2018 Kaushal Family Awards in Genetics

The Department of Genetics is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Kaushal Family Awards in Genetics, which recognize excellence in genetic research by predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, as evidenced by a notable publication. The award winners, Yong Kim (MD/PhD student in Mitch Lazar’s lab) and Takashi Akera (postdoc in Michael Lampson’s lab), were chosen by the Department of Genetics faculty in a secret ballot, based on the publications’ contents and the applicants’ descriptions thereof. Yong’s paper on transcriptional control of circadian rhythms and Takashi’s paper on asymmetric segregation of chromosomes were deemed highly innovative and impactful studies .

Please join us at a special award ceremony on Friday November 16, 2018 (12:30-1:30pm in CRB Austrian Auditorium) with presentations by the recipients.

2018 Kadesch Prize in Genetics

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. Katherine Palozola. Kate recently completed her PhD in the Cell and Molecular Biology (CAMB) graduate group, and performed her thesis work in the lab of Dr. Ken Zaret.  Her research focused on how mitotically cycling cells maintain their identities. Prior to Kate’s work, it was thought that mitotic cells were largely transcriptionally quiescent, so that proper programs of gene expression needed to be re-activated after each division. Kate developed novel biochemical and analytical approaches to monitor gene expression patterns during mitosis, and found that, contrary to prior dogma, thousands of genes continued to be expressed. These findings shifted the focus of cell identity maintenance from an on/off model of gene expression to one of more nuanced regulation at basal promoters, and resulted in a first-author publication in Science. In addition to her research accomplishments, Kate was a prominent leader in the graduate student community and was involved in numerous outreach activities to communicate science to the general public. She ran recruitment weekends, organized orientation activities for new students, and served as a Program Representative to the Biomedical Graduate Studies Association. She was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the CAMB student newsletter, which highlights the accomplishments and varied career paths of current students, faculty and graduates. For many years, Kate helped organize and run the Genetics booth at the Philadelphia Science Festival, and she gave public science talks at the Franklin Institute, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and a variety of other forums. She travelled to Washington D.C. with the Penn Science Policy Group to discuss research funding with members of Congress. She also participated in monthly mentoring events with the Philadelphia chapter of the Association for Women in Science, supervised a high school student conducting research in the Zaret lab and worked two semesters as a TA for the first year graduate course, BIOM555/Regulation of the Genome.

The Kadesch prize will be presented to Dr. Palozola at a special session of the Genetics Friday Research Talks on February 1, 2019 (12:30pm in Austrian Auditorium CRB). In addition to receiving a $1000 cash prize, Dr. Palozola will present a short seminar on her research. Please join us in congratulating her and make plans to attend the award ceremony and seminar on February 1.

The 2018 Kadesch Prize Selection Committee

(Shelley Berger, Tom Jongens, Celeste Simon, Zhaolan Zhou)

BLACK LAB

Graduate student, Lucie Guo, won the Saul Winegrad Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, “CENP-A and Friends: a Collaborative Model for the Epigenetic Transmission of Centromere Identity”

BERGER LAB

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

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.

BERGER LAB

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.

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