Extraordinary Number from Longwood Elected to IOM
Eleven faculty members from HMS and HSPH are among the 65 new appointees to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences. The IOM is both an honorific membership organization and an advisory group that analyzes health issues and makes recommendations on national health policy. The new members from HMS and HSPH are listed below.
Professor of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School
The Goldberg lab studies why protein breakdown is important for the body’s immune defenses, why the destruction process goes into high gear in certain disease states such as cancer and how this excessive destruction can be controlled.
Roger Irving Lee Professor of Public Health
HSPH Department of Health Policy and Management
Goldie’s research focuses on developing and validating computer-based models linking the basic biology of a disease and its epidemiology to population-based outcomes, with an emphasis on human papillomavirus, human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis.
Kurt J. Isselbacher/Peter D. Schwartz Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Haber’s laboratory is interested in the genetics of cancer, with primary emphasis on the characterization of tumor suppressor genes implicated in breast cancer and Wilms tumor, and the identification of somatic mutations linked to drug susceptibility in lung cancer. He is a Howard Hughes investigator and director of the MGH Cancer Center, the MGH Center for Cancer Research, and the MGH Center for Cancer Risk Assessment.
Professor of Social Epidemiology
HSPH Department of Society, Human Development and Health
Kawachi’s research interests are social determinants of health, income inequality and population health, social capital and health, neighborhood influences on health and global health. He is also chair of the HSPH Department of Society, Human Development and Health.
Lawrence J. Henderson Professor of Pediatrics
Children’s Hospital Boston
Associate Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Kohane, who is also director of the Countway Library, leads multiple collaborations at HMS and its hospital affiliates in the use of genomics and computer science to study cancer and the development of the brain (with a special interest in autism). His work has led to the development of cryptographic health identification systems, automated personal health records and peer-to-peer pathology information networks.
Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership
Harvard Medical School
As head of the Office for Diversity and Community Partnership, Reede oversees a variety of programs designed to increase the number of minority faculty at HMS; increase the number of minority physicians and scientists who undertake their postgraduate medical education at one of the 17 HMS-affiliated institutions; establish model programs for the development of minority faculty; and create programs designed to bring outstanding underrepresented minority students into the pipeline.
Professor of Genetics
Massachusetts General Hospital
Ruvkun, who played a major role in the discovery of microRNAs, currently investigates longevity and fat storage and has shown that C. elegans uses an insulin-signaling pathway to control its metabolism and longevity and that insulin signaling in the nervous system is a key to lifespan.
James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
The focus of the Saper laboratory is on the integrated functions maintained by the hypothalamus, which include the regulation of wake–sleep cycles, body temperature and feeding, with a goal of identifying the neuronal circuitry involved in regulating these responses and how specific neurological and psychiatric disorders can disrupt these responses in the human brain.
Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery
Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Sykes’s research program aims to utilize blood or bone marrow transplantation as immunotherapy to treat malignancies while avoiding rejection. Her lab is investigating clinically feasible, nontoxic methods of re-educating the T cell, B cell and natural killer cell components of the immune system to accept transplants from the same or different species without requiring long-term antirejection therapy.
Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Walker researches the cellular immune response to human viral pathogens, particularly HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus, with a focus on the immune control of acute viral infections, viral evolution under immune selection pressure, antigen-processing and immunodominance and “elite controllers” of HIV, who are people able to live with HIV without the need for medications.
Professor of Radiology and of Systems Biology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Weissleder studies in vivo molecular imaging, which has led to the development of novel technologies such as magnetic nanoparticles for MRI and enzyme activatable probes for detection of early cancers by minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy. He is exploring ways of imaging and tracking individual cell populations in vivo, especially stem cells.
Zapol Professorship Animates Research in Anesthesia
Dean Jeffrey Flier (left) acknowledged the storied history of the Department of Anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital in celebrating the Warren M. Zapol Professorship in Anesthesia on Oct. 8. In 1846, the department featured the first use of anesthesia in surgery. One of the messages from the speakers at the event was that medical history may be changing again.
Amplifying comments by the dean, MGH president Peter Slavin recognized Warren Zapol (right), who helped create the chair, for his work in treating hypoxic infants and children with inhaled nitric oxide. Slavin also called the first incumbent, Emery Brown (center), a “truly brilliant physician.” Both clinician and scientist, Brown uses mathematical modeling and functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine how the brain processes information and to understand the action of general anesthetics. The head of Anesthesia and Critical Care at MGH, Jeanine Wiener-Kronish, added that one of the spin-offs of this research may be that Brown will “solve insomnia and make us all peppier, too.”
