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									Contact: Lauren Sullivan                                            November 30, 2007
                          TERRA INCOGNITA

WHYY and ITVS Community Cinema examine stem cell research with an advance screening of
the ITVS film, MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: Terra Incognita by Maria Finitzo,
and a panel discussion hosted by The Philadelphia Inquirer medical staff writer Marie
McCullough on Wednesday, Dec 19th at the WHYY Independence Foundation Civic Space, (150
N 6th Street, 19106). The event will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. The program starts at
6:15 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, or to RSVP, please
call 215.351.0511 or visit
Panelists include Paul Root-Wolpe, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Sociology in Psychiatry in
the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds appointments in
the Department of Medical Ethics and the Department of Sociology. Jonathan A. Epstein, M.D.,
the William Wikoff Smith Chair in Cardiovascular Research, Chairman of the Department of
Cell and Developmental Biology and the Scientific Director of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute.
Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., who is featured in the film, is a priest of the diocese of Fall
River, Massachusetts who has worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts
General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
MAPPING STEM CELL RESEACH: Terra Incognita tells the story of Dr. Jack Kessler, the
current chair of Northwestern University's Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological
Sciences, and his daughter, Allison, an undergraduate student at Harvard University. When
Kessler was invited to head up the Neurology Department at Northwestern, his focus was on
using stem cells to treat the neurological complications of diabetes. However, soon after his
move to Chicago, his daughter, Allison, then age 15, was injured in a skiing accident and
paralyzed from the waist down. In the moments following the accident, Dr. Kessler made the
decision to change the focus of his research to begin looking for a cure for spinal cord injuries
using embryonic stem cells. The film follows his alternately frustrating and exhilarating research,
as well as two young women whose lives were devastatingly altered by spinal cord injuries.
Following the lives of the Kesslers, lab researchers and others affected by spinal cord injury, the
film movingly depicts the high stakes involved in the quest to harness the full potential of stem
cell medicine and the resilience and courage of people living every day with devastating disease
and injury.
It is one of the most controversial issues of our time, one that is sure to be a major part of the
upcoming political debates. MAPPING STEM CELL RESEACH: Terra Incognita goes
beyond the rhetoric to put a human face on the issue, introducing viewers to doctors, researchers
and patients on the front lines. Directed by Maria Finitzo and produced by the award-winning
Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams, Independent Lens’ THE NEW AMERICANS).
WHYY is what a diverse community has in common. WHYY, through television, radio and other
communications services, makes our region a better place, connecting each of us to the world’s
richest ideas and all of us to each other.
Marie McCullough
Marie McCullough came to The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1989 and joined its health and science
desk in 1995. Her primary areas of coverage have been: women’s health issues such as teen
pregnancy, infertility treatment, breast cancer, and abortion; the science, ethics and politics of
stem cells and cloning; emerging and (re-emerging) infectious diseases such as SARS, anthrax,
and avian flu; and, most recently, “targeted” molecular medicines. She has won numerous
awards, most recently for a 2006 story about the German scientist whose 25-year-long quest to
find the cause of cervical cancer laid the foundation for the new human papilloma virus vaccine
Gardasil. She has attended week-long and month-long journalism fellowships at Duke
University, MIT, NYU and Harvard University. In 2007 she had a fellowship in East Asia where
she learned about emerging diseases and pandemic flu preparations. She graduated cum laude
from Cornell University and began her career at the Binghamton, NY Press and Sun Bulletin.
She and her husband live in West Philadelphia where she is an officer of two community
associations dedicated to improving the neighborhood.
Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.
Fr. Tad is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. As an undergraduate he earned
degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, and did laboratory
research on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He later earned a Ph.D. in
Neuroscience from Yale University, where he focused on cloning genes for neurotransmitter
transporters which are expressed in the brain. He also worked for several years as a molecular
biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Fr. Tad studied for 5 years
in Rome where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics, examining the
question of delayed ensoulment of the human embryo. He has testified before members of the
Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and North Carolina State Legislatures during deliberations
over stem cell research and cloning. He has given presentations and participated in roundtables
on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. He has done numerous
media commentaries, including appearances on CNN International, ABC World News Tonight,
and National Public Radio. He is Director of Education for The National Catholic Bioethics
Center in Philadelphia and directs the Center's National Catholic Certification Program in Health
Care Ethics. Fr. Tad has presented on the science and ethics of stem cells and cloning numerous
times across the country and abroad.
Paul Root-Wolpe, Ph.D.
Paul Root-Wolpe, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Sociology in Psychiatry in the Department of
Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds appointments in the Department of
Medical Ethics and the Department of Sociology. He is a Senior Fellow of Penn's Center for
Bioethics, and is Director of the Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health
and the Program in Psychiatry and Ethics at the School of Medicine. He is a Senior Fellow of the
Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, and a member of Penn's Cancer Center and
Center for AIDS Research. He is President of the American Society for Bioethics and
Humanities, the national professional organization for scholars in bioethics and the medical
humanities and is Co-Editor of the American Journal of Bioethics. He serves as the first Chief of
Bioethics for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The office is
responsible for safeguarding the protections of research subjects and astronauts both within
NASA and among our international space partners. He is also the first National Bioethics
Advisor for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, helping that organization plan for the
changing social dynamics and emerging reproductive technologies that will influence women's
reproduction over the coming decades. He is one of the few non-physicians to be elected a
Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the country's oldest medical society.
He did his undergraduate work in the sociology and psychology of religion at the University of
Pennsylvania, and went on to receive his Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from Yale University
under an NIMH grant in Mental Health Services Research and Evaluation. In 1986, Wolpe began
teaching at Penn, and has taught there in one capacity or another ever since. He is the author of
many articles and book chapters in sociology, medicine, and bioethics, and has contributed to a
variety of encyclopedias on bioethical issues. A founder of the field of neuroethics, which
examines the ethical implications of neuroscience, he also writes about other emerging
technologies, such as nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and prosthetics. He sits on a number
of national and international non-profit organizational boards and working groups, is on the
editorial boards of a dozen journals, and is a consultant to academic institutions and the
biomedical industry. He was recently awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award by the Friars
Club, a Senior Honors Society at Penn, and has been chosen as a "Superstar Teacher of America"
by The Teaching Company which distributes his courses on audio and videotape.

