Raquel Gur, MD, PhD, and Ruben Gur, PhD
The Schizophrenia International Research Society has named Raquel Gur, MD, PhD, and Ruben Gur, PhD, as its 2019 Outstanding Translational Research Awardees. The two received the award at the 2019 International Congress of the Schizophrenia International Research Society in Orlando, Fla. in April.
Raquel Gur is the Karl and Linda Rickels Professor of Psychiatry, Vice Chair of Research Development, Co-Director of the Penn Translational Neuroscience Center and Director of the Lifespan Brain Institute in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She also holds secondary professorial appointments in the departments of Neurology and Radiology.
Ruben Gur is a professor in the departments of Psychiatry, Radiology, and Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and director of the Brain Behavior Laboratory. Together, they have revolutionized the approach to complex problems of emotion and social cognition in health and disease.
Maayan Levy, PhD, an assistant professor of Microbiology, has been named one of the 15 Searle Scholars for 2019, each of whom received $300,000 in flexible funding to support his or her work over the next three years. The Searle Scholars Program provides grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry, who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track. Levy’s lab works on understanding communication between the gut microbiome and host immunity, focusing on intestinal epithelial cells as mediators of this interaction. Levy received her doctoral degree from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, before starting her lab at Penn in 2018. She has also received the Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Research, the Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation Award, and the Keystone Symposia Future of Science Fund Scholarship.
Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, the Albert M. Kligman Associate Professor of Dermatology, and Amit Bar-Or, MD, FRCPC, a professor of Neurology and director of the Center for Neuroinflammation and Experimental Therapeutics (CNET), will lead a new NIAID-funded Autoimmunity Center of Excellence at Penn. This makes Penn one of five clinical ACEs across the country. The grant of $4.5 million provides funding for five years to perform cutting-edge clinical and translational research to advance the understanding of human autoimmunity. The Penn ACE program will focus on B cells as drivers of autoimmunity for three debilitating and potentially life-threatening autoimmune diseases—pemphigus vulgaris, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Payne is co-PI and administrative director, Bar-Or is co-PI and clinical project leader, and Nina T. Luning Prak, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, serves as the collaborative project leader.
Daniel J. Rader, MD
Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of Genetics, has been elected a new member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is among two other University of Pennsylvania Penn faculty who will be recognized for their excellence and accomplishments in their respective fields. Rader, a physician-scientist whose focus is heart disease prevention, has made world-renowned contributions to the understanding of the genetics and physiology of lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis. Rader has used cutting-edge genomics techniques to identify new genes and pathways involved in heart disease. He has also made crucial translational discoveries related to triglycerides, HDL (or “good” cholesterol), and a rare genetic disorder characterized by extremely high levels of LDL (so-called “bad” cholesterol). Rader is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the National Academy of Medicine, among many other honors.
From left to right: Jinbo Chen, PhD, Rebecca Hubbard, PhD, and Nandita Mitra, PhD
Three faculty members in the department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics have been named fellows of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the field’s largest and most prestigious professional organization in the United States.
Jinbo Chen, PhD, a professor of Biostatistics, was honored by the ASA for developing innovative statistical methods with cutting edge public health applications; for outstanding scientific collaborations; for exceptional mentoring; and for generous service to the community. Her research has focused on efficient design and analytical methods for biomedical studies that involve complex outcome dependent sampling; risk prediction and risk model evaluation towards precision medicine; statistical methods for genetic epidemiology; and, recently, analysis of electronic health record (EHR) data. Chen’s methods research has been largely application driven, motivated by her collaborative projects on breast cancer risk prediction, breast imaging biomarker evaluation, maternal and child health, and cardiovascular health studies using Penn Medicine and Veteran Affairs EHRs.
Rebecca Hubbard, PhD, an associate professor of Biostatistics, was honored by the ASA for her contributions to the analysis of electronic health records and study of cancer epidemiology and service to the society as a leader of the Biometrics section—ASA’s largest section for biostatisticians. Her research focuses on the development and application of statistical methodology for studies that use observational data from clinical medical practice. This work encompasses evaluation of screening and diagnostic test performance, methods for comparative-effectiveness studies, and health-services research.
Nandita Mitra, PhD, a professor of Biostatistics, vice chair of Faculty Professional Development, chair of the Graduate Group in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and co-director of the Center for Causal Inference, was honored for the development of statistical methods for cost and cost-effectiveness estimation from observational data and for developing innovative causal methods for cancer comparative effectiveness studies. She was also lauded for her dedicated service and leadership on statistical societies, editorial boards, and NIH/NSF study sections.