Pietenpol Inducted into Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars

June 19, 2009

BY: MELISSA MARINO

Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named one of 15 new members of the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars.

The society — the first of its kind in the nation — inducts former postdoctoral fellows, postdoctoral degree recipients, house staff and junior or visiting faculty who have served at least a year at Johns Hopkins and thereafter gained marked distinction elsewhere in their fields of physical, biological, medical, social or engineering sciences or in the humanities and for whom at least five years have elapsed since their last Johns Hopkins affiliation.

There are currently 536 members in the Hopkins Society of Scholars.

Pietenpol, who was a fellow in the Oncology Center at Johns Hopkins from 1991 to 1994, was recognized for major contributions to the understanding of the p53 signaling network.

The p53 gene is altered in numerous forms of cancer, including those of the breast, colon, lung, brain, pancreas and stomach, and is the most frequently altered cancer gene yet identified. Pietenpol helped discover how p53 and related genes work to make cells grow abnormally and, in particular, how they divide so quickly and die so slowly. Her ongoing research seeks not only to define these mechanisms but also to use this information to advance patient care.

A member of the Vanderbilt faculty since 1994, Pietenpol has received numerous honors, including: a Burroughs Wellcome Award for her investigations in the areas of Biochemistry and Toxicology; appointment to the President’s National Cancer Advisory Board; and election to the American Association for Cancer Research board of directors.

Pietenpol is the B.F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Molecular Oncology and a professor of Biochemistry, Cancer Biology and Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt-Ingram.

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