News Release
Zoltan Arany, MD, PhD
Susan M. Domchek, MD
Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD
David J. Margolis, MD, PhD
Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD
Drew Weissman, MD, PhD

PHILADELPHIA —Six physician-scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have been elected to the Association of American Physicians, one of the nation’s most prestigious medical organizations whose members include Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine.

The Penn inductees are: Zoltan Arany, MD, PhD; Susan Domchek, MD; Scott Halpern, MD, PhD; David Margolis, MD, PhD; Maria Oquendo, MD, PhD; and Drew Weissman, MD, PhD.

The Association of American Physicians, founded in 1885, is an elected society of physician-scientists who “exemplify the pinnacle of pioneering and enduring, impactful contributions to improve health.” Its mission includes the advancement of basic and clinical science through experimentation and discovery, and application of findings to clinical medicine. Each year, individuals who have “attained excellence in achieving these goals” are selected to become members of the Association.

Zoltan Arany, MD, PhD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, focuses his laboratory research on cardiovascular metabolism, such as rates of energy consumption. Abnormal metabolism can lead to various diseases, including heart failure and diabetes, while optimal metabolism is linked to improved exercise performance and beneficial effects on chronic diseases and aging. His most recent research includes identifying pathway that leads to insulin resistance in mice and humans, and understanding maternal cardiac disease during pregnancy.

Susan M. Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA, is a nationally recognized expert in breast cancer genetics, breast cancer risk and prevention, and breast cancer treatment. Her research focuses on the management of women at high risk of breast cancer, particularly those with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, including targeting these genetic mutations for improved cancer treatment and developing new cancer therapies, such as PARP inhibitors, for breast cancer.

Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, a professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and a practicing critical care physician, is the founding director of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center, which generates evidence to improve the lives of people affected by serious illness. He is also founding director of the Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science initiative, which applies behavioral economic principles to understand and improve health decisions of seriously ill patients, their caregivers, and clinicians.

David J. Margolis, MD, PhD, a professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology, and a practicing dermatologist, whose research focuses on the epidemiology of dermatologic illnesses such as chronic wounds and atopic dermatitis. Chronic wounds, which affect more than two percent of older Americans, include diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers. Atopic dermatitis affects about ten percent of children and adults. He has helped establish Penn as a leader in DermatoEpidemilogy.

Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD, the Ruth Meltzer Professor of Psychiatry and Chair of the department of Psychiatry, has expertise in the diagnosis, pharmacologic treatment, and neurobiology of bipolar disorder and major depression, with emphases on suicidal behavior and global mental health. She and colleagues developed a classification system, now used worldwide, for identifying and tracking suicide risk.

Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, a professor of Infectious Diseases and an allergist-immunologist, focuses his laboratory research on the study of RNA and innate immune-system biology and the application of these findings to vaccine research, including for HIV, and gene therapy. His work aims to create vaccines that are safer, more effective, and faster to make than standard injections. Among his findings, he has provided evidence of promising immune responses in both mice and monkeys to a new Zika vaccine candidate.

The Penn Medicine inductees are part of the 2019 class of 60 new members.

A full list of new 2019 Association members is available on the Association of American Physicians website.


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 $8.6 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 $494 million awarded in the 2019 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 43,900 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 2019, Penn Medicine provided more than $583 million to benefit our community.

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