Brown himself was nothing if not peppy, bringing passion and infectious excitement to his talk. After expressing heartfelt thanks to his family and HMS mentors, he described the work done by Leon Eisenberg (who died in September) and Alvin Poussaint to create and develop affirmative action at HMS, from which Brown graduated in 1987.
Then, looking at the possibilities of translational research, Brown said, “Our field has enormous opportunity ahead…. It sounds corny, but we’re going to look at the patient again.” The resulting cyclic model of research brings basic discoveries to the bedside and clinical discoveries to the lab.
Zapol closed the program saying of Brown, “He was and is a pied piper.” Zapol said he felt particularly indebted to those people in the HMS community who kept Emery Brown from getting away.
Manton Chair Turns Page in Pediatric Genetics
Opening the Sept. 9 celebration of the Sir Edwin and Lady Manton Professorship in Pediatrics in the Field of Genetics, Dean Jeffrey Flier recognized the first incumbent, Alan Beggs, as “a wonderful member of this esteemed community.” Flier also gave a special nod to the trustees of the Manton Foundation, Sandra Niles, Julia Krapf and Diana Morton (left to right below, with Alan Beggs), who are relatives of the couple for whom the chair is named. Sir Edwin and Lady Manton were longtime supporters of genetics research.
Gary Fleisher, the Egan Family Foundation professor of pediatrics at HMS and Children’s Hospital Boston and chair of the Department of Medicine at Children’s, pointed to the profound effect the chair will have in the future, saying it will change the face of science and change the lives of countless families.
Addressing the incumbent himself, Christopher A. Walsh, the Bullard professor of neurology at HMS and Children’s, announced, “Alan Beggs, the Sir Edwin and Lady Manton associate professor of pediatrics—it almost makes me giddy to say those words.” Walsh mentioned that Beggs studies muscle diseases in children and has identified key genes for these conditions. He added that the Beggs lab has been a leader in this research. “It’s really an inspiration to the whole community to see people like Alan really doing well by doing good,” Walsh said.
No sooner had Beggs taken the lectern and expressed his profound thanks to the previous speakers, other mentors and the Manton Foundation than he seemed to fix his sights on the challenges at hand. With soft-spoken determination, he said simply that he sees genetics as a toolkit to understand how a range of diseases can arise.
Trustee Julia Krapf shifted the focus again to the future, saying about this kind of biomedical research, “I’m caught by the wonder of how the world can change.”
Director from NIH to Lead Brigham and Women’s
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, together with Faulkner Hospital, has named Elizabeth Nabel, the director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, its next president after a unanimous vote by the board of trustees. Nabel, who will assume her position on Jan. 1, 2010, will succeed Gary Gottlieb, who becomes CEO and president of Partners HealthCare when James Mongan retires from that position at the beginning of the new year.
Nabel completed a residency in internal medicine and a clinical and research fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at BWH. While on the faculty at the University of Michigan, she became known for her research in vascular biology and molecular cardiology and for her gene transfer studies of the cardiovascular system. In 1999, she joined the NHLBI as scientific director for clinical research and in 2005 became director. She is the author of about 250 publications, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of American Physicians, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Nabel currently serves on the editorial boards of The New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.
HR Welcomes Two to Guide Services and Planning
Human Resources will welcome two new staff members to its leadership team on Nov. 30.
Julie Stanley will become director of human resource services. In this role, she will be responsible for all HR services with departments at HMS, including employee and labor relations, recruitment and HR consulting. Stanley previously served as interim associate dean of human resources for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Jeri Gardner will be joining as associate director of HR planning and program development. This position will play a critical role in the development of HR programs, including workplace engagement. She is currently the manager of HR planning and recruitment at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
Advisory Group Formed in Primary Care
Dean Jeffrey Flier has convened an advisory group to examine and make recommendations on primary care education at HMS. The Primary Care Advisory Group (PCAG), made up of faculty members from throughout the School and co-chaired by David Bates, HMS professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Russell Phillips, HMS professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will assess the state of the discipline at HMS and present recommendations to the dean related to structure, leadership and funding. The group aims to make recommendations that build on existing programs and most effectively leverage primary care education and clinical training both within the School and around the country.
