April 4, 2006

Rick Cushman
(215) 349-5659


Jonathan A. Epstein, MD, Appointed Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

(Philadelphia, PA) – Jonathan A. Epstein, MD, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, effective April 1, 2006.

“Dr. Epstein is considered one of the world’s leading investigators of the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular development and their implications for understanding human disease,” said Dr. Arthur Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. “I have the utmost confidence that Dr. Epstein is an excellent choice. His record of excellence and depth of experiences will serve him well in this important position.”

A Professor of Medicine in PENN's School of Medicine with a secondary appointment as a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, he has held the William Wickoff Smith Chair in Cardiovascular Research since 2004. Jon came to Penn in 1996 as an Assistant Professor and quickly rose through the ranks. He has published more than 75 scientific articles during his time at Penn and has been recognized nationally and internationally for his accomplishments. This year, he was selected for the prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation for Medical Research, its highest honor, and he was elected to the American Association of Physicians, one of our nation’s most prestigious societies for academic physicians. He is a member and a councilor of the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Epstein has consistently sought to translate discoveries in basic science into knowledge that has clinical applications. He received the Clinician Investigator Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, as well as the McCabe Fellow Award for research that bridges clinical and basic sciences. In the same vein, Dr. Epstein headed the Clinical Investigator Pathway in the Department of Medicine’s residency program from 2001 to 2005. Dr. Epstein is an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. At Penn, Dr. Epstein is widely known for his commitment to teaching, both in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, in medical school classes, and as a director and lecturer in graduate seminars in Genetics and Developmental Biology. He has been very involved in several multidisciplinary centers and institutes, including the Abramson Cancer Center, the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, the Graduate Group in Cell and Molecular Biology, the Institute for Medicine and Engineering, the Center for Research on Reproduction and Women’s Health, and the Wistar Institute. He has directed the Program in Molecular Cardiology since 2001 and was named Scientific Director of the new Penn Cardiovascular Institute in 2005.

Dr. Epstein received his BA and MD degrees from Harvard and completed his residency and cardiology fellowship training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He then received funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to perform postdoctoral research in Genetics before coming to Penn in 1996.


PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality 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 ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. 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 [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which is consistently ranked one of the nation's few "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.

This release is available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/apr06/epsteincelldept.htm