Penn Medicine News Blog: Posts by Karen Kreeger

Karen KreegerKaren is responsible for disseminating information about the discoveries from the basic science departments within the School of Medicine, which includes cancer biology, cell & developmental biology, biological aspects of infectious diseases, neurosciences, pathology and laboratory medicine, and pharmacology, among other duties. Karen previously held this position in the late 1990s.

Karen has held positions in both public affairs and science and medical writing. She was senior editor at The Scientist, as well as maintained a freelance communications business for several years, writing for such clients as Nature, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and the Wistar Institute.

Karen holds an MS in Scientific and Technical Communication from Oregon State University (1992) and an MS in Marine Studies from the University of Delaware (1985). She is also an author of a book on non-traditional careers in science.

View Karen's bio and beats

Filling the Diversity Pipeline, One Student at a Time

December 2, 2016 // Comments Pipeline

Minorities in biomedical education are growing, but draining away once they get farther along in their careers, according to a study covered this month by The Atlantic. Kenneth Gibbs Jr., an immunologist and science-policy expert at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, looked at the number of graduates and... Read more

Beating Cancer Cells at Their Own Game

November 9, 2016 // Comments Cartwheel Ben Aston Flickr Creative Commons

Most cells do metabolic somersaults to survive under stressful a condition – which is to say, they enlist the most expedient biochemical pathways to produce essential molecules in order to survive. By comparison, cancer cells perform high-wire cartwheels to recruit alternative pathways to thwart cancer drugs. As cancer cells do... Read more

Cell Home Movies, Take 2

October 17, 2016 // Comments

Scientists in the lab of Erika Holzbaur, PhD, William Maul Measey Professor of Physiology, use live-cell imaging to study molecular dynamics within neurons. For the last few years, Holzbaur and members of her lab have been making connections between cellular autophagy, literally, “self eating,” and neurodegenerative disease. In fact, my... Read more

On the Road with Data Science

September 28, 2016 // Comments Olson NPS Road trip map

Randy Olson, PhD, a senior data scientist with Penn’s Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI), started publishing optimized road trip maps -- a modern Trip Tik of sorts -- while still a graduate student at Michigan State University in 2014. They’ve remain a big hit on social media and in the... Read more

On the Road to Channeling the Regenerative Powers of Stem Cells

September 2, 2016 // Comments image from

Imagine coaxing immature bone cells into maturity to heal fractures or using heart muscle cells to mend damage after a heart attack. This isn’t the topic of some futuristic medical drama. Starter instructions to execute this regenerative transformation were published earlier this summer in a multi-institution study, including scientists who... Read more

Of Mice and Muscles

August 10, 2016 // Comments Mouse

Penn has a long history of muscle research, much of which is relevant to Olympic-level athletes and their abilities. As the Rio Olympic Games approach, many armchair spectators of the Games may be wondering: How do those athletes endure their grueling runs, swims, and rides? And, on the flip side... Read more

Mysteries and Controversies of the Placenta

July 29, 2016 // Comments Pregnancy bump with heart John Hope

For an organ the female body makes and then sheds all within less than a year, the placenta has long held a place of reverence in human culture. But for scientists, the placenta still holds some mysteries and now some scholarly controversy. The organ, which supplies a developing baby oxygen... Read more

How Microbes are Informing the Fight Against Cancer

July 14, 2016 // Comments Wherry Immunity post NIAID healthy T cell

Like many therapies today, the so-called checkpoint inhibitor drugs that boost the immune system to fight cancer have an interesting back story on how they made it into the clinic. Hint: it didn’t all start in a cancer biology laboratory. A major part of the story began with microbiologists studying... Read more

Tiny Transparent Zebrafish Making a Big Splash in Philly Classrooms

June 15, 2016 // Comments BioEyes Solis Cohen 1 2016

When Jamie Shuda embarked on a teaching career almost 15 years ago, she and a local scientist created a public school science program for kids living in Philadelphia, Baltimore and other under-resourced areas, using live, see-through fish. No one had used animals in the classroom like this before. Now, in... Read more

The Data and Scientists Behind Beautiful Images

May 20, 2016 // Comments Art in Science Tischfield May 2016

As Nancy Speck, PhD, chair of the department of Cell and Developmental Biology, mentioned in a past blog post on the annual Perelman School of Medicine Art in Science Competition, “anyone can generate data, but not everyone can make pictures.” At the time, she was commenting on Amanda Yzaguirre, a... Read more