The PCAG invites questions and suggestions from the HMS community. Please send comments to email@example.com. They will be shared directly with the advisory group. The community can also bring comments to the Harvard medical community town hall meeting on primary care on Dec. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the TMEC amphitheater.
A complete list of committee members appears below.
David Bates (Co-chair)
Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Russell Phillips (Co-chair)
Professor of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Assistant Clinical Professor of Population Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance
Instructor in Medicine, BWH
Associate Professor of Medicine, BID
Associate Professor of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Assistant Professor of Medicine, BWH
Associate Professor of Health Care Policy, HMS
Albert Mulley Jr.
Associate Professor of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor for Anesthesia, BID
Dean for Students, HMS
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance
Professor of Pediatrics, MGH
Professor of Medicine, MGH
William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Boston
Clinical Instructor in Medicine, Mount Auburn Hospital
Assistant Professor of Medicine, BID
Instructor in Medicine, MGH
Clinical Fellow in Medicine, BWH
C.C. Wang Professor of Radiation Oncology, MGH
Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs, HMS
Associate Professor of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Second-year Student, HMS
Associate Professor of Medicine, BWH
Grad Programs Offered in Research Administration
Emmanuel College offers two graduate programs in Research Administration. The Master of Science in Management with specialization in Research Administration, a two-year program, allows sponsored-research professionals to combine critical learning in the field of research administration with the management knowledge and business skills required to be a successful professional. The Graduate Certificate in Research Administration is a one-year part-time academic opportunity for professionals currently working in or interested in working in an academic or nonprofit research environment. The specialized certificate program addresses knowledge areas such as finance and accounting, compliance, law and organizational behavior. For more information, visit www.emmanuel.edu/GPP_Programs/Research_Administration.html. The deadline for applications is Nov. 30, and classes begin in January 2010.
Technique Takes Stock of Weighty Cost–Benefit Decisions
Seidman Health Policy Lecture Illuminates Comparative Effectiveness Research
A patient has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. His physician presents him with an array of treatment options ranging from watchful waiting to surgery. Naturally, he and his doctor want to select the approach with the highest success rate—but they are also concerned about side effects. Meanwhile, the patient’s insurance company prefers the most cost-effective treatment. How do all parties make the best choice?
The results of comparative effectiveness research (CER), which aims to weigh the risks and benefits of two or more treatmentsâ€”drugs, surgery, or other therapiesâ€”for a given condition, may eliminate that guesswork, according to Alan Garber, director of Stanford University’s Center for Health Policy. Garber was the keynote speaker on Oct. 15 at the School’s 9th annual Marshall J. Seidman Lecture on Health Policy.
“Comparative effectiveness research is akin to an airplane’s navigation system,” Garber said. The value of such work, he continued, is to guide decisions about the most effective—and cost-effective—diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to various conditions. After reviewing current challenges to the healthcare system, he highlighted the state of the science in CER with recent trials that have compared the effectiveness of various therapeutic options. Research suggests, for example, that shifting patients from treatments like radiation and surgery for localized prostate cancer to less expensive alternatives could generate substantial savings with little loss in overall quality of care.
Garber also addressed controversies surrounding the topic, such as the concern that CER findings could be used primarily by insurers to contain costs. In fact, he argued, CER provides a way to reduce healthcare spending while promoting the most valuable treatments. “We don’t need the research to help us cut costs,” he said. “But we do if we also want to benefit patients.”
With $1.1 billion of this year’s economic stimulus package now allocated to CER, prioritizing which health topics should be studied is essential. To that end, Garber shared with the audience a summary of the top 100 health topics that should receive funding, as recommended by a recent Institute of Medicine report, to which he contributed.
When asked about the timeline for such research during the Q&A that followed his lecture, Garber said he expects a mix of both near- and long-term payoffs. What’s most important, he stressed, is that CER continue.
“Our goal should be to protect patients’ health as we try to limit healthcare spending,” he said. “That won’t happen without comparative effectiveness research.”
Harvard Group Takes Aim at MRSA
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health has awarded $5 million to an interdisciplinary group of Harvard researchers to launch a Harvard-wide program on antibiotic resistance. Headed by Michael Gilmore, the Charles L. Schepens professor of ophthalmology at HMS and Schepens Eye Research Institute, the group will study methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other antibiotic-resistant infections. The goal of the research team is to tackle the problem from different perspectives and translate these findings into better treatments.
