Perelman School of Medicine Awards and Honors: February 2022
In recognition of extraordinary efforts and unwavering service, Joseph E. Bavaria, co-director of the Penn Aorta Center, received the 2022 Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) at the society’s 58th annual meeting. Dr. Bavaria, past president of the society and a member of the STS since 1996, is currently president of the Thoracic Surgery Foundation and has served on numerous governing bodies of the society. With interests and expertise in aortic disease, aortic dissections, and aortic valve repair and preservation procedures, Dr. Bavaria has authored or co-authored more than 540 journal articles, abstracts, and peer-reviewed book chapters. In addition, he has participated in nearly 800 presentations on these topics. The Distinguished Service Award, established in 1969, recognizes individuals who have made significant and far-reaching contributions to STS and the specialty.
Gregory Cordier, assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, has received the 2021 Rita Allen Pain Foundation Award, which celebrates pioneering early-career scientists whose research shows exceptional promise in revealing new avenues for understanding and treating chronic pain . Dr. Corder leads research that aims to decipher the neural basis of how the brain generates pain perception and how pathological dysfunction within these brain networks leads to the transition to chronic pain and addiction.
The Perelman School of Medicine received a grant through the COVID-19 Fund to retain clinician scientists. The fund is led by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and supported by the American Heart Association, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, John Templeton Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation and Walder Foundation. The funding will be split among five Penn scientists and will support research projects.
- Marie Guerraty, lecturer in cellular and molecular biology, for her project The role of FOG2 in coronary microvascular disease
- Gina Hong, Assistant Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, for her project The impact of Aspergillus species in cystic fibrosis
- Yehoda M. Martei, Assistant Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology, for her project Fidelity and suitability of resource-stratified breast cancer treatment guidelines in Botswana
- Zelma C. Chiesa Fuxench, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, for her project Genetics of atopic dermatitis in Latinx
- Brendan J. Kelly, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, for his project Therapeutic induction of endogenous prophages to treat antibiotic-resistant respiratory infections
A group of five researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine have been selected as new members of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). The organization supports physician-scientists in their scientific, educational, and clinical endeavors, as well as members of the organization. Penn’s newest members include Raina Marchand, founding director of Penn Medicine’s Center for Digital Health and professor of emergency medicine; Scott A. Lorchprofessor of neonatology; Matthew A. Kayserassistant professor of psychiatry; Rajan Jain, an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and cell and developmental biology; and Julio Chirinos, an associate professor of medicine. This group’s induction adds to Penn’s extensive presence at ASCI, which includes more than 100 faculty members from the Perelman School of Medicine.
Scott Peslak, a faculty instructor in hematology-oncology, who cares for patients in the comprehensive sickle cell disease program and the comprehensive adult thalassemia program, is one of 36 recipients of the 2022 American Society of Hematology Scholar Award ( ASH) and one of 12 to receive the Basic/Translational ASH Fellow Award, which provides $100,000 in funding to support Dr. Peslak’s research. The ASH Scholar Awards recognize the importance of furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. This award will support Dr. Peslak’s work in the study of red blood cell disorders, new regulators of fetal hemoglobin, and new genetic and pharmacological therapies for the treatment of sickle cell disease.
Julia E. Szymczak, an assistant professor of epidemiology, has been nominated by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to serve as a voting member of the Presidential Advisory Board on Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB). PACCARB provides advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding programs and policies to support and evaluate the implementation of U.S. activities related to combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As a medical sociologist, Dr. Szymczak will be the council’s first social scientist to hold the position. She was sworn in on March 2 and will serve a four-year term.
Hisham Valiuddin, an emergency medicine fellow, and Michele Volpe, CEO of Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, were honored by the Healthcare Leadership Network of Delaware Valley from the American College of Healthcare Executives. Dr. Valiuddin, who is Deputy Medical Director and Clinical Instructor in Emergency Medicine, received the Early Career Healthcare Executive Award. Ms. Volpe received the Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Award.
The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering elected Ragini Verma, a professor of radiology, at its College of Fellows, which is made up of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. Dr. Verma, who directs the Diffusion and Connectomics in Precision Healthcare Research (DiCIPHR) lab at Penn, is recognized for her world-class research program in translational connectomics, the study of brain connectivity using MRI scattering (dMRI). His research aims to solve clinically motivated problems to improve the quality of life of patients. She has made important contributions to the study of the brain connectome in traumatic brain injury, cerebral gliomas and schizophrenia.
Liling Wan, assistant professor of cancer biology, is one of 36 recipients of the 2022 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scholar Award and one of 11 to receive the prestigious Junior Faculty Award, which includes a $150,000 prize . Dr. Wan’s lab is affiliated with the Department of Cancer Biology, the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, the Penn Epigenetics Institute, and the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine. ASH Scholarships support fellows and young faculty dedicated to careers in hematology research as they transition from training programs to independent research careers.
Peter Yang, Associate Professor of Biostatistics, and Harold I. Feldman, George S. Pepper Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and Director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, are co-lead authors of a CRIC (The Program of Kidney Disease Cohort) which was honored by the Clinical Research Forum as one of its top 10 studies published in 2021. “Race, Genetic Ancestry, and Estimating Kidney Function in Chronic Kidney Disease”, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that for GFR estimation, using serum cystatin C—rather than serum creatinine—produced estimates of similar validity while eliminating the negative consequences of race-based approaches to measuring kidney diseases.