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January 13, 2005

Penn Announces Creation of
Three New Biomedical Institutes

Harnessing over $100 Million in Research Funding to Create a New Template for Research, Education, and Patient Care

(Philadelphia, PA) – The University of Pennsylvania today announces the establishment of three new biomedical institutes aimed at integrating research, clinical, and educational missions in a new model of care that cuts across traditional academic disciplinary and departmental lines.

The new entities are the Penn Cardiovascular Institute; the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism; and the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.

The institutes will each emphasize cooperation, partnership, and combination of efforts. They will draw upon scientists and physicians – and in some cases, professors from such fields as psychology and sociology – from across the University. Development of the institutes progresses directly from the Strategic Plan for PENN Medicine, which highlights the need for cross-collaboration among departments and schools, enhanced teamwork, and the extension of professional relationships - all with the purpose of improving the public’s health.

Michael S. Parmacek, MD, Herbert C. Rorer Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, will direct the Cardiovascular Institute.
The Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism will be headed by Mitchell A. Lazar, MD, PhD, Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Genetics, and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, Robinette Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Elmer Bobst Professor of Pharmacology, will administer the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.

All three institutes will be housed in the University’s Clinical Research Building, further encouraging the exchange of ideas, sharing of personnel and resources, and coordination of related functions, both within and across the three institutes.

“It is noteworthy that in an era of escalating specialization, these institute will maximize the united efforts and resources of a diverse group of superb clinicians and scientists to forge strong, coordinated, and integrated approaches to disease-prevention, management, and eradication,” said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. “PENN Medicine already enjoys an exceptional measure of public trust and esteem. With the formation of these institutes, we are consciously fostering a new chapter in pioneering patient care, research, and education.”

The mission of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute is to promote patient-oriented cardiovascular research across schools, departments, and centers at Penn. Despite remarkable advances in cardiovascular science and medicine over the past fifty years, cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of patients in the United States. Approximately 60.8 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease. Heart failure is the most common diagnosis of hospitalized patients in the United States. In light of these statistics, the Institute will support multi-disciplinary initiatives in the areas of heart failure and transplantation/myocyte biology, atherosclerosis/acute coronary syndromes, cardiac electrophysiology/channel biology, congenital heart disease/ cardiovascular development, diabetic/metabolic cardiovascular disease, and molecular diagnostics and imaging. It will also initiate a state-of-the-art Outpatient Cardiovascular Center in the new Center for Advanced Medicine in 2008.

The aim of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism is to understand the genetic, biochemical, molecular, environmental, and behavioral origins of diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic diseases and reduce their incidence and severity. The Institute will be inaugurated at a time of ever-increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity. Approximately 18 million people in the United States (6.2 percent of the population) have diabetes. Most of the increase in diabetes is related to an increase in obesity, defined as being more than 30 percent above ideal body-weight. Nationally, 58 million people are obese. The Institute will provide technical and administrative support and resources for clinical research and care on behalf of patients with these afflictions - from epidemiological studies to behavioral manipulations to trials of promising new medications and therapies.

The mission of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics will be to increase the quantity and quality of translational research at Penn: the application of ideas, insights, and discoveries generated through basic scientific inquiry to the treatment or prevention of human disease. In support of this undertaking, the Institute will train current professionals and students, as well as recruit faculty with translational-research proficiency. Examples of work which will be pursued at the Institute include the integration of genomic, proteomic and lipidomic approaches to discover novel anti-inflammatory drugs; the development of innovative immunotherapeutics for cancer; original approaches to targeting drug delivery to specific sites of disease; gene therapeutics of hemophilia; cellular therapies for Alzhemier’s disease and the development of the new field of pharmacoepidemiology. The Institute will also prepare, certify, and expand the number of trial coordinators, such as nurses and other health professionals, who carry out important aspects of translational research under the aegis of physician-scientists.
In addition to helping take new insights and discoveries from the lab bench to the patients’ bedside, and ultimately to the community at-large, the outcomes and methodological approaches generated at the institutes will be integrated into the educational program of the School of Medicine.

Such additional materials as Institute fact sheets, Director biosketches, and photographs are available.

For a printer friendly version of this release, click here.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.7 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 (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 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.

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

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