MRSA is a major concern for hospitalized patients, but more recently the bacteria have begun causing infections in healthy individuals—approximately 15 percent of invasive MRSA infections occur in patients with no known underlying cause. Most of these infections begin as skin infections and become life-threatening when the microbes enter the bloodstream.
Working with Gilmore are David Hooper, HMS professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital; Suzanne Walker, HMS professor of microbiology and molecular genetics; Eleftherios Mylonakis, HMS assistant professor of medicine at MGH; and Frederick Ausubel, HMS professor of genetics at MGH.
Walker, Mylonakis and Ausubel will be taking different high-throughput approaches to screen libraries of compounds for possible new drugs. Gilmore, Hooper and Mylonakis will then test these compounds for their ability to clear an infection and will also examine possible pathways for the development of resistance. Richard Losick, a Howard Hughes investigator, Harvard College professor and the Maria Moors Cabot professor of biology at Harvard University, will head an advisory panel that includes Christopher T. Walsh, the Hamilton Kuhn professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at HMS and leaders from industry.
Two HMS Teams Share in $170m Grant for Regenerative Technologies
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), one of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a seven-year, $170 million grant to 18 teams of research scientists to develop the high-potential field of stem and progenitor cell tools and therapies. Two of the teams will be led by researchers at HMS.
The awards create the NHLBI Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium, which will bring together scientists from the heart, lung, blood and technology research fields. The consortium assembles nine research hubs with multidisciplinary teams of principal investigators and an administrative coordinating center to focus on progenitor cell biology.
While a stem cell can renew itself indefinitely or differentiate, a progenitor cell can only divide a limited number of times and is often more limited than a stem cell in the kinds of cells it can become. The goals of the consortium are to identify and characterize progenitor cell lines, direct the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells to desired cell fates and develop new clinical strategies to address the challenges presented by the transplantation of these cells.
One of the HMS hubs will be led by David Scadden, the Gerald and Darlene Jordan professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, along with Jay Schneider of the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center. They will seek to examine how the microenvironment within heart, lung and bone marrow controls progenitor cell fate, and study progenitor cell types in the cardiac and pulmonary contexts. The other will be led by George Daley, HMS associate professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology and associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston, and Kenneth Chien, the Charles Addison and Elizabeth Ann Sanders professor of basic science at MGH. They hope to advance regenerative therapy of cardiac and blood disorders by developing induced pluripotent stem cell models of human disease.
AIDS Research Center Gains $18m Renewal from NIH
The National Institutes of Health has renewed the funding for the Harvard Unviersity Center for AIDS Research (Harvard CFAR), for $18.1 million over five years.
Harvard is one of only 20 NIH CFAR sites in the United States and first received the designation in 2004. The center is headed by director Bruce Walker, HMS professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate director Max Essex, the Mary Woodward Lasker professor of health sciences at HSPH.
The award, under the umbrella of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health, will fund clinical and basic science research conducted at Harvard University and its affiliated hospitals.
The new grant will help facilitate the growth and integration of AIDS research at Harvard in six core areas: international, retroviral therapeutics, vaccine, pathogenesis, clinical epidemiology and outcomes and behavioral and social sciences.
The mission of the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research is to expand, promote and facilitate collaborative, multidisciplinary activities in AIDS research among CFAR members and their colleagues across the University, in order to help end the pandemic.
$8m Doris Duke Grant to Bolster Healthcare in Rwanda
Brigham and Women’s Hospital received an $8 million research grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s African Health Initiative to strengthen and study community-based, integrated primary healthcare systems in rural Rwanda. In partnership with Harvard University and Partners In Health, BWH is working with the Rwandan Ministry of Health to implement and study an innovative model of comprehensive, community-based healthcare in two rural districts in Rwanda. Michael Rich, HMS instructor in medicine at BWH and country director of the Partners In Health Rwandan program, will lead the team with Agnes Binagwaho, the Ministry of Health’s permanent secretary.
