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Two Early-Career Investigators from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine Recognized for Advancing Biomedical Research

Date: Jun 20, 2023

June 20, 2023; PHILADELPHIA, PA – Two early-career scientists from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) have been honored with awards from the Kinship Foundation and the Endocrine Society.

Andrew Modzelewski, PhD 
Andrew Modzelewski, PhD

Andrew Modzelewski, PhD, assistant professor of Molecular Biology, has been named a 2023 Searle Scholar. The $300,000 individual award supports the research of promising young faculty in the biomedical sciences who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on the tenure track. Dr. Modzelewski is recognized for his research investigating the role of retrotransposons in preimplantation development, reproduction, and disease progression.

Searle Scholars pursue research that ‘advances our basic understanding of molecular processes in biology, and often lead to new opportunities for improving health and wellness in the population,’ said Milan Mrksich, PhD, scientific director for the Searle Scholars Program and Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University.

Founded in 1980 and administered by the Kinship Foundation, the Searle Scholars Program is funded through the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust.

Modzelewski has also been named a 2023 Beckman Young Investigator Awardee. He will receive $600,000 in funding over four years. Founded in 1977 by scientific instrumentation pioneer Dr. Arnold O. Beckman, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation supports young scientists whose creative, interdisciplinary research will lead to innovations, and new tools and methods for scientific discovery.

‘We are excited to welcome this new group of young researchers, and to support their outstanding work, amazing creativity, and future potential,’ said Executive Director of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Anne Hultgren, PhD. ‘Throughout the next four years, our 2023 class of Beckman Young Investigators will be tackling a broad range of problems. We are eager to be part of these incredible projects and to see our researchers’ results.’

Kotaro Sasaki, MD, PhD 
Kotaro Sasaki, MD, PhD

Kotaro Sasaki, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences, has received the Endocrine Society's 2023 Early Investigator Award. The Early Investigator Awards support early-career investigators in endocrine-related research. Dr. Sasaki’s research investigates the molecular basis of human infertility, reproduction, and endocrinology. He will be recognized during ENDO 2023, taking place June 15-18 in Chicago, Illinois.

With more than 18,000 members, the Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and hormone-related conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and infertility.

“I am delighted to see Drs. Modzelewski and Sasaki recognized for their promising contributions to developmental biology,” said Ellen Puré, PhD, chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Grace Lansing Lambert Professor of Biomedical Science. “We are benefiting from the breadth of innovations and insights that these two early-career scientists are generating. Drs. Modzelewski and Sasaki embody the culture and values of the University of Pennsylvania, and they are extraordinary role models for other young faculty and postdoctoral researchers here at Penn.” 

About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 34,600 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 6,200 patient visits a year, while our Field Services have gone out on more than 5,500 farm service calls, treating some 18,700 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.