilizing scent detection dogs to identify Spotted Lanternfly egg masses, Penn Vet researchers hope to proactively neutralize the destructive insects before they become a fully realized threat as a mature adult.

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Creating ‘Farms of the Future’: New Penn-led webinar series to host grassroots discussions about sustainable, regenerative agriculture

A new virtual symposium series presented by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet), in collaboration with PennPraxis, the community engagement arm at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, will explore the advantages, challenges, and opportunities surrounding animal agriculture and food production systems within Pennsylvania, the surrounding region, and across the United States. 

 

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Progress toward a treatment for Krabbe disease

In one out of 100,000 infants, a mutation in the GALC gene causes an incurable, always fatal disorder known as infantile Krabbe disease, or globoid cell leukodystrophy. Most children with the condition die before they turn 2. 

Penn Vet's Sherrill Davison reminds poultry owners to collect eggs often. Eggs that sit for too long in the nest may have an increased risk of infection.

Poultry in a pandemic: Getting the facts on keeping backyard flocks

With the COVID-19 pandemic wearing on, many Americans are turning to raising poultry to fill their extra time at home. While raising backyard birds is a great idea – whether for food, for educational purposes, or as a hobby – the influx of new flocks has put humans, as well as the birds they care for, at risk of Salmonella sickness.

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Getting gene therapy to the brain

A lone genetic mutation can cause a life-changing disorder with effects on multiple body systems. Lysosomal storage diseases, for example, of which there are dozens, arise due to single mutations that affect production of critical enzymes required to metabolize large molecules in cells. These disorders affect multiple organs including, notably, the brain, causing intellectual disability of varying degrees.  

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Bats and COVID

COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease. For the 200+ bats currently in wildlife rehabilitation facilities across Pennsylvania, this presents a threat. Eman Anis, a microbiologist with Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center, is leading a study to test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in North American bats, work being done with associate professors Lisa Murphy and Julie Ellis and Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Greg Turner. 

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Navigating cytokine storms

It’s a trajectory followed by many who experience a severe case of COVID-19: They feel poorly for a few days, improve over a day or two and then, a week or 10 days into their infection, have respiratory difficulties, a stroke, organ damage, or another dangerous complication and wind up in the intensive care unit.

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Glowing dye may aid in eliminating cancer

"Clean margins” are a goal of cancer excision surgery. If even a small piece of cancerous tissue is left behind, it increases the likelihood of a local recurrence and spread of the disease, possibly reducing overall survival time.

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Seven Penn Vet Researchers Receive COVID-19 Pilot Awards

Seven researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet) have been selected to receive distinctive COVID-19 Pilot Awards from the Penn Vet COVID Research Innovation Fund. The Fund, provided with critical start-up support through a generous gift from Vernon and Shirley Hill, will bolster Penn Vet’s rapidly expanding research and response program to fight the novel coronavirus. 

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New Penn survey points to food insecurity - not the ‘Quarantine 15’ – as real pandemic concern

As many Americans are spending more time at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a newly minted phrase – ‘the Quarantine 15’ – has crept into collective thought. But results from a recent nationwide survey conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) indicate that claims about the trending pandemic-weight-gain concern may not be credible after all.

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Blocking tumor signals can hinder cancer’s spread

For most people who die of cancer, the spread of the initial tumor is to blame. “Metastasis is what kills most cancer patients,” says Serge Fuchs, a professor in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “Yet there are not many, if any, drugs that specifically target metastatic processes.”

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Coming together to solve the many scientific mysteries of COVID-19

As the rumblings of a pandemic began to be felt at the beginning of the year, scientists at Penn started work to develop a vaccine and assess possible treatments. But the scope of COVID-19 studies at the University goes much broader. Scientists whose typical work finds them investigating autoimmune disease, influenza, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, cancer, hemophilia, and more, are now applying their deep understanding of biology to confront a novel threat.

Household Food Insecurity and the COVID-19 Pandemic

How does a Pandemic impact our relationship with food? A new Penn survey seeks insights

A newly launched internet survey led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania looks to explore the multidimensional impact that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on our collective relationship with food.

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Penn Vet Launches COVID-19 Canine Scent Detection Study

A pilot training program utilizing scent detection dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients is the focus of a new research initiative at Penn Vet.

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Tailoring treatment for triple-negative breast cancer

Immunotherapies have revolutionized treatment for people with a variety of cancers. But when given to those with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a particularly aggressive form of the disease, less than 20% respond.

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

A Tipping Point for Catastrophic Injuries in Racehorses? Penn Vet Researchers Seek Answers in Novel Interaction Study

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) today announced the launch of a novel study exploring possible effects resulting from the combined use of furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, and bisphosphonates in equine athletes.

