PHILADELPHIA - The Pew Charitable Trusts named Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, PhD, assistant professor of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine, as a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. The program enables scientists to take calculated risks, expand their research and explore unanticipated leads. Scholars receive $240,000 over four years and gain inclusion into a select community of scientists that includes three Nobel Prize winners, three MacArthur Fellows, and two recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the program has invested more than $125 million to fund close to 500 scholars. Dr. Zhou is one of 21 2010 Scholars.

Dr. Zhou completed his doctoral work in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University, working with Dr. Robin Reed and Dr. Tom Maniatis. He then trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Michael Greenberg in the Department of Neurology and Neurobiology of Harvard Medical School. In 2009 he joined the Department of Genetics of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. His work focuses on chemical modifications to DNA, known as epigenetic changes which alter how genes are turned on and off. Many epigenetic changes are reversible, so these changes are an indispensable mechanism for regulating how genes act in tissues such as the brain. A mutation in one protein that controls epigenetic changes is known to cause the Autism Spectrum Disorder, Rett Syndrome. Using a combination of molecular biological approaches and protein studies, Dr. Zhou is investigating how defects in epigenetic mechanisms may lead to intellectual disability. He hopes to develop approaches and tools that will revolutionize how the scientific community investigates the ways epigenetics affect health and disease.

For more information on the Scholars and their research please visit the Pew Charitable Trusts: http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_category.aspx?id=194

 

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