Congrats to our former graduate student (Berger Lab) Philipp Mews for receiving the 2017 Tom Kadesch Prize.
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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”.
We 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.


Congrats to our former postdoc (Berger Lab) Dan Bose for receiving the 2017 Kaushal Award!
Dan Bose publication nominated
The Department of Genetics is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Kaushal Family Awards in Genetics, which recognize excellence in genetic research by predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, as evidenced by a notable publication in their field. We received 8 predoctoral scholar applications and 7 postdoctoral scholar applications for consideration. The award winners, Alan Tang and Daniel Bose, were chosen by the Department of Genetics faculty in a secret ballot, based on the publications’ contents and the applicants’ descriptions thereof.
Please join us at a special award ceremony on Friday, November 3, 2017 (12:30-1:30 pm in CRB Austrian Auditorium), where both awardees will speak about their work.


Congrats to Enrique Lin Shiao for receiving the NRSA( F31) award and the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for 2017


Stand Up To Cancer Awards $1 Million to Four Research Teams Through Phillip A. Sharp Awards
Awards Advance “Innovation in Collaboration” Among Scientists
NEW YORK, April 24, 2017– Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) has awarded a total of $1 million to four teams of cancer researchers to advance “innovation in collaboration” among SU2C-affiliated scientists. Each team, consisting of researchers from different SU2C-supported “Dream Teams” or research programs who have not previously worked together, will receive a grant of $250,000 over two years to support new research projects stemming from previous advances in cancer research from the SU2C community.
“Stand Up To Cancer works to break down the barriers to innovation by encouraging collaboration among the best researchers in order to advance science and benefit cancer patients,” said Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, Chair of SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee and a Nobel Prize winner for his research in genetics. “These teams and their research will help bring us closer to the day we defeat cancer.”
The award program was established in 2014 by SU2C to honor Sharp’s keen interest in team research, with a scientific review and oversight process managed by SU2C’s Scientific Partner, the American Association for Cancer Research. The Phillip A. Sharp Innovation in Collaboration Awards are intended to reward distinctive collaborations that propose to accelerate current research and development models, bringing therapeutic benefits for cancer patients. Brief, initial proposals were reviewed by a committee of senior scientists led by SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee Co-Vice Chairs Arnold J. Levine, PhD, professor emeritus of systems biology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and William G. Nelson, MD, PhD, director of the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore, during the SU2C Scientific Summit in Santa Monica, California, in January.
“The Sharp Awards are unique in how quickly they award projects so that the research can start immediately,” said Levine. “We are committed to finding new and effective funding mechanisms for researchers across the SU2C community in order to advance the necessary science to defeat cancer.”
Following the Summit, each selected team submitted a more detailed, yet still streamlined, two-page proposal and budget to SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee.
“The research teams who submitted proposals for consideration are incredibly diverse and represent the full spectrum of research that is currently working to develop new treatments for cancer,” said Nelson. “Topics ranged from computational biology to immune-oncology and we are excited to see where the four selected teams take their work with the help of the awards.”
Sharing the $1 million in Sharp Award funding in equal allocations of $250,000 to support research over a two-year period are teams including SU2C scientific leaders, senior researchers, and early career investigators:
Interrogation of Resistance Mechanisms to Checkpoint Inhibitors Using Functional Genomics

  • René Bernards, PhD, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Co-leader, SU2C-Dutch Cancer Society Translational Research Team on DNA-guided Personalized Cancer Treatment.
  • Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, MD, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, Young Investigator, SU2C-Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Cancer Immunology Dream Team..

Aptamer-based Detection and Binding of Peptide-MHC Complexes

  • Matthew Levy, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 2009 Innovative Research Grant recipient.
  • Cassian Yee, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Co-leader, SU2C-CRI Immunology Dream Team.

 Dissecting the Epigenetic Mechanisms of Repeat RNA Regulation in Cancer

  • David T. Ting, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Investigator, SU2C-National Science Foundation-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team.
  • Shelley Berger, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, VARI-SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team Joint Scientific Advisory Committee member.

Probing the Metabolic Interactions Between Tumor and Stroma in Pancreatic Cancer

  • Matthew Vander Heiden, MD, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016 Innovative Research Grant recipient.
  • Melissa Skala, PhD, Morgridge Institute for Research, 2016 Innovative Research Grant recipient.

About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry’s resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about cancer prevention as well as progress being made in the fight against the disease. As SU2C’s scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, conduct rigorous, competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and provide expert review of research progress.
Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, Ellen Ziffren, and Kathleen Lobb. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, has served as SU2C’s president since 2011.
About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 37,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 108 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 21,900 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit


Congratulations to Dr. Shelley Berger for being the 2016 recipient of the Stanley N. Cohen Biomedical Research Award AND the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs Distinguished Mentor Award!

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