$2 Million Gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation to Support Scientists in Training at Penn Biomedical Graduate Studies Program
The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has received a $2 million gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation to establish the Blavatnik Family Fellowship in Biomedical Research in the Penn Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) program. Headed by industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, the Blavatnik Family Foundation has a strong history of supporting talented young scientists at premier institutions around the globe.
The Blavatnik Family Fellowship will be competitively awarded to six Penn BGS students for each of the next four academic years. By 2021, the Blavatnik Family Fellowship will have impacted 24 students, all Blavatnik Family Fellows, by providing a crucial boost at the very moment these talented trainees are launching as independent investigators. The Fellowship ensures support for students during their work with their mentors, a pivotal relationship in their scientific journey.
“We are delighted to be able to partner with the Blavatnik Family Foundation in accelerating critical research by cultivating outstanding young minds at the beginning of their careers,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “We are deeply grateful to Len Blavatnik and the Blavatnik Family Foundation for this visionary gift to Penn Biomedical Graduate Studies—one of the strongest training programs in the nation—and their support for the next generation of scientific thought leaders.”
The inaugural class of Blavatnik Family Fellows was chosen in July 2018 from many nominees from the BGS program. The students selected are Divyansh Agarwal, Edward Chuang, Jinyang Li, Kamen Simeonov, Huchuan “Cedric” Xia and Linda Zhou. They are focusing on research projects with translational implications across many disease areas, including: ocular diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, pancreatic cancer, cancer metastasis, psychiatric disorders; and trinucleotide repeat expansion disorders, such as Huntington’s disease and Fragile X Syndrome.
J. Larry Jameson, EVP of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, explained the power and influence these students bring to their research labs: “Many of our students are playing key roles in advancing major breakthroughs here at Penn thanks to BGS’s thoughtful, expert mentors, a world-class research infrastructure, and a culture of collaboration. With the generous support of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, our talented Blavatnik Family Fellows will be able to transform their scientific passions into discoveries that improve human health.”
Len Blavatnik, a prominent entrepreneur and philanthropist, is the founder of Access Industries, a privately-held, global industrial group.
“By establishing this landmark fellowship at Penn, we hope to empower talented students to pursue high-risk, high-reward projects in the lab,” said Mr. Blavatnik. “This investment in our future will benefit cutting-edge science now and over time as these trainees grow and drive innovation in their respective fields.”
Mr. Blavatnik’s forward-thinking philanthropy has made an impact in both the United States and abroad, enriching the research landscape and creating an elite community of creative and ambitious young scientists.
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural and charitable institutions in the United States, Europe and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Mr. Blavatnik, an American and British industrialist and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held U.S. industrial group with global interests in natural resources, media, technology and real estate.
Nancy Hirschmann: Stanley I. Sheerr Term Professor in the Social Sciences
Nancy Hirschmann, professor of political science and a core faculty member in the Program on Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, has been appointed the Stanley I. Sheerr Term Professor in the Social Sciences. A scholar of the history of political thought, analytical philosophy nand feminist theory, Dr. Hirschmann is the author of nine books and the recipient of many fellowships and awards, including the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and the European University Institute’s Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship. Dr. Hirschmann has served as Vice President of the American Political Science Association and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Politics & Gender, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and Scandanavian Journal of Disability Research.
At Penn, she directed the Program on Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies and the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies and also served as Graduate Chair and Vice Chair of the department of political science.
The Stanley I. Sheerr Term Professorship in the Social Sciences is named for the late Stanley I. Sheerr, W’37, the former chairman of Crown Textile Company. When Mr. Sheerr passed away in 1984, his family made a gift in his memory to support faculty in the social sciences. Mrs. Sheerr passed away in 1989, but her two children—Richard Sheerr, C’69, a former member of the Penn Arts & Sciences Board of Overseers, and Constance Sheerr Kittner, CW’61—remain active Penn supporters.
Joshua Klein and Annette Lareau: Kahn Endowed Term Professors
Two SAS faculty members have been appointed Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professors.
Joshua Klein, professor of physics and astronomy, has been appointed the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Klein is a high-energy physicist and an internationally recognized scholar of experimental particle physics, neutrinos and dark matter. He was a leading team member for the SNO experiment known for “Solving the Solar Neutrino Problem” that resulted in a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics with Art McDonald in 2015. Dr. Klein serves as the chair and spokesperson for the SNO+ and MiniCLEAN Experiments and has served as a member of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment Executive Committee. He is a recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
At Penn, Dr. Klein’s excellent teaching has been recognized by the Provost’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and he has served as chair of the School of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee and as a member of the Provost’s Academic Planning & Budget Committee and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
Annette Lareau, professor of sociology, has been appointed Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Social Sciences. Dr. Lareau, who has a secondary faculty appointment in GSE, is a scholar of social stratification, family, childhood and education. She is the author of six books, including Unequal Childhoods: Race, Class, and Family Life and Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education, which won awards from the American Sociological Association and the American Educational Studies Association. Her research has been supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Maryland Population Center. Dr. Lareau has served as president of the American Sociological Association.
