Science Highlights Fall 2018

Welcome to the Fall 2018 Edition of Science Highlights.

Putting Neutrinos on Ice

Identification of Cosmic-Ray Source by IceCube Neutrino Observatory Depended on Global Collaboration, PSC’s Bridges

Four billion years ago—before the first life had developed on Earth—a massive black hole shot a proton out at nearly the speed of light. A result of this cosmic catapult was the creation of a neutrino, a strange, tiny particle lighter than any other known type of matter.

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“Sticky and Loose Ends” Shed Light on Heart Health

Anton 2 Shows how APOA1 Protein Ends Link to Hold Together “the Good Cholesterol”

Until recently, scientists couldn’t agree how the protein APOA1 holds together the “good cholesterol” that protects us from heart disease.

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PSC FigureAB f18 crop

Function Follows Form

Bridges Simulations plus Lab Work on Frog Neuromuscular Junction Sheds Light on Human Diseases

When a nerve cell passes a message to its neighbors, it must do so via chemicals sent across the synapse—a small space between the cells. Early researchers studied a synapse called the frog neuromuscular junction (NMJ) because it is large and easy to work with.

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Testing the Footing

Bridges Helps Univ. of Chicago Team Simulate Cell Movement, Upending Scientific Expectations

The movement of white blood cells to fight infections and the spread of cancer cells both rely on the same natural process. The cell reaches out to a new surface with a lamellipodium—a kind of tiny foot that tests the surface like we’d test ice before stepping onto it.

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wind turbine

When Winds Get Rough

PSC Experts and Resources Enable Simulation of Non-steady Forces on Wind Turbines

Rough winds are an issue for generating electricity from wind power. They can cause early failure of turbine components that limit the method’s monetary bottom line. Researchers formerly at Penn State University, working with real wind-turbine data from GE Global Research and with the help of PSC experts, used high performance computers at PSC and its partners in XSEDE to simulate the wind loads driving a 1.5-MW GE wind turbine.

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World’s Tiniest Test Tubes in Alzheimer’s Protein Simulation

University of Pennsylvania Team Uses PSC Systems to Explain Puzzling Lab Results

The progressive memory loss of Alzheimer’s disease is devastating. Doctors have known for more than 100 years that plaques of clumped-together protein form in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. 

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Brain Connections

Finding Cause

CMU Group Uses PSC’s Bridges to Nail Down Cause in Brain Region Activity

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures brain activity as it happens. But on the surface, it’s hard to tell whether activity in one part of the brain is caused by activity in another, or whether their apparent relationship is a coincidence.

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IMG 0536PSC News in Brief

NSF Extends Funding for PSC’s Bridges System; NSF Funds Artificial Intelligence Upgrade for Bridges; CMU, PSC and Pitt to Build Brain Data Repository; PSC Part of New NSF-Funded Cybersecurity Group; CMU Group Describes “Superhuman” Poker AI in Science; and more.

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