Team Led by Wei Guo Identifies New Mechanism of Cancer Spread

A new study by Penn scientists has identified key steps that trigger the disintegration of cellular regulation that causes cancer. Their discovery—that a protein called Exo70 has a split personality, with one form keeping cells under tight control and another that promotes cell movement, contributing to the ability of tumors to invade distant parts of the body—points to new possibilities for diagnosing cancer metastasis.

The research, published in the journal Developmental Cell, was conducted by a team comprised of researchers from the Department of Biology, including Associate Professor and senior author of the study Wei Guo; the Perelman School of Medicine’s pathobiology and laboratory medicine, medicine, and genetics departments; and China’s Hangzhou Normal University School of Medicine.

Exo70 plays a role a the process known as exocytosis, by which cells transport proteins and other molecules to the membrane and release them. There are five forms of Exo70, two of which, Exo70M and Exo70E, promote cell movement and cell stability, respectively. Essentially, these have the potential to serve as biomarkers for clinicians to judge the progression of cancers or the likelihood of a particular case of cancer to spread.

In addition to Guo, the paper authors include Penn’s Hezhe Lu, Jianglan Liu, and Jingwen Zeng of the Department of Biology; Shujing Liu and Xiaowei Xu of the Department of Pathobiology and Laboratory Medicine; and Russ Carstens of the Departments of Medicine and Genetics. They collaborated with Dequiang Ding and Yusheng Cong of the Institute of Aging Research at China’s Hangzhou Normal University of Medicine.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Read the full story here.

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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