Seventeen members of Penn Medicine’s staff and faculty were featured in Cell Press’s list of “1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America.” The list was developed by the Community of Scholars, a group of Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER), recognizing individuals across the country who have made outstanding contributions to science and have demonstrated commitment to serving diverse student populations. By highlighting Black scientists, the Community of Scholars hopes to change the narrative of the definition of a scientist to be more representative of our larger society, while also inspiring the next generation of leaders. The list featured the following members of the Perelman School of Medicine community:
- Azeez Adebimpe, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Psychiatry
- Jamaal Benjamin, MD, PhD, resident in Radiology
- Donita C. Brady, PhD, Presidential assistant professor of Cancer Biology
- Rotonya Carr, MD, assistant professor of Medicine
- Léolène J. Carrington, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in Hematology/Oncology
- Patrick W. Cherubin, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in Microbiology
- Daphney R. Chery, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in Orthopaedic Surgery
- Chantell S. Evans, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in Physiology
- Suean Fontenard, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Cell & Developmental Biology
- Roy H. Hamilton, MD, MS, associate professor of Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Tiffany King, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in Cellular Immunotherapy and E.E. Just Postgraduate associate fellow
- Raina M. Merchant, MD, associate professor of Emergency Medicine and director of the Center for Digital Health
- Natoya J. Peart, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Medicine
- Richard E. Phillips, MD, PhD, Presidential assistant professor of Neurology
- Avery D. Posey, PhD, assistant professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics
- Erle S. Robertson, PhD, professor of Otorhinolaryngology
- Brittany Taylor, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in Orthopaedic Surgery
Carl H. June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Michael Milone, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and founding member of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, both received the Agilent Thought Leader Award in November. The scientists were recognized for their joint contributions to the field of CAR T-cell mediated cancer immunotherapy, having co-developed Kymriah, the first cell and gene therapy product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Receiving this Agilent award will enable us to improve the generation and characterization of cell-based products and therapeutics,” Milone said.
Bonnie Ky, MD, the Founders Associate Professor of Cardio-Oncology, Cardiovascular Medicine and Epidemiology, received the 2020 ECOG-ACRIN Young Investigator Award, the Group's highest distinction. The Young Investigator Award recognizes extraordinary scientific achievements and research leadership contributions made by investigators during the early years of their careers. A committee composed of previous recipients and ECOG-ACRIN scientific leaders selects one awardee annually. The award was established in 1992 and is funded by the ECOG Research and Education Foundation. Ky is honored as one of most influential thought leaders in cardio-oncology, an emerging medical discipline.
Kara Maxwell, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Medicine and Genetics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, received the Prostate Cancer Foundation's (PCF) 2020 Gary and Allison Lieberman-PCF VAlor Young Investigator Award, and Ravi Parikh, MD, an assistant professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and Medicine at Penn, received PCF’s 2020 David Yurman-PCF VAlor Young Investigator Award. Both are also staff physicians at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center. Maxwell will further investigate the genetic mechanisms underlying the efficacy of treatments — including PARP inhibitors and checkpoint immunotherapy — for prostate cancer in Black men, who have a significantly higher chance of developing the disease and dying from it compared to men of European descent. The research will inform new clinical trials and the way Black patients, including the vulnerable veteran population, with aggressive and lethal prostate cancer are treated clinically. Parikh will be developing new clinical biomarker tests that can identify which patients undergoing hormonal therapy are at risk for developing bone fractures, and should be prescribed early bone maintenance therapies. This will significantly improve quality-of-life for patients with advanced prostate cancer, starting with the Veteran population.
Lawrence N. Shulman, MD, MACP, FASCO, a professor of Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, deputy director for Clinical Services at the Abramson Cancer Center, and director of the Center for Global Cancer Medicine, received the 2020 Annual Achievement Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers.Shulman was recognized for not only his esteemed work as a breast oncologist and oncology-practice thought leader, teacher, and mentor, but also for his generous approach that drives others in the oncology profession from around the world to seek his counsel, the ACCN announced. Shulman has a long history of work in low-resourced areas throughout the United States and internationally, including the promotion of early detection and establishment and maintenance of cancer treatment programs. Shulman’s award acceptance and presentation can be viewed here.
Chenbo Zeng, PhD, a research assistant professor of Radiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, received an award from The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Oncology Research Program to further study abemaciclib, a drug used to treat hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer. Zeng's project will use PET imaging of cell cycle arrest to predict responses to abemaciclib alone or in combination with endocrine therapy. Research funding is being provided by a grant from Eli Lilly and Company.
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.