“Penn Village” Sets up Camp Again at 2016’s Philly Science Festival

April 15, 2016 // Comments Headphones

The Philadelphia Science Festival kicks off on April 22, and Penn Medicine will again play a leading role in the sixth annual city-wide event that showcases science and technology from all corners of the Delaware Valley. The Festival packs more than 90 events into nine days at diverse locations across... Read more

Small But Mighty

April 1, 2016 // Comments Cells

There is a long-held tradition in fruitfly research for silly gene nomenclature. For example, take the inspiration from mutations that affect fruit fly testes. The so-called “defenders of DNA,” the Piwi (for P-element induced wimpy testis) family of proteins, got its incongruous name from the researcher who discovered the gene... Read more

Too Much? Too Little? The Goldilocks Story of Iron in the Eye

March 9, 2016 // Comments Retina

The body needs just the right amount of iron, otherwise all manner of havoc happens. Too little iron and the body malfunctions because it carries oxygen to all the cells. Roughly two-thirds of the mineral resides in hemoglobin, the oxygen-transporting protein in red blood cells. And if the body doesn’t... Read more

Bad Breakdown: How Essential Fatty Acids Put Up With Free Radicals

February 10, 2016 // Comments Radical

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an important, yet complicated, role in brain growth and disease, more and more research is showing. These are the same “essential” fats touted in ads for everything from baby formula to supplements to protein bars. They’re essential because the body needs them for maintaining... Read more

Repairing Injured Kidneys Through Regeneration

January 15, 2016 // Comments Kidney

The capacity to regenerate has mythic qualities for most of us, but the human body has very little ability to regrow body parts on its own compared to say, flatworms that can regenerate a whole new self from small pieces, or some reptiles and amphibians that can regrow lost tails... Read more

Copper: A ‘Novel Vulnerability’ in Fighting Cancer

December 16, 2015 // Comments Copper

I looked at the ornaments on the desk. Everything standard and all copper. A copper lamp, pen set and pencil tray, a glass and copper ashtray with a copper elephant on the rim, a copper letter opener, a copper thermos bottle on a copper tray, copper corners on the blotter... Read more

The Family and Lab Behind a ‘Precious’ Donation to Basic Research

November 20, 2015 // Comments image from

In 2009, Sarah Gray found out during a routine ultrasound that one of the twins she was carrying had anencephaly, a fatal genetic condition where the brain and skull don't fully develop. After his death, she and her husband donated Thomas’s organs and tissues and since then, have been tracking how they've been used. Read more

Looking to Ancient Symbionts for New Cancer Therapies

October 26, 2015 // Comments Mitochondria Courtesy NICHD

Talk about a eureka moment: Andrea Facciabene, PhD, a research assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was taking a walk one day on the Penn campus when it hit him: What do we really need to make immunotherapy a reality for everybody? The answer, he thought, was in the mitochondria,... Read more

Translation Starts at the Bench for Penn Fellow (VIDEO)

October 19, 2015 // Comments Pipette Fume Hood PP 2015

For postdoctoral fellow Kristen Pauken, PhD, what “gets her up in the morning” are the cancer immunology experiments she is conducting alongside her mentor John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology at the Perelman School of Medicine. His lab concentrates on getting a better handle on what makes... Read more

How Entropy Affects Drug Design

September 30, 2015 // Comments Dutton Entropic Boltzman_PLD_crop

Entropic Botzmann by Les Dutton, PhD How could entropy, the basis of the second law of thermodynamics -- or simply put, the measure of disorder in a system -- have anything to do with medicine, a seemingly orderly discipline? Ask Kim Sharp, PhD, an associate professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics,... Read more

Plugging up the Pipeline

September 2, 2015 // Comments Steps Jeremy Levine

Cultivating a career in biomedical research is basically a series of experiential steps: Most times, but not always, it starts with a knack and interest in STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and math -- in high school, a relevant major in college, eventually earning a PhD, and securing a... Read more

Using Summertime for a Head Start in the Lab

August 5, 2015 // Comments Summer in the lab pic Aug 2015

Back in 2013, the Penn Medicine News Blog covered then rising high school junior Kareema Dixon, who started her science career, in part, by participating in the BioEYES program developed by Jamie Shuda, EdD, director of Life Science Outreach at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM). Dixon continued with her... Read more

What's Eating the Erythrocytes?

