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Honors & Other Things
February 12, 2008, Volume 54, No. 21

Transdisciplinary Award Program

Dr. Garret A. FitzGerald, director of ITMAT, announced the third round of successful applications for the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics’ (ITMAT) Transdisciplinary Award Program (TAPITMAT), supported by the School of Medicine. “The quality of all applications was extremely high and the funding decisions, made by members of the Internal Advisory Board, were extremely difficult,” he said.

The selected projects range across the breadth of biology, integrate diverse disciplines and investigators from many schools at Penn, as well as the Wistar Institute, and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, reflecting their interaction in the context of the Clinical and Translational Science Award. “They are uniformly of high scientific quality, interdisciplinary and translational in nature,” Dr. FitzGerald said.

“ITMAT is delighted with the number and quality of applications responsive to this call for awards and will continue to develop the program further in future years,” he added.

The recipients and their projects are:

Dr. Eliot Friedman, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine
Dr. Max Kelz, Department of Anesthesia, School of Medicine
Neural inertia: an obstacle to cognitive return, a new view of arousal state control

Dr. Namni Goel, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine
Dr. Maja Bucan, Department of Genetics, School of Medicine
Genotyping neurobehavioral phenotypic responses to partial sleep deprivation in humans

Dr. Zissimos Mourelatos, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine
Dr. Marianthi Kiriakidou, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine
Dr. Scott Diamond, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Small molecule modulators of human microRNPs:  discovery and validation

Dr. Donald Siegel, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine
Dr. Sergei Vinogradov, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Medicine
Dr. Khalil Bdeir, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine
Targeted therapy for blocking ADAMTS13 autoantibodies that cause thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

Dr. Susan Ross, Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine
Dr. Sara Cherry, Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine
Identification of targets for therapeutic intervention of new world arenavirus entry

Dr. Dwight Stambolian, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
Dr. John Rux, Center for Systems and Computational Biology, Wistar Institute
Dr. Randy Zauhar, Chemistry & Biochemistry; Bioinformatics & Computer Science, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Potential therapy of age-related macular degeneration with small molecules

NHLBI Research Grant: Dr. Bridges

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has awarded Dr. Charles Bridges, Jr. a $3 million grant to develop a possible heart transplant alternative. Dr. Bridges is associate professor of surgery at Penn and chief of cardiovascular surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital. The four-year grant will allow Dr. Bridges to expand upon his current research, which was the first in the world to convincingly demonstrate that marker genes can efficiently be inserted into the majority of heart muscle cells in large animals. “Molecular cardiac surgery offers genuine promise for eventually prolonging and enhancing the quality of life for many patients with heart disease,” said Dr. Bridges.

NEH Fellowship: Dr. D’Antonio


Dr. Patricia O’Brien D’Antonio, associate professor of nursing and the associate director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, has received a research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work, American Nursing: Neighborhood Work and National Mission. Dr. D’Antonio’s work considers the influence of nurses as members of local communities as well as practitioners in hospitals and health care agencies. She is also the editor of the Nursing History Review, the official journal of the American Association for the History of Nursing. Dr. D’Antonio’s clinical specialty is adult psychiatric/mental health nursing.




DHS Board: Dr. Christian, Ms. Noonan, and Dr. Spigner

Philadelphia Mayor and Penn alumnus Michael Nutter has named three members of the Penn faculty to serve on the renewed Department of Human Services Community Oversight Board. The chair of the Board is Dr. Carol Spigner, Kenneth L. M. Pray Professor and director of the School of Social Policy and Practice. The other two Board members from Penn are Dr. Cindy Christian and Ms. Kathleen Noonan. Dr. Christian is associate professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine and chair of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Ms. Noonan is the associate director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy in the School of Social Policy and Practice.

Prison Board: Professor Lassiter

Chad Dion Lassiter, adjunct professor at the School of Social Policy and Practice and researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was recently appointed to the Prison Board of Trustees by Mayor Michael Nutter. The departmental board is part of the Department of Human Services, which is responsible for advising the Prisons Commissioner on policy and operational matters regarding the prison system.

Nursing Research Grant: Dr. McHugh

Dr. Matthew D. McHugh, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the School of Nursing, has been selected to receive the 2007 Sigma Theta Tau International/Western Institute of Nursing Research Grant in the amount of $5,000 for his grant proposal The Nursing Practice Environment, Hospital Occupancy, and Patient Outcomes.

Periodontal Clinic: Drs. Cohen and Amsterdam


Left to right: Dr. Morton Amsterdam; Penn Dental Medicine Morton Amsterdam Dean Marjorie K. Jeffcoat; Dr. D. Walter Cohen; and Dr. Joseph Fiorellini, Chair of the Department of Periodontics, Penn Dental Medicine.

The School of Dental Medicine has dedicated a new periodontal clinic to two respected leaders in the field of periodontics. The new D. Walter Cohen and Morton Amsterdam Periodontal Clinic was dedicated on January 22. The new clinic is 4,600 square feet and features a surgical suite for transmitting cases live as part of classroom instruction as well as three surgical suites and the latest in digital radiography. Dr. D. Walter Cohen served as professor and chairman of the department of periodontics and served as dean of the School. Dr. Morton Amsterdam created and directed the School’s postgraduate periodontal prosthesis program during his tenure and also served as professor of periodontal prosthesis. The clinic was made possible in large part due to a $1 million donation from The Annenberg Foundation.


Almanac - February 12, 2008 , Volume 54, No. 21