All Press Releases for June 11, 2014

The University of Pennsylvania Signs on with LabTV to Open up Their Labs to Filmmakers

UPENN shares LabTV's mission of turning their young medical scientists into role models

"Their work helps dispel myths about what scientists are like and shows the excitement of a dynamic research environment." - Marc L. Rigas, Ph.D., Director of Research Initiatives.

    STAMFORD, CT, June 11, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- LabTV today announced that the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA has agreed to work with LabTV filmmakers to create human-interest video profiles of young working medical researchers at labs on the university's campus.

LabTV is an online video platform that showcases short, human-interest videos of young medical scientists, turning them into the "human faces of medical research," in order to inspire today's high school and college students to follow in their footsteps.

The University of Pennsylvania is home to many of the world's leading researchers. It has a fully incorporated health system and consists of a large community of scholars committed to making a difference in the world. The University of Pennsylvania's goal " to support the outstanding researchers at Penn," said Director of Research Initiatives, Marc L. Rigas, Ph.D. "Of course, this includes showing the world all the impressive discoveries that are being made here and the importance of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support in addressing the nation's most critical health challenges."

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the top medical research institutions in America with over $500 million in funding that serves the University's Perelman School of Medicine's research initiatives. The University is consistently ranked as one of the largest recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, ranking third in the nation among all academic medical institutions. Regarding the University's partnership with LabTV, Director of Research Initiatives, Marc L. Rigas, Ph.D, further comments, "We were very enthusiastic about joining this project, because the University of Pennsylvania is a top recipient of NIH research funding, and we are enthusiastic to highlight the NIH research that happens at Penn. The University has strength in many areas, including liberal arts, so it was nice to bring together the film students with the biomedical researchers and to showcase both our researchers and our student filmmakers."

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has repeatedly stated that America needs visible role models in medical research who can encourage more of our best and brightest young people - especially women and minorities - to join this crucial profession.

Accordingly, the NIH is encouraging America's labs to open their doors to LabTV so that both professional and student filmmakers can create the videos that will celebrate young scientists and excite today's students.

"Medical research is the greatest science adventure of our time, but almost nobody knows about it," said LabTV Executive Producer David Hoffman. "On LabTV our short videos are about people, not about science. The medical scientists we profile are passionate young men and women from every background, every nation and every ethnic group. They find medical research incredibly exciting and rewarding. They are eager to encourage today's students to enter the field."

To that end, LabTV is sending amateur and professional filmmakers to 40,000 NIH-funded medical research labs across America. LabTV filmmakers are creating short video profiles of tens of thousands of young scientists.

"I would like to congratulate and thank all of our filmmakers," said Director of Research Initiatives, Marc L. Rigas, Ph.D. "The Penn filmmakers were undergraduate students at the Annenberg School for Communications. They did an outstanding job, and we are very proud of them. We know from talking to them that they also gained an appreciation for and admiration of what happens in a biomedical research lab, and they were really able to capture that culture and environment in the films, which is part of the reason they were so successful. Their work helps dispel myths about what scientists are like and shows the excitement of a dynamic research environment."

"The entire world is in a race against time as the global population gets steadily older and sicker, and as the demands on healthcare systems in every country become more unsustainable," said Mr. Hoffman. "Now more than ever, the world needs today's outstanding students to become tomorrow's heroes of medical science, cracking the code of health and disease to improve and lengthen billions of lives."

"Our goal," said LabTV founder Jay Walker, "is to help students find role models they can identify with - young scientists who are people just like themselves, and who share their dreams and passions."

Universities that wish to have their young scientists profiled on LabTV at no cost to the university or the lab may contact LabTV's Debbie Pranckitas at (415) 813-8100 or by email at

David Hoffman is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker of more than 150 television documentaries and multi-part series for PBS, Turner, A&E and Discovery. Mr. Hoffman has produced more than 200 television programs, five feature-length documentaries, and hundreds of Youtube "movies" that together have over 10 million views.

Jay Walker, the founder of LabTV, is also the chairman of Patent Properties and curator of TEDMED, the health and medicine edition of the famous TED conference. A noted entrepreneur, Mr. Walker has founded three companies that serve more than 50 million customers. He is best known as the creator of Priceline, which brought a new level of value to the travel industry.

LabTV, in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health, inspires STEM-oriented students, particularly women and minorities, to consider a career in medical research. LabTV does this by having filmmakers, primarily undergraduates, interview young medical scientists, and post their interviews on, where viewing students can find and connect with successful young medical scientists just like them.

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