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Honors and Other Things

January 10, 2012, Volume 58, No. 17

Educator of the Year: Dr. Apisarnthanarax
Dr. Smith Apisarnthanarax, assistant professor and associate residency program director, department of radiation oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine, was named Educator of the Year by the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO), in partnership with the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). The award honors top teachers and mentors of radiation oncology residents. Dr. Apisarnthanarax is involved in the training of 15 residents.

Senior Scholar: Dr. Eberwine
Dr. James Eberwine, professor of pharmacology at the Perelman School of Medicine, received a Senior Scholar Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation. The $600,000 award, which supports biological research in aging, will be disbursed over the next four years. He is one of 20 investigators to receive this award.

Dr. Eberwine’s team will study the translation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in dendrites—the ends of nerve cells—as a function of aging to ascertain whether dendritic protein synthesis contributes to the cognitive decline often associated with the aging process.  This line of work will try to answer if the decrease in neural connections seen in aging can be modulated through regulation of dendritic protein synthesis.

ACL Fellows
Dr. Aravind Joshi, Henry Salvatori Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, and Mitchell Marcus, RCA Professor of Artificial Intelligence, have been named Fellows by the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). Both are faculty in the department of computer and information science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. Joshi was cited for “significant contributions to the mathematics of natural language and for the development of TAGs (tree-adjoining grammars).” Dr. Marcus was cited for “significant contributions to deterministic parsing and The Penn Treebank.”

UMDF Grant: Dr. Kaufman
The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) has awarded Dr. Brett A. Kaufman, assistant professor in the department of animal biology at School of Veterinary Medicine, a $120,000 grant to study the role that mtDNA copy number control plays in the development of disease. Dr. Kaufman’s grant was also selected for the UMDF Chairman’s Award for the top grant this year. This work will allow researchers to better understand the mtDNA depletion syndromes and other complex human diseases whose pathogenesis involves mtDNA deletion or depletion, such as neurodegenerative diseases.

Chair of AHA Section: Dr. Ludmir
Dr. Jack Ludmir, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital, was appointed the 2011 chair of the Section for Maternal and Child Health of the American Hospital Association (AHA). Dr. Ludmir also serves as vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at HUP. He has spearheaded several quality and patient-safety initiatives in obstetrics, including the successful introduction of Philadelphia’s first laborist practice—a model that focuses on providing in-hospital labor and delivery care—at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Book Prize: Dr. McCurry

McCurry Dr. Stephanie McCurry, professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences, has been selected as a winner of the 2011 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for her book, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. The prize is awarded annually by Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. The $25,000 prize will be presented to Dr. McCurry in February.

Ophthalmology Award: Dr. Miller-Ellis
Dr. Eydie Miller-Ellis, professor of clinical ophthalmology in the Perelman School of Medicine and director of the Glaucoma Division at Scheie Eye Institute, was recently presented with the Women in Ophthalmology’s (WIO) Suzanne Veronneau Troutman Award at the 2011 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. The honor recognizes the woman, nominated by the WIO membership, who has done the most over the past year to further women in ophthalmology. Dr. Miller-Ellis was praised for her “efforts to support the careers of women and minorities in Ophthalmology.”

NIH Study: Dr. Reyes
Dr. Teresa M. Reyes, research assistant professor of pharmacology in the Perelman School of Medicine, has been appointed to the NIH Study Section on Neuroendocrinology, Neuroimmunology, Rhythms, and Sleep Study Section. Her research interests include the central nervous system circuitry that controls food intake and metabolism; anorexia and cachexia associated with illness and infection; development of obesity and metabolic syndrome in response to maternal and fetal undernutrition, stress, or infection.

Joseph and Josephine Rabinowitz Award for Excellence in Research: Four Penn Dental Medicine Faculty
Helping to advance new research projects at Penn Dental Medicine is the 2011 Joseph and Josephine Rabinowitz Award for Excellence in Research, presented to four Penn Dental Medicine faculty members at a special luncheon presentation held December 12.

This year’s recipients of the Rabinowitz Award are Dr. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, professor, department of biochemistry; Dr. Jon Korostoff, associate professor of periodontics; Dr. Patricia Miguez, assistant professor, department of periodontics; and Dr. Elisabeth Barton, associate professor, department of anatomy & cell biology. The Award will support a collaboration between Drs. Boesze-Battaglia and Korostoff on a project titled, Defective Lysosome Maturation is Correlated with Chronic Periodontal Disease, and one between Drs. Miguez and Barton on a project titled Evaluation of Natural Cross-Linker Agents as Modulators of Muscle and Bone Growth Factors. Award recipients received $20,000 toward each of these two projects.

This Penn Dental Medicine research award was established in 2002 through the generosity of the late Dr. Joseph “Jose” Rabinowitz, an active member of the School’s biochemistry faculty for 29 years, and his wife, Josephine. Dr. Rabinowitz, a native of the Ukraine who grew up in Mexico, held a BS from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and a PhD in organic chemistry from Penn. He joined Penn’s School of Medicine faculty in 1958 and moved to Penn Dental Medicine in 1963, where he served on the active faculty through 1992. Even after becoming professor emeritus, he continued to teach in the biochemistry department until his death in 2009 (Almanac July 14, 2009). Dr. Rabinowitz was known for his research in lipid and steroid biochemistry, and made the seminal discovery that HMG CoA was a key intermediate in cholesterol biosynthesis. His research helped lead to the development of the important class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. 

