A Note from Neeli: February 2024

February 7, 2024

President Neeli Bendapudi shares the story of “Together, Tacit,” an inspiring interdisciplinary research and creative collaboration between the College of Arts and Architecture and the College of Engineering.

Supplementing financial aid with education may benefit SNAP recipients

February 2, 2024

Pairing education with financial assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could help to improve diet quality, according to new research published in the journal Agricultural Economics.

'Growing Impact' podcast explores effect of solar energy's expansion on land use

February 2, 2024

The latest episode of the "Growing Impact" podcast explores how to minimize the conflict that can occur when considering placement of solar energy installations.

Edge habitats along roads and power lines may be key to conserving rare plants

January 31, 2024

Managing forest edge habitats to maintain a gradient of canopy cover and plant density could be key to conserving some threatened native plant species such as wild lupine, according to Penn State researchers, who said edge habitats along roadways and utility rights-of-way provide prime opportunities to promote rare native plant populations.

Proteins in milk — not just fat — may help reduce oral burn from spicy food

January 31, 2024

Spicy food lovers know that milk can ease the oral burn, but why? Some believe that fat is the soother, with whole cow’s milk reducing the bite more than low-fat cow’s milk or plant milks. A new study conducted by Penn State food scientists, however, suggests that protein plays a role in cooling the heat sensation, too.

Penn State entomologists appointed to national committee on pollinator research

January 29, 2024

Two entomologists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have been appointed to serve on a new U.S. Department of Agriculture subcommittee on pollinators.

Fungi into the Future

January 29, 2024

Mushrooms, and specifically the common white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, are big business in Pennsylvania. The state grows almost two-thirds of all Agaricus produced in the United States. Penn State’s leadership in research and education has shaped and supported the industry since its beginnings. In recent years, however, mushroom-related research at Penn State has expanded, fungus-like, across departments and even colleges into new and surprising areas, from food science to environmental clean-up to architecture and design.

Six researchers recognized with Institute of Energy and the Environment Awards

January 29, 2024

Six Penn State researchers who were nominated by the Penn State community for their collaborative, interdisciplinary research efforts were recognized with Institute of Energy and the Environment’s Research Awards.

Foodborne-pathogen Listeria may hide from sanitizers in biofilms

January 24, 2024

An estimated 1,600 people in the U.S. contract a serious infection from Listeria bacteria in food each year and, of those individuals, about 260 people die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Penn State researchers may now better understand how the bacteria, called Listeria monocytogenes, survive and persist in fruit-packing plants by evading and surviving sanitizers.  

Veterans of color and female veterans reported more stress during COVID-19

January 23, 2024

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State found veterans of color and female veterans reported significantly higher levels of stress than their white male counterparts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research to help private forest owners manage woodlands for ecosystem services

January 17, 2024

Funded by a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a team of forest ecologists and social scientists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will conduct research aimed at helping owners of small- to medium-sized forest tracts manage their woodlands for ecosystem services they deem desirable.    

Women farmers quantitatively linked to better community well-being

January 17, 2024

Having more women in agriculture is associated with greater community well-being, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their work is the first to quantitatively assess this link, and their findings suggest that women farmers approach their operations in ways that positively impact their communities.

Novel, interdisciplinary training program launched for doctoral degree students

January 16, 2024

A team comprised of faculty from five departments in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Biology in the Eberly College of Science, funded by a $262,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has created a novel program to train doctoral degree students to conduct interdisciplinary research on the relationship between soils, plants and consumers.

Economics propelling population shifts in spite of climate-driven risks

January 12, 2024

People are willing to live in locations where there is a greater risk of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters if there is an increase to their overall economic well-being, according to a study by a Penn State researcher.

One Health Microbiome Symposium to convene experts for innovative discussions

January 9, 2024

Penn State’s One Health Microbiome Center will host the One Health Microbiome Symposium on May 30-31, 2024, at the Huck Life Sciences Building on the University Park campus.

