Klaus Kaestner

Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs Distinguished Mentor Award

A crucial component in developing a successful career, particularly in science, is a good mentor. Outstanding postdoctoral mentorship is expected of our faculty members but is rarely rewarded. In recognition of the value Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP) places on mentorship, BPP has created the Distinguished Mentor Award. This award is designed to acknowledge superb mentors from among the BPP participating faculty.

“Dr. Kaestner has created an environment in which postdoctoral fellows receive career training in numberous ways. Dr. Kaestner also upholds an open-door policy in which he encourages students and postdocs to walk in and freely discuss their experimental results, new ideas, and concerns. He provides us with an excellent example of how to do good science in an ethical and rigorous manner as well as maintain our individual lives outside of lab. We believe that Dr. Kaestner deserves to receive this award for his successful training history, provision of multiple aspects of career development, and being an extremely positive role model for the postdoctoral trainees who have had the privilege to complete their training in the Kaestner lab.” — Nominators

Klaus Kaestner, PhD

Thomas and Evelyn Suor Butterworth Professor in Genetics, Department of Genetics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

The Kaestner lab is employing modern mouse genetic approaches, such as gene targeting, tissue-specific and inducible gene ablation, to understand the molecular mechanisms of organogenesis and physiology of the liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. Disease areas targeted by Dr. Kaestner’s research include diabetes and cancer.


Sanjeev Kumar Memorial Lecture

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, where he studied HIV pathogenesis and vaccine development. Dr. Kumar embraced academic research and all the accompanying expectations of this type of career. He loved the challenge of designing experiments and analyzing the data as he delved into his hypothesis. Even as Dr. Kumar gathered his data, he was always thinking ahead to the next set of experiments, which stoked his motivation to pursue new paths to exciting scientific discoveries. In addition to his scientific endeavors, Dr. Kumar loved to teach. Communicating his knowledge and love of science to other more junior investigators was one of his exemplary and defining traits. He thrived on the collegial collaborations and scientific discussions fostered by the research environment at Penn. This presentation was selected for the type of excellence in scientific discovery that Dr. Kumar pursued and enjoyed.

Kumar Memorial Postdoc Lecture Award

Dr. Zachary Gerhart-Hines


The nuclear receptor Rev-erbα controls circadian thermogenic plasticity

Zachary Gerhart-Hines1,2, Dan Feng1,2, Matthew J. Emmett1,2, Logan J. Everett1,2, Emanuele Loro4,5, Erika R. Briggs1,2, Anne Bugge1,2, Catherine Hou6, Christine Ferrara7, Patrick Seale1,3, Daniel A. Pryma6, Tejvir S. Khurana4,5, and Mitchell A. Lazar1,2

1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, and Department of Genetics, 2The Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 3Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, 4Department of Physiology, 5Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, and 6Department of Radiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; 7Department of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Circadian oscillation of body temperature is a basic, evolutionarily-conserved feature of mammalian biology. Additionally, homeostatic pathways allow organisms to protect their core temperatures in response to cold exposure. However, the mechanism responsible for coordinating daily body temperature rhythm and adaptability to environmental challenges is unknown. Here we show that the nuclear receptor Rev-erba, a powerful transcriptional repressor, links circadian and thermogenic networks through the regulation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) function. Mice exposed to cold fare dramatically better at 5 AM (Zeitgeber time 22) when Rev-erbα is barely expressed than at 5 PM (ZT10) when Rev-erbα is abundant. Deletion of Rev-erbα markedly improves cold tolerance at 5 PM, indicating that overcoming Rev-erbα-dependent repression is a fundamental feature of the thermogenic response to cold. Physiological induction of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) by cold temperatures is preceded by rapid down-regulation of Rev-erbα in BAT. Rev-erbα represses UCP1 in a brown adipose cell-autonomous manner and BAT UCP1 levels are high in Rev-erbα-null mice even at thermoneutrality. Genetic loss of Rev-erbα also abolishes normal rhythms of body temperature and BAT activity. Thus, Rev-erbα acts as a thermogenic focal point required for establishing and maintaining body temperature rhythm in a manner that is adaptable to environmental demands.


AUM LifeTech Science & Innovation Award for Best Oral Presentation

Dr. Mindy Ezra

AUM LifeTech Science & Innovation Award for Best Poster Presentation

Dr. Imran Mohammed

Charles River Laboratories Award

Dr. Brandy Pickens

Biomedical Postdoctoral Scientific Image Prize

Dr. Charlotte Hiu-Yan Chung