The grant will help this group expand the community-based model to additional health centers and strengthen the medical and social services they provide beyond HIV and tuberculosis to address the full spectrum of primary health care needs and chronic diseases. An electronic medical record developed initially for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients will be expanded to all health services. Research will evaluate improvements in health outcomes at the district and local levels, as well as the costs and cost-effectiveness of the model.
The BWH grant was one of four awarded by the foundation.
Award Honors Pioneer in Advancement of Women in Medicine
Carol Nadelson, HMS professor of psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, accepted the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine’s 2009 Alma Dea Morani, MD, Renaissance Woman Award in a ceremony in Countway Library on Oct. 9. The award recognizes a woman physician or scientist who has furthered the practice and understanding of medicine and who has made significant contributions outside of medicine.
Nadelson is founding director of the Office for Women’s Careers (OWC), which is dedicated to the advancement of women faculty at BWH. In this role, she focuses on the recruitment, retention and career development of women. Under Nadelson’s leadership, the OWC Advisory Committee was a major impetus behind the implementation of a maternity/paternity/adoption-leave policy at BWH and the development of backup childcare. On the basis of her expertise with issues of boundary violations, she called attention to the need for a hospital policy, including mandatory professionalism training for all faculty.
At HMS, Nadelson was an organizing member of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women. She sits on the HMS Faculty Publications Review Committee, the Selection Committee for the Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Program for Scholars in Medicine, the Medical Area Health Services Review Committee and the Selection Committee for the Dean’s Award for Leadership in the Advancement of Women Faculty.
As a researcher, Nadelson has been a pioneer in exploring gender differences in women’s health and mental health. She and her colleagues were the first to identify rape as a risk factor for PTSD and to expand understanding of that disorder. Her work on boundary issues in medicine has influenced policy in medicine and law, and she is the co-editor of the three-volume seminal textbook series The Woman Patient.
HSPH Takemi Program Welcomes New Fellows
The Takemi Program in International Health at HSPH, an interdisciplinary research program that focuses on the problems of mobilizing, allocating and maintaining limited resources to improve health, has announced its 2009–2010 class of fellows. Takemi fellows are midcareer professionals, often from developing countries, whose projects address international health and health policy. This year’s fellows and their projects are listed below.
Historian and Consultant on Global Health Policy
“Historical Development of the Concept of Universal Health Coverage and Its Current Policy Implications”
Research Fellow, The Ran Naor Road Safety Research Center, Transportation Research Institute, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
“Social Mechanisms that Produce Risk and Health Inequities Among Minority Groups: A Resistance Perspective to Road-accident Involvement”
Research Fellow, The Japan Society of the Promotion of Science
“Empirical Research on Social Movements Around Health Issues in the U.S. and Japan”
Minah Kang Kim
Associate Professor, Ewha Womans University, South Korea
“Priority Setting Methods for Health Care Resource Allocation: Political, Analytical and Institutional Perspectives”
National Institute for Nutrition and Food Safety, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China
“The Preventable Cause of Death In China: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle and Metabolic Risk Factors”
Lecturer, School of Health Management, Tongji Medical College, China
“Effectiveness of the New Cooperative Medical Schemes in Protecting Families with Members with Chronic Illness against Catastrophic Health Expenditures in Rural China”
Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
“Research on Data Analysis of the Pattern of Raising Funds of Off-farm Workers' Medical Security in Western China”
Seoul National University, South Korea
“Inequalities of Cancer Mortalities in Korea—Individual and Area-level Disparities”
Assistant Professor, Department of Community and Global Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Japan
“Effect of Nutrition, Water Supply–related Interventions and Behavioral Change Among Women in Rural Kenya”
Research Assistant, D-Tree International; Clinical Fellow in Cardiology, University of Freiburg, Germany
“Promotion in Health Outcome by Improvement of Patients’ Adherence to Advice Given by Health Personnel Through the Introduction of Mobile Electronic Assessment Device”
Research Assistant, University of Montreal, School of Public Health, Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique de l’Université de Montréal, Canada
“Defining Patient Safety: Issues in Terms of Responsibility and Accountability”
Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil
“Assessment of Home Care in Brazilian Primary Health Care Services”
Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health Development and Policy Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Japan
“Comparative Studies of Two Recently Emerging Infectious Diseases, Between SARS and New Type of H1N1 Influenza”
Aiello Pledges Alpert Prize Dollars for Telemedicine
Lloyd M. Aiello (right), HMS clinical professor of ophthalmology at Joslin Diabetes Center, accepts the 2008–2009 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize from Herb Kaplan during a ceremony on Sept. 29. The event followed a scientific symposium honoring Aiello’s research. Aiello immediately pledged to use the $200,000 prize to support his telemedicine program—an effort to bring advanced treatment for diabetic eye disease to patients throughout the United States and around the world.
