Contact: Lauren Sullivan November 30, 2007 215.351.2066 WHYY AND ITVS COMMUNITY CINEMA EXAMINE STEM CELL RESEARCH WITH A PANEL DISCUSION AND ADVANCED SCREENING OF MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: 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 www.whyy.org. 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. PANEL/MODERATOR BIOS: 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.