Abdul-Qadir Islam and
Rebecca Kuss: Southern Poverty Law Center Fellows
Penn graduate students Abdul-Qadir Islam and Rebecca Kuss have been selected as fellows in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project. They will spend a semester working to improve the teaching of the history of slavery in K-12 schools across the nation by curating historical documents and other teaching materials to create a readily-available resource of free, trusted and well-researched materials about the topic for teachers.
Teaching Tolerance is a multi-year initiative dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for children across the country. It produces and distributes anti-bias education resources at no cost to teachers.
Ivan Kuznetsov and
Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans
Ivan Kuznetsov, an MD/PhD student in the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Penn alumna Roxana Moussavian have been awarded the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a graduate school fellowship for immigrants and children of immigrants to the United States.
Fellows were chosen from among 1,775 applicants based on their potential to make significant contributions to US society, culture or their academic field. They will receive as much as $90,000 in funding over two years for the graduate program of their choice.
Mr. Kuznetsov is currently researching the computationally driven design of new proteins with functions not found in nature — which could potentially be applied to a variety of medical tasks — with support from the National Institutes of Health through the Medical Scientist Training Program. He is the son of Russian immigrants and was born in the US but spent his early years living in Russia and Austria.
Ms. Moussavian, C’11, is an entrepreneur, policy adviser and storyteller who is currently studying at Yale Law School. She is the daughter of Iranian immigrants and was born in upstate New York and raised in California. While studying at Penn, she co-founded a nonprofit that helps students from around the world obtain quality education by connecting them directly with donors through an online crowdfunding platform.
Charles O’Brien, Michael Milone and Aimee Payne: Clinical Research Achievement Award
Two research teams from Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine are among the recipients of the 2017 Clinical Research Achievement Award from the Clinical Research Forum. The award recognizes the 10 most outstanding research papers of the year.
Charles P. O’Brien, founding director of the Center for Addiction Treatment at Penn Medicine and holder of the Kenneth Appel Chair in Psychiatry, was awarded for creating the first US large-scale clinical trial of extended-release naltrexone for treating opioid addiction.
Aimee S. Payne, the Albert M. Kligman Associate Professor of Dermatology, and Michael C. Milone, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, received the award for their research using chimeric autoantibody receptor (CAAR) T cells as a targeted therapy of autoimmunity.
Dr. O’Brien is being acknowledged for his research of a novel approach to opioid addiction treatment. Instead of the standard treatment of daily doses of methadone, Dr. O’Brien and his colleagues used monthly injections of naltrexone, an opioid receptor antagonist drug that prevents the body from responding to opioids. The study was conducted at five sites in the Northeast on patients with a history of opioid addiction who had been recently released from criminal justice restrictions. After 24 weeks of treatment, patients who were randomly assigned to naltrexone experienced a longer median time to relapse and a lower rate of relapse than those assigned to usual treatment. In addition, patients in the naltrexone group had no opioid overdoses while the comparison group had seven overdoses. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Drs. Payne and Milone, along with postdoctoral fellow Christoph T. Ellebrecht, were honored for creating a new approach to re-engineer chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells to treat the autoimmune disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV), a condition in which a patient’s own immune cells attack a protein called desmoglein-3 (Dsg3) that normally adheres skin cells. This new method removes the subset of antibody-making cells that cause an autoimmune disease, but unlike current therapies, it does so without harming the rest of the immune system. The researchers used their technique to successfully treat an otherwise fatal autoimmune disease in a mouse model, without apparent off-target effects, which could harm healthy tissue. The results are published in the AAAS online journal Science.
Barbara Savage: Harmsworth
Visiting Professor, Oxford
Barbara D. Savage, historian and the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought in the department of Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, has been chosen as the Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford for the 2018-2019 academic year. Dr. Savage will also be a Fellow at The Queen’s College and be affiliated with the faculty at Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute.
As visiting professor, Dr. Savage will deliver a major fall lecture, assist with seminars and organize a symposium or conference related to American history. She will also focus on completing her study of Merze Tate, a diplomatic historian who was the first African-American woman to receive a graduate degree from Oxford, in 1935.
“It will be a great honor to be at Oxford,” Dr. Savage said. “I look forward to sharing my work on African-American history with faculty and students there.”
Dr. Savage , is the chair of the Africana studies department. She teaches courses in 20th-century African-American history, the history of American religious and social reform movements and the history of the relationship between media and politics.
The Harmsworth Professorship, established in 1922, has been awarded twice previously to Penn faculty members: Richard Beeman in 2003 and Richard Dunn in 1987.
Christopher Yoo: FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee
Christopher S. Yoo, the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science at Penn Law, was recently appointed to the Federal Communications Commission’s newly created Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) by FCC chairman Ajit Pai.
The mission of the 29-member committee is to provide advice and make recommendations to the FCC on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed (broadband) internet access by reducing and removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment.
Professor Yoo is a leading authority on law and technology whose research focuses on the principles of network engineering and the economics of imperfect competition can provide insights into the regulation of electronic communications. He is also founding director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition (CTIC), which is conducting a project analyzing which approaches to increasing Internet connectivity are most effective and efficient.