MINS FACULTY IN THE NEWS:
From: the Almanac
Dr. Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, assistant professor of genetics in the School of Medicine, was one of 12 investigators nationwide who received 2010 Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The BRAINS award supports the research and career development of outstanding scientists who are in the early, formative stages of their careers and who plan to make a long-term career commitment to research in specific mission areas of the NIMH. Individual awards are made in the vicinity of $2.5 million over five years. Dr. Zhou will use mouse models to examine the molecular underpinnings that link early life stress and subsequent mental illness.
MINS Interim Director Named
To: Faculty, Students and Staff
From: Vincent Price, Provost; Arthur Rubenstein, EVP and Dean
Date: April 20, 2010
Subject: Leadership Transition at the David Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences
We are pleased to announce that Prof. Marc A. Dichter, MD, PhD, has been appointed as the Interim Director of the David Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences (DMINS), effective immediately. He succeeds Prof. Irwin B. Levitan, PhD, who left the University last year after years of exemplary service as both DMINS Director and Chair of the Neuroscience department in the School of Medicine.
Dr. Dichter received his MD and PhD degrees from New York University and his training in Neurology at Harvard University, where he remained on the faculty for 15 years. He joined the Penn faculty in 1986. He previously served as Director of the DMINS from 1996-2002, ensuring that he has the institutional knowledge for this critical interim role. His keen understanding of the breadth of neuroscience research and education has been readily apparent during an exceptional career as one of the nation’s leading researchers and clinicians investigating the pathogenesis of epilepsy. He is the author of more than 110 research papers and recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Javits Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. We are extremely fortunate that Dr. Dichter has agreed to take on this important role at a time of transition.
Founded as the Institute of Neurological Sciences in 1953 by the visionary professor of anatomy Louis Flexner, the David Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences was renamed in 1985 to reflect the strong interest and support that David Mahoney, President of the Dana Foundation, brought to neuroscience and the Penn community. Throughout its history, the Institute has emphasized and nurtured the idea that major advances in brain research must encompass the expertise, dedication, and cooperation of scientists from many fields of research. Currently, the DMINS comprises over 180 faculty members from six Schools and 32 departments across the University, making it a major locus for interdisciplinary knowledge on nearly every aspect of the nervous system.
A search committee to identify a permanent director will be announced shortly.
SfN 2008 Career Development Award
Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D, Dept of Animal Biology, INS and NGG member, has been selected as this year's recipient of the Society for Neuroscience Career Development Award. The award is presented at The Society for Neuroscience's Annual Meeting, which is being held this year in Washington, DC from November 15 – 19.
Franklin Founder Award
Dr. Virginia M.-Y. Lee is a recipient of the 2008 Franklin Founder Award. The award was presented by the Friends of Franklin, Inc. for her work as an “internationally recognized” woman of science. Dr. Lee is the John H. Ware 3rd Professor in Alzheimer’s Research, director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and co-director of the Marian S. Ware Center for Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Program.
John L. Miclot Professor of Medicine
Dr. Allan I. Pack has been named the first John L. Miclot Professor of Medicine. The Miclot chair is the first dedicated to the study of sleep disorders at Penn and will support Dr. Pack’s efforts as director of the Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology.
Abass Alavi, MD, PhD (hon) Professor of Radiology and Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia during its 187th commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 21, 2008. Dr. Alavi is a very well known figure in medicine and a recognized pioneer in the field of molecular imaging.
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Robert A. Rescorla, professor of psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and member of the MINS and NGG, has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is one of six named at Penn, and among 190 new Fellows and 22 Foreign Honorary Members recognized as leaders in science, arts and humanities, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sector.
Award for Faculty Advising
Dr. Leif Finkel, professor of bioengineering, was awarded the Ford Motor Company Award for Faculty Advising. The award recognizes dedication to helping students realize their educational, career and personal goals. In the words of a student, “What distinguishes Dr. Finkel is his genuine interest and concern in the students he teaches and advises. His enthusiasm is contagious. Without a doubt, Dr. Finkel makes it very clear that he cares deeply about the welfare of his students.”
Dr. Finkel received his MD and PhD from Penn and joined the faculty in 1989. He is a member of the Institute for Neurological Sciences; the Institute for Medicine and Engineering; and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. He is a previous recipient of the S. Reid Warren, Jr. Award.
Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics' (ITMAT) Transdisciplinary Award Program
The winners include:
Dr. Max Kelz, Department of Anesthesia, School of Medicine and INS member
Neural inertia: an obstacle to cognitive return, a new view of arousal state control
Dr. Maja Bucan, Department of Genetics, School of Medicine and INS, NGG member
Genotyping neurobehavioral phenotypic responses to partial sleep deprivation in humans
John C. Oakley, MD, Pioneers in Pain Medicine Award
Dwight L. Evans -The National Pain Foundation recently honored Dr. Dwight L. Evans, Ruth Meltzer Professor and chairman, department of psychiatry, professor of psychiatry, medicine, and neuroscience, as a co-recipient of the 2007 John C. Oakley, MD, Pioneers in Pain Medicine Award.
