Two Penn faculty have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences: Shelley Berger and Karen Goldberg. Dr. Berger is the Daniel S. Och University Professor and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, with appointments in Perelman and SAS and founding director of the Penn Epigenetics Program. Dr. Goldberg is the Vagelos Professor of Energy Research in the department of chemistry in SAS and inaugural director of the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology.
Dr. Berger studies mechanisms linked to aging, neurodegenerative disease, cancer and fertility. Her research focuses on complex on-off switches on DNA’s packaging material that control how cells form genetically identical yet diverse tissues in an organism, and how those switches respond to environmental factors such as diet, exercise and stress to create heritable traits without changing the underlying genetic code.
Dr. Goldberg leads research focused on the development of new catalytic systems to efficiently produce chemicals and fuels from a range of available feedstocks. Her group is interested in transforming both highly saturated feedstocks, such as natural gas and alkanes, as well as highly oxygenated materials like CO2 and those found in biomass. Using catalysis, her group seeks to develop new environmentally responsible and economically viable methods to convert these feedstocks to more valuable organic products.