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Kadesch Prize in Genetic Research

In 2011, the Department of Genetics established the "Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetics" to honor the legacy of our friend and colleague Dr. Tom Kadesch. Dr. Kadesch was a member of the Genetics department from 1984 until his death in 2011, and served as Interim Chairman for his final 4 years. He was not only an excellent scientist, but also a tremendously dedicated mentor, teacher and University citizen whose contributions inspired those around him. In his memory, with the help of many generous donors, we were able to set up an endowed fund that will support in perpetuity an annual award to "a graduate student demonstrating excellence in research achievement and citizenship".

MewsWe are pleased to announce that this year’s Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetic Research will be awarded to Dr. Philipp Mews. Philipp recently completed his PhD in the Cell and Molecular Biology (CAMB) graduate group, and performed his thesis work in the lab of Dr. Shelley Berger  His research focused on how the epigenome and cellular metabolism are linked to adapt gene expression to the environment, and utilized a combination of yeast, neuronal cell culture and mouse models. In yeast, Philipp characterized changes in histone methylation and acetylation during starvation and re-feeding. In the mammalian system, Philipp showed that the acetyl coA producer ACSS2 directly binds to chromatin to promote hippocampal gene transcription, and is critical for long-term memory formation. These projects resulted in first-author publications in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Nature, with additional manuscripts still in the pipeline. In addition to his research accomplishments, Philip has been active in mentorship and outreach activities to increase diversity in science. These included volunteering with Penn’s LGBTQ mentorship program, the oSTEM society, the Philadelphia Science Festival, and NYC Brain Awareness Week. He also worked as a TA for the first year graduate course, BIOM600/Cell Biology and Biochemistry.


The Kadesch prize will be presented to Dr. Mews at a special session of the Genetics Friday Research Talks on January 12, 2018 (12:30pm in Austrian Auditorium CRB). In addition to receiving a $1000 cash prize, Dr. Mews will present a short seminar on his research. Please join us in congratulating him and make plans to attend the award ceremony and seminar on January 12th.

2017 Kadesch Prize Committee

Douglas Epstein, Meera Sundaram, and Stephen Liebhaber