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Genetics Researcher at Children's Hospital Selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Date:1/30/2008

Dr. Vivian Cheung Chosen on Basis of Patient-Oriented Research

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Vivian Cheung, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. Following a nationwide competition in 2007, Cheung was one of 15 physician-scientists selected recently by the prestigious research organization.

Like all those chosen, Dr. Cheung focuses on translating research discoveries into improved medical treatments.

"We are extremely pleased and proud of the fact that one of our pediatricians was honored by one of the world's leading biomedical research institutions," said Philip R. Johnson, M.D., chief scientific officer and senior vice president of Children's Hospital. "This appointment recognizes Dr. Cheung's accomplishments in advancing genetic discovery."

Cheung investigates how the sequence of DNA units in a person's chromosomes affects that person's susceptibility to disease. She uses microarray technology to rapidly measure how strongly genes are expressed within cells. By determining how gene expression changes in response to drugs and other treatments, she discovers how each patient's DNA variations are associated with the effectiveness of their disease treatments.

Her goal is to help physicians predict how a patient will respond to a given drug or treatment, based on the patient's particular genetic profile. Ultimately, providing refined genetic tools may remove some of the guesswork in making treatment decisions and in providing the best preventive and therapeutic care.

Trained in neurology, Cheung has a specific interest in a neurogenetic disease called ataxia telangiectasia, which affects movement, muscle control, the immune system and susceptibility to cancer. Because different children may react very differently to their treatment
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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