Penn Researcher, Peter Nowell, MD, Among 11 Winners of Franklin Institute Awards

October 19, 2009


Peter Nowell, MD, the Gaylord P. and Mary Louise Harnwell Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Science, will receive the Franklin Institute medal in life science, for the discovery of a genetic cause of leukemia and research that led to successful therapy. Nowell discovered the "Philadelphia chromosome," along with the late David Hungerford of Fox Chase Cancer Center. This is a chromosome abnormality that causes chronic myelogeous leukemia, the first evidence for a genetic cause of cancer. The latest group of Franklin Institute laureates will come to Philadelphia for a week of seminars and ceremony in April. Another recipient, Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft, is being recognized both for his contributions in the computer world and for his more recent passions, enabled by this prodigious wealth: fighting disease in developing nations and improving education in low-income areas of the United States. Nowell's discovery of the "Philadelphia chromosome" is famous in the scientific world. Yet he acknowledged that Gates is better known. "I've heard of him," Nowell said drily of his fellow award recipient. "Doesn't he have some money?"  Listen to WHYY Segment