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Honors and Other Things

October 19, 2010, Volume 57, No. 08

Four New IOM Members
Four professors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have been elected members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the nation’s highest honors in biomedicine. Three of the four new inductees are women.
The new members bring Penn’s total to 76, out of a total active membership of 1,649.

Overall, the IOM named 65 new members this year and foreign associates. The IOM was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to honor professional achievement in the health sciences.

“We are proud that four of our most distinguished and accomplished scientists have been named to one of the country’s leading institutions,” said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, EVP of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Having Penn Medicine colleagues elected to this esteemed body is an extraordinarily significant honor.”

The new Penn IOM members are:

Driscoll Lerman
Stanley Stineman

Dr. Deborah A. Driscoll, the Luigi Mastroianni, Jr. Professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology. She also serves as the Interim Director of the Center for Research on Reproduction and Women’s Health. Dr. Driscoll also served as a project leader on a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to study congenital heart defects and is the principle investigator of Penn’s Women’s Reproductive Health Research career development program. Dr. Driscoll is considered one of the world’s leading obstetrician-gynecologist geneticists who has also been recognized for her expertise in adolescent gynecology and the care of women with genetic disorders.

Dr. Caryn Lerman, the Mary W. Calkins Professor in the department of psychiatry and the Annenberg Public Policy Center. As director of the Tobacco Use Research Center, her research focuses on the genetic and neural basis of nicotine addiction, with a focus on smoking cessation and therapeutic response. This month, she became the interim director of the Abramson Cancer Center. She is also a current member of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Advisory Council. Dr. Lerman is the President of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Dr. John R. Stanley, the Milton B. Hartzell Professor, is chair of the department of dermatology. Dr. Stanley’s clinical specialties are autoimmune blistering skin diseases, and his chief areas of research include immunodermatology; cell and molecular biology of keratinocyte adhesion; and impetigo. He has received an NIH grant to study the pathogenesis of pemphigus, an autoimmune disease in which auto-antibodies cause loss of keratinocyte cell adhesion and blister formation.

Dr. Margaret Stineman is professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and professor of epidemiology in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Stineman’s expertise is in statistical modeling, measurement, and development of patient classification systems. She and her colleagues developed a patient classification approach that forms the basis for Medicare’s national payment system for inpatient rehabilitation; established staging systems for addressing patients’ mobility and abilities to care for themselves; established measures for addressing the effects of medical conditions on quality of life; and addressed the effect of environmental barriers on the expression of disability.


Brilliant 10: Dr. Kuchenbecker

Popular Science magazine has named Dr. Katherine Kuchenbecker, Skirkanich Assistant Professor of Innovation in the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics, to its annual “Brilliant 10” list of the country’s top young scientists.

Dr. Kuchenbecker is the director of the Haptics Group at the GRASP Lab. Her work researches the design, control and performance of robotic systems that enable a user to touch virtual objects and distant environments as though they were real and within reach.


Medawar Prize: Dr. Barker

Dr. Clyde Barker, the Donald Guthrie Professor of Surgery in the School of Medicine, was awarded the Medawar Prize by the Transplantation Society, an international organization providing focus for global leadership in the field of organ transplantation.

Considered to be among the outstanding world honors for scientific achievement, this prize recognizes individuals who have made significant scientific discovery or contribution to the field of experimental and/or clinical transplantation.

Dr. Barker launched the transplant program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1966 and is credited with building it into the largest and most successful program in the region.

SoFiE President: Dr. Diebold

Dr. Francis X. Diebold, the Paul F. and Warren S. Miller Professor of Economics in SAS, was elected president of the Society for Financial Econometrics (SoFiE), an international professional organization devoted to promoting research at the interface of financial economics and econometrics.

Dr. Diebold, who is co-director of the Wharton Financial Institutions Center, is SoFiE’s first elected president, succeeding its founding president, Robert F. Engle, the winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Wagner Medal: Dr. Albelda

Dr. Steven M. Albelda, the William Maul Measey Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine, is a recipient of the 2010 Wagner Medal, presented by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group. The medal is the organization’s highest honor and is awarded every two years to a leader in the field who has made major original contributions to the understanding of mesothelioma, either in basic or applied research.

Dr. Albelda is co-director of the Thoracic Oncology Laboratories at the Penn Lung Center and is an adjunct professor at the Wistar Institute.

Climate Leadership Excellence

Dr. Amy Gutmann accepted Second Nature’s first Climate Leadership Award for Institutional Excellence at the 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment Summit, held in Denver, Colorado last week.

Dr. Gutmann champions the University’s environmental efforts and provides the leadership that complements the Penn Green Campus Partnership to foster a culture of sustainability.

NARSAD Grant: Dr. Hahn

Dr. Chang-Gyu Hahn
, associate professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, was one of 42 innovative researchers awarded 2010 Independent Investigator grants for mental illness research from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression which is awarding more than $4.1 million to support leading investigators worldwide. With a grant in the amount of $98,900, Dr. Hahn will research the NMDA receptor in the prefrontal cortex of the brain in order to discover possible targets for novel therapeutics for schizophrenic patients.

Living Legend: Dr. Lang

The American Academy of Nursing (AAN) has named Dr. Norma Lang, dean emerita of the School of Nursing, an AAN Living Legend for her lifelong commitment and contributions to the nursing profession. A celebration in Dr. Lang’s honor will be held at the Penn Nursing/AAN Reception in Washington, D.C. in November.

Student Inspiration Awards

Fourth-year student Nikkita Patel and second-year student Brittany Gross are recipients of the 2010 Penn Vet Student Inspiration Awards, presented annually to two Penn Vet students who demonstrate the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of veterinary medicine and expand the profession’s impact on the well being of animals and society. Ms. Patel plans to use Google Earth to inform the public and policy makers about wildlife trade and other veterinary issues, while Ms. Gross will initiate the construction of an educationally focused dairy farm in rural northeast Thailand.

The winners each receive $100,000 in unrestricted funding from the Hill Foundation to be used toward realizing their veterinary missions and proposed projects.

Number-One Book: Dr. Marvin

The editors of Atlantic Monthly named When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century by Dr. Carolyn Marvin, the Frances Yates Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School, as the number-one ranked book on their new “Atlantic Tech Canon” list of the 50 most influential trade and scholarly works about science and technology.

The list includes such seminal works as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine.

Four-Diamond Rating: Inn at Penn

The Hilton Inn at Penn has received a Four-Diamond rating from the American Automobile Association (AAA) for the 10th consecutive year. In this annual inspection, an AAA representative completed a detailed review of all public spaces and several of the Inn’s 238 guestrooms. The hotel was one of six Philadelphia hotels to receive this designation. Their highest rating is five diamonds, which has been awarded to only a handful of hotels worldwide.

Almanac - October 19, 2010, Volume 57, No. 08