Anil K. Rustgi, MD, and Hongzhe Li, PhD

PHILADELPHIA—Anil K. Rustgi, MD, chief of the division of Gastroenterology and T. Grier Miller Professor of Medicine and Genetics, and Hongzhe Li, PhD, a professor of biostatistics in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, both at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

This year, 396 AAAS members have been selected as fellows by their peers because of their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

Rustgi was selected for “contributions to cancer biology, including the identification of p120 catenin [a protein located in the cytoplasm of cells] as a tumor suppressor, and for insights into the tumor microenvironment.” His research interests include oncogenes -- mutated normal genes that contribute to tumor growth -- tumor suppressor genes, and the molecular genetics of GI cancers, including those of the colon, pancreatic, and esophagus. He has been a leader in 3D culture systems.

Rustgi received his medical degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in molecular biochemistry & biophysics from Yale University. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School and was a clinical and research fellow in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital prior to his recruitment to Penn.

Li was selected for “distinguished contributions to statistical genetics methodology, promotion of statistical reasoning in society, and modeling of high dimensional genomic and metagenomic data.” His research interests include statistical genetics/genomics and metagenomics [the study of the genetic material of entire microbial communities in environmental samples], with the goal of understanding the genetic and genomic bases of complex biological systems, including the initiation and development of human diseases.

Li received his doctorate in statistics from the University of Washington and a bachelor of science in mathematics from Peking University.

This year’s AAAS fellows will be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science on November 24 and formally recognized on February 17 during the 2018 AAAS annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

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 $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 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 $496 million awarded in the 2020 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; 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 powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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