LabTV Showcases Penn Researchers and Student Filmmakers

A series of videos produced by student filmmakers at the University of Pennsylvania has put young biomedical researchers around campus in the spotlight.

The films are part of the pilot launch of a project called LabTV. Sponsored by TedMed, Google and the National Institutes of Health, and coordinated at Penn by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, LabTV aims to inspire students to pursue science by sharing stories of young scientists who are passionate about their work. To that end, LabTV is sending filmmakers, both professional and amateur, to 40,000 research labs in the United States to profile young researchers.

As part of the launch, students from Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication went to labs on campus to profile researchers who are funded by NIH. Their videos not only portray the scientists’ current pursuits, but also focus on how they made the choice to pursue biomedical research. 

“This outstanding group of biomedical scientists from several schools in the University offers just one example of how Penn is integrating knowledge in different disciplines to develop innovative solutions that impact society’s most challenging health problems,” said Dawn Bonnell, Penn’s vice provost for research.

Annenberg student Hanna Bottger profiled Charlie Mo, a graduate student at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Mo works in the lab of Rahul Kohli, an assistant professor of medicine. For her film, Bottger received $1,500 and one of four Gold Awards, LabTV’s top prize, at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival last month.


Another Annenberg student, Ernest Owens, submitted two video profiles. In one, he followed Stephanie Majkut, a post-doctoral researcher in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Majkut works with Dennis Discher, the Robert D. Bent chaired Professor in SEAS. For his video on Majkut, Owens was named a LabTV Awards Finalist and received a $750 prize at the Tribeca Film Festival. 


Owens also submitted a profile of Stephanie Seifert, a doctoral candidate in the School of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Biology who works in the lab of Dustin Brisson, an assistant professor of biology.


The LabTV website, currently in beta testing, will go live at the end of May.

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