Tracing developmental lineages

Dr. Bushra Raj, from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published an article in Nature Methods discussing how recent advancements in lineage tracing methods are enabling new insight into cell fate and trajectory during development. CRISPR–Cas9-based lineage analysis methods, imaging-based lineage analysis methods, and computational strategies are producing major impacts answering the questions of embryonic development. Continued methodological improvement will further expand our understanding of processes during human development.

You can read the full review, here.

Stuart Orkin, MD

IRM Awards 3rd Elaine Redding Brinster Prize to Stuart Orkin, MD

Recognized for landmark discoveries of the molecular basis of blood disorders and using the basic science findings for therapeutic approaches, the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has awarded Stuart H. Orkin, MD the third Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in Science or Medicine. He elucidated the mechanism controlling the switch from fetal to adult hemoglobin, and reduced to practice reactivation of fetal hemoglobin as a therapeutic strategy for sickle cell disease and other blood cell disorders.

“Dr. Orkin has beautifully illustrated how a career of basic science investigation into the mechanisms for gene regulation can be applied, in one’s own laboratory, to a method for combating devastating human diseases. Notably, his discovery of unexpected details in how the fetal hemoglobin gene is regulated suggested insights for a therapy, for which he availed of the latest gene editing technologies to develop a specific clinical application for sickle cell disease,” said Ken Zaret, PhD, director of Penn’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Joseph Leidy Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Perelman School of Medicine. “We are thrilled that Dr. Orkin is the third 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.

Orkin will accept the prize March 13, 2024, as part of the day-long Ralph L. Brinster Symposium. The symposium will feature several eminent speakers from across the biomedical sciences, including Titia de Lange, PhD, of the Rockefeller University; Carla Shatz, PhD, of Stanford University; Alejandro Sànchez Alvarado, PhD, of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research; and Marianne Bronner, PhD, of the California Institute of Technology.

Read more in Penn Medicine News

Andrew Modzelewski, PhD: recipient 2023 Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Award

Congratulations to IRM faculty, Andrew Modzelewski, PhD for being an award recipient as part of the 2023 Beckman Young Investigator Program.

The Beckman Young Investigator (BYI) Program provides research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of their academic careers in the chemical and life sciences, particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science.

Full announcement is available here.

Modeling development using hydrogels



A team of researchers including Robert Mauck, PhD, the Mary Black Ralston Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania recently covered how engineered hydrogels can serve as in vitro culture platforms to present such signals in a controlled manner and include examples of how they have been used to advance our understanding of developmental biology. You can read more about this research in Development.

Dr. Mauck also co-directs the Program in Musculoskeletal Regeneration at the IRM.  Specific information about current work in the Mauck Lab can be found here.