The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: January 2015

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: January 2015

Founded: 
1765
Location: 
Philadelphia, Pa.
Mission: 
Employ an interdisciplinary approach to understand the fundamental mechanisms of disease and investigate new strategies for treatment.

The Perelman School of Medicine, formerly known as the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school. The School has ranked among the top five medical schools in the country for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools and is among the top 10 medical centers for primary care. It is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School is comprised of 28 basic and clinical departments and more than 2,000 faculty members and 2,200 students and trainees.

In 2015, the Perelman School of Medicine will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of its founding at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Penn's founder, Benjamin Franklin, believed that education yielded practical benefits to society," said J. Larry Jameson, M.D., Ph.D., dean, Perelman School of Medicine.

Today, the Perelman School of Medicine is a vital part of Penn Medicine, an academic medical center with the trifold missions of education, research and clinical care. Penn Medicine is a leader in translational research, bringing scientific discovery from the laboratory to the bedside. Its clinicians work to identify medical problems in need of solutions while its scientists strive for basic research discoveries that could potentially lead to new diagnostics or treatments.

"The integrated nature of this mission uniquely positions our faculty to translate knowledge into new and enhanced treatments," said Jameson.

This is reflected in the accelerating pace of biomedical research at Penn Medicine. A team at Penn Medicine and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia used gene therapy to successfully restore vision to children with a congenital form of blindness, following years of sustained government support and innovative team science. Another team at the Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center has pioneered an immunological approach to treating cancer using a patient's own immune T cells that were modified to target cancer cells, a new treatment modality that has emerged in addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Research programs at the Perelman School of Medicine are supported by philanthropy and private sector investments, but the majority of support is provided by federal funding. Of the $636.5 million in total sponsored program support for Penn Medicine researchers in FY14, $407.2 million was awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

"The partnership between federal agencies and America's great research universities has catalyzed the biomedical revolution of the past half century, which has transformed health care," said Jameson. "At a time when the opportunities for major research advances have never been greater, diminishing support for innovative medical research threatens the development of new diagnostic tests and treatments."

"Research!America's advocacy campaign to promote funding and incentives for medical and health research is an important reminder to policymakers and the public that sustainable and predictable increases in science funding should be a national priority," continued Jameson, who also serves on the executive council of the Association of American Physicians, which calls upon the government to sustain strong federal support of biomedical research. "That support is essential to the continued vibrancy of our research enterprise, whether at Penn or any of our other great research universities."

To learn more, visit www.med.upenn.edu.

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient