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Research in Biomedical Sciences

Research in Biomedical Sciences


Research conducted withintransgenesis - DNA injection into zygotic pronucleus copy our department has had a major global impact on experimental biology and medicine. Biomedical Sciences anchors veterinary education within the larger context of "One Medicine" and tightly links the school with Penn's biomedical community.

Our faculty and lab members represent a range of interests and techniques, and research is categorized into one of the following five general areas of focus. 

  • Aging, Metabolism, and Mitochondria
    • Research in the Department of Biomedical Sciences on aging and metabolism encompasses broad aspects of chemical, biological and oxidative stress as well as neuronal stress. 
    • Our labs have produced groundbreaking discoveries in the study of spermatogonial stem cells and its niche, transgenerational germ cell reprogramming and the role of transcription factor NF-kB in chronic inflammatory diseases.
    • These studies employ diverse cutting edge approaches including genetic models of human disease, metabolic profiling, microRNA analysis, metabolic activation of environmental toxins, and elucidation of an array of signaling pathways.
    • Research from our labs contributes to efforts to better understand and develop treatments for age related diseases including osteoporosis and related muscloskeletal disorders, cancer, reproductive diseases, and maternal stress on development.
    • Read more about Aging, Metabolism, and Mitochondria...
  • Cancer Biology/Oncology
    • Various types of cancers account for almost half of all disease related deaths in companion animals and are the second most common cause of death in people.
    • Research in cancer biology and comparative oncology within the Department seeks to understand the basic mechanisms underlying the development of cancer and its progression and to develop effective therapies.
    • Our research interests are broad and consider both the inherited and somatic mutations in transformed cancer cells that lead to tumorigenesis and the effects of extrinsic signals provided by non-transformed cells and the extracellular matrix, which may contribute in resistance to therapeutic agents.
    • Laboratories in our department study structures and mechanisms like tumor microenvironment, cancer stem cells and stem cell niche, drivers of metastasis and the metastatic niche, and more.
    • Additionally, researchers from our department are participating members of the Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology, which is comprised of members from all four departments of the School of Veterinary Medicine.  The diversity of research interests of members of the center, whose mission is to develop a multidisciplinary program in oncology that explores small animal spontaneous tumor models for use in understanding basic mechanisms of cancers and their treatment, supports basic, translational and clinical cancer research.
    • Learn more about Cancer Biology and Oncology...
  • Germ Cells, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
    • The Department of Biomedical Sciences has maintained a longstanding interest in germ cell and stem cell biology, reproductive biology and regenerative medicine.
    • Since the 1960s, our faculty has conducted groundbreaking work, including Dr. Ralph Brinster, who developed some of the earliest techniques for manipulating mouse embryos and was one of the first to generate transgenic mice through the injection of genes into the pronucleus of a zygote, and Dr. Hans Scholer, who made landmark discoveries concerning the molecular basis of pluripotency – the ability of a stem cell to give rise to all cell types.
    • Today, work in the section for Germ Cells, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine has expanded to also include adult stem cell biology.  Our faculty members are engaged in understanding how stem cells govern adult tissue and its responses to injury, illustrating the structure and function of the stem cell niche, and identifying the factors that affect the role of the stem cell in tumorigenesis.
    • Additionally, the Department of Biomedical Sciences houses the Penn Vet Center for Animal Transgenesis and Germ Cell Research, which enables the genetic manipulation and generation of transgenic, knockout and knockin animals for disease modeling.
    • Read more about Germ Cells, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine...
  • Inflammation
    • Inflammation, a complex pathophysiological process, plays an important role in numerous responses to pathogens and stimuli in the animal body, and it is central to many diseases including cardiovascular diseases, colitis, arthritis and dermatitis.
    • Additionally, it plays a crucial role in the microenvironment of tumors where inflammatory signals mediate the proliferation, survival and migration of cancer cells, and members of our department study that role and the signaling mechanisms that trigger inflammation.
    • We use state-of the-art cellular, molecular, genetic, pharmacological and imaging approaches to study understand how inflammatory mediators contribute to disease development, identify novel targets in inflammatory signal cascades and support the development of novel anti-inflammatory drugs.
    • Learn more about Inflammation...
  • Neuroscience
    • Neuroscience research in the Department aims to improve our understanding of the central nervous system and its involvement in the pathogenesis of disease.
    • Areas of expertise and emphasis include regulation of feeding behavior and metabolism, sleep regulation, stress, neurodevelopment, and behavioral epigenetics.
    • The generation and use of novel animal models of disease provides valuable tools and aids in the development of new drug targets and therapies in disease prevention and treatment.
    • Learn more about Neuroscience...
  • Vertebrate Paleo Biology
    • Research in the section of Vertebrate Paleontology studies the paleobiology and relationships of dinosaurs based on laboratory and field studies.
    • Using fossil records and 3D geometric morphometrics, we are able to study dinosaurs, but we study extant species to further our understanding of the anatomy and physiology of extinct species.
    • Field studies we conducted in China’s Gansu Province resulted in the description of new dinosaurs, and lab work seeks to better understand, among other things, the locomotor apparatus of dinosaurs and issues of neck mobility in long-necked sauropods.
    • Learn more about Vertebrate Paleo Biology...