PHILADELPHIA — Eleven researchers from the Division of Gastroenterology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have been awarded a total of $6.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health. This year’s awards include ten K series career advancement grants and one Early Independence Award (a K series equivalent grant). The grants given to the 11 assistant professors, instructors and research associates will be used over the next two to five years to explore a range of topics related to GI health including chronic liver diseases, Hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, esophageal diseases, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and cancer treatment.

“We are so proud of the high-caliber research being conducted by these young investigators,” said Anil K. Rustgi, chief of the division of Gastroenterology. “It’s an honor to have their efforts recognized by the NIH. These awards are a result of the focus and hard work each of them has demonstrated, but also they reflect the dedication of their mentors’ and our Division’s cohesive approach to career and professional development. We are excited to see the valuable contributions their research will make to the fields of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and look forward to the establishment of their independent careers.”

The NIH’s K awards are designed to promote the career development of specific groups of individuals based on their past training and career stage. The objective of these programs is to bring candidates to the point where they are able to conduct their research independently and are competitive for additional grant support.

Among recipients of the groups’ K series career awards is Rotonya Carr, MD, who earlier this year was also named the recipient of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The other Penn GI researchers who received awards are Drs. Meenakshi Bewtra, Kimberly Forde, David Goldberg, Blair Madison, Frank Scott, Gregory Sonnenberg, Marie-Pier Tetreault, Vesselin Tomov, and Christina Twyman-St. Victor. Dr. Andrew Rhim, a K series award recipient and former researcher at Penn Medicine, is now on faculty at the University of Michigan.

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.

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