Johnathan A. Epstein, M.D.
Jonathan A. Epstein, M.D., graduated from Harvard College in 1983, Harvard Medical School in
1988 and completed his Residency and Fellowship in Medicine and Cardiology at the Brigham
and Women's Hospital, where he also completed an HHMI Postdoctoral Fellowship in Genetics.
In 1996 he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology
at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently the William Wikoff Smith Chair in
Cardiovascular Research, Chairman of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and
the Scientific Director of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute. He has received numerous awards,
including the Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award from the Interurban Club (2001) and
the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation for Medical Research (2006).
He is an Established Investigator of the American Heart Associatioin, a member of the American
Asociation of Physicians and Vice-President (ascending to President in 2010) of the American
Society for Clinical Investigation. He serves on several editorial boards, and is an Associate
Editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Epstein’s research has focused on the
molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular development and implications for understanding and
treating human disease. His group has been at the forefront of utilizing mouse models of
congenital heart disease to determine genetic and molecular pathways required for cardiac
morphogenesis, including the role of neural crest in cardiovascular development. This line of
investigation led to the identification of TBX1 as a candidate gene for DiGeorge syndrome, a
common human condition associated with congenital heart disease, and to the implication of a
series of other candidate genes for congenital cardiac disorders. The Epstein group has
discovered novel signaling pathways regulating vascular patterning, angiogenesis and blood
vessel growth. Genetic studies in mouse models have demonstrated a critical function for the
gene responsible for von Recklinghausen Neurofibromatosis (NF1) in the vasculature. Using
mouse and zebrafish models, novel members of the semaphorin family of guidance molecules
have been implicated in the growth and patterning of both large and small vessels. Studies of
cardiac development have been extended to implicate similar pathways in adult cardiac
homeostasis and disease, with direct implications for the development of new therapeutic agents
for heart failure and myocardial infarction. In addition to his research commitments, Dr. Epstein
practices medicine in the cardiac intensive care unit at the Hospital of the University of
Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veteran Administration Hospital.

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