The Rabinowitzes endowed this award to promote independent research among Penn Dental Medicine faculty members. “This year the award was used to fund new projects that also involve new collaborations among our basic science and clinical faculty,” said Dr. Bruce Shenker, associate dean for research at Penn Dental Medicine. “Promoting research across disciplines was a hallmark of Dr. Rabinowitz’ scientific career, and that legacy continues through this year’s award.”  Josephine Rabinowitz attended the award presentation along with her daughters, Lois and Malva, and son, Marty.

Candidates for the award are selected by a faculty committee. The candidates’ research proposals are evaluated for their scholarly merit, creativity and innovation; the significance of the research; the prospects for future extramural funding; the availability of alternate funding sources; and in the case of junior faculty, evidence that the applicant will be working as an independent investigator and forwarding of the School’s research objectives.


(Seated at left 2nd from right) Josephine Rabinowitz and her children (left to right), Malva, Marty and Lois, with award recipients (standing left to right), Drs. Elisabeth Barton, Patricia Miguez, Jon Korostoff, and Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia.


Psoriasis Grant: Dr. Takeshita
Dr. Junko Takeshita, a post-doctoral fellow and instructor of dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine, received a one-year, $40,000 fellowship grant from the National Psoriasis Foundation. The fellowship pairs an early career doctor with an experienced investigator. Dr. Takeshita is working in collaboration with Dr. Joel M. Gelfand, assistant professor of dermatology, to study cardiovascular risk in psoriasis and the effectiveness of available therapies.

Leader in Innovation: Dr. Trerotola
Dr. Scott O. Trerotola, the Stanley Baum Professor of Radiology and professor of surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine, received the 2011 Leaders in Innovation Award from the Society of Interventional Radiology. The honor recognizes an individual who has conceptualized and implemented an idea that has had an impact on the practice of interventional radiology. Dr. Trerotola, who is also associate chair and chief of vascular and interventional radiology, holds eight patents. His extensive contributions to the field of hemodialysis access interventions have helped shape the role of interventional radiology in this field.

Physician of the Year: Dr. Wade
Dr. Kelly C. Wade, a neonatologist at Pennsylvania Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was named Physician of the Year by PRO-LC, a local organization that promotes, supports, and protects breastfeeding. Dr. Wade, an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics in the Perelman School of Medicine, worked with nurses and lactation consultants to create an education module that supports NICU babies and their parents in establishing breastfeeding. She also ensures that medical students learn about breastfeeding during their training.

Penn-made President: Dr. Warden
Dr. P. Gregory Warden, a 1972 graduate of the College, will become the fourth president of Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Warden is currently the University Distinguished Professor of Art History and associate dean for research and academic affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Most Beautiful College Libraries: Fisher Fine Arts Library

fisher fine arts library The Fisher Fine Arts Library is one of the 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World, according to the cultural news and critique website Flavorwire.com. The University of Pennsylvania’s first library building was designed by Frank Furness. The cornerstone was laid in October 1888, and was formally dedicated in February 1891.


Eight Professors: Penn Fellows

Provost Vincent Price and Vice Provost for Faculty Lynn Hollen Lees are pleased to announce the appointment of the fourth cohort of Penn Fellows.

The Penn Fellows program, begun in 2009, provides leadership development to select Penn faculty members in mid-career. It includes opportunities to build cross-campus alliances, meet distinguished academic leaders, think strategically about universities and university governance, and consult with Penn’s senior administrators.

The 2012 Penn Fellows are:

Dr. Patricia D’Antonio, Killebrew-Centis Professor in Undergraduate Education and chair of the department of family and community health in the School of Nursing, who studies the work and worth of nursing in American hospitals and in the fabric of families and communities.

Dr. Emma Dillon, professor and chair of music in the School of Arts and Sciences, who studies medieval music, sound, and manuscripts, especially French musical culture from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries.

Dr. Mark Duggan, professor of business and public policy in the Wharton School, who studies the effect of government expenditure programs (such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) on the behavior of individuals and firms.

Dr. John Hogenesch, associate professor of pharmacology in the Perelman School of Medicine, who studies the mammalian circadian clock, using both genomic and computational tools.

Dr. Benjamin Horton, associate professor of earth and environmental science in the School of Arts and Sciences, who studies the external and internal mechanisms of sea level change, especially its relationship to climate change. 

Dr. Marisa Kozlowski, professor of chemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences, who studies the design of new methods and catalysts for organic synthesis, including both novel computational tools and traditional methods of screening and development.

Dr. Jennifer Lukes, associate professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, who studies the thermal transport phenomena that emerge in nanostructures and nanostructured materials.

Dr. Beth Winkelstein, professor of bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, who studies the mechanisms of injury that produce whiplash, sports-related, and other painful injuries.

Almanac - January 10, 2012, Volume 58, No. 17