Marisa Bartolomei, PhD, has been appointed the Perelman Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology.
Marisa obtained her PhD degree from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, where she discovered the first imprinted gene. She joined the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Penn in 1993, and has a secondary appointment in the Department of Genetics. Marisa holds or has held multiple leadership positions at Penn, including Co-Director of the Epigenetics Program and Director of the Institute For Regenerative Medicine Program in Reproductive Medicine. Nationally, Marisa was Chair of the Molecular Genetics B Study Section at the National Institutes of Health, and is currently on the Board of Scientific Counsellors. A strong advocate for women in science, Marisa has received numerous awards for her research and teaching, including the Society for Women’s Health Research Redtronics Prize for Contributions to Women’s Health, a MERIT award from the National Institute of General Medicine, an Elected Fellow and Member-At-Large of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Jane Glick Graduate Teaching award from Penn. In 2017, Marisa received the prestigious Genetics Society Medal from the UK Genetics Society in recognition of her “outstanding research contributions to genetics”.
Marisa researches the epigenetic mechanisms of genomic imprinting and X inactivation, as well as the impact of adverse environmental insults on epigenetic gene regulation. Her work has provided important insights into the molecular basis of human conditions caused by defects in genomic imprinting such as Prader-Willi/Angelman, Beckwith-Wiedemann, and Silver-Russell syndromes. Marisa also studies the epigenetic consequences of in utero exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). She discovered, for example, that procedures used in ART, such as in vitro embryo culture, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, and hormonal hyperstimulation contribute to errors in epigenetic gene regulation in mice, anticipating the later discovery that infants of mothers undergoing ART have an increased frequency of imprinting syndromes.
In addition to her outstanding research, Marisa is a tireless contributor to the Penn community, serving on and chairing many committees and fostering strong collaborations across many scientific areas. She is also a dedicated mentor to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.