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A critical enzyme for sperm formation could be a target for treating male infertility

While some of our body’s cells divide in a matter of hours, the process of making sperm, meiosis, alone takes about 14 days from start to finish. And fully six of those days are spent in the stage known as the pachytene, when pairs of chromosomes from an individual’s mother and father align and connect.

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Eight new pups report for duty

More sure-footed and confident by the day, the U litter puppies of the Working Dog Center are not yet 3 months old, yet are already a month into their training to use their agile bodies and sensitive noses to serve society.

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Demystifying feline behavior

They know their names. We can read their facial expressions, sort of. And some of them really like having us around. These are among the purported findings of recent scientific studies aimed at deciphering the behavior of some of our most mysterious yet ubiquitous companions: pet cats.

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Answers to microbiome mysteries in the gills of rainbow trout

While many immunologists use mouse models to conduct their research, J. Oriol Sunyer of Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has made transformational scientific insights using a very different creature: rainbow trout.

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Treatment in a FLASH

Radiation therapy to treat cancer can be grueling, requiring consecutive days of therapy over days or weeks. "When you talk to patients about coming in for 35 treatments, or seven weeks of daily therapy, usually their face kind of sags in disappointment or perhaps apprehension,” says Keith Cengel, a radiation oncologist at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

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A roadblock for disease-causing parasites

The threadlike parasite Dirofilaria immitis causes the debilitating canine heartworm disease. A related parasite, Brugia malayi, infects humans and is one of the parasites responsible for lymphatic filariasis, a neglected disease that affects 120 million and can give rise to elephantiasis, characterized by disfiguring and painful swollen limbs.

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Taking on wildlife disease

When wildlife biologist Matthew Schnupp began his career, the emphasis was on conserving habitat. “The paradigm of wildlife management for the last 20 years has been habitat management,” he says, aiming to conserve the land and ecosystems animals require to thrive.

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What we do and don’t know about the novel coronavirus

Until a month ago, it’s possible to never have heard of coronavirus, despite the fact that science has known about this family of seven viruses since the 1960s. Four are common, causing mild or moderate respiratory symptoms like a runny nose and sore throat, all of which dissipate quickly. 

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With a protein ‘delivery,’ parasite can suppress its host’s immune response

Toxoplasma gondii is best known as the parasite that may lurk in a cat’s litter box. Nearly a third of the world’s population is believed to live with a chronic Toxoplasma infection. It’s of greatest concern, however, to people with suppressed immune systems and to pregnant women, who can pass the infection to their fetuses.

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The importance of wild animal health

PennVet and the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) recently initiated the Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program  (WFP), a new science-based, wildlife health program that will increase disease surveillance, management and innovative research aimed at better protecting wildlife across the Commonwealth. 

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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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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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Tolerance, Transplant Immunology

In collaboration with scientists and clinicians, Dr Raimon Duran-Struuck established a liver, kidney, bone marrow and pancreatic islet pre-clinical transplant program.

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New therapies to prevent post traumatic osteoarthritis

Dr. Ortved’s research program at New Bolton Center is focused on joint disease, using the horse as a model for human disease. Specifically, she is interested in developing cell and gene therapies to improve cartilage repair and prevent the development of osteoarthritis.

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Meiosis and Fertility

Dr. Wang’s research interests are centered on the genetic regulation of germ cells in mice and humans, focusing on meiosis, transposon silencing, maternal factors, sperm motility, male infertility, and male contraception.

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What about regenerative medicine?

While stem cells are often considered essential for regenerative medicine, many of our fully developed somatic tissues already possess great capacity for regeneration.

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How breast cancer originates from normal cells

Dr. Chakrabarti is interested in the fundamental question of how breast cancer originates from normal cells and how molecular events in early tumorigenesis influence the course of disease, including metastatic progression.

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Laminitis—a crippling equine disease

Dr. van Eps’ research goal is to identify the key pathophysiological events that lead to different forms of laminitis in order to develop clinically applicable means of preventing this crippling equine disease.

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Johne’s Disease and the enteric microbiome

Paratuberculosis (or Johne’s Disease (JD)) is a chronic gastrointestinal disease of cattle caused by an infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). Infection with MAP results in inflammation of the intestinal lining, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and is ultimately fatal. 

Ichthyosis-A Skin Disorder Affecting Dogs and Humans

Progress in addressing a severe skin disease that affects dogs and humans

Think of the skin as a kind of raincoat for the inner organs. With its densely packed layers of cells and lipids, it keeps foreign substances from leaking in and keeps water from leaking out, preventing dehydration. But in certain skin disorders, this barrier breaks down, and problems arise.

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Assets in the opioid epidemic, working dogs can also become its victims

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the nation’s opioid crisis, which claims more than 100 lives each day due to overdoses. The impact of opioids radiates beyond the direct users, however, as secondary exposure to drugs can harm first responders such as police officers, firefighters, and even working dogs, which can use their perceptive noses to find illicit drugs.