In his remarks, Kaplan, who is the nephew of the late Warren Alpert and president of the foundation, highlighted Aiello’s commitment to individuals suffering from diabetic retinopathy. Aiello pioneered the use of lasers to treat this disease in 1967 with the late William Beetham. As a leader of several nationwide clinical trials of the technique, known as photocoagulation, Aiello set a new standard for diabetes care.
Aiello continues to work at Joslin’s Beetham Eye Institute, where he maintains a following of appreciative patients, as evidenced by a touching tribute during the ceremony from longtime patient Winslow Sawyer. Sawyer received his first laser treatment in 1967 and credits Aiello with preserving his sight. He described Aiello as a compassionate doctor with incredible instincts and unparalleled skill.
Biomedical Engineer Awarded BMES Pritzker Distinguished Lectureship for Outstanding Achievements
Donald Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, has been awarded the Biomedical Engineering Society’s prestigious Pritzker Distinguished Lectureship for 2009. The lectureship recognizes outstanding achievements, a high level of originality and leadership in the science and practice of biomedical engineering.
Presentation of the award, a keynote speech and a dinner honoring Ingber took place at the society’s Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh in October.
“I am truly honored to be recognized with this award and to be provided with the opportunity to address such distinguished colleagues,” said Ingber, who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston, a professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and an affiliated faculty member of The Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Ingber delivered a talk, “From Cellular Mechanotransduction to Biologically Inspired Engineering,” that fulfilled the lectureship’s goal of critically reviewing an area of bioengineering and offering his vision for the future.
“Typically, bioengineers have applied engineering principles to solve medical problems. But we are now at a tipping point in the history of science and engineeringâ€”we are beginning to understand enough about how Nature builds, controls and manufactures that entirely new engineering principles are already beginning to be discovered,” Ingber said. “These new engineering strategies will transform medicine as well as non-medical areas never before touched by the biology revolution.“
Ingber recently founded the Wyss Institute, which was launched in January 2009 with a $125 million gift from entrepreneur Hansjorg Wyss. The interdisciplinary Institute is focused on discovering nature’s design principles, and on applying these insights to engineer bioinspired materials and devices.
Ingber’s contributions to science include almost 300 publications and more than 35 patents in areas ranging from anti-cancer therapeutics, tissue engineering, medical devices, and nanotechnology to bioinformatics software. He helped found two biotechnology start-ups, and has consulted for multiple pharmaceutical, biotechnology, venture capital and private investment companies, as well as the Department of Defense, the Office of National Intelligence and National Public Radio.
The text of Ingber’s lecture will be published in the BMES Annuals of Biomedical Engineering Journal and on the Wyss Institute website www.wyss.harvard.edu.
• Two HMS faculty members, Christopher Evans and Atul Gawande, were recently elected to the Fellowship of the Hastings Center. The Hastings Center is a bioethics research institution whose members examine issues in bioethics in order to inform professional practice, public conversation and social policy.
Evans, the Maurice Edmond Mueller professor of orthopedic surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is a chemist and molecular biologist whose research broadly relates to biotechnology, with special emphasis in genetics and gene therapy. Gawande, HMS associate professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is a New Yorker magazine staff writer and commentator on error and performance in clinical medicine and on policy issues related to the provision of health care services. Evans and Gawande were among eight new members elected for 2009.
• Roland Baron received the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) William F. Neuman Award at the annual meeting in Denver in September. The award is the ASBMR’s oldest and most prestigious. It recognizes a society member for major scientific contributions in the area of bone and mineral research and for contributions to associates and trainees in teaching, research and administration. Baron is professor and chair of the HSDM Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity and a professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
• The Society for Neuroscience awarded the Julius Axelrod Prize to Michael Greenberg, head of the HMS Department of Neurobiology, during Neuroscience 2009, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting. The prize, which includes $25,000, recognized Greenberg for increasing understanding of the brain, particularly his discovery of a new class of genes called immediate early genes, which are vital for plasticity in the brain. The Nathan Marsh Pusey professor of neurobiology, Greenberg was also honored for his efforts in mentoring young scientists.