The Kahn Endowed Term Chairs were established through a bequest by Mr. and Mrs. Edmund J. Kahn. Mr. Kahn was a 1925 Wharton graduate who had a highly successful career in the oil and natural gas industry. Mrs. Kahn, a graduate of Smith College, worked for Newsweek and owned an interior design firm. The couple supported many programs and projects at Penn, including Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, the Modern Languages College House program and other initiatives in scholarship and the humanities.
University Research Foundation: October 19
The University Research Foundation (URF) is now accepting applications for its October 19 deadline.
The URF is an intramural program that provides three funding mechanisms: Research and Conference Support, Impact Seminar Grants and Research Opportunity Development Grants.
URF Research Grants and Conference Support provides up to $50,000 in project support and up to $3,000 for conference support. Its objectives are to:
- help junior faculty undertake pilot projects that will enable them to successfully apply for extramural sources of funding and aid in establishing their careers as independent investigators;
- help established faculty perform novel, pioneering research to determine project feasibility and develop preliminary data to support extramural grant applications;
- provide support in disciplines where extramural support is difficult to obtain and where significant research can be facilitated with internal funding; and
- provide limited institutional matching funds that are required as part of a successful external peer-reviewed application.
URF Impact Seminar Grants will make awards up to $20,000 for support for a cross-school, cross-disciplinary large-scale event to be held on Penn’s campus within a year of the award. Funding for this award can be used to augment an already scheduled University event. The event—which can be a symposium, forum or conference—should occur over one to two days and be open to the entire Penn community. It should highlight the scholarship of Penn faculty and bring distinguished scholars to Penn’s campus, with a particular focus on the University’s distinguishing strength in integrating knowledge. Documented school and/or department matching funds are required.
URF Research Opportunity Development Grants (RODG)
The Research Opportunity Grant program (Phase 1 and Phase 2) is designed to facilitate the intersection of the forward trajectory of Penn’s research frontiers with the trajectory of the national and global research priorities. RODG Applications should map on to emerging research areas with new opportunities for support. Awards from these programs should be used to develop preliminary information and data for new applications in these emerging research areas. The two programs are described at right.
Research Opportunity Development Grants: Phase 1
With an identified new research area in mind, Phase 1 grants enable a team to articulate the research focus, map Penn’s intellectual assets in the new area, coalesce the appropriate group of scholars, identify Penn’s potential contributions in the area in the context of national and international research initiatives and identify a funding target. Typically a Phase 1 proposal would lead to a Phase 2 application. In addition, special attention will be paid to project proposals that include mentorship of Penn undergraduates. Applications up to $10,000 will be considered.
Research Opportunity Development Grants: Phase 2
Phase 2 grants offer extensive support for up to two years to enable specific outcomes in support of a center or group proposal to an external funding organization. Activities include research workshops, preliminary studies, networking in the relevant research community, etc. Specific outcomes are expected. Documented matching department and/or school funds will be considered positively. In addition, special attention will be paid to project proposals that include mentorship of Penn undergraduates. Applications with requests between $50,000 to $200,000 will be considered.
Note that Phase 2 grants are not intended to support the development of proposals that respond to regular solicitations such as those for NIH RO1 grants or NSF Division programs. Applicants must identify a target of opportunity.
Disciplines for all award programs: Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Engineering, Social Science and Management.
Undergraduate Participation: As part of the University’s commitment to providing research opportunities to scholars across our campus community, URF applicants are encouraged to include undergraduate student participants within the framework of their proposals.
Budget: Each URF program has separate budget requirements.
Eligibility for all award programs: Eligibility is limited to Penn assistant, associate and full professors, in any track. Instructors and research associates must provide a letter from their department chair establishing that the applicant will receive an appointment as an assistant professor by the time of the award. Adjunct faculty are not eligible to apply. Awards must be expended on University of Pennsylvania facilities, equipment and/or associated University technical staff and undergraduate students.
Detailed information, including application materials, can be found at http://research.upenn.edu/urf
Spring 2018 University Research Foundation Awards
In the recent Spring 2018 cycle of Penn’s internally-funded University Research Foundation, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research announced awards (Conference and Seminar Support denoted by *) to the following members of the faculty for the projects listed below.
