The legacy of visionary scientist, Penn Medicine alumnus, and longtime faculty member Peter C. Nowell, MD (1928-2016) stretches far beyond his famous 1960 discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome. His influence in cultivating the current and future landscape of precision therapies for cancer lives on. Also in this issue: Penn Medicine harnesses social media for health, a medical mystery in Guam, and a profile of an accomplished NIH biophysicist. Ready to get started? Follow the links below or choose your adventure.

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Remembering Peter Nowell

The legacy of visionary scientist, Penn Medicine alumnus, and longtime faculty member Peter C. Nowell, MD (1928-2016) stretches far beyond his famous 1960 discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome. His influence in cultivating the current and future landscape of precision therapies for cancer lives on.

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Guam’s “Skeleton Key” Enigma

Thousands of deaths in Guam in the decades following World War II resulted from a debilitating, rare neurological disease that remains a medical mystery. Lytico-bodig has since nearly vanished as mysteriously as it appeared. Researchers at Penn and elsewhere have strived to crack the case—not just to help the locals, but because they believe it’s a skeleton key, a neurological Rosetta stone.

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A Deep and Lasting Passion for Science

William Eaton, BA’59, MD’64, PhD’67, has enjoyed a prodigious career buffeted by lucky breaks—from landing at the NIH instead of Vietnam, to carrying out research alongside a gaggle of Nobelists—and distinguished by important insights on the physical properties of the molecules of life and disease. And at 78, he has no plans of stopping.

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Tweet, Yelp, Heal

Advertisers and marketers have been hot on our digital trails for a number of years now, trying to find out as much as they can in order to target their products and services. Could similar techniques be used to improve medical care? That’s the intriguing question posed by Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP’09, and her interdisciplinary team at the Penn Center for Digital Health.

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    Choose Your Adventure

    This issue of Penn Medicine encompasses journeys far and wide by alumni and faculty of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Just as many beloved fantasy novels map out the lay of the land before readers venture into a new world, “The Prep” this winter shows the landscape of the issue.

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    Hollywood Informatics Star Shines at Penn Medicine

    In the spring of 2012, Brett Beaulieu-Jones was preparing to enter the doctoral program in genomics and computational biology at the Perelman School of Medicine when a friend, Jeffrey Impey, asked if he was up for a project. Impey had seen a pair of sunglasses in a movie and, wanting to get himself a pair, did what everyone does and did some online digging. Surprisingly, he found nothing. These days, though, when you can’t find something on the internet, generally what you find instead is an opportunity.

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    Musician, Heal Thyself

    More than 40 Penn doctors, nurses, and grad students answered the call to participate in the Penn Medicine Symphony Orchestra. After the group’s debut concert in December, Penn Medicine experts suggested that playing in the orchestra may deliver benefits to mind and body.

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    Vital Signs

    Princeton Healthcare merger announced. Dean Jameson re-appointed. First rare-disease ResearchKit iPhone app launched. New Perelman associate deans promote cross-school collaboration. Plus honors and awards and more.

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    Development Matters

    More than 300 guests came to the Hyatt at The Bellevue for Penn Medicine’s December Endowed Professorships dinner, celebrating the extraordinary achievements that endowed professorships can make possible.

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    Alumni News

    Noteworthy: Rajiv Shah, MD’02 was named president of the Rockefeller Foundation. Legacy Giving: Lou Kozloff, BA’65, MD’69, and his medical school roommate Ed Anderson, BA’65, MD’69, plan to endow a medical school scholarship fund for a deserving student.

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    Editor's Note

    In celebrating the life and legacy of Peter Nowell in this issue of Penn Medicine, my first as editor, I have tried to test out a formula that you may see much more in this magazine in the future: taking a subject and looking both back and forward to show a wider view of that piece of the world.