The Foundation notes that Dr. Evans has demonstrated inspired leadership and extraordinary vision to combine the resources of several departments to create the Center for Pain Management—a new model for providing a higher level of care for patients with chronic pain disorders, for training clinicians in pain medicine, and for advancing cutting edge scholarship in pain research.
Abass Alavi - Dr. Abass Alavi, professor of radiology and member of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, received an honorary doctorate in medicine and surgery from the Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Italy. The award recognizes exceptional contributions and is given only rarely by Italian universities. Alavi is the first nuclear medicine physician to receive this honorary degree.
Joshua L. Dunaief - Dr. Joshua L. Dunaief, assistant professor of ophthalmology and clinician-scientist at the F.M. Kirby Center for Molecular Ophthalmology, and member of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, received the Dennis Jahnigen Award from the American Geriatrics Society for studies on the role of iron overload in aging.
Frank T. Horrigan - Dr. Frank T. Horrigan, assistant professor in the department of physiology and member of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, received the Paul F. Cranefield Award from the Society of General Physiologists for his article “Role of Charged Residues in the S1–S4 Voltage Sensor of BK Channels.” The award recognizes an independent young investigator who in the preceding calendar year has published an outstanding article in the Journal of General Physiology.
Charles Ludwig Distinguished Teaching Award
Amishi Jha - The Charles Ludwig Distinguished Teaching Award was established three years ago by the College Alumni Society in memory of their long-time president, Charles Ludwig and is given to recognize a School of Arts and Sciences' standing faculty member who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the engagement of students as active and interactive participants in the learning process.
This year's recipient is Dr. Amishi Jha, assistant professor of psychology . She received her B.S. from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. Before joining the psychology department faculty at Penn in 2001, she held a post-doctoral fellowship in the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center of Duke University. At Penn, she is with the Center for Cognitive Neuorscience where her research is in the area of the functional neuro-anatomy of working memory and attention. Dr. Jha teaches undergraduate and graduate students in cognitive neuroscience, attention and memory, and the cognitive neuroscience of meditation.
Student comments about her teaching range from “Dr. Jha has been, without question, the most influential and accessible professor during my four years at Penn,” to her “singular approachability” and “I admire Dr. Jha for consistently remaining invested in her students and rooted in undergraduate education.”
The Basic Science Award
Elliott Hersh - The Basic Science Award is presented for excellence in teaching within the basic sciences. Dr. Elliott Hersh , professor of oral surgery and pharmacology, is this year's honoree. Dr. Hersh has been teaching at Penn Dental Medicine since 1988. In addition to receiving this award 13 other times and the University's Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Dr. Hersh is an internationally known clinical researcher in the areas of acute pain and local anesthesia.
David Dinges, professor of psychology in psychiatry and chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal (non-Government personnel). According to NASA, this award is, “The highest honor NASA awards to anyone who was not a Government employee when the service was performed. The award is granted only to individuals whose distinguished accomplishments contributed substantially to the NASA mission. The contribution must be so extraordinary that other forms of recognition would be inadequate.”
Dean’s Award for Leadership in Basic Science Education
Jean-Pierre Saint-Jeannet, associate professor of developmental biology, received the Dean’s Award for Leadership in Basic Science Education. Dr. Saint-Jeannet’s laboratory works to define the molecular processes involved in specification and diversification of neural crest cells during the development of Xenopus laevis, a tongueless frog native to Africa.
Dean’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Science Education
Tom Parsons, associate professor of swine production medicine, New Bolton Center, received the Dean’s Award for Leadership in Clinical Science Education. Dr. Parsons’s research interests include cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release.
Lucille B. Williams Term Professor of Biology
Nancy Bonini, is the inaugural Lucille B. Williams Term Professor of Biology. Dr. Bonini specializes in molecular genetics of neurodegenerative disease and is currently studying the genetics of Drosophila melanogaster in order to define genes that are critical to prevent human brain degeneration. She was recognized nearly a decade ago as one of the 20 most promising science and engineering researchers at universities in the U.S. by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and was awarded a Packard Fellowship. In 2000, she was selected as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Lucille B. Williams Family Term Chair was established by Paul C. Williams, W ’76, PAR ’03, in honor of his stepmother. Mr. Williams is an Alumni Trustee and president of Penn Alumni and serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. He is currently the managing director of Nuveen Investments, a financial services firm in Chicago.
Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Natural Sciences
Martha Farah, has been named the Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Natural Sciences. Dr. Farah, of the department of psychology, a widely recognized expert in the fields of psychology and neuroscience, serves as director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. She is the author of several books including The Cognitive Neuroscience of Visio n and has published more then 100 articles on the topics of neural development, prefrontal function and decision-making, vision, and ethical issues in neuroscience (“neuroethics”). Dr. Farah has been recognized with many honors including fellowships from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Cognitive Science Society, and awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Academy of Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Harvard University.
The Walter H. Annenberg Professorship in the Natural Sciences was established in 1977 by the late Walter Annenberg and his wife Leonore, Hon '85. Ambassador Annenberg enjoyed a career as an editor and publisher, broadcaster, diplomat, and philanthropist. Mrs. Annenberg served as White House chief of protocol under President Ronald Reagan. She is an emeritus trustee of the University.
For general inquiries and information, please contact Jane Hoshi.