News Release

August 28, 2009

CONTACT: Holly Auer
(215) 349-5659

Penn Medicine - University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Medicine Bioethics Graduate Awarded Fulbright Grant to Conduct Research in United Arab Emirates

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PHILADELPHIA - Shirin Karsan, a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Masters of Bioethics program, has been awarded a Fulbright Grant for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Fulbright Program, established in 1946, is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government designed to improve understanding and relationships between U.S. citizens and residents of other countries.

Karsan, the only School of Medicine student from Penn to receive the award this year, will conduct research on Muslim perspectives on the ethics of emerging sciences and bionanotechnologies in the United Arab Emirates. She will work with a team from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the UAE University in Al Ain, along with the philosophy department at the American University of Sharjah. Karsan will also coordinate with the UAE’s Chairman of the Human Research Ethics Review Committee. Karsan has also been awarded a Critical Language Enhancement Award to learn Arabic.

“The emphasis of my research in the UAE will be on the impact of religion -- Islam in particular -- in defining the limits, if any, of new technologies,” Karsan says. “I will be conducting research related to neuroethics in neurosciences and neuroengineering, and in reproductive ethics in the UAE regions.”

The Fulbright program, which operates in 155 countries worldwide, provides accommodations as well as a stipend to cover expenses during the fellow’s year abroad. Participants study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and discuss solutions to mutual international concerns.

Karsan received her undergraduate degree from Thomas Jefferson University.  She was an Industry Liaison at the A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute and is affiliated with the Drexel-Penn Optical Brain Imaging team.  Her goal is to earn a PhD related to her Fulbright research.


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.

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