PHILADELPHIA - The Pew Charitable Trusts named Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, PhD, assistant professor of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine, as a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. The program enables scientists to take calculated risks, expand their research and explore unanticipated leads. Scholars receive $240,000 over four years and gain inclusion into a select community of scientists that includes three Nobel Prize winners, three MacArthur Fellows, and two recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the program has invested more than $125 million to fund close to 500 scholars. Dr. Zhou is one of 21 2010 Scholars.

Dr. Zhou completed his doctoral work in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University, working with Dr. Robin Reed and Dr. Tom Maniatis. He then trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Michael Greenberg in the Department of Neurology and Neurobiology of Harvard Medical School. In 2009 he joined the Department of Genetics of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. His work focuses on chemical modifications to DNA, known as epigenetic changes which alter how genes are turned on and off. Many epigenetic changes are reversible, so these changes are an indispensable mechanism for regulating how genes act in tissues such as the brain. A mutation in one protein that controls epigenetic changes is known to cause the Autism Spectrum Disorder, Rett Syndrome. Using a combination of molecular biological approaches and protein studies, Dr. Zhou is investigating how defects in epigenetic mechanisms may lead to intellectual disability. He hopes to develop approaches and tools that will revolutionize how the scientific community investigates the ways epigenetics affect health and disease.

For more information on the Scholars and their research please visit the Pew Charitable Trusts:


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 $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 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 $373 million awarded in the 2015 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 Chestnut Hill Hospital and 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 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.