Penn Researchers Receive $10 Million Grant to Study Asbestos

Researchers at Penn's Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) have been awarded a $10 million grant from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. Faculty from Penn Arts and Sciences and the Perelman School of Medicine will conduct the research, which will study asbestos exposure pathways that lead to mesothelioma, the bioremediation of this hazardous material, and mechanisms that lead to asbestos-related diseases.

Established by the grant, the Penn Superfund Research and Training Program (SRP) Center evolved as a direct consequence of concerns from the community living near the BioRit Asbestos Superfund site in Ambler, Pa., about 20 miles north of Philadelphia. CEET is the academic home for the Penn Superfund Center.

The environmental projects centering on the remediation of asbestos particles will be conducted by Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Jane Willenbring and Professor of Biology Brenda Casper, who will use mycrorrhiza fungi to break down asbestos to a new non-toxic mineral form. Studies on the mobility and fate of asbestos particles in streams and rivers will be conducted by Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Douglas Jerolmack and Willenbring. Although these projects evolved in response to the Ambler community’s concerns, the results could be readily translated to the 15 other Superfund asbestos sites in the U.S.

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Arts & Sciences News

The Power of Penn Arts & Sciences

On April 12, 2018, the Power of Penn Arts & Sciences fundraising campaign was announced by the Board of Overseers. Launched in conjunction with the University’s Power of Penn campaign, it aims to raise $550 million for the School of Arts and Sciences.

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2018 Penn Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholars

Penn Arts and Sciences has named 20 students from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, and the Graduate Division as Dean’s Scholars. This honor is presented annually to students who exhibit exceptional academic performance and intellectual promise.

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Joseph Subotnik Named Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor

Joseph Subotnik, Professor of Chemistry, has been named Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Chemistry. A theoretical chemist who focuses on electronic processes in the condensed phase, Dr. Subotnik has made key contributions in electronic structure theory, chemical dynamics, and statistical mechanics.

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Two Penn Arts and Sciences Professors Named Guggenheim Fellows

Charles L. Bosk, Professor of Sociology, and Charles Yang, Professor of Linguistics and Computer Science, have been awarded 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships.

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Ahmad Family Endowment Supports Penn Global Seminars

Hyder Ahmad, W’90, and his family have made a generous gift to establish the Ahmad Family Endowment for Penn Global Seminars in Arts and Sciences.

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Abraham Nitzan Named Donner Professor of Physical Sciences

Abraham Nitzan, Professor of Chemistry, has been named Donner Professor of Physical Sciences. Nitzan’s research focuses on the interaction of light with molecular systems, chemical reactions in condensed phases and interfaces and charge transfer processes in such environments.

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2018 Teaching Award Recipients Announced

Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of Penn Arts and Sciences, and Paul Sniegowski, Stephen A. Levin Family Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, have announced the recipients of the 2018 awards for distinguished teaching in the School.

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College Graduation Speakers for 2018 Revealed

Angela Duckworth, G’03, GR’06, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology, will address the Class of 2018 at the graduation ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences on Sunday, May 13, 2018. She will be joined by student speaker Helena von Nagy, C’18.

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Individualized Care Will Become the Standard for Depression Patients

In a new paper for the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, researchers Robert DeRubeis, Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences, and Zachary Cohen of Psychology, address precision medicine, also known as customized-care, in the context of treatment for depression.

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Restoring Vacant Lots Reduces Gun Violence and Crime

In cities across the U.S., about 15 percent of land is considered vacant or abandoned. These areas can foster criminal activity, and urban residents, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, often view vacant land as a threat to their health and safety.

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Robert DeRubeis: Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences

Professor of Psychology Robert DeRubeis has been named the Samuel H.

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