New Full and Named Professorships
The following faculty members were appointed to full or named professorships in February.
Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Birrer’s research focuses on the characterization of the molecular and cellular biology of ovarian cancer. His work involves the application of genomic technologies, bioinformatics and functional assays to determine the molecular basis underlying the clinicopathologic properties of ovarian cancer. His laboratory collaborates with internationally recognized groups conducting research on gynecologic cancers. The goal of this research is to use the molecular information to design individualized care for patients with these diseases.
Professor of Neurology
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Drislane’s research is in clinical neurology and epilepsy with an emphasis on status epilepticus (unremitting seizures), especially on the treatment of refractory status in ICU patients. More specifically, studies focus on nonconvulsive-status epilepticus; its unusual clinical manifestations; its recognition in critically ill patients; the significance of varied EEGs in the diagnosis and characterization of nonconvulsive status; and the appropriate level of intensity of treatment and its monitoring by EEG. He is also director of the neurology residency program and of the HMS clerkship in neurology at BID.
Professor of Surgery
Children’s Hospital Boston
Jaksic, a pediatric surgeon and the surgical director of the Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation at Children’s, has a specific interest in the management of children with intestinal failure. His research focus is the nutrition and metabolism of ill children and neonates.
Professor of Psychiatry
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Nadelson has made major contributions to psychiatry in her efforts to establish the field of women’s mental health. Publications, research and clinical work have been primarily in the areas of posttraumatic stress disorder, reproductive psychiatry, the psychology of women, women in medicine, women in leadership, physician health and professionalism, medical ethics, medical and psychiatric education, and health policy, including women as patients in all areas of medicine. She is a leader in education and an acclaimed mentor.
Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Silbersweig is one of the pioneers of functional neuroimaging research in psychiatry. He and his colleagues focus on the development and application of new neuroimaging techniques to localize and characterize brain circuitry dysfunction underlying major psychiatric disorders. Silbersweig and collaborators have published major findings that help define systems-level pathophysiology and provide a mechanistic foundation for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. A psychiatrist and neurologist, he has developed integrated clinical and educational programs that have shaped the rapidly developing field of neuropsychiatry. At BWH, he is the new chair of the Department of Psychiatry and the chair of the Institute for the Neurosciences.
Professor of Anesthesia
Massachusetts General Hospital
Wiener-Kronish has devoted much of her academic career to investigating the mechanism of acute lung injury produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a Gram-negative bacterium that can infect patients in the intensive care unit. Her past research focused on the mechanism of pleural-fluid formation during acute lung injury, the way in which toxins produced by Pseudomonas cause acute lung injury, and the production of human antibodies that will block these products. Most recently, she has investigated the epidemiology of bacterial communities in asthmatics, critically ill patients and young, newly colonized patients with cystic fibrosis. The goal of her research is to establish whether there are beneficial communities of bacteria that protect patients against asthma and infections. Wiener-Kronish is working with oral biologists and environmental scientists to utilize molecular identification of bacteria for these investigations.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Cambridge Health Alliance
Wyshak is a statistician who studies the genetics of dizygotic twinning, health promotion, women’s health, technological assessment, screening tests for psychiatric disorders and psychiatric problems among refugees. She is currently investigating the interactions between violence, anxiety and depression, and alcohol and substance abuse, among patients seen in primary care settings; bone fractures and cola consumption among adolescents; nutrient intake (fiber and fat) in relation to menstrual irregularities in young women; the impact of torture and trauma on psychiatric symptoms among Southeast Asian refugees; and environmental factors and fertility. She is also an associate professor in the departments of Biostatistics and of Global Health and Population at HSPH.
