Awards & Prizes


Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology, and Katherine A. High, MD, of Spark Therapeutics, received the $1 Million Lorraine Cross Award from the Sanford Foundation for their groundbreaking research in gene therapy that helps cure an inherited form of blindness. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the therapy, for confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy. It became the nation’s first gene therapy approved for the treatment of a genetic disease, and the first in which a new, corrective gene is injected directly into a patient. Bennett and High accepted the award in Sioux Falls, SD.



A team led by Barry Fuchs, MD, medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit and Respiratory Care Department and a professor of Medicine, was named a Digital Edge 50 Award winner for the Awakening Breathing Coordination (ABC) Program. The multidisciplinary team which included physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, data scientists and software developers from the Critical Care Committee, Information Services, Penn Medicine Center for Healthcare Innovation, and the Penn E-lert eICU. Using clinical decision support algorithms developed with help from the Center for Predictive Medicine, the ABC program is designed to allow patients to be weaned from sedation and mechanical ventilation at the earliest appropriate time through the display of real-time data on an electronic dashboard and by alerting clinicians through mobile devices. By removing patients from ventilators earlier so they can breathe on their own, care teams can shorten patients’ stay in the ICU, reduce the costs associated with their care, and improve patients’ overall experience, both physically and mentally. Presented by CIO magazine and the CIO Executive Council, Digital Edge 50 Awards recognize 50 organizations making “great strides toward being digital-centric businesses.” The winners will receive their awards at the AGENDA19 conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in March.


Saar I. Gill, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center, received The Mark Foundation’s inaugural Emerging Leader Awards. Gill is one of eight recipients of the award, which includes a grant and recognizes promising early career scientists for projects aimed at improving cancer risk prediction, prevention, detection, and treatment. Gill’s project is titled, “Commoditizing Adoptive Cell Therapy: Towards in Vivo CAR T-Cell Manufacturing.”




Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD, chair of Psychiatry, was awarded the 2018 Delores Shockley Minority Mentoring Award by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). The award recognizes an ACNP member who has been successful in mentoring young scientists from underrepresented groups in the field of neuropsychopharmacology and related disciplines. Oquendo was honored for her passion and dedication to a diverse medical and academic workforce. The award was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the ACNP in Hollywood, Fla.




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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