Mohammed Alharbi: IADR Unilever Hatton Award
Mohammed Alharbi, GD’14, DScD’17, a doctoral candidate at Penn Dental Medicine, was awarded second place in the senior basic science category of the 2017 IADR Unilever Hatton Competition and Awards in March.
Dr. Alharbi’s research project, FOXO1 Role Expressed by Chondrocytes In Diabetic-Induced Impaired Fracture Healing, was conducted under faculty preceptor Dana Graves, professor and interim chair of the department of periodontics. He presented an oral and poster presentation and his work was judged on originality and design of the investigation, quality of the data produced, suitability of the methods of analysis used, scientific value of the work, quality of the poster presentation and demonstrated mastery of the subject.
Dr. Alharbi was among the 17 postdoctoral and predoctoral students and junior researchers from Penn Dental Medicine who received a Penn Dental Medicine AADR Travel Grant Award to participate in the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session.
Jordan Doman: Hertz Fellow
Jordan Doman, C’17, of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, has been selected as a recipient of the Hertz Fellowship by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. The 12 newest Hertz Fellows were chosen from more than 700 applicants interested in pursuing graduate work in applied physical and biological sciences, mathematics and engineering.
Ms. Doman will hold a bachelor’s in biochemistry and a master’s in chemistry when she graduates this year. Her master’s thesis focuses on the synthesis of biosensors to be used in conjunction with a new kind of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging for the ultrasensitive detection of proteins implicated in cancer and other diseases. She plans to pursue a PhD in chemistry or chemical biology.
Michael Tran Duong and Tiberiu Mihaila: Goldwater Scholarship
University of Pennsylvania students Michael Tran Duong and Tiberiu Mihaila have been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. Each year, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awards 300 scholarships to sophomores and juniors who demonstrate excellence in science, engineering and mathematics and plan to pursue PhD study and careers in academic research.
Michael Tran Duong, a second-year student from Worcester, Pennsylvania, is studying biochemistry and biophysics. As a member of the 3-D epigenomes and neurobiology lab of Jennifer Phillips-Cremins, assistant professor in the department of bioengineering in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and Perelman School of Medicine, Mr. Duong investigates dynamic patterns of 3-dimensional genome folding in brain development and disease. He plans to become a physician-scientist researching the genetics and neuroimaging of Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration.
Tiberiu Mihaila, a second-year student from Syracuse, New York, is studying physics, biophysics and biochemistry in the Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences in the School of Arts & Sciences. He is a member of a group in the department of chemistry led by E. James Petersson, associate professor, that uses fluorescence techniques to study protein misfolding and cellular pathology in Parkinson’s disease model systems. Mr. Mihaila hopes to pursue an MD and a PhD in order to use biophysical and biochemical tools to elucidate neurodegenerative disease pathology.
Eric Forbush: NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Eric Forbush, a first year doctoral student at the Annenberg School, has been awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). He is one of 2,000 scholars chosen from among 13,000 applicants.
As a GRFP Fellow, Mr. Forbush will receive three years of research funding to explore how the field of computational social science—utilizing computer modeling, social network analysis and virtual simulations to understand social dynamics—might help address issues of segregation in communities. He plans to conduct ethnographic interviews and collect data from social networking sites to inform his creation of an agent-based model, allowing him to conduct virtual simulations to discover the conditions needed to increase diversity and decrease segregation.
Mr. Forbush holds a BA in communication studies from Northeastern University in Boston.
Four Penn Vet Students: Student Inspiration Awards
From left, Corey Spies, Brianna Parsons, Talia Wong and Molly Klores are the 2017 recipients of Penn Vet’s Student Inspiration Awards.
Penn Vet has awarded students Molly Klores, Brianna Parsons, Corey Spies and Talia Wong with the 2017 Student Inspiration Awards. Each year, the award is presented to Penn Vet students who demonstrate the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of veterinary medicine and expand the profession’s impact on the wellbeing of animals and society.
“It is incredibly encouraging to see our students champion such important issues for the betterment of society,” said Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Our students are always good-hearted and creative, but this year I am really struck by the sophistication and attention to sustainability beyond the time of their engagement. Both of these projects have genuine potential for significant lasting impact. The future of veterinary medicine is very bright.”
Ms. Parsons, a third-year student from Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and Mr. Spies, a second-year student from Kinnelon, New Jersey, were awarded $25,000 for their proposal, Gambia Goat Dairy—An Innovative Goat Milking Facility in Bwiam, The Gambia. They spent eight weeks in The Gambia researching the feasibility and sustainability of developing a goat dairy and developed a comprehensive business plan with input from over 25 key Gambian stakeholders. The pair will use the funds to improve community nutrition and healthcare in an impoverished area of The Gambia by generating a local supply of affordable, safe, high-quality animal protein that also generates a sustainable source of revenue for the hospital.
Ms. Klores, of Washington DC, and Ms. Wong, of Brookline, Massachusetts, both third-year students, received $11,500 for their proposal, Educating the Public: Bringing One Health to the Clinic. They will use their award to create educational materials, including posters and a website, promoting One Health considerations in routine appointments at Penn’s medical and veterinary hospitals. The project’s goal is to engage clients and patients in the One Health conversation, and encourage them to take ownership of their family’s health. The educational materials will focus on the connections between pet and owner health in order to improve the detection of zoonotic risks.
Scott Halpern and Peter Snyder: ACTS Distinguished Investigator Award
Scott Halpern, an associate professor of medicine, epidemiology, and medical ethics and health policy and director of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center, and Peter J. Snyder, a professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, are this year’s recipients of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Distinguished Investigator Award for Career Achievement and Contribution to Clinical and Translational Science respectively. Drs. Halpern and Snyder will receive their awards at Translational Science 2017, the organization’s annual meeting, April 19-21 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Halpern will also receive the American Federation for Medical Research’s (AFMR) Outstanding Investigator Award.
