Blavatnik Family Foundation Donates $2 Million to UPenn for Next Generation of Scientists

The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Aug. 8 announced that it has received a $2 million gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation which established the Blavatnik Family Fellowship in Biomedical Research in the Penn Biomedical Graduate Studies program.

Among the inaugural group of Fellows chosen in July included Indian American Divyansh Agarwal.

Agarwal, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Yale University and is currently pursuing medical and doctorate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, is the founder of Sanguis.

Sanguis is a medical device company whose goal is to alleviate the uncertainty and fear that cancer patients receiving chemotherapy have to endure. Its device provides patients an at-home, inexpensive blood cell count monitoring option for early detection of infection risk after a chemotherapy treatment.

Other Fellows included Edward Chuang, Jinyang Li, Kamen Simeonov, Huchuan “Cedric” Xia and Linda Zhou.

The Fellows are focusing on research projects with translational implications across many disease areas, including: ocular diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, pancreatic cancer, cancer metastasis, psychiatric disorders; and trinucleotide repeat expansion disorders, such as Huntington’s disease and Fragile X Syndrome, it said.

Dr. J. Larry Jameson, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, explained the power and influence these students bring to their research labs.

“Many of our students are playing key roles in advancing major breakthroughs here at Penn thanks to BGS’s thoughtful, expert mentors, a world-class research infrastructure, and a culture of collaboration,” Jameson said in a statement. “With the generous support of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, our talented Blavatnik Family Fellows will be able to transform their scientific passions into discoveries that improve human health.”

Headed by industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, the Blavatnik Family Foundation has a strong history of supporting talented young scientists at premier institutions around the globe, the university said in a news release.

“By establishing this landmark fellowship at Penn, we hope to empower talented students to pursue high-risk, high-reward projects in the lab,” said Blavatnik in a statement. “This investment in our future will benefit cutting-edge science now and over time as these trainees grow and drive innovation in their respective fields.”