PHILADELPHIA — Benjamin Garcia has been named the first Presidential Term Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, effective June 1. The announcement was made by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price.
“I am delighted that Ben Garcia is joining us as Penn’s first Presidential Professor,” Gutmann said. “He is a brilliant young scholar and researcher whose pioneering work in cell biology and proteomics has placed him at the forefront of his field, earning him numerous awards, including a Presidential Early Career Award, the highest honor bestowed by the federal government on young scientists and engineers. Ben is the consummate interdisciplinary scholar, and he will add further distinction to our eminent faculty.”
Garcia is currently assistant professor of molecular biology at Princeton University, where he has taught since 2008, following three years as an NIH-NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Genomic Biology of the University of Illinois. His pioneering research involves developing new mass spectrometry methods and bioinformatic computational tools to examine critical modifications in cellular proteins that alter and control their functions.
In addition to the Presidential Early Career Award, Garcia has received more than a dozen major awards, including a National Science Foundation Early Career Award, a National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.
“Ben Garcia is one of the most important and exciting young researchers in cell biology,” Price said. “His innovative work impacts a wide range of areas, from medicine to chemistry to bioengineering. I am certain that his devotion to both teaching and integrating knowledge will be great assets to the Penn community in the years ahead.”
Presidential Term Professorships, supported in part by a $2 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, are awarded to exceptional scholars, of any rank, who contribute to faculty eminence through diversity across the University.
“Ben Garcia brings extensive proteomics expertise to Penn, and he is joining an environment dedicated to linking scientific discoveries to new diagnostics and treatments,” said J. Larry Jameson, executive vice president for the health system and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine. “I am confident that Ben will partner with collaborators throughout the University to make a major impact, particularly on the study of the molecular pathways that underpin cancer.”
Garcia earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in chemistry in 2000 from the University of California, Davis.