July 8, 2015 // Comments Red Blood Cell Andrew Mason

In the rare, life-threatening disease called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), patients are stricken with chronic anemia and blood clots, when the oldest part of the immune system -- known as complement -- turns against its own red blood cells, or erythrocytes. Complement is a network of more than 50 proteins... Read more

A “Hardy Perennial” View of Conflict of Interest

June 12, 2015 // Comments Conflict of interest E Pluribus

Perennials and hope spring eternal. And so it seems does the debate over conflict of interest in academia. The latest deliberations took place last week in the pages of two of the world’s most prestigious medical journals. Three former New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) editors commented in a British... Read more

FOP Lab and Tooth “Ferry” Family Make Huge Strides at Delaware Marathon Running Festival

May 30, 2015 // Comments FOP Lab Del Maraton group pic May 15

It all started in 2006 when Justin Henke of Middletown, Del., was diagnosed with FOP, short for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, at age 6, shortly after the FOP gene was discovered in the the Center for Research in FOP and Related Disorders by Eileen Shore, PhD, a research professor of Genetics... Read more

2015 Philadelphia Science Festival Recap (Slide Show)

May 15, 2015 // Comments

The fifth annual Philadelphia Science Festival is now a happy memory for all who participated, yet the creativity, as well as knowledge of science that Penn Medicine faculty, staff, and students shared with the public, will last until the next festival. Penn Med took part in many activities all over...

The New Avengers: Lab-Coated Heroes Honored for Behind-the-Scenes Contributions

May 5, 2015 // Comments Lab week 2015 logo

Late last month Penn Medicine observed the fortieth Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, a time to recognize the hard work and dedication of the 600-plus lab professionals in more than 30 laboratories across the health system. Read more

Penn Medicine at the 2015 Philadelphia Science Festival

April 9, 2015 // Comments 2014 Carnival Penn village tents

Penn Medicine will again play a leading role in the fifth annual Philadelphia Science Festival, a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every spring. The Festival packs more than 100 events into nine days at locations across the region, including restaurants and breweries, parks, libraries, and museums. Read more

Beginner Brain Science (Slide Show)

March 30, 2015 // Comments NGG class and grad students 1

NGG class and grad students 1“What has a brain?” asked Patti Murphy, a doctoral student in the lab of Michael Granato, PhD, a professor of Cell and Development Biology. “Sharks!” “Humans!” “Dinosaurs had really little brains!” came the enthusiastic replies from the first-graders in Leonor Jimenez’s science classroom at Independence Charter School, a Philadelphia school known for its cultural diversity, advanced curriculum, including science at early grade levels, and dedicated teachers and parent volunteers. This is the second year that grad students in the Penn Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG) conducted a two-day neuroscience outreach program for elementary school students in Philadelphia. Read more

What’s Going on Inside the Richards Medical Research Building These Days?

March 4, 2015 // Comments Richards_Labs_Penn

The early 1960s were a heady time on the medical school campus and another wonderful chapter in its past 250 years. In 1960, Peter Nowell and David Hungerford discovered the Philadelphia chromosome, which linked cancer to genetic abnormalities for the first time. In 1962, Aaron Beck devised a revolutionary form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy. Both of these achievements were destined for international fame and utility. In between those clinical accomplishments, in 1961, an eight-story medical research building, designed by iconoclast architect Louis Kahn, was completed on Hamilton Walk. It was named after renowned Penn pharmacologist and department chair Alfred Newton Richards. Read more

Focus on Rare Diseases is Common at Penn Medicine

February 6, 2015 // Comments Rare Disease Day Logo 2015

Penn Medicine has been at the forefront of rare disease research for decades, and these efforts – as well as many of its other research and clinical milestones -- are being honored this year as part of the Perelman School of Medicine’s 250th anniversary celebration. Read more

Beyond Cancer: When Both Parents Hold BRCA, a New Risk Can Emerge

January 14, 2015 // Comments Greenberg Cancer Discovery blog post image

Greenberg Cancer Discovery blog post imageMany families are acutely aware that BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most important breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility genes. But recently a team including researchers at Penn Medicine discovered another risk it can pose in cancer patients when both parents carry the mutation. Read more

Using Collaboration and Innovation to Counteract Flat Federal Research Funding

December 18, 2014 // Comments Light bulb by shuttermonkey via Flickr

With such astounding shortfalls in funding for biomedical research, Penn Medicine, a key stakeholder of the new Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), is looking for fresh ways to fund research and partner with the private sector. The PCI consolidates and unifies the enterprise previously known as the Penn Center for Technology Transfer with other campus entities charged with commercializing Penn research and Development into license agreements, sponsored research agreements, startup companies and other collaborative relationships. Read more