Translational Research Takes Center Stage
The HMS Dean’s Symposium on Clinical and Translational Research is a two-day event bringing the Harvard community together to celebrate bench-to-bedside research. Sponsored by Harvard Catalyst and HMS, the symposium is organized into three thematic sessions, one each at Harvard Business School, HMS and Schepens Eye Research Institute:
April 30, 4:30–7 pm: Challenges to Successful Innovation and Translation
Spangler Auditorium, HBS
Vicki Sato, HBS (moderator)
Yochai Benkler, Berkman Institute for Internet and Society
Srikant Datar, HBS
George Whitesides, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
May 1, 9 am–12 pm: Thought, Emotion and the Brain
The Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, HMS
Clifford Saper, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (moderator)
Randy Buckner, FAS
John Gabrieli, MIT
Christopher A. Walsh, Children’s Hospital Boston
May 1, 1:30–4:30 pm: Medical Nanotechnology: Small Is Big
Starr Conference Center, Schepens Eye Research Institute
Donald Ingber, CHB (moderator)
David Weitz, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Charles Lieber, FAS
Daniel Branton, FAS
All members of the Harvard community are invited to attend. Seating is limited, and registration is strongly encouraged.
Students Sought for Summer Research in Autism
HMS and the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation are seeking applicants for the Nancy Lurie Marks Summer Scholars in Medicine Program. Candidates will be chosen for the summer of 2009. Eligible candidates will be HMS students with an interest in pursuing research related to autism. Eligible candidates should submit a three-page, single-spaced proposal describing their background, research project and experimental approach; a 250-word abstract; a letter of reference from an HMS mentor who has agreed to collaborate; and a CV. Applications are due Friday, May 1. Please e-mail applications and questions to Stephanie Barros at email@example.com.
Dental School Shares Leadership for Child Dental Health
HSDM has entered into an agreement to collaborate with King’s College London on the leadership program of the Global Child Dental Health Taskforce, which aims to identify, train and mentor 400 dental leaders over the next 10 years. The program is designed to develop leadership skills specifically in the area of child dental health. Bruce Donoff, dean of the Dental School, and Raman Bedi, head of the Centre for International Child Oral Health at the Dental Institute of King’s College London, will lead the collaboration.
The Global Child Dental Health Taskforce was established in January 2006 after 40 senior dental advisers and chief dental officers called for its formation at a European Union presidency meeting. A key part of its strategy is to build a global network of national taskforces, headed by local, leading senior dental and public health specialists, who will work together to lead drives to improve oral health by developing cutting-edge preventive strategies.
“Harvard has a long and illustrious history in training individuals from all walks of life,” said Donoff. “Now with this new collaboration we can upscale our work in the dental field. I am excited about the possibilities this collaboration can bring and the improvements we can expect in both the oral health of our global society and the way dental services are delivered.”
Honors and Advances
The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has named Richard Masland, currently the Charles Anthony Pappas professor of neuroscience in the Department of Surgery and professor of ophthalmology at HMS and Massachusetts General Hospital, the new director of the Howe Laboratory and associate chief for ophthalmology research. The Howe Laboratory, along with the Berman–Gund Laboratory, conducts all of the clinical, translational and basic ophthalmology research within MEEI.
Robert Leffert, HMS professor of orthopedic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and renowned expert in the field of shoulder and hand orthopedics, died on December 7, 2008. He was 75 years old.
Leffert received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1954 and his medical degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine in 1958. He was a decorated veteran and served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. He was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division during the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1966.
After military service he returned to New York City, where he worked at the Hospital for Joint Diseases and Mount Sinai Hospital from 1966 until he was recruited to MGH in 1972 by Henry Mankin, then chief of Orthopedics. He was appointed associate professor at HMS, chief of the Surgical Extremity Rehabilitation Unit and chief of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at MGH. He was named professor of orthopedic surgery in 1991, a title he retained until his death.
Leffert authored more than 90 scholarly publications. He served on numerous boards and societies, including as president of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society and the orthopedic study section at the National Institutes of Health.
After retiring from his clinical practice in 2000, he continued to hold various appointments at MGH and remained a dedicated educator.
Leffert is survived by his wife, Linda; his son, Adam Leffert of Chestnut Hill; his daughter, Lisa Leffert, