Aman Husbands has been named Mitchell J. Blutt and Margo Krody Blutt Presidential Assistant Professor of Biology. He will also be joining the Penn Epigenetics Institute as a core faculty member.
As a plant molecular biologist, Husbands studies gene regulation of plant function. When asked about his research, he states that he is “primarily interested in control. Biology is incredibly complicated, and we want to understand the regulatory mechanisms that make it work. How do organisms generate complex morphologies, and how do they do it with such reproducibility?” Since starting his own lab at Ohio State University (OSU) in 2018, Husbands has made great strides in developing insights into these important questions. He utilizes a variety of state-of-the-art molecular approaches to better understand gene function, and has recently expanded his analyses beyond plants to include the human tumor suppressor Defective in Liver Cancer-1 (DLC1).
As a teacher Husbands has built a reputation as being innovative, and cares deeply about enhancing equity and diversity in science and STEM fields. He has developed a highly-regarded and highly-interactive short course that introduces undergraduates to the importance of genetic mutants in developmental biology, and is the founder of Columbus Campus Research Opportunities, which works to bring students from satellite campuses of OSU to the main campus to complete a nine-week full-time internship (which includes housing and a monthly stipend).
Junhyong Kim, Patricia M. Williams Term Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology, states, “What started as just a seminar talk here at Penn has grown into an exciting opportunity to bring a phenomenal researcher, instructor, and mentor to our campus. [Husbands’s] research focus will help build our already robust expertise in plant biology, and his background in teaching molecular biology and plant development will help train the next generation of scientists here at Penn.”
The Mitchell J. Blutt and Margo Krody Blutt Presidential Professorship is one of three Presidential Professorships established in 2017 by Mitchell J. Blutt, C’78, M’82, WG’87, and Margo Krody Blutt. Mitchell Blutt is the chief executive officer of Consonance Capital, an investment firm focused on the healthcare industry. He was formerly the Executive Partner of J.P. Morgan Partners, the private equity investment fund of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and one of the largest private equity and venture capital activities in the world. He is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
At Penn, Blutt is a member of the Wharton Board of Advisors and an emeritus member of the Penn Arts & Sciences Board of Advisors. He is also a former member of the Penn Medicine Board, where he served on its Executive and Finance Committees. He previously served as a University Trustee, Chair of the University Trustees’ Committee for Strategic Initiatives, and Vice Chair of both the Trustees’ Diversity Committee and the University Committee for Undergraduate Financial Aid. He received Penn’s Alumni Award of Merit in 2018.
Mitchell and Margo Blutt’s past Penn giving has benefitted undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, internships, and professorships in Penn Arts & Sciences, the Perelman School of Medicine, and the Wharton School. The Blutts also support music at Penn through the Blutt Band Slam, a popular live music competition held each year at Homecoming; a music program that provides instruction to undergraduate students and supports professional performances, master classes, and other musical events; and a singer-songwriter symposium held each year at Kelly Writers House.