Dr. Peter Nowell, the Gaylord P. and Mary Louise Harnwell Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Except for a brief interlude in the Navy, Dr. Nowell has remained at Penn since arriving as a medical student in 1948. He was a resident in pathology at the Presbyterian Hospital, Philadelphia, before he joined the Penn faculty in 1956. He served as chair of the department from 1967 to 1973, and as the first director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center -- now the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. In his 50-plus years at Penn, Dr. Nowell has been a distinguished cancer research scientist of world-wide recognition, an outstanding teacher, an accomplished leader, and a valued colleague.
At the age of 32, Dr. Nowell co-discovered the Philadelphia chromosome, a critical step in showing that cancer has a genetic basis. His other research has led to many more insights into the processes involved in the normal and abnormal growth of cells. He has won numerous regional, national, and international awards, including the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, the nation's most prestigious honor for biomedical research. At Penn, Dr. Nowell has been honored with the School of Medicine's highest honor, the Distinguished Graduate Award, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Award of Merit. He has co-authored more than 400 publications and is a member of the Institute of Medicine. Most recently, he was the 2010 recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome.
Dr. Nowell counts as his greatest life achievement his 54-year marriage to the late Helen Worst Nowell, and his five children and seven grandchildren.