A new gift was given to Penn Medicine’s Basser Center for BRCA to establish the Pearl Basser Professorship for BRCA-related research. Deputy Director of the Abramson Cancer Center and Director of Genetics at the Basser Center Katherine Nathanson was appointed in the position.
The Basser Center works to prevent the development of BRCA mutations — the phenomenon which makes a person more susceptible to certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer. The Basser Center is the first center for the research, treatment and prevention of BRCA-related cancers, according to The Almanac. The Center was established in 2012 through a $25 million gift 1992 College graduate Mindy Gray and 1992 College and Wharton graduate Jon Gray, in honor of Mindy’s sister Faith, who died of BRCA-related ovarian cancer at age 44.
The recent gift was funded by 1987 College graduate Shari Basser Potter and Len Potter, the sister and brother-in-law of the Grays. Shari Basser said the donation was made in honor of her mother, Pearl.
"Pearl would be proud knowing that someone of Dr. Nathanson’s exceptional caliber will hold a professorship in her name," she said.
In 2013, the Potters endowed the annual Basser Global Prize, given each year to a scientist who has advanced BRCA-related research that has led to improvements in the field.
Director of the Abramson Cancer Center Robert Vonderheide told The Almanac that the establishment of the new chair will further the Center’s research scope to explore new technologies and therapies.
Nathanson received her bachelor's degree from Haverford College and her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993. The appointment will be celebrated by Penn Medicine next fall.