Why are bees making less honey? Study reveals clues in five decades of data

January 3, 2024

Honey yields in the U.S. have been declining since the 1990s, with honey producers and scientists unsure why, but a new study by Penn State researchers has uncovered clues in the mystery of the missing honey.

Growing Impact podcast discusses how climate, agriculture impact Colorado River

January 3, 2024

The latest episode of Growing Impact discusses how climate change and overuse of the Colorado River have significantly decreased the volume of the fifth largest river in the U.S.

Q&A: Why small organisms can make big impacts on climate, emissions

December 15, 2023

Mary Ann Bruns, Penn State professor of soil microbiology and biogeochemistry, co-authored a new report that advocates for greater recognition of the microbial processes involved in methane production and consumption as society seeks solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.

Crab-eating monkey one of Florida’s greatest threats to ecosystems, human health

December 15, 2023

A first-of-its-kind study for North America accumulated a list of potential invasive species for the state of Florida, with 40 species determined to pose the greatest threat to residents’ well-being. One species received the highest possible ranking for likelihood of invasion and threat to human health: the crab-eating macaque monkey.

Novel tool informs land use and nutrient control in troubled waters

December 7, 2023

In watersheds degraded by runoff of nutrients from farmland, land managers may struggle to pinpoint the best locations to install riparian buffer strips along streams or other pollution-reduction practices, but a new technology devised by Penn State scientists could potentially make the search for those sites easier and less expensive.

New USDA grant to support graduate reproductive microbiome training program

December 6, 2023

The Graduate Training in the Reproductive Microbiomes program will focus on interactions between the microbiome and animal reproductive cells/tissues in agriculturally important species, including chickens, cows, pigs, as well as insect populations that can devastate livestock health and production.

Helping non-clinical staff identify problematic sexual behaviors among children

December 5, 2023

A Penn State research team partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop an easy-to-use tool to help non-clinically trained staff members, such as classroom aids, lunchroom workers and teachers, identify problematic sexual behaviors so that they can be more immediately addressed.

NSF program takes environmental resource management student to Montana

November 29, 2023

Second-year student Sylvie Alexander, an environmental resource management major in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, spent last summer conducting research on the Flathead Indian Reservation located in western Montana. Her work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates program.

Study of sourdough starter microbiomes to boost bread quality and safety

November 21, 2023

People with celiac disease, or intolerance to dietary gluten, may soon have more food options, thanks to an unlikely source: sourdough bread. Sourdough contains less gluten than other breads, making it more tolerable for people with gluten sensitivities. Now, Penn State and Colorado State University researchers are studying whether bacteria in the yeast starter needed to make sourdough bread might help reduce gluten in other bread products.

Researchers predict climate change-driven reduction in beneficial plant microbes

November 20, 2023

An international team of researchers that includes Penn State faculty has characterized the abundances and distributions of plant beneficial bacteria from soils collected across the globe — and modeled how climate change may impact their numbers in the coming century. They published their findings in Nature Food.

$7M grant funds project to develop new ways to protect mushroom crops

November 16, 2023

A new grant for more than $7 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will fund an upcoming project led by Penn State researchers, who aim to develop new pest management tools for mushroom crops.

NASA awards multi-institutional team $1M grant to inform US forest management

November 15, 2023

A research team led by a Penn State ecologist has received a $1 million grant from NASA to integrate satellite data into predictive modeling to anticipate change in recruitment — the process by which new trees emerge — within forests across the eastern United States.  

$1.45M NSF grant to fund new research into how grasses thrive in dry climates

November 14, 2023

A new $1.45 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Penn State researchers, including undergraduate students, to explore how pores on plant surfaces work and might be engineered to enhance photosynthesis and efficient water use.

Dangerous bee virus less deadly in at least one US forest, researchers find

November 9, 2023

This year’s cold and flu season is bringing good news for honey bees: Penn State researchers have found that the deadly deformed wing virus may have evolved to be less deadly in at least one U.S. forest.

Collaborative landscape design approach may improve resiliency, human well-being

November 6, 2023

A framework called regenerative landscape design may improve how complex, interconnected environmental and social challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, are addressed, according to a new study led by Penn State researchers.

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600