PHILADELPHIA -- Sarah E. Millar, PhD, the Albert M. Kligman Endowed Professor and vice chair for basic science research in the department of Dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received the 2016 FOCUS Award for the Advancement of Women in Medicine. The award, recently presented at the annual FOCUS fall conference, recognizes “a faculty member at Penn Medicine, male or female, whose outstanding efforts and achievements have promoted the career success, leadership, and overall quality of life for Penn women in academic medicine.”

Millar is an internationally recognized researcher whose principal focus is the development and renewal of skin, hair follicles, teeth, and mammary glands. She has collaborative interests in the areas of lung and heart development.

“Dr. Millar is a highly respected researcher and scholar, outstanding supervisor, and exemplary mentor with an ardent commitment to the development and advancement of younger scientists, students, and post-doctoral fellows,” said Stephanie Abbuhl MD, executive director of FOCUS. “Promoting women’s academic and professional excellence has been a priority throughout her distinguished career. Her mentoring has had a profound effect on numerous Penn-based young researchers, as well as nationally and internationally. And she regularly plays an active role in many initiatives here at Penn, bringing clear vision and exceptional levels of energy and dedication to every project.”

In addition to her strong supervising and mentoring record, Millar was cited for serving as chair of the School of Medicine’s Child Care Task Force during 2013-14, when she led the planning of a child care center at Penn Medicine, which is slated to open in 2018. In this capacity “she visited every major child care organization in the … mid-Atlantic region as well as several local providers to identify the most qualified candidates to meet the needs of [the School’s] early career women.” Moreover, she “was a skilled facilitator during the many challenging meetings that required persistent problem solving to make this long-standing promise a reality.” 

Millar has worked extensively with fellow Penn Medicine senior women faculty members and the school’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity to identify and rectify space and salary constraints hindering women’s progress in the basic sciences.  In April 2016 she co-organized a symposium on gender bias in scientific publishing, which featured presentations and discussions with editors of the journals Cell, Science, and JAMA, examining ways to enhance gender equity in publishing in top-tier journals.

After receiving her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Cambridge University, Millar earned her PhD in molecular biology from the University of London and then trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the NIH and at Stanford University. In addition to her roles in the department of Dermatology, Millar holds secondary appointments in the department of Cell and Developmental Biology and in the School of Dental Medicine. She also is principal investigator and director of the Penn Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center; principal investigator of the Penn dermatology research training grant; co-director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine Program in Epithelial Stem Cells and Regeneration; and member of the internal advisory boards for the Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Penn Training Program in Rheumatic Diseases.

She is a member of the editorial boards of Developmental Cell and Experimental Dermatology, and has served on many national and international grant review committees. Millar has received several awards for her research accomplishments, including an NIH MERIT Award for her work on Wnt signaling in the skin and the 2017 William Montagna Lectureship Award of the Society for Investigative Dermatology.

FOCUS on Health & Leadership for Women is a Penn Medicine-based program that supports the advancement and leadership of women in academic medicine and promotes education and research in women’s health and women's careers.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, excellence in patient care, and community service. The organization consists of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Penn’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school.

The Perelman School of Medicine is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $550 million awarded in the 2022 fiscal year. Home to a proud history of “firsts” in medicine, Penn Medicine teams have pioneered discoveries and innovations that have shaped modern medicine, including recent breakthroughs such as CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities stretch from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania to the New Jersey shore. These include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and Pennsylvania Hospital—the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is an $11.1 billion enterprise powered by more than 49,000 talented faculty and staff.

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