The ACTS Distinguished Investigator Award recognizes senior investigators whose innovative research or education leadership has significantly impacted clinical and translational science. The AFMR Outstanding Investigator Award is presented annually to an investigator 45 years of age or younger in recognition of excellence in biomedical research.
Dr. Halpern is also the founding director of the Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science (FIELDS) program, and deputy director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE). Dr. Halpern blends ethical analyses and empirical research to promote ideals of fairness and value in the allocation of scarce healthcare resources—such as transplantable organs, ICU beds and services, and clinicians’ time—to seriously ill patients.
Dr. Snyder’s work focuses on neuroendocrinology, or the diagnosis and treatment of pituitary adenomas and other pituitary and hypothalamic abnormalities, including excessive and deficient pituitary hormone secretion. Throughout his career, Dr. Snyder has examined the effects of hormones on bone and pituitary adenomas. Most notably, he was the principal investigator of The Testosterone Trials, a multicenter study of seven coordinated trials of the effects of testosterone in elderly men with low testosterone on physical function, vitality, sexual function, cognitive function, anemia, bone and cardiovascular risk.
Carl June: AACR Academy Fellow
Carl June, the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy in the Abramson Cancer Center and the director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named a 2017 Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy. Dr. June was recognized for designing chimeric antigen receptor T cell immunotherapy for the treatment of refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Fellows are chosen for work that has had a significant and enduring impact on the field. They are nominated and elected in a peer-review process.
Barbara Medoff-Cooper: Distinguished Contributions to Nursing Research Award
The Eastern Nursing Research Society recently awarded Barbara Medoff-Cooper, professor of nursing in the department of family and community health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, with its Distinguished Contributions to Nursing Research Award, which recognizes sustained and outstanding contributions to nursing research by a senior investigator.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by the nursing research community. My goal, and of course my passion, has always been to improve outcomes for vulnerable infants and their families,” said Dr. Medoff-Cooper. “I share this award with the many families who have participated in my research projects over the past 30-plus years.”
Dr. Medoff-Cooper’s research focuses on infant development, feeding behaviors in high-risk infants and infant temperament. She invented the Early Infancy Temperament Questionnaire and the NeoNur device, changing the way clinicians care for premature and chronically ill infants. Her research has been recognized throughout the world for its impact on improving care of premature infants and infants born with complex congenital heart disease.
Barbara Mellers and Philip Tetlock: Schelling Awards
Two Penn Integrates Knowledge professors at the University of Pennsylvania, Barbara Mellers and Philip Tetlock, have been awarded the 2017 Thomas C. Schelling Award by Harvard University’s Kennedy School. The award recognizes individuals whose “remarkable intellectual work has had a transformative impact on public policy.” It was presented April 6 during a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Drs. Mellers and Tetlock led a Penn team together in The Good Judgement Project, a four-year prediction tournament sponsored by the US intelligence community. The team focused on the abilities of intuition, probability, teamwork and computational analysis and created a system of “superforecasters,” made up of ordinary people whose combined predictive abilities became more powerful than that of CIA analysts. The system was adapted for use by intelligence agencies.
Dr. Mellers is the I. George Heyman University Professor with appointments in the psychology department in the School of Arts & Sciences and the marketing department in the Wharton School. Her work focuses on judgment and decision making.
Dr. Tetlock is the Annenberg University Professor with appointments in psychology in Arts & Sciences and management in Wharton. He focuses on the intersection of political science, psychology and management science with a goal to improve prediction methods in political, business and other spheres.
Kristy Weber: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Kristy Weber, chief of orthopaedic oncology for the University of Pennsylvania Health System and director of the sarcoma program in the Abramson Cancer Center, will become the first woman to lead the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
Dr. Weber will serve as second vice president from 2017 to 2018, as first vice president from 2018 to 2019 and as president in 2019.
Dr. Weber specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with bone or soft tissue tumors, as well as complex limb salvage techniques for the hip, knee, shoulder and pelvis.
She is also a professor and vice-chair of faculty affairs in the department of orthopaedic surgery and Abramson Family Professor in Sarcoma Care Excellence.
Joseph Serletti and Linton Whitaker: Mentor, Clinician of the Year
The American Association of Plastic Surgeons recently recognized two members of the division of plastic surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania as the Mentor and Clinician of the Year.
Joseph Serletti, chief of plastic surgery, received the Robert Goldwyn American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons Mentor of the Year award. Linton Whitaker, professor and chief emeritus of plastic surgery, received the Clinician of the Year award.
Dr. Serletti was chosen for his award based on his contributions to the development of ethical, compassionate and academically productive surgeons for the next generation. Dr. Serletti is internationally recognized for his work in reconstructive microsurgery and is an authority in free flap autogenous breast reconstruction. Having mentored dozens of medical students, interns, residents, post-doctoral fellows young physicians, researchers and surgeons, Dr. Serletti is known for providing personalized attention and spending significant time on mentoring activities.
Dr. Whitaker founded the craniofacial program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and introduced widely used surgical advances. His contributions to the field include his involvement in the development of infant craniofacial surgery and the nation’s first cleft palate program, and breakthroughs in bone/soft tissue relations.
He is founder of the Edwin and Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance at Penn, the first academic center dedicated to interdisciplinary clinical and basic science research and treatment in all aspects of human appearance—from cosmetic surgery and procedures to reconstructive trauma surgery, post-cancer reconstruction repair and birth defect repair all in both children and adults.