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illustration by Michael Eli

BIOETHICS
Glenn McGee on Brits,
Yanks and … Male Birthing

Last fall, Dr. Glenn McGee, assistant professor of bioethics and associate director for education at Penn’s Center for Bioethics, traveled to Britain as an Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy. There he found himself straddling the fault lines of an ever-shifting field in which the very essence of life is subject to cloning, patenting and politics. Continued...

COMINGS AND GOINGS
Peter, We Hardly Knew Ye
Just four months after being named the permanent CEO of the University’s Medical Center and Health System, Dr. Peter G. Traber announced that he would be leaving Penn to become head of clinical pharmacology and experimental medicine at GlaxoSmithKline, the health-care company that will represent the proposed merger of SmithKlineBeecham and Glaxo Wellcome. Continued...

illustration by Pieter HorjusETHICS AND THE INTERNET
Family Secrets for Sale?
Ask Your Kids (and Offer a Gift)
The fact that the phrase generation gap isn’t used much anymore does not mean that the phenomenon has disappeared. In a recent study for the Annenberg Public Policy Center titled “The Internet and the Family 2000: The View from Parents/The View from Kids,” Dr. Joseph Turow found that when it comes to the intersecting realms of family privacy and the Internet, a significant generation gap exists. Continued...

POLITICS AND THE MEDIA
The Media, the Message and the Meaning
Millions of television viewers will tune in this fall to watch Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush match rhetorical wits, and will stay tuned as the networks report who won each debate. What they probably won’t realize is that the polls designed to gauge a winner are “rigged,” says Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Continued...
photo by Sylvia Plachy


THE HUMANITIES

The Substance of Style
Style (stil) n. 1. The way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed. 2. The combination of distinctive features of literary or artistic expression, execution, or performance characterizing a particular person, group, school, or era. 3. Sort; type. 4. A quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one’s actions and tastes. Continued...

EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE
IHGT Gets Another Warning from FDA
Penn’s Institute for Human Gene Therapy (IHGT), under fire since an 18-year-old man died while participating in a clinical study last September, received another warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July. Continued...

illustration by John S. Dykes

STUDENT ACTIVITIES
Give Them a Place to Boot Up
and They’ll Wire the World
If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, as the old saying goes, then the journey to wire the world to the Internet begins with a single town. In recent months, two groups of Penn students—connected, to varying degrees, with the School of Engineering and Applied Science—have taken that first step, building technology centers in the West African city of Bamako, Mali, and the Indian city of Pune. To do so, they braved cultural divides, sweltering heat, intestinal parasites—and, in some cases, malaria. Continued...

ARCHAEOLOGY
Roman Corinth:
They Came, They Saw, They Digitized
What do you get when you cross Roman ruins with modern-day computer technology and painstakingly precise surveying data? An archaeological Web site that boasts almost as many special effects as the blockbuster Gladiator. Continued...

 

 


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Copyright 2000 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 8/22/00

DEPARTURES

Rapisarda Leaves
Alumni Relations

Dr. Martin Rapisarda, director of alumni relations since November 1998, has left the University to become assistant dean for executive MBA programs at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. His wife, Elizabeth, has also left her position as director of strategic corporate and foundation initiatives for a similar position at Vanderbilt.
  Virginia Clark, vice president of development and alumni
relations, praised the “vital contributions” of the Rapisardas, adding: “Martin’s leadership in building alumni relations’ on-line community and extending AR’s outreach through the Global Alumni Network have moved Penn forward in realizing its new model for alumni involvement in the 21st century.”

  A national search for his successor is under way. Marilyn Lucas, executive director of medical center development and alumni relations, has been appointed interim director

EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE

Support Wear
for Ailing Hearts

Photo by Addison GearyIt’s made from specially designed polyester, and it fits snugly around the human heart. It’s known as a Cardiac Support Device, and it is stitched into place to prevent diseased heart muscle from further enlargement. And in June, a mother of three became the first person in the United States to try one on, with the help of Dr. Michael A. Acker, associate professor of surgery and surgical director of the heart-transplantation and mechanical-assist program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The woman was the first American participant in a multi-site clinical trial sponsored by ACORN Cardiovascular, Inc., the jacket’s manufacturer. And she is reportedly recovering “very nicely.”
  The heart jacket had been used in Germany, where a clinical safety trial has reportedly shown encouraging results in patients with chronic heart failures. (A continual balloon-like expansion of heart muscle is a characteristic symptom of cardiomyopathy, which results in a steady deterioration of heart-muscle function.) Acker had participated in one such implantation procedure at a Berlin hospital before performing the operation at HUP.
  The U.S. trial is structured to assess the safety and effectiveness of the jacket by observing two randomized patient groups: one treated with the jacket, the other treated without it.
  “It is our belief, based on extensive studies, that those patients in whom the jacket is implanted will have improved heart function,” said Acker. “If we can sustain the clinical improvement for an appropriate length of time, the heart jacket may prevent the need for transplantation in some patients.”