Vijay Bhoj, Kara Maxwell and Elizabeth Grice: Burroughs Wellcome Fund Awards
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has awarded a total of $1.9 million in grants to three University of Pennsylvania researchers. Vijay Bhoj and Kara Maxwell were both awarded the Fund’s 2017 Career Awards for Medical Scientists, while Penn Medicine dermatology expert Elizabeth A. Grice is the recipient of the 2017 Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infection Disease Award.
Dr. Bhoj, a Blood Bank/Transfusion Clinical Fellow at Penn, and Dr. Maxwell an instructor in the division of hematology-oncology, are among 12 physicians who will each receive a five-year, $700,000 grant. Dr. Bhoj’s grant will fund his research on the development of CAR T-cell immunotherapy for the prevention and eradication of FVIII inhibitors in Hemophilia A.
Dr. Maxwell, whose work focuses on care and research for patients with hereditary cancers, will use the grant to fund her study of tumors from patients with inherited mutations in DNA repair genes, with a specific focus on the genetic makeup of those tumors and how those genes may affect response to targeted therapies.
Dr. Grice, an assistant professor of dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine, was chosen for the five-year, $500,000 award for her research proposal on skin microbiome functions in colonization resistance to pathogens. She is one of 12 recipients.
Dr. Grice, whose lab uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand how microbial communities coexist and interact with the skin of their host in health and disease, will use the award to further investigate how microbial communities colonizing healthy skin are protective against colonization and/or infection by pathogenic microorganisms such as Staphylococcus aureus.
Amy Gutmann and David Cohen:
US Semiquincentennial Commission
Penn President Amy Gutmann and David L. Cohen, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees and senior executive vice president of Comcast Corporation, were recently named to the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, which will plan for the 250th anniversary in 2026 of American independence.
“By law, the Commission will convene its meetings at Independence Hall in Philadelphia,” according to USA250, the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit planning for the United States Semiquincentennial. “Its recommendations will give special emphasis to locations of historical significance to the United States, to individuals who have made a significant impact on the nation’s development, and to the ideas that have advanced the ‘quest for freedom of all mankind.’”
Kang Ko: Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award
Kang Ko, D’ 15, a resident in Penn Dental Medicine’s combined periodontics and Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD) program, received the Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (Parent-K08) from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). The Parent-K08 grant will provide support for his research activities throughout his five-year postdoctoral program.
Dr. Ko is conducting research under the mentorship of Dana Graves, vice dean for research & scholarship and professor in the department of periodontics. Dr. Ko is currently investigating the effect of diabetes on mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) during hard and soft tissue wound healing. Dr. Ko’s research with Dr. Graves has three goals—to establish the important role of intrinsic NF-κB in regulating the number and function of MSCs during fracture and gingival wound healing under diabetic conditions; to investigate whether diabetes alters the regulation of genes associated with delayed healing and determine if this is reversed by inhibiting NF-κB activation in MSCs; and to determine whether NF-κB inhibitor is a novel treatment for diabetic fracture and gingival wound healing by improving MSC activities.