Penn Medicine’s Anil K. Rustgi and Hongzhe Li Named 2017 AAAS Fellows

November 20, 2017

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA—Anil K. Rustgi, MD, chief of the division of Gastroenterology and T. Grier Miller Professor of Medicine and Genetics, and Hongzhe Li, PhD, a professor of biostatistics in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, both at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

This year, 396 AAAS members have been selected as fellows by their peers because of their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

Rustgi was selected for “contributions to cancer biology, including the identification of p120 catenin [a protein located in the cytoplasm of cells] as a tumor suppressor, and for insights into the tumor microenvironment.” His research interests includeoncogenes -- mutated normal genes that contribute to tumor growth -- tumor suppressor genes, and the molecular genetics of GI cancers, including those of the colon, pancreatic, and esophagus. He has been a leader in 3D culture systems.

Rustgi received his medical degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in molecular biochemistry & biophysics from Yale University. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School and was a clinical and research fellow in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital prior to his recruitment to Penn.

Li was selected for “distinguished contributions to statistical genetics methodology, promotion of statistical reasoning in society, and modeling of high dimensional genomic and metagenomic data.” His research interests include statistical genetics/genomics and metagenomics [the study of the genetic material of entire microbial communities in environmental samples], with the goal of understanding the genetic and genomic bases of complex biological systems, including the initiation and development of human diseases.

Li received his doctorate in statistics from the University of Washington and a bachelor of science in mathematics from Peking University.

This year’s AAAS fellows will be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science on November 24 and formally recognized on February 17 during the 2018 AAAS annual meeting in Austin, Texas.