December 4, 2014 // Comments ASCB Larger Than Life Gallery hall between Terminals E-F installation view

A preview of Penn Medicine cell biologists’ activities -- from art to advocacy to abstracts -- at the 2014 American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this week. Read more

Geroscience? Much More Than a Reaction to the “Silver Tsunami”

November 25, 2014 // Comments Geroscience The Seven Pillars of Aging

Geroscience is essentially an interdisciplinary field at the crossroads of aging and age-related diseases. Read more

Celebrating Women in Science

November 20, 2014 // Comments Women in science pic larger

Recently, the New York Times published the provocative op-ed, “Academic Science Isn’t Sexist,” which described a soon-to-be-published study that found that experiences of young and midcareer women in math-intensive fields are, for the most part, similar to those of their male counterparts in terms of hiring, pay, tenure and promotion,... Read more

Roundabout RNA: How Circular RNAs Form

October 24, 2014 // Comments Wilusz Genes Dev blog post pic from Science. jpg

Penn scientists are at the forefront of exploring and pushing back the boundaries of the bewilderingly complex world of RNA.And, Jeremy Wilusz, PhD, a new faculty member in the department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, is adding to that knowledge with a recently published paper in Genes & Development on circular RNAs. Read more

How a Fish-Killing Natural Product Opens Doors to the Basics of Cell Metabolism

October 1, 2014 // Comments Blair Rotenone pic Oct 14

Rotenone exposure is also associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in humans, but the exact mechanism is unknown. In fact, rotenone is used to induce a rodent model of PD. Mitochondrial abnormalities have been well documented in PD patients, often coinciding with elevated markers of oxidative stress. Despite this evidence, not much is known about how nerve cells die because of the stress. Read more

Whole Genome Sequencing of Amish Families Reveals Complexity of Bipolar Disorder

September 16, 2014 // Comments Lonestar

Perelman School genetics professor Maja Bucan, PhD, told me of her deep appreciation for the work going on at the clinic: “From my first visit to the clinic [Clinic for Special Children], I knew I wanted to be part of their team as a collaborator.” Read more

Liver Regeneration Revealed: Hepatocytes Beget Hepatocytes

September 11, 2014 // Comments Prometheus Karl-Ludwig Poggemann Flickr

The regenerating liver is center stage in a modern story about how science similarly reinvents and readjusts itself, with a paper out in an early September issue of Cell Stem Cell from the lab of Ben Stanger. Read more

Double Trouble: How Parasitic Worms Weaken Antiviral Immunity

September 5, 2014 // Comments Artis CM cover warhol worms Sept 14

David Artis, PhD, professor of Microbiology and his team, including first author Lisa Osborne, PhD, demonstrated that mice already infected with parasitic helminths were worse at fighting viral infection. Read more

Making the Summer Count

August 15, 2014 // Comments SUIP_Poster Session_1

Every summer, the news is filled with profiles of summer student programs, and those that are aimed at increased participation by minority students in STEM are no exception. The Summer Undergraduate Internship Program at Penn Medicine is one such program. Read more

A Picture Really is Worth 1000 Words

August 1, 2014 // Comments Talamas winning image 2014

The winners of the Penn Medicine 2014 “Art in Science" can certainly make pretty pictures with fancy microscopes, but there is also a rich story of scientific inquiry behind each. Read more

The Force from Outside In: Cells Sense Surrounding Protein Stiffness for Insider Info

July 11, 2014 // Comments Assoian Bae blog post image final July 14

A new study is shedding light on how cells respond to surrounding “stiff” tissue that can influence cells to go rogue—and ultimately cause disease. A better understanding of that process could help advance the development of treatments for cancers and cardiovascular disease resistant to therapy. An article in Science Signaling... Read more

What’s the Real Target for Attacking Pancreatic Tumors?

June 11, 2014 // Comments Pancreatic cancer ribbon

The lab of Ben Stanger, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, and colleagues, recently showed in a Cancer Cell study that some tumor components, particularly fibroblasts, constrain tumor growth. Read more

2014 Philadelphia Science Festival Recap

May 20, 2014 // Comments

It’s only been a little over two weeks since the end of the 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival, but the inspiration, as well as love and knowledge of science that Penn Medicine faculty, staff, and students shared with members of the public, will last far into the next year.

Lab Week 2014

May 8, 2014 // Comments Lab Week 2014 Rock Your Pride logo

Late last month Penn Med observed Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, a time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the 600-plus lab professionals in more than 30 laboratories across the health system.

