Mitchell A. Lazar Recognized For Research In Endocrinology, Obesity, and Diabetes
Virginia M.-Y. Lee Recognized for Research In Alzheimer's Disease

(Philadelphia, PA) - Two researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have received $1 million in no-strings attached grants from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Biomedical Research Program to support their work in the fields of metabolic and neuroscience research. Today, at a ceremony on Penn's campus the researchers, Mitchell A. Lazar, MD, PhD., and Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD., will each receive a check for $500,000.

The unrestricted nature of the grants allows researchers to put the support where it is most needed and gives scientists the freedom to pursue uncharted paths. Both researchers plan to use their unrestricted grants to further the research capabilities of their laboratories.

"It is a wonderful honor for an institution to count a single recipient of a Bristol-Myers Squibb research grant among its faculty, let alone two such researchers honored in a single year," said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. "Mitchell Lazar and Virginia Lee represent the spirit of medical science at Penn - they each excel at studying the basic molecular underpinnings of a disease, yet still manage to focus on translating their findings into medical practice."

Lazar, a Professor in Penn's Departments of Medicine and Genetics, Chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolics, and Director of the Penn Diabetes Center, is an internationally known expert in nuclear hormone receptors and the regulation of gene transcription. His research grant will further support his groundbreaking research into hormone regulation of gene expression. Simeon Taylor, MD, PhD, Vice President, Hopewell Biology, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Princeton, New Jersey, will present a check to Lazar.

"Dr. Lazar's research on the endocrine and metabolic aspects of gene regulation is highly regarded by scientists throughout the world, with implications even in the field of oncology research," said Taylor. "Recently, he has provided new insights into insulin resistance in type II diabetes and the relationship between obesity and diabetes. We are proud to welcome Dr. Lazar to the distinguished roster of scientists participating in our unrestricted metabolic research grants program."

Lee, a Professor in Penn's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, is a world leader in the field of Alzheimer's disease and dementias. Frank D. Yocca, PhD, Executive Director, Neuroscience Clinical Design and Evaluation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Princeton, will present a check to Lee.

"Dr. Lee is clearly a world leader in the field of Alzheimer's disease and dementias," said Yocca. "Her discoveries in the biochemistry and pathophysiology of these diseases have contributed new understandings of how these diseases develop and progress. Dr. Lee adds an exciting new dimension to the work of scientists currently participating in our unrestricted neuroscience research grants program."

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Biomedical Research Grants Program offers the world's premier research institutions the opportunity to pursue new clinical and laboratory findings, support promising young scientists, or acquire new laboratory technology - with no strings attached.

Initiated in 1977, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has awarded unrestricted research grants to support research in the fields of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, neuroscience and nutrition. Through the Bristol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Biomedical Research Grants Program, the Foundation has committed over $100 million in support of 240 grants to 150 institutions in 22 countries worldwide.

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Editor's Note: For a biography and photo of Dr. Lazar, click here. For a biography and photo of Dr. Lee, click here.


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 $7.8 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 $405 million awarded in the 2017 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 Medicine Princeton 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, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.

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