July 17 , 2008

CONTACT: Karen Kreeger
(215) 349-5658

Penn Scientist Selected as One of Seven Rita Allen Foundation Scholars

PHILADELPHIA- Aaron D. Gitler, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been recognized as one of seven 2008 Rita Allen Foundation Scholars. Dr. Gitler plans to pursue a project aimed at identifying new treatment strategies for neurofibromatosis, a type of human cancer. Dr. Gitler will receive $300,000 over three years to further his research.

“I am very excited that our work has been recognized by the Rita Allen Foundation,” said Dr. Gitler. “I am truly humbled to be joining this group of scholars.”

Established in 1953, The Rita Allen Foundation is dedicated to advancing medical research. The Scholars program has supported more than eighty scientists over the last thirty years, and many of these scholars have made important advances in their respective fields.

Previous Allen scholars from Penn include Xianxin Hua, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology at Penn's Abramson Family Cancer Research Instituteand David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD, now with the Cambridge (UK) Research Institute.


 PENN Medicine is a $3.5 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #4 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's survey of top research-oriented medical schools; and, according to most recent data from the National Institutes of Health, received over $379 million in NIH research funds in the 2006 fiscal year. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals — its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice

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