• Matthew Meyerson, HMS professor of pathology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has received the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The award recognizes investigators age 45 or younger who have made significant contributions to the understanding or treatment of cancer. Meyerson is being honored for pioneering discoveries on the cancer genome, including the discovery of EGFR mutations in lung cancer and their significance for targeted therapy.
• The Cancer Research Institute, Inc. (CRI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and coordination of scientific and clinical efforts that will lead to the immunological treatment, control and prevention of cancer, has named Anjana Rao, HMS professor of pathology at the Immune Disease Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston, as the recipient of the 2009 Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology, for seminal contributions to understanding the role of gene transcription factors in cellular differentiation and function, particularly in immune cells. The award is named for Frederick Alt, the Charles A. Janeway professor of pediatrics and professor of genetics at HMS and Children’s.
• Whitney Woodmansee, HMS lecturer on medicine, has been named the director of the Clinical Neuroendocrine Program in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension and the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Woodmansee’s research focuses on somatostatin receptor biology and physiology, metabolic derangements in thyroid disease, regulation of thyrotrope function, and hypopituitarism. She comes to BWH from the University of Colorado, Denver, School of Medicine.
A. Stone Freedberg, HMS professor emeritus of medicine and retired director of cardiology at the former Beth Israel Hospital, died on Aug. 18. He was 101.
Freedberg received his AB from Harvard College in 1929 and his MD from Rush Medical School in 1935. After training in pathology and microbiology at the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, he returned to the HMS community in 1941 as a research fellow in medicine at Beth Israel.
His relationship with Harvard spanned more than six decades. At HMS, he served as assistant professor of medicine from 1950 to 1957, associate professor of medicine from 1958 to 1969 and professor of medicine from 1969 to 1974. He also served as the acting head of the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel from 1973 to 1974. Although he retired from the faculty in 1974 as professor emeritus, he remained active in Harvard’s health services for nearly two more decades.
Freedberg conducted extensive research in cardiac physiology and authored more than 130 publications. His early interests were initially directed at learning the effect of fever on the heart and circulatory system. In 1940 he identified the curved bacteria, now known as H. pylori, in the stomachs of ulcer patients. This research, his first independent work, eventually became part of the foundation of the work of two physicians who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005 for discovering the bacterium that causes stomach ailments such as ulcers and cancer.
Freedberg served on many organizations and boards, including as the president of the Massachusetts Heart Association (1963-1965) and as a member of the board of directors of the American Heart Association (1965-1968).
Freedberg was predeceased by his wife, Beatrice (Gordon) Freedberg. He is survived by his sons, Richard Freedberg and his wife, Judith S., of Miami, Fla., and Leonard Freedberg and his wife, Judith W., of Newton.; grandchildren, Michael Freedberg and his wife, Elaine Mangrum, Peter Freedberg and his wife, Rie Ichikawa, Daniel Freedberg and Andrew Freedberg; great-grandchildren, Samuel, Max and Manami; and brother, Milton Freedberg of Weston.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the A. Stone Freedberg Fund for Student Research, Harvard Medical School, Office of Resource Development, Attn: Gift Processing, 401 Park Drive, #22 West, Boston, MA 02215.
Lisa Stroud Krivickas, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, died Sept. 22 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was 45.
Krivickas received her BS from Cornell University College of Engineering and her MD from HMS in 1991. After completing her internship at New England Deaconess Medical Center and her residency at Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation, she pursued a clinical fellowship in electromyography and neuromuscular disease at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She joined the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in 1996 as an instructor. She was promoted to assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation in 2000 and associate professor in 2006.
Krivickas was part of the neuromuscular disease clinics at MGH and BWH, and she was the director of electrodiagnostic medicine at Spaulding. She developed a special interest in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis because her mother had died from the disease. Recognized nationally and internationally for her work with ALS patients, Krivickas became an expert on rehabilitation needs of these individuals. One of her main interests was the search for pharmacologic treatments for ALS and other neuromuscular disorders.
