Exel: Drexel University's Research Magazine – Contents
 

_John A. Fry

A message from the President.

_Body of Research

Two Centuries of Shells

Scientists and naturalists have spent more than 200 years building the Malacology Collection at the Academy of Natural Sciences, making it one of the richest and largest collections in the country, and even the world. It’s no wonder, then, that researchers from across the globe are regularly knocking on the Academy’s door, asking for access to it.

_Culture / Society

Gut Reaction

The way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach, a new study shows.

New Life for Leftovers

With roughly 40 percent of food in the United States going to waste, food researchers are exploring ways to repurpose groceries destined for the dumpster.

Credibility, on Camera

A Drexel professor will evaluate a new body camera initiative launched by Philadelphia’s transit agency meant to reduce crime and improve officer-citizen relationships.

The Art of the Takeover

Public companies that refuse generous takeover bids face punishing consequences in the stock market.

The Great Disconnect

Too many Philadelphia youth are disconnected from school and work at a crucial juncture in their lives, a Drexel study found.

The VC-CEO Dynamic

Startups should be aware that the more power they assign to their CEO, the more risk the chief could be willing to take on, especially in the beginning.

Hidden in Plain Site

The anonymity of online forums may be a unique source of support, guidance and healing for survivors of sexual abuse.

Binary Blackboards

Video games aren’t just for recreation; when brought into the classroom they can help students discover their destiny.

Game of Fonts

A study of consumer behavior has found that shoppers are more drawn to sales prices when they are displayed in a hard-to-read font.

_Examine

Into the Trees

A few times a year, scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University venture to remote regions of the planet on some of the most important field trips in the name of science: collecting expeditions. The material they bring back has the potential to open new lines of research and answer limitless questions about life on Earth. _Katie Clark

_Feature

Second Chances for First-Time Offenders

Strict “zero tolerance” policies have led to a disturbing number of in-school arrests — about 1,600 in the School District of Philadelphia annually. Once in the justice system, youths’ life chances are diminished considerably. Psychology Professor Naomi Goldstein is working with community partners to divert students from the damaging “school-to-prison pipeline,” improving outcomes for youth and making Philadelphia a national leader in the process. _by Tim Hyland / illustrations by Brian Stauffer

Sober Analysis

Should Philadelphians worry about the impact liquor privatization may have on public safety? For an answer, one researcher studied the data from Seattle's privatization in 2012, and it isn't pretty: More alcohol retailers is associated with more violence. _by Scott Pruden

The Infection Connection

Despite billions spent on Alzheimer’s research over the past 20 years, the precise cause of the deadly disease remains a puzzle. Drexel microbiologist and genomics expert Garth Ehrlich is pursuing an intriguing new theory that’s gaining momentum among scientists — one that suggests a microbial infection triggers the devastating symptoms. by Katie Clark

The Thinker

Drexel’s John Kounios and his collaborator were the first scientists to use brain scans to study how our minds make the leap from methodical thinking to sudden insight. In their new book, Kounios shares what they’ve learned about cultivating creativity. _by Lini S. Kadaba

Child's Play

Most therapies for children with cerebral palsy focus merely on improving mobility, while overlooking the relationships that lead to a fulfilling life. Researchers at Drexel University have spent a decade developing an approach that puts the emotional and social needs of these children first. _by Lini S. Kadaba _photographs by Jeff Fusco

Bots in the Bloodstream

An international team of roboticists is collaborating on a groundbreaking treatment for blocked arteries that would put swarms of microscopic, magnetically controlled robotic beads directly inside blood vessels. _by Jen A. Miller / illustrations by Joe Lertola, Bryan Christie Design

Vanishing

In Ghana, over half of all forest understory birds have vanished in just 15 years as unchecked illegal logging, economic stress and demand for African timber take their toll on the nation’s rainforests. by Mike Unger

_Medicine

Varsity Blues

A large study of college athletes found that contrary to popular belief, jocks are just as likely to have down spells as the general population.

A Step Toward Solving PKU

For the first time, scientists have a model of the enzyme that is defective in patients with the metabolic disorder PKU — opening the door to new drug discovery.

A Down-Alzheimer’s Connection

Children with Down Syndrome have distinctive differences in the structure of their cerebral cortex that could help to explain the link between Down and Alzheimer’s.

Crystal Clear

X-ray crystallography is used to create three-dimensional models of molecules that help researchers understand how the molecules function within the body — knowledge that can be used to develop new antibiotics.

Body, Heal Thyself

A biomedical engineer is investigating how to use the body’s own immune cells to grow blood vessels necessary to wound healing.

One Cell, Many Roles

Specialized cells called astrocytes were once thought to be bit players in the central nervous system, but closer inspection suggests they have complex roles.

Plaque Bust

Drexel is leading a landmark investigation of a new drug that may prevent the plaque buildup thought to cause Alzheimer’s dementia.

Improving the Picture

The same nanocrystals used to produce sharp images in liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions can be engineered to glow red when bonded to cancer cells — giving surgeons a rapid way to verify that they’ve removed all of a tumor.

_Nature / Environment

Natural-born Mysteries

A catfish, a diatom and a previously uncatalogued Cambodian plant were among the new species written into the scientific record this year.

When Rubber Hits the Road

Old tires could find new life as energy-storing materials thanks to a process developed in part at Drexel.

Science Underfoot

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University celebrated the 200th anniversary of the geological map that laid the foundation for earth science with a rare public viewing this year.

Dimetrodon Discovery

A prehistoric fossil is “discovered” in the University’s collections and finally classified with its close relatives, 160 years after being dug out of the ground.

Breathing Life Back Into Brooktrout Lake

A group of ecologists prove that recovery is possible for lake ecosystems devastated by acid rain — and that clean air regulations do work.

Shining a Light on Black Holes

Astrophysicist Gordon Richards has discovered more black holes than anyone else in the universe. With assistance from a powerful new telescope being built in Chile, he plans to beat his own record.

Law of the Jungle, Ignored

On Equatorial Guinea’s island of Bioko, rising prosperity and lax conservation enforcement have devastated the population of primates and other animals prized by consumers as “bushmeat” delicacies.

What Really Killed Them?

A new theory suggests that the dinosaurs’ fate was sealed by not just one, but two separate disasters around 66 million years ago.

_Public Health

Fumes and Plumes

Drexel researchers found a significant link between elevated air pollution and the occurrence of several chronic health conditions.

Return of #marlboroman

Researchers measuring the reach of e-cigarette marketing on social media find that pro-smoking messages travel easily and widely, with potential to reach many underage audiences.

The $150 Billion Problem

A multidisciplinary team is developing ways to battle the obesity epidemic by helping people lose weight and keep it off.

No Butts

Research conducted by the Dornsife School of Public Health was an important part of the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s decision to enact a smoke-free policy in all public housing.

Asthma-autism Link

Prenatal exposure to anti-asthma drugs is associated with increased risk for autism.

Down the Drain

A new study suggests that city residents could be letting the benefits of an ubiquitous natural resource go to waste, when it could be used to reduce their water bills.

The Secret Life of Ebola

The discovery that the Ebola virus can survive longer in wastewater than was previously known has implications for how governments respond to outbreaks.

A Home Base

A virtual “home” for the behavioral health needs of children and young adults on the autism spectrum aims to provide better outcomes at a lower cost.

Parental Blues & Poor Grades

There’s a connection between depression in parents and poor academic performance by their children.

_Tech / Sciece

Atomic Sandwiches

Drexel engineers’ recipe for ‘sandwiching’ atomic layers expands the possibilities for making materials that store energy.

Nature’s Filter

Algae scooped from an urban fish pond are the slimy secret ingredients in a bioreactor that Drexel environmental engineers say is more effective at treating wastewater than many processes employed in city treatment facilities today.

Dredging Up History

A Drexel lab is using digital technologies to replicate a long-hidden remnant of Philadelphia’s revolutionary history.

Tiny Switch

A bit of residual moisture helped researchers unlock the ultraviolet light-emitting potential of a material they were studying.

Different Kind of Crystal Ball

A new method has been discovered for growing spherical crystals that could be used for drug delivery.

Driven to Distraction

Bodies release telltale signals when we’re distracted, bored or stressed, and it may be possible to use that information to build adaptive technologies.

Greased Lightning

A group of Drexel undergraduate engineering students is among the last teams standing in the race to design a transportation pod for SpaceX’s high-speed transit test track.

Chip Combo

A new process has been discovered that will make it possible to combine micro-scale batteries with a microchip, opening the door to ever-more-compact personal electronics.

Stem Cell Algorithm

Using image-tracking technology, Drexel scientists observe nature vs. nurture in neural stem cells — information that could lead to breakthroughs in regenerative medicine.

The Breaking Point

Inside her custom-designed lab, Leslie Lamberson smashes, cracks and pushes materials to better understand, and extend, their limits.

Stem Cell ‘Legos’

Using a custom-designed 3-D printer, an engineer has devised a way to manufacture the building blocks of life.