Project BioEYES celebrates 20 years of science in the classroom

Project BioEYES, an award winning education program that engages students as scientists, marks its 20th anniversary this month! Since its founding in 2002 by Drs. Jamie Shuda and Steven Farber, Project BioEYES has reached over 65,000 students, placing many on the path to further education and STEM careers.

BioEYES is a K-12 science education program which provides classroom-based learning opportunities through the use of live zebrafish. It is designed to incorporate teacher empowerment and provides professional development seminars and a co-teaching experience with trained science consultants, called outreach educators.

Initially launched in Philadelphia, BioEYES has spread to partner sites across the country and around the world.

You can help us celebrate 20 years of science in the classroom and support future scientists! Learn more about how you can help and donate today.


IRM Awards 2nd Elaine Redding Brinster Prize to Huda Zoghbi

For her work pinpointing the underlying, genetic causes of a pair of devastating neurological diseases, the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania awarded Huda Zoghbi, MD the second Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in Science or Medicine. Zoghbi’s research advanced the field’s conceptual understanding of how gene expression can influence neurological health, even in non-inherited disorders.

“Dr. Zoghbi’s interests in the basis for neurological disorders were sparked by her initial observations in the clinic. It was an exceptional path from there to revealing how mutations in a methyl-DNA binding protein cause Rett’s syndrome and how expansion of DNA repeat sequences cause spinocereballar ataxia 1,” said Ken Zaret, PhD, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Joseph Leidy Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. “We are thrilled that Dr. Zoghbi is the second awardee of the Elaine Redding Brinster Prize.”

The prize, supported by an endowment from the children of Elaine Redding Brinster, is awarded annually to a researcher whose singular discovery has made a unique impact on biomedicine. Each winner receives $100,000, a commemorative medal, and an invitation to present a ceremonial lecture at the University of Pennsylvania.

Zoghbi will accept the prize March 15, 2023, as part of the day-long Ralph L. Brinster Symposium. The symposium will feature several eminent speakers from across the biomedical sciences, including Janet Rossant, PhD, of the University of Toronto, Lynne Maquat, PhD, of the University of Rochester, Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, of Stanford University, and Lorenz Studer, MD, of Memorial-Sloan Kettering.

Read more in Penn Medicine News


Discovery of Molecular Signatures of Immature Neurons in The Human Brain Throughout Life Provide New Insights into Brain Plasticity and Other Functions

A team led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has used advanced techniques to show that, in a key memory region of the brain called the hippocampus, immature, plastic neurons are present in significant numbers throughout the human lifespan. The findings, published this month in Nature, hope to resolve a long-running controversy over the existence of “adult neurogenesis”—the production of new immature neurons in the mature human brain. The discovery also paves the way for the deeper study of adult neurogenesis and its roles in memory, mood, behavior, and brain disorders.

“Many mammals generate new neurons in their brains throughout their lifespans which play a critical role in the brain’s plasticity, or ability to change and adapt over time. This ability to repair itself is especially important when the brain is damaged, which is what happens during a stroke or brain injury,” said senior author Hongjun Song, PhD, a Perelman Professor of Neuroscience at Penn. “This plasticity is also important for understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s, which affect a patient’s memory, among other functions.”

Read more about this research in Penn Medicine News (by Kelsey Odorczyk)

IRM Director Ken Zaret elected as Associate Member of EMBO

For his contributions to the life sciences, IRM Director Ken Zaret was recently elected as an Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). This lifelong honor was bestowed on Dr. Zaret and 66 groundbreaking scientists following nomination and selection by existing EMBO members.

EMBO Members provide guidance and support for EMBO activities, for example by evaluating funding applications, serving on EMBO Council and committees, or joining the editorial boards of EMBO Press journals. Through their involvement, members help to shape the direction of life sciences, foster the careers of young researchers, and strengthen the research communities in Europe and beyond.

Dr. Zaret is the Joseph Leidy Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. In addition to leading the IRM, he is active in Penn’s Epigenetics Institute and recently served as Treasurer for the International Society of Stem Cell Researchers (ISSCR). Recognized for his contributions to our understanding of the molecular control of epigenetics and discovery of pioneer transcription factors, Dr. Zaret is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

EMBO is an organization of more than 1,800 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences in Europe and beyond. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

Congratulations Ken!

For more information about this year’s class of EMBO members, please visit the EMBO website.