2020 Year in Review Now Available

The IRM is excited to present our Jan 2020 – Feb 2021 Year in Review! Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to pause and reflect on the positives that made a difficult year worthwhile. This short report covers all the events, outreach, and exciting new research directions launched recently and looks ahead toward the IRM’s next chapter.


  • Information about our donor-backed grantmaking
  • Updates on our outreach and education programs
  • Recaps of our (often virtual) events and workshops
  • A preview of the months ahead

As always, we are grateful to the faculty, students, staff, and donors that support the IRM. More than ever, it is our people that make the Institute a special place for science.

You can view our Year in Review on the web or download a PDF version.

Ruth Gottlieb Research Opportunity Fund established to support PARS & PASH programs

The Penn Academy for Reproductive Sciences (PARS) and Penn Academy for Skin Health (PASH) programs are thrilled to announce the creation of the Ruth Gottlieb Research Opportunity Fund.

Named in memory of University of Pennsylvania undergraduate and School of Medicine alumna Dr. Ruth Gottlieb, this generous endowment will support stipends for Philadelphia city high school students enrolled in the PARS and PASH programs to gain additional laboratory research experience through summer internships with faculty and trainees. For over a decade, the PARS and PASH programs have collectively educated hundreds of Philadelphia area high school students about reproductive sciences and skin health. The workshops introduce local students to hands-on laboratory experience and provide access to expert clinicians and scientists in these fields. Each year, students who have successfully completed the PARS and PASH programs have the opportunity to apply for an additional summer internship. The Ruth Gottlieb awards will enable many deserving young scholars from underrepresented backgrounds and within our city schools to deeply explore the world of science and medicine at a pivotal moment in their lives.

Dr. Gottlieb graduated from medical school in 1954, as one of only four women in her medical school class. Throughout her career as a pediatric nephrologist, Dr. Gottlieb was known for her dedication to the training and mentoring of residents and medical students. She was passionate about providing opportunities that would inspire young people to become the next generation of medical professionals. We are very grateful to the entire Gottlieb family for choosing to partner with PARS & PASH to honor Dr. Gottlieb’s legacy. The awards from the Ruth Gottlieb Research Opportunity Fund will enrich the PARS & PASH missions of fostering enthusiasm for science and medicine in Philadelphia students and empowering them to consider future careers in these fields.

You can support the Ruth Gottlieb Research Opportunity Fund directly here.

Jamie Shuda

Jamie Shuda presents at ACS ResearcHERS Women in Leadership event

Have you thought about the importance of a mentor in your education and career? Would you like to know more about how to find a mentor, what to expect from a mentor, or how to break up with a bad mentor?

Dr. Shuda helps answer these questions and a few others as part of the Women in Leadership: A Conversation In and Out of the Lab web series by the American Cancer Society. This is a great resource– regardless of gender and if you are in HS or college. 

You can click here to watch the recording

Hongjun Song elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Hongjun Song, Perelman Professor of Neuroscience and co-Director of the IRM’s Neurodevelopment & Regeneration Program, was one of five Penn faculty elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2020. Election to NAM is one of the nation’s highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Hongjun was recognized by his peers in the NAM for his research on neural stem cell regulation and neurogenesis. He is also being recognized for his scientific leadership during the Zika outbreak in 2015-2016. During this time, Hongjun and collaborators repurposed brain organoids to test Zika’s ability to infect brain tissue.

Congratulations to Hongjun on this well-deserved honor! Read more about all of the Penn faculty elected this year in Penn Today.