Krivickas is survived by her husband, Joseph; her children, Brooke and Chase; her father, Jack Stroud of Clarks Summit, Pa.; and her sister, Kathy Stroud of Sacramento, Calif. Contributions may made to the Lisa S. Krivickas, MD, ALS Research Fund at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, c/o The Development Office, 125 Nashua St., Boston, MA 02114
Stephen Lagakos, HSPH professor of biostatistics, died in an auto collision on Oct. 12 in Peterborough, N.H. He was 63 years old. His wife, Regina, and his mother, Helen, were also killed in the daytime accident, along with the driver of the other car.
“Our School community is deeply saddened by this unexpected and tragic loss of Professor Steve Lagakos,”said Julio Frenk, HSPH dean and the T & G Angelopoulos professor of public health and international development. “Having joined our faculty more than three decades ago, Steve was a prominent and respected professor, cherished by those who had the benefit of working with him and learning from him. His seminal contributions to the field of AIDS research helped provide crucial statistical foundations upon which we could better combat this terrible disease. The complexity of the analyses required to understand HIV/AIDS and its treatment presented enormous statistical challenges, which Steve pursued tirelessly.”
Lagakos joined the HSPH faculty in 1978 as an assistant professor, several years before the emergence of the AIDS epidemic on which he would later focus. He founded the Statistical Data Analysis Center, now part of the Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research (CBAR), to analyze AIDS information for government and academic research. CBAR has been responsible for the design, monitoring and analysis of most of the federally funded clinical trials of HIV in the United States.
Lagakos centered his efforts on several fronts in the fight against AIDS. He designed and analyzed research studies to investigate how and when HIV-infected women transmit the virus to their children—questions that have profound impact on the type and length of treatment. In addition, he developed sophisticated methods to improve the accuracy of estimated HIV incidence rates. He also contributed to broadening access to antiretroviral drugs to people in developing countries.
Lagakos was chair of the HSPH Department of Biostatistics from 1999 to 2006, during which time the department investigated infectious diseases, psychiatric statistics, environmental statistics and statistical genetics.
Lagakos served on the scientific advisory committee of the American Foundation for AIDS Research and participated in a World Health Organization (WHO) consultation on neuropsychiatric aspects of HIV infection. From 1982 to 1987, he was co-director of WHO’s Collaborating Center for Cancer Biostatistics Evaluation. He was on several committees and panels of the National Academy of Sciences. He also served as statistical consultant to The New England Journal of Medicine for more than a decade.
He was a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Statistical Association.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, in 2006. He received the Spiegelman Gold Medal Award from the American Public Health Association in 1983 and a citation for outstanding teaching from HSPH in the years 1985 to 1988.
Lagakos earned a BS from Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD from George Washington University.
Mary Ellen Beck Wohl, HMS professor emeritus of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Respiratory Diseases at Children’s Hospital Boston, died on Oct. 9. She was 77.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1932, Wohl grew up in a home where medicine was often discussed at the dinner table. Her father, Claude Beck, was a surgeon and professor of cardiovascular surgery at Western Reserve University (later Case Western), and her mother, Ellen Manning Beck, was a surgical nurse. Both Wohl and her younger sister, Kathryn, trained as physicians.
A graduate of Radcliffe College, Wohl received her medical degree in 1958 from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her internship at Bellevue Hospital and her residency at Babies’ Hospital, both in New York City. In 1962, she began a research fellowship in physiology at HSPH with Jere Mead. That same year she joined Children’s Hospital as a fellow in medicine.
Wohl became a leader in pediatric respiratory disease. She was a pioneer in understanding the unique properties of newborns’ and infants’ lungs, focusing on diseases such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, bronchiolitis and asthma. She worked tirelessly to optimize care and outcomes for children with cystic fibrosis and, more recently, those with HIV infections. She developed several multicenter clinical trials of new treatments for children with those diseases, and her work helped validate regimens that are now the standard of care.
Wohl served as chief of the Pulmonary Division from 1980 to 2002, building one of the country’s major training programs in pediatric lung disease. She also directed the Cystic Fibrosis Center from 1986 to 2005; after stepping down, she remained active as associate director of the General Clinical Research Center. She published more than 60 papers in scientific journals, many of them cited repeatedly. She received the American Thoracic Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 in addition to many other awards and honors.
She is survived by her husband, Martin Wohl, retired HMS assistant clinical professor of medicine at MGH; her children, Alex and Laura; and her grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on November 13 at 2:30 pm at Memorial Church in Harvard Yard, followed by a reception at Loeb House. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Pulmonary Division, Children’s Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.