PA) - Marisa Bartolomei, PhD, Associate Professor
of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine, was awarded the first annual Society
for Women’s Health Research Medtronic Prize for Scientific
Contributions to Women’s Health. She was recognized for her
work in the field of sex differences research and women’s
health. Bartolomei received a $75,000 award and trophy at the Society
for Women's Health Research’s annual gala dinner held in Washington,
DC on Monday, May 8, 2006.
“It’s an honor to be chosen by a society that has done
so much to promote women’s health,” says Bartolomei.
“Being able to increase awareness that there are gender-specific
issues in health-for me, being a part of that effort is what this
award is all about.”
The Society established the award to recognize a women scientist
or engineer for her contributions to women’s health and encourage
women to work on issues uniquely related to women’s health.
To be considered, each nominee must be in the middle of her career,
devote a significant part of her work to women’s health research,
and serve as a role model and mentor for both colleagues and students.
Using mouse models, Bartolomei has found that individual chromosomes
have chemical memory of whether they came from the mother or father.
Further, she established that this memory can be erased - with negative
consequences - early in the embryonic stage by environmental factors.
These findings lay the groundwork for future research, which can
target disease and developmental problems related to erased chromosomal
In animal models, she has studied how assisted reproduction techniques
such as IVF and ICSI can lead to genomic imprinting disorders, which
affect how different genes are expressed. Her ideas are being applied
to the study of maternal and fetal health. Bartolomei also studies
a phenomenon called X inactivation, how a given X chromosome is
activated or inactivated in an embryo. Understanding this process
will also shed light on the genetics of X-chromosome-related diseases.
“All of my lab’s areas of investigation impinge on gender-based
research,” notes Bartolomei.
In addition to research, Bartolomei is dedicated to graduate and
medical education, having trained numerous pre- and postdoctoral
students, clinicians, and other health care professionals. She received
her PhD in biochemistry, cellular, and molecular biology from Johns
Hopkins University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.
Bartolomei came to the University of Pennsylvania in 1993.
The Society for Women’s Health Research is the nation’s
only non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health
of all women through research, education, and advocacy and is based
in Washington, DC.
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.