Better Days Ahead

April 14, 2021

To:PSOM Research Community

From:J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Jonathan A. Epstein, MD

As the vaccine rollout accelerates and immune responses are acquired, we are all looking forward to a renewed sense of normalcy in our personal and professional lives. While continued vigilance and adherence to safety guidelines remain crucial, we anticipate opportunities for more normal engagement of the research community later this spring and summer.

On behalf of all our department chairs, center and institute directors, and faculty we want to thank our graduate students, postdocs, technicians, administrators, and other members of our research teams for your contributions to our community and the impact of your research. You help drive creativity and innovation at Penn.

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, but no one has escaped the stress of a particularly trying year.  Many of you have been disconnected from family, friends, and laboratory colleagues. You have responded heroically, and your resilience has inspired us. In addition to virtual work, we know that many, if not most of you, have also been coming in to do your work during atypical shifts, despite our challenging circumstances.

While much work can be done virtually, science is a social activity. So much depends on creative brainstorming and chance encounters. The meeting at a photocopy machine on campus that brought Kati Karikó and Drew Weissman together so many years ago is the rule and not the exception.

Their story and so many others like it inspire us -- and we hope you as well -- to take the long view. Whatever disruptions you have experienced to your research programs, there is limitless opportunity in science and medicine.

This is a tremendous time to be at Penn, and we are proud to be your colleagues. With appropriate precautions, the pandemic will continue to ebb. As more of our lives are returned to us, we look forward with mounting optimism to your contributions and impact. Conditions allowing, we are planning a series of welcome back gatherings for your departments and centers at the start of the academic year to recognize your hard work and sacrifices – more to come!