2014 Mid-Atlantic Genetic Epidemiology and Statistics Conference
Philadelphia, May 30, 2014
Find out more here: http://www.med.upenn.edu/magesconference/
MARCH 3, 2014 - CONGRATULATIONS to BGS graduate Shaun O'Brien (IGG-2013) who was recently selected as a 2014-2015 American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Public Policy Fellow!
Now entering its forth year, the AAI Public Policy Fellowship Program (PPFP) is designed to provide opportunities for young scientists to become involved in policy initiatives at AAI.
Learn more about PPFP here: http://www.aai.org/Public_Affairs/PPFP/
FEBRUARY 21, 2014 - The Parasite that Escaped Out of Africa: Origin of Deadly Human Malaria Parasite Linked to Primates in Africa, not Asia, as Once Thought, according to Penn-led Study
(Excerpted from Penn News.)
An international team of scientists has traced the origin of Plasmodium vivax, the second-worst malaria parasite of humans, to Africa, according to a study published this week in Nature Communications. Until recently, the closest genetic relatives of human P. vivax were found only in Asian macaques, leading researchers to believe that P. vivax originated in Asia.
The study, led by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, found that wild-living apes in central Africa are widely infected with parasites that, genetically, are nearly identical to human P. vivax.
Kinguema, an orphaned juvenile male gorilla being reintroduced into the wild in the Congo by the Aspinall Foundation.
Credit: Peter D. Walsh
This finding overturns the dogma that P. vivax originated in Asia, despite being most prevalent in humans there now, and also solves other vexing questions about P. vivax infection: how a mutation conferring resistance to P. vivax occurs at high frequency in the very region where this parasite seems absent and how travelers returning from regions where almost all humans lack the receptor for P. vivax can be infected with this parasite.
Of Ape and Human Parasites
Members of the labs of Beatrice Hahn, MD, and George Shaw, MD, PhD, both professors of Medicine and Microbiology at Penn, in collaboration with Paul Sharp, PhD, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Edinburgh, and Martine Peeters, PhD, a microbiologist from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and the University of Montpellier, tested over 5,000 ape fecal samples from dozens of field stations and sanctuaries in Africa for P. vivax DNA. They found P. vivax-like sequences in chimpanzees, in western and eastern gorillas, but not in bonobos. Ape P. vivax was highly prevalent in wild communities, exhibiting infection rates consistent with stable transmission of the parasite within the wild apes.
Click here for the full release.
JANUARY 24, 2014 - Sean Spencer Examines an Immune Response to Malnutrition
Immunology graduate Sean Spencer discusses the adaptation of innate lymphoid cells to a micronutrient deficiency in the January 24, 2014 issue of Science. The article emerged from his thesis, "Regulation of Intestinal Innate Immunity by Dietary Vitamin A" which he completed with Dr. Yasmine Belkaid. Sean is currently finishing his dual MD/PhD and will graduate in 2015.
BGS is delighted to announce that this year’s co-recipients of the Jane M. Glick Graduate Student Teaching Award are Hongzhe Lee, Professor of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, and James (Jim) Wilson, Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. Drs. Lee and Wilson have both provided long-standing, exemplary service to the BGS/PSOM/Penn core mission of educating, mentoring and training the next generation of biomedical scientists. They each received considerable praise and appreciation from their colleagues and students for their teaching and mentoring acumen, as well as for their fundamental roles in their respective graduate groups, across many years. Their dedication to these efforts exemplifies the type of scientist/educator that Jane Glick represented.
Hongzhe and Jim will be presented with this award during the BGS Graduation Ceremony, scheduled for May 19, 2014 in the BRB Auditorium. Please join us in congratulating them on receiving this award!
Winter 2013/2014 Newsletter