Dr. Chakrabarti's Lab at Penn Vet is studying stem cell signaling and its relationship to breast cancer.

Stem cell signaling drives mammary gland development and, possibly, breast cancer

The human body develops most tissue types during fetal development, in a mother’s uterus. Yet one only tissue develops after birth: the mammary gland. This milk-producing organ, a defining characteristic of mammals, is also the site of one of the most common cancers, breast cancer, which affects roughly one in eight women in the United States over the course of their lifetime.

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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. 

Making a Difference for Triple-negative Breast Cancer Patients

Immune cells involved in triple-negative breast cancer could offer future therapeutic target

 About 15 percent of breast cancers are classified as triple-negative, lacking receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and Her2. These cancers do not respond to targeted hormonal therapies, and they tend to be particularly aggressive, often resisting systemic chemotherapy and metastasizing to other tissues.

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Cutting-edge science moves to the clinic to help ‘our furry friends’ fight cancer

Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has long been a scientific and clinical powerhouse. But the launch of an initiative last year is further bolstering those strengths in the areas of cancer research and care.

Dr. Mason Receives NIH Research Award

Penn Vet’s Nicola Mason Receives NIH Research Award to Target Therapies for Autoimmune Disease in Dogs

Nicola J. Mason, BVetMed, PhD, associate professor of Medicine and Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet), and Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, the Albert M. Kligman Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have received the prestigious NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award.

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Ventilating with mixture of helium and oxygen improves outcomes for horses in surgery

A horse in general surgery is an awkward sight. For the best access, the animals may be placed on their sides or even their backs, a position that puts considerable pressure on their internal organs, often leading to partial lung collapse. In spite of using oxygen-rich ventilation, blood oxygen levels can fall to dangerous levels during lengthy procedures.

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Knockdown and replace: A gene therapy twofer to treat blindness

The last year has seen milestones in the gene therapy field, with FDA approvals to treat cancer and an inherited blinding disorder. New findings from a team led by University of Pennsylvania vision scientists, who have taken gene therapies into clinical trials in the past, are proving successful, this time treating a form of retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that progressively robs people of their night and peripheral vision before blindness develops.

The Changing Landscape of Mosquito- and Tick-borne Diseases

The changing landscape of mosquito- and tick-borne diseases

Sara Cherry has a visceral memory of when Asian tiger mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus, first found their way into the Philadelphia region.

“I used to like to eat outside with my lab when I first started working here at Penn,” she says. “But then the tigers came and started terrorizing us and we had to eat inside. They are aggressive, and their bites cause welts.”

Marshak Dairy Cows at New Bolton Center

Want to reduce emissions? Start in the gut of a cow.

As concern about climate change rises, researchers are working to develop innovative strategies to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Penn Vet, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists will lead a team in developing a stem cell-based approach to treat blindness in dogs.

Multidisciplinary team to develop stem cell-based approaches to restore vision

A team from the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are launching a project to develop new strategies for treating vision disorders using cells implanted in the retina. 

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Recent grad Meghan Ramos helps people by training animals

“Go, Osa!” says Meghan Ramos, a recent graduate of Penn’s Veterinary Medicine program. Osa, a German shepherd, runs over to a wheel, carefully sniffing one of eight arms that extend from the scent wheel’s center. At the end of each arm is a blood serum that contains either malignant or benign ovarian cancer, a normal, cancer-free serum, or a distractor scent. Osa’s trained to detect blood serums that contain malignant ovarian cancer.

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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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Turtle Secrets

The precise moment of death, 65 million years ago, is captured in stone. The head and the legs are tucked under the shell, just as a threatened turtle would do today. Nearly intact, the fossil is exceedingly rare.

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The Nose Knows: Sniffing Out Cancer at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center

It’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The only sound is that of a Springer Spaniel methodically sniffing twelve ports on a stainless steel wheel. Suddenly he stops and sits.

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Bouncing Back: Clinical Trial Surgery Heals Husky

Electric blue eyes locked on the ball, the striking Husky sprints, then leaps and pounces, to catch the ball as it hits the pavement. Watching 11-year-old Bai Bai move with such agility and speed is surprising, as just a year ago she underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament.

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New Bolton Center Researchers Study Effect of Equine Microbiome on Colic

The role of the equine microbiome in colic is the focus of new research at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center.

Researchers are analyzing microbiome data from horses undergoing surgery, comparing horses given antimicrobials to horses that were not given antimicrobials. Preliminary data shows antimicrobials have a significant effect on the equine microbiome.


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One Health - Penn Vet’s Collection of 50,000 Salmonella Strains

The 50,000 glass vials locked away in a building on Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center campus hold the keys to new research into Salmonella, the number-one cause of foodborne illness in the United States.  Read this story...

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About Equine Blood Transfusion Crossmatching

New Bolton Center’s Dr. Rose Nolen-Walston conducted two separate studies on blood transfusions in horses.