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Community (1/12/07)
January 12, 2007

Proceedings of the HMS Faculty Council

HMS dean Joseph Martin began the Nov. 15 meeting of the Faculty Council by presenting an abbreviated version of his 2006 State of the School Address, which included a presentation of the video detailing the origins of the Longwood Quadrangle and its evolution to the present. The video was originally shown at the event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Quadrangle in September.

In his presentation, Martin reviewed the priorities he had established when assuming the deanship in 1997, which included strengthening basic science, improving hospital relationships, nurturing education, fostering community and public service, optimizing information technology, cultivating diversity, and furthering resource development. He then provided examples of advances in each of these areas. He also outlined areas to be focused on over the remainder of this academic year, which include continuing to implement the new curriculum, completing the system to pay for clinical teaching, engaging faculty in University-wide science planning, nurturing new chairs in Social Medicine and Genetics, pursuing major new donations, lobbying for NIH funding, and implementing ideas from the staff survey.

Martin also commented on the ongoing science planning efforts under way at the University. He said that continued investment in all three campuses (Cambridge, Longwood, and Allston) is critical for the success of the University and that Allston offers an exceptional opportunity for innovation in life sciences and development of new interdisciplinary initiatives.

Lisa Iezzoni, HMS professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and council vice chair, then requested that those present divide into two groups, one of basic scientists and the other of clinicians. Martin was not present for this portion of the meeting at the request of the council. Each group was asked to develop a list of items of interest that would form the basis for the Faculty Council’s agenda planning for the next academic year. Susan Block, HMS professor of psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, facilitated the clinicians group, and Steve Buratowski, HMS professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology, led the basic scientists. The results of these sessions were presented and reviewed at the December meeting of the council.

Appointments to Full and Named Professorships

Below are faculty appointed to professorships in November.

Eugene Beresin
Professor of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital

Beresin is director of the MGH/McLean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program and co-director of the HMS Center for Mental Health and Media. As a program director in psychiatry for over 20 years, his research interests have focused on graduate medical education. He also has worked on the impact of media on child mental health, including serving as a co-investigator of a large study on the impact of violent video games on youth and consulting on several television programs for children and families.

Takao Hensch
Professor of Neurology
Children’s Hospital Boston

Hensch focuses on how neuronal circuits in the brain are shaped by experience during critical periods in early postnatal life. Integrating molecular, cellular, and systems neuroscience, primarily in the developing visual cortex, Hensch has revealed specific, local inhibitory (GABAergic) circuits that trigger a proteolytic reorganization of anatomical connections, which consolidates plasticity. An inappropriate excitatory–inhibitory balance may underlie serious developmental disorders, such as epilepsy and autism. His translational research and the successful reactivation of plasticity in adulthood may lead to novel strategies for recovery of function, therapy, and lifelong learning.

Scott Rauch
Professor of Psychiatry
McLean Hospital

Rauch’s research focuses on neuroimaging and the neurobiology of anxiety disorders. He has also been collaborating in translational research to develop surgical and device-based therapeutics for treatment-refractory psychiatric disorders. Rauch was recently appointed president and psychiatrist in chief of McLean Hospital and chair of Partners Psychiatry and Mental Health.

Simon Robson
Professor of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Robson studies the vascular biology of transplantation. His main interests are in the role of ectonucleotidases of the CD39 family and the effects of these ecto-enzymes on extracellular nucleotide-mediated signaling in the context of organ and cellular transplant rejection. His other areas of research include mechanistic studies of vascular thrombosis and thrombophilia in xenotransplantation. He has collaborated with a wide range of local, national, and international scientific investigators in vascular biology, transplantation, immunology, and medicine.

Daniel Kuritzkes
Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Kuritzkes investigates therapeutics for HIV infection and resistance to antiretroviral drugs. He leads the Harvard AIDS Clinical Trials Unit and serves as vice chair of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, an NIH-funded international cooperative group that conducts clinical trials of novel therapeutics and therapeutic strategies for HIV infection. Research in his laboratory is directed toward understanding the mechanisms and clinical significance of antiretroviral drug resistance, evolutionary pathways in the emergence of drug-resistant virus, and the consequences of drug-resistance mutations on viral fitness.

Bradford Lowell
Professor of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Lowell utilizes genetically engineered mice to study questions in neuroscience and integrative physiology. Major areas of focus include genetic dissection of central neurocircuits regulating body fat stores and insulin–glucose homeostasis, assessment of the role of mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) in regulating glucose-sensing in pancreatic beta cells and neurons in the brain, and determining the cellular and molecular basis for sympathetic control of whole-body energy expenditure.

Luigi Notarangelo
Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics
Children’s Hospital Boston

Notarangelo’s research focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of primary immune deficiencies, with a special emphasis on defects that affect T cell development. His other area of interest is represented by development of novel therapeutic approaches based on stem cell transplantation and gene therapy for these disorders. He has served as president of the European Society for Immune Deficiencies, and he co-chairs the Committee of Primary Immune Deficiencies of the International Union of Immunological Societies.

Scott Pomeroy
Bronson Crothers Professor of Neurology
Children’s Hospital Boston

Pomeroy focuses on the identification of molecular developmental mechanisms in the brain that become dysregulated to promote tumor growth in children. His lab has used genomic, molecular, and cell-based methods to develop molecular markers of prognosis and to identify developmental mechanisms that may serve as targets for biological therapies.

Cardiology Gains from DeSanctis Chair

Praise from HMS dean Joseph Martin and Massachusetts General Hospital president Peter Slavin for Roman DeSanctis (right) and William Dec (left) set the stage at the endowed-chair program honoring the two. The Roman W. DeSanctis Professorship in Medicine was celebrated on Nov. 16 with Dec, chief of the MGH Cardiology Division, as the first incumbent. Slavin introduced the men as “two extraordinarily talented physicians.” A friend and former classmate of Dec’s at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Laurence Friedman, then traced the educational and professional path of William Dec. Sometimes deviating from the customary script, Friedman had his audience alternately nodding in appreciation and roaring with laughter. The underlying message about Dec, however, was that “underneath the mild-mannered exterior was a ferocious work ethic,” and further, “It is never about Bill”; he is consistently unselfish and straightforward. During his remarks, Dec passed the compliments on to DeSanctis, saying, “No MGH physician has more loyal or grateful patients.” He added that there is “no greater honor than to be compared to Roman DeSanctis.”

Nominations for Mentoring Awards

The Office for Diversity and Community Partnership is requesting nominations for the 2006 A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award, the William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award, and the Young Mentor Award. Nominees should be HMS or HSDM faculty members who have provided sponsorship, encouragement, and support for the career or personal development of other faculty, fellows, house officers, or students. The deadline is Jan. 26. The guidelines and nomination form may be found at http://www.mfdp.med.harvard.edu/mentoringawards/. For more information, please contact Tracey Billy at 617-432-3020 or tracey_billy@hms.harvard.edu.

Rabkin Fellowship RFA

The Rabkin Fellowship in Medical Education is pleased to announce a Request for Applications (RFA) for one-year fellowships in medical education for the period of July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008. The program was established in 1998 to provide faculty with the opportunity to develop the expertise and skills needed to launch or advance academic careers in medical education or academic administration. The Rabkin Fellowship is open to faculty with a primary appointment at HMS and who currently teach at a Harvard-affiliated institution. The deadline for receipt of applications is Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. Application materials may be downloaded from the Shapiro Institute for Education and Research website at http://bidmc.harvard.edu/applicationrequest. Inquiries may be directed to Jacqueline Almeida at 617-667-9120 or jmalmeid@bidmc.harvard.edu.