Cycling for Rare Diseases

May 1, 2014 // Comments image from

The first annual Million Dollar Bike Ride is finally here. On Saturday, May 3, 2014, close to 500 riders and many other volunteers and family members will gather at Highline Park on Penn’s campus to raise funds for and awareness about rare diseases. Read more

Sleep the Night Away with Penn Med Scientists at the Philadelphia Science Festival

April 29, 2014 // Comments PSF sleep blog post image

Sleep -- elusive to some, mysterious to all -- is the topic of a special event at Franklin Institute’s Fels Planetarium on Wednesday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. called Sleep: A Bedtime Story, part of the signature programs on the 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival schedule.

An Outdoor Kickoff to the Philadelphia Science Festival

April 23, 2014 // Comments Sci Fest logo outside

Head outdoors this weekend with Penn Medicine to kick off the fourth annual Philadelphia Science Festival.The weather for Saturday and Sunday is predicted to be 0% showers, with highs in the upper 60s and low 70s. Join Penn Medicine faculty, students, and staff at two of the city’s most spectacular...

Using the Penn High Performance Computing Cluster to Unravel the Spider’s Web

April 15, 2014 // Comments Golden Silk Orb Weaver L Church Flickr Creative Commons

Uncovering the genomic architecture of spider silk genes wasn’t top of mind for Benjamin Voight, PhD, when he first came to Penn a few years ago. But he and postdoctoral researcher Paul Babb are now deep into sequencing the whole genomes of two spider species: a Golden Silk Orb Weaver and Darwin's Bark Spider. Read more

Penn Medicine at the 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival

April 4, 2014 // Comments PSF 2011 Carnival Dry ice

PSF 2011 Carnival Dry icePenn Medicine will again play a starring role in the 4th annual Philadelphia Science Festival, a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every spring. Read more

Oxygen in our Bones

March 20, 2014 // Comments Vinogradov Nature image

Working with many colleagues, a Penn team published in Nature the first application of 2PLM to directly quantify the physiological environment of blood stem cells, called haematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs. Read more

Beyond the Ivory Tower: Penn’s Neuroscience Grad Students Reach Out During Brain Week, and Beyond

March 18, 2014 // Comments NGG KidsJudge 2013 Synpatic Land

Philadelphia is a cerebral city this spring. To start, every March, Brain Awareness Week brings together institutions worldwide to celebrate the brain. Read more

Transcription Factors Key to Using T Cells Against Cancer, Chronic Infection

March 6, 2014 // Comments Wherry BATF spiral blog post Mar 14

Business is brisk in the lab of John Wherry and his team from the Department of Microbiology and the Institute for Immunology for papers on killer and helper T cells. Two studies -- bound by their focus on transcription factors important in the immune response – have come out of the lab in the last few weeks. And, they both identify potential new targets for cancer immunotherapies. Read more

A Rare-fied Friday at the End of Every February

February 27, 2014 // Comments image from

Rare Disease Day is an annual event to raise awareness with the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. Read more

Where Do We Go From Here? Public Health and Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling

February 25, 2014 // Comments CEET Symposium flyer Feb 14

Last week the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) and the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania co-hosted a symposium on the public health effects of natural gas drilling operations Read more

Celebrating a Lifetime of Dual Career Success

February 20, 2014 // Comments Armstrongs Clay Clara

The five decades of research of Clara Franzini-Armstrong and Clay Armstrong, hers on electron microscopy of the inner workings of cells and his on ion channels in cell membranes, was recognized recently by their professional society -- the Society of General Physiologists – with a named lecture series. Read more

Cancer in Waiting: Latency in Viral-Based Cancer Explained

February 18, 2014 // Comments image from

The lab of Erle Robertson, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology, and program leader of Tumor Virology at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, has been studying how Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus (KSHV) subverts normal cell machinery to cause cancer for more than a decade. Read more

Could Statins be Used to Fight a Deadly Viral Infection?

