News Release

September 19, 2012


Greg Richter


Perelman School of Medicine

This release is available online at

Penn Medicine Researcher Receives New Innovator Award from National Institutes of Health

Rahul M. Kohli, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Medicine and Biochemistry & Biophysics, is one of the recipients of a New Innovator Award from National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, totaling $1.5 million over five years, supports highly innovative research and creative, new investigators who exhibit strong potential to make great advances on a critical biomedical or behavioral research problem.

Kohli’s lab will use the grant to study the enzymes that drive bacterial evolution, aiming to devise new methods to combat the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria.

The ability of pathogens to quickly build up resistance to the best available antibiotics leads to potentially devastating consequences to human health. Past responses to this concern have largely focused on modifying existing drugs, which can offer a brief reprieve, but eventually fosters more drug resistance. Kohli’s research seeks to change the paradigm of attacking drug resistance, by targeting the very pathways that allow the pathogen to mutate.

“Rather than focusing on drugs that kill bacteria, understanding and targeting bacteria’s ability to adapt could be an effective new approach to drug resistance,” said Kohli. “Given the clinical importance of the problem, I’m excited about the opportunities we can pursue with this award.”


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.