(Philadelphia, PA) - James G. Hecker, PhD, MD, has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesia, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

In 1982, Dr. Hecker attended the University of Washington, where he earned his PhD in Chemical/Biomedical Engineering. He went on to receive his MD from the University of Virginia in 1989. He completed his residency in Anesthesiology and fellowship in Molecular Biology (with a National Institutes of Health Research Training Grant), at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hecker is actively researching ways to deliver genes for short-term gene expression without using viruses. This non-viral gene approach uses lipids to enable DNA and messenger RNA to get into cells and organs. His primary goal is to use these methods to deliver genes to protect the brain or spinal cord before risky types of surgery, or to minimize secondary injury to the brain or spinal cord after stroke or traumatic injury. To support his research, he has received grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-one of the National Institutes of Health, the Foundation for Anesthesia and Education Research, and the American Heart Association, among others.

He is a member of several professional societies including the Society for Neuroscience, the American Society of Gene Therapy, National Society of Neurotrama, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Anesthesia Research Society. He is an ad-hoc reviewer for the Journal of Neuroscience and Molecular Therapy. Dr. Hecker has authored or co-authored research in publications including the American Journal of Anesthesiology, Molecular Therapy and Biomedical Engineering. He has been invited to lecture on several occasions, most recently at the 5th Annual National Meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy in Boston, on the topic, "Clinical Applications: When is Short Term Expression Better?"


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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2016, Penn Medicine provided $393 million to benefit our community.

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