February 6, 2014 // Comments Hanta entry path Hannah Barbian

Two Perelman School of Medicine microbiologists may have found a way to use statins, the well-known blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drugs, to fight the hantavirus, a mysterious and lethal microorganism that appeared suddenly in the US southwest over 20 years ago Read more

The “Other”Circulatory System

January 10, 2014 // Comments Kahn JCI image graphic Jan 14

Blood is the life force of animals. But behind the more well-known system of veins, arteries, and capillaries functions the mop-up crew, the vascular network called the lymph system. Read more

Renaissance Biochemist

November 15, 2013 // Comments Dutton head shot sketch Nov 13

Les Dutton, Ph.D., will be awarded the 2013 John Scott Award next week. He will be honored with a medal, certificate, and $12,000 for his "work on the elementary processes of oxidation-reduction and the diverse biological events coupled to it." Dutton is the Eldridge Reeves Johnson Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, the director of the Johnson Foundation for Molecular Biophysics, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and former chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. And an accomplished artist, but more on that later. Read more

Finding Antitumor T cells in a Patient’s Own Cancer for Personalized Therapy

November 12, 2013 // Comments Powell Clinical Cancer Research schematic Nov 13

Patients with tumors that contain increased numbers of T lymphocytes generally survive longer than those with tumors without T-cell involvement, suggesting that T cells with potent antitumor function naturally exist in cancer and control tumor progression. With the exception of melanoma, it has been difficult to identify and isolate the tumor-reactive T cells from common cancers, however, the ability to do so could be used to fight a patient’s own cancer. Read more

Postdocs Building Community, and Experience

November 8, 2013 // Comments Postdoc Symposium poster session Nov 13

Clearly, interest in career issues for postdocs is not new, but ways to expand the postdoc experience to ready for budding careers takes constant creativity and communication. To that end, the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, held its 12th annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium last week. Read more

Cancer Hitchhikers

October 7, 2013 // Comments Simon Cancer Discovery image cancer hitchhiker no label Oct 13 take 2

With this zoomed-in view, the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (AFCRI) lab of Celeste Simon, PhD, and postdoctoral fellow, T.S. Karin Eisinger-Mathason PhD, report in Cancer Discovery about the potential of the collagen-modifying enzyme PLOD2 as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of metastatic undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma. Read more

Hanging Cancer on the Fulcrum of the Acidic Hinge

September 17, 2013 // Comments Roth Cell Reports Acidic Hinge blog post image genomic instability Sept 13

Converging lines of evidence just go to show that there are many types of cancer associated with chromosomal translocations, and likely more to be found. Read more

Developing Nematode Worm Star of Award-winning Video

September 11, 2013 // Comments Murray Zacharias Scope lab Aug 13

Who knew that nematode worms could hold their own in minutes-long videos? John I. Murray, PhD, assistant professor of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoc Amanda L. Zacharias, PhD, produced one of the two award-winning videos in the recent Federation of American... Read more

The Med Days of Summer

August 22, 2013 // Comments PARS 1

On the Penn Med campus, mid-August marks the start of the end for many undergrads and high-school students who are wrapping up lab experiments and making presentations about their work in an array of programs designed to showcase what research is all about. Read more

Cycling for Cancer and Zebrafish

July 25, 2013 // Comments Dutko after race Blog image July 13

James Dutko, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Perelman School of Medicine in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, spent a hot Sunday morning earlier this month cycling in the 41st annual Philadelphia Bike-a-Thon, an annual fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Read more

Opening Science Career Doors Early On

June 24, 2013 // Comments Kareema Dixon May 2013

As a ninth grader at Northern Liberties’ Bodine High School for International Affairs, Kareema Dixon took part in the BioEYES program developed by Jamie Shuda, EdD, Director of Life Science Outreach at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM), Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Little did she know that...

Tweaking T Cells for Transplants

May 30, 2013 // Comments Hancock Blood blog post image May 13

Bone marrow transplants, like the high-profile match between the son of heavyweight fighter Evander Holyfield and 19-year-old Nashville native Darian Craig, profiled in People magazine earlier this month, run the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a life-threatening complication where the donor cells attack the patient’s own cells. BMT procedures replace... Read more

2013 Philadelphia Science Festival Recap

May 14, 2013 // Comments PSF 2013 Carnival Penn tent village 1

Penn Medicine faculty, staff, and students shared their love and knowledge of biomedical science with families, students, and the general public at a dozen events during the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival.

Tau is its Own Worst Enemy

May 7, 2013 // Comments Cohen Nature Struct Mol Bio Blog post schematic Apr 13

In an update to recent research, Todd Cohen, Virginia Lee, and the Penn CNDR team have found an unusual behavior in the protein tau. It is literally its own worst enemy - tau is actually an enzyme that adds an acetyl group to itself, a process called autoacetylation. Read more

Science Communications, One White-Board Video at a Time

May 1, 2013 // Comments FitzGerald Nat Med mouse side by side image Nov 12

In an online video series, Florie Charles, a doctoral student at the University of California at San Francisco, and founder of Youreka Science, simply uses a white board and colored markers (and occasionally a small cut out mouse -- animal, not computer peripheral) to explain findings from recent papers in an accessible, fresh, and engaging way. One of her newest videos happens to feature a recent publication from the lab of Garret FitzGerald, MD, FRS, director of Penn Medicine's Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. Read more

