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December 13, 2011

Joseph and Josephine Rabinowitz Research Award Presented to Penn Dental Medicine Faculty

Josephine Rabinowitz (front, 2nd from right) and her children (left-right), Malva, Marty, and Lois with award recipients (back, left-right), Drs. Elisabeth Barton, Patricia Miguez, Jon Korostoff, and Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia.

Josephine Rabinowitz (front, 2nd from right) and her children (left-right), Malva, Marty, and Lois with award recipients (back, left-right), Drs. Elisabeth Barton, Patricia Miguez, Jon Korostoff, and Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia.

Philadelphia – Helping to advance new research projects at Penn Dental Medicine is the 2011 Joseph and Josephine Rabinowitz Award for Excellence in Research, presented to four Penn Dental Medicine faculty members at a special luncheon presentation held December 12.

This year’s recipients of the Rabinowitz Award are Dr. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, Professor, Department of Biochemistry; Dr. Jon Korostoff, Associate Professor of Periodontics; Dr. Patricia Miguez, Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontics; and Dr. Elisabeth Barton, Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology. The Award will support a collaboration between Drs. Boesze-Battaglia and Korostoff on a project titled, Defective Lysosome Maturation is Correlated with Chronic Periodontal Disease, and one between Drs. Miguez and Barton on a project titled Evaluation of Natural Cross-Linker Agents as Modulators of Muscle and Bone Growth Factors. Award recipients received $20,000 toward each of these two projects.

This Penn Dental Medicine research award was established in 2002 through the generosity of the late Dr. Joseph “Jose” Rabinowitz, an active member of the School’s Biochemistry faculty for 29 years, and his wife, Josephine. Dr. Rabinowitz, a native of the Ukraine who grew up in Mexico, held a BS from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and a PhD in organic chemistry from Penn. He joined Penn’s School of Medicine faculty in 1958 and moved to Penn Dental Medicine in 1963, where he served on the active faculty through 1992. Even after becoming Professor Emeritus, he continued to teach in the Biochemistry Department until his death in 2009. Dr. Rabinowitz was known for his research in lipid and steroid biochemistry, and made the seminal discovery that HMG CoA was a key intermediate in cholesterol biosynthesis. His research helped lead to the development of the important class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.

The Rabinowitzes endowed this award to promote independent research among Penn Dental Medicine faculty members. “This year the award was used to fund new projects that also involve new collaborations among our basic science and clinical faculty,” says Dr. Bruce Shenker, Associate Dean for Research at Penn Dental Medicine. “Promoting research across disciplines was a hallmark of Dr. Rabinowitz’ scientific career, and that legacy continues through this year’s award.” Josephine Rabinowitz attended the award presentation along with her daughters, Lois and Malva, and son, Marty.

Candidates for the award are selected by a faculty committee. The candidates’ research proposals are evaluated for their scholarly merit, creativity and innovation; the significance of the research; the prospects for future extramural funding; the availability of alternate funding sources; and in the case of junior faculty, evidence that the applicant will be working as an independent investigator and forwarding of the School’s research objectives.

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