Spring 2018 University Research Foundation Awards
Erol Akçay, Biology, SAS, Evolution of social and genomic complexity
*Daud Ali, South Asia Studies, SAS, Money Use in Precolonial South Asia
Montserrat Anguera, Biomedical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Influence of altered X-linked gene dosage on the microbiome during autoimmunity
*Jaya Aysola, Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Perelman School of Medicine, Health Equity Week 2019
*Deborah Becker, School of Nursing, PennDemic: An Interprofessional Infectious Disease Outbreak Simulation
Paco Bravo, Radiology, Perelman School of Medicine, Somatostatin Receptor Imaging in Patients with Suspected Cardiac Sarcoidosis
Kathleen Brown, History, SAS, Beyond Free Speech and Safe Space: Reimagining Open Expression, Inclusion and Argument
Lily Brown, Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, Integrating Suicide and Trauma-Focused Treatment to reduce Suicide Risk
Janis Burkhardt, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, A mouse model for X-linked moesin-associated immunodeficiency
Marija Drndic, Physics and Astronomy, SAS, Topological insulator nanoelectronic devices: engineering surface state towards spintronics and quantum computing applications
Roy Hamilton, Neurology, Perelman school of Medicine, Using Virtual Reality and Brain Stimulation to Detect and Characterize Spatial Neglect
Brent Helliker, Biology, SAS, The hydraulic legacy of C4 evolution: Phylogenetic, physiological and genetic controls on water transport in C3 and C4 grasses
*Joseph Kable, Psychology, SAS, Conference Support for the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroeconomics
Sampath Kannan, CIS, Engineering and Applied Science, Understanding Communities and Relationships from Data
Bomyi Lim, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Engineering and Applied Science, Characterization of Pol II elongation rate in living embryos
Ignacio Lopez, Romance Languages, SAS, Archival Work—Galdos’ Rosalia manuscript
*Catriona MacLeod, Germanic Languages and Literature, SAS, Romantic Prints on the Move
Michele Margolis, Political Science, SAS, Competing identities, values, and preferences: white evangelical Christians in American politics
Ramah McKay, History and Sociology of Science, SAS, Making an African medical market: Private clinics and transnational capital in Mozambique and India
Marcy Norton, History, SAS, The Tame and the Wild: People and Animals after 1492
Aurelie Ouss, Criminology, SAS, Using Feedback to Improve Performance in Criminal Justice
Eugene Park, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, SAS, A Concise History of Korea
*Kevin Platt, Russian and East European Studies, SAS, Your Language—My Ear 2019: Russian and American Poetry in Conversation and Translation
*Guthrie Ramsey, Music, SAS, Sound, Gender, and the Color Line
Janine Remillard, Graduate School of Education, Improving Novice Teachers’ Instructional Practices in Mathematics: Translating Learning from Teacher Education
*Gareth Roberts, Linguistics, SAS, Penn Symposium on Cultural Evolution and Global Social Dynamics
*Adam Smith, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, SAS, Script and Sound in Old Chinese
Nancy Steinhardt, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, SAS, The Borders of Chinese Architecture
*James Sykes, Music, SAS, Sounding the Indian Ocean: Musical Circulations in the Afro-Asiatic Seascape
Patrick Walsh, Chemistry, SAS, New Polymerization Reactions with Organocatalysts
Joshua Wand, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Perelman School of Medicine, Positioning Entropy in Proteins for Exploitation for Drug Design
*Michael Weisberg, Philosophy, SAS, Killing Cats to Save Finches: Perspectives on Invasive Species and Conservation Policy
Richard Weller, Landscape Architecture, Design, Atlas for the End of the World—Atlas for the Beginning of the Anthropocene
Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity: November 2
The Vice Provost for Research, in partnership with the deans, established the Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity to encourage a broad spectrum of candidates to pursue research careers in academia.
Now in its ninth year, the program seeks to attract promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups and other diverse populations whose life experience, research experience and employment background will contribute significantly to the University’s academic mission. Fellowships are available for postdoctoral training in all areas of study at Penn.
Fellows receive a stipend of $50,000 in year 1, with $2,000 increments in years 2 and 3, as well as annual allowances for travel ($2,000) and research ($5,000) and a one-time relocation allowance of $5,000. The University also provides a medical, vision, dental and life insurance benefits package. Successful candidates will receive highly mentored scholarly and research training, as well as courses and workshops to enhance their research success skills.
The application deadline is November 2, 2018. Complete details about the program can be found at http://research.upenn.edu/postdoc