Celebrating the Work of Medical Laboratory Professionals

April 30, 2013 // Comments Lab Week 2013 Poster Winner

To show its gratitude to all laboratory professionals, the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine celebrated Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 22-26, with a host of activities, such as Phillies Night, in appreciation of all the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of staff and faculty members working in more than 30 different laboratories across the Penn campus. Read more

Center for Brain Injury and Repair Presence at Philadelphia Science Festival Reaches Science Enthusiasts of all Ages

April 22, 2013 // Comments PSF 2013 Carnival Brain Tent 1 cropped

This year the Center for Brain Injury and Repair is reaching audiences of all stripes at the Philadelphia Science Festival, with their message of how to mind your brain from concussions with hand-on demos. Read more

Truckin’ Molecular Motors: The Tilt and Wobble of Myosin-V

April 17, 2013 // Comments Goldman Biophysical Journal cover Mar 13

The labs of senior authors Yale E. Goldman, and Erika L.F. Holzbaur, both in the Physiology department, have been studying molecular motors for close to a combined five decades

Penn to Celebrate Big Ideas in Science at the 3rd Annual Philadelphia Science Festival

April 16, 2013 // Comments PSF logo 2013

Penn’s signature event at the 3rd annual Philadelphia Science Festival next week is a sure sign of the times. “Big Ideas: Funding and Innovation” draws on current themes and reminders of where the bright ideas really come from.

Penn Med at the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival

April 8, 2013 // Comments PSF logo 2013

Penn Medicine will play a starring role in the Philadelphia Science Festival again this year. The Festival is a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every April. This year it runs from April 19 - 28, 10 days to celebrate the region’s strengths in science and technology, bringing together more than 100 partners from academia to museums to restaurants. Read more

Defining the Traits of Transmitted HIV-1 to Make Better Vaccines

March 29, 2013 // Comments HIV Red Ribbon by Trygve.u Mar 13

Knowing the traits of HIV-1 strains capable of establishing new infections could be important for AIDS vaccine development. Read more

Spring Fever at the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival

March 15, 2013 // Comments PSF logo

The Center for Brain Injury and Repair will again participate in Science Day at the Ball Park, as part of the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival

Heart Research Hits Close to Home for a New Penn Med Prof

February 20, 2013 // Comments Voight Ben desk shot Jan 13

 To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all areas of Penn Medicine. “I know this sounds like a cliché, but one of the main reasons I’m interested in learning about the genetic basis of heart... Read more

The Many Faces of Metformin

January 30, 2013 // Comments Metformin blog post goat's rue Jan 13

Metformin, the most widely prescribed diabetes drug, has come full circle from a home remedy in the European medieval apothecary called goat’s rue to now being investigated for a host of modern chronic conditions. Read more

When Art Meets Science

January 10, 2013 // Comments Guo Dreyfuss Cell snRNP cover 2012

Frank Oppenheimer, founder of the famed science museum in San Francisco, the Exploratorium, called artists and scientists “the official ‘noticers’ of society,” adding that “they notice things that other people either have never learned to see or have learned to ignore, and communicate those ‘noticings’ to others.” Lili Guo, a... Read more

So You Think You’re Exhausted? War-Weary T Cells Have Us All Beat

December 20, 2012 // Comments Wherry Immunity image Dec 12

This time of year has me pretty run down, with birthdays, holidays, concerts, you name it -- all manner of good and bad stress that weighs on one’s immune system. But I never knew my T cells could get exhausted, too. Two papers from the lab of E. John Wherry,... Read more

Dynamic Clots Make for Dynamic Research

December 18, 2012 // Comments Weisel platelets cover 2012

“We showed for the first time that clotting is reversible,” says John Weisel, Ph.D., professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, in contrast to a long-standing assumption that it isn’t. Weisel and colleagues showed how these sometimes dangerous knots of protein and cells are actually a dynamic, mutable structure this month... Read more

A “Modest Proposal:” Spreading the Wealth from Intellectual Property to Encourage New Players in Drug Development

November 21, 2012 // Comments Garret FitzGerald April 2012 lab SLP

Garret FitzGerald, MD, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine & Therapeutics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has long said the current drug-development system in the United States is in need of change, “representing an unsustainable model.” He suggests... Read more

What Would Dr. Cohn Think?

October 25, 2012 // Comments Cohn floral Dress Goddard 80s

This month marks three years since the late Mildred Cohn, PhD, the Benjamin Rush Professor Emerita of Physiological Chemistry at the time of her retirement from the Penn department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, passed away. Her early work using magnetic forces to study the structure of molecules led to the... Read more

Lowering the Age of Scientific Independence

October 4, 2012 // Comments Sonnenberg horizontal lab 3 Sept 12

Greg Sonnenberg, PhD, research associate in the Division of Gastroenterology and the Institute for Immunology, is one of 14 early-career scientists supported this year with an NIH Director's Early Independence Award. These support exceptional early-career scientists to move directly into independent research positions by essentially omitting the traditional post-doctoral training period. Read more

NIH MERIT Awards Give Researchers Long-term Stability

September 20, 2012 // Comments Millar Dev Cell image Nov 10

Earlier this summer, Sarah Millar, PhD, professor of Dermatology and Cell and Developmental Biology, received an unusual phone call from Carl Baker, MD PhD, Health Scientist Administrator at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Read more

Reconciling ENCODE and CODIS

September 18, 2012 // Comments DNA image From tmkeesey

The use of DNA in forensics is powerful yet subject to uncertainties. Jennifer Wagner, JD, PhD, a Research Associate at the Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn CIGHT), and Sara Katsanis, MS, an Associate in Research at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University (Duke IGSP) conducted an exhaustive search of the literature and genome databases to put forensic markers used in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) into a context of current understanding of the human genome. Their findings are available in an early online issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Read more

Scientists Who Bridge the Gap: “Rare Birds Indeed”

September 14, 2012 // Comments

This summer, Garret FitzGerald, MD, chair of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT), testified at a briefing on the Hill organized by American Association for the Advancement of Science that the current drug-development system in the United States is flawed and in need of change. Read more

Taking Advantage of Mother Nature, Delivering Drugs using Red Blood Cells

July 31, 2012 // Comments Weisel Science cover SEM thrombus July 09

Vladimir R. Muzykantov, MD, PhD, professor of Pharmacology and Medicine, at the Perelman School of Medicine, is devising a recombinant version of thrombomodulin -- a natural anticoagulant present in human blood vessels -- that can be injected in the bloodstream of animals, where it binds to RBCs and circulates for a long time as a prodrug that gets activated at sites of thrombosis, preventing closing up of blood vessels. Read more

It’s a Matter of Presentation

July 26, 2012 // Comments Marks Immunity blog post graph abstract AP3

A research article in a recent issue of Immunity from the lab of Mickey Marks, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, in part explains the recurrent bacterial infections in patients with a rare genetic disease called Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome type 2. Read more

Redirecting T Cells to Fight Cancer

July 17, 2012 // Comments June Immunocore cell image Oct 10

Penn Medicine is building a war chest of approaches to enhance the ability of T cells to attack as many cancer types as possible. Read more

Mutations in a Common Molecular Motor Cause Rare Diseases

June 19, 2012 // Comments Holzbaur Neuron blog post image June 12

The lab of Erika Holzbaur, a professor of Physiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, has been using live-cell imaging to get a better handle on what happens when the transport of cellular cargo goes off track, and how that may be the start of neurodegenerative diseases. In this case, a Parkinson’s-like disorder and a hereditary form of motor neuron disease. Read more

Among the “Unsung Heroes” of Patient Care

April 26, 2012 // Comments PLM NationalLabWeek_2012_forWeb

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (PLM) is celebrating National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 22 to 28. Medical laboratory professionals are among the unsung heroes of patient care - the team behind the scenes who are “doing the best with every test.” Read more

What’s Happening the Rest of the Week at the Philadelphia Science Festival?

April 24, 2012 // Comments CIMG4426

The Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival tents have all been folded and hauled away. There have already been four nights of non-stop science cafes at local watering holes. But, there are still six more days of the festival to go, and Penn Medicine faculty will be participating at events on most of those days. Read more

Hat Trick for Penn Medicine at Philadelphia Science Festival this Monday

April 19, 2012 // Comments PSF logo

On Monday, April 23, Penn Medicine faculty will be particpating in three events at the Philadelphia Science Festival. Read more

Philadelphia Science Festival Starts this Weekend!

April 16, 2012 // Comments PSF logo

It's less than a week away! The Festival, a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every April, will run from April 20-29. Penn students, staff, and faculty will be participating in all kinds of events throughout the entire festival. Read more

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