University of Pittsburgh

Archive for the ‘Extra Credit’ Category

Breakthroughs in the Making: Gender and the Immune System

For two years, Pitt researchers collected data on 1,136 men and 1,047 women from 28 hospitals nationwide to find that senior men treated for community-acquired pneumonia tended to be not only sicker than women upon admission, but also more likely to die within the year following hospitalization. Lead researcher Derek Angus and coauthor Sachin Yende—both […]

Personal Attachments

The child is dressed in shorts and a simple shirt. Shoeless, he walks through brown fields to get to the village store. The shop’s walls, shelves, and corners are filled with cans, boxes, fruits, and other goods. The child, about 6 years old, enters and asks for a brand-name soap—he insists on this brand. Nearby, […]

Wild Life

A strawberry plant reveals evolution in the making Like some queen of green, the bold little Fragaria virginiana thrives inside a campus greenhouse. Five white petals guard her yellow pistils, all surrounded by a sentinel of jagged-edged leaves. To the untrained eye, this strawberry plant does not stand out as anything special. But she is […]

Brain Drain

It’s a brisk fall day as a student scurries across the campus of an all-women’s college in Missouri. She’s on her way to make a presentation in psychology class, clasping her visual aid—a heavy glass jar—in both hands. Along the way, students stop her to gawk at the jar and ask about the oatmeal-colored mass […]

Breakthroughs in the Making

The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is like a lion at rest. Asleep, it’s harmless, but when awakened, it’s a threat. New research at the University of Pittsburgh shows that the immune system constantly monitors the virus, which can lurk for a lifetime in the body’s nerve cells once the initial infection occurs. This […]

Staying Out

Forty years ago, a young student found his calling in the “acid pit” of a Pittsburgh steel mill. It was dirty, dangerous, and noisy, where the steel plates were cleaned with acid. Workers were exposed to high-voltage electric lines, and temperatures often rose to 120 degrees. Salt pills and a gallon of water were daily […]

Breakthroughs in the Making

Millions of Americans live with diabetes. The disease is linked to insufficient insulin, which is needed to fuel cellular energy. Insulin, a hormone, enables glucose to enter cells and produce energy. In people with diabetes, this process isn’t working. Diabetes debilitates the body and increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. Over time, many […]

Breakthroughs in the Making

Pitt researchers are learning more about a virus they discovered last year. Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) is the likely cause of a rare but aggressive and deadly skin cancer found in about 80 percent of Merkel cell tumors, says Patrick Moore, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics in Pitt’s School of Medicine. Previously, it wasn’t […]

Lasting Lessons?

On a visit to Washington, D.C., the young sightseer squints at the gleaming marble buildings. She’s touring the U.S. capital’s grand monuments, which all seem to consist of broad columns of white stone. In this section of town, the lawns are fresh, the streets are clean, and many well-dressed people hurry along the city’s avenues […]

Why are frogs disappearing?

Green friends, take heed! Insecticides, even in low doses, may be doing more damage to the environment than previously known. Pitt biological sciences professor Rick Relyea has spent nearly a decade investigating the environmental effects of common chemicals on tadpoles. The findings from his latest study, coauthored by alumnus Nicole Diecks (CGS ’05), affirm a […]

Domestic Affairs

On a warm day in Hong Kong, two friends chat pleasantly while riding on the top tier of a crowded double-decker bus as it rumbles along the city’s winding, hilly roads. Then, for one of the women, the conversation takes a jarring turn. Her companion begins commenting on a banmui, a Philippine girl, whom relatives […]