César de la Fuente, PhD, a Presidential Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, Microbiology, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, and Bioengineering, received a 2021 IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBS) Academic Early Career Achievement Award. De la Fuente was selected for his pioneering work creating novel antibiotics using principles from computation, engineering, and biology. This award is given annually to an individual for significant contributions to the field of biomedical engineering who is within 10 years of completing their highest degree at the time of the nomination.
Maayan Levy, PhD, an assistant professor of Microbiology, has been recognized with a new award from Scialog: Microbiome, Neurobiology and Disease, a Research Corporation for Science Advancement initiative designed to advance understanding of the gut-brain axis and the roles microbiota play in neurodegenerative disorders. Levy is one of 14 early-career researchers to receive the award. Awardees are from six multidisciplinary teams of researchers from colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. At Penn Medicine, the Levy Labstudies the interface between the host and its microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract, with a focus on microbiome-derived metabolites.
Flavia Vitale, PhD, an assistant professor of Neurology, and researchers in the Vitale Lab have been awarded two grants totaling $4.5 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The first grant is designated for the development of a novel surgical device for delivering gene-based therapeutics to the brain. The second is for optimization and pre-clinical validation of a novel EEG electrode technology, which uses a conductive nanomaterial rather than metal and gels. The projects will last three and five years, respectively.
Max M. Wattenberg, MD, an instructor of Medicine in the division of Hematology-Oncology, has been named a 2021 Physician-Scientist Training Award recipient by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The award provides physician-scientists the opportunity to gain the skills and experience needed to become leaders in translational and clinical research. Wattenberg’s research focuses on mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy, with the goal of identifying novel treatment strategies for patients with cancer. Damon Runyon seeks to address the financial disincentives that often deter physicians from pursuing a research career by providing $460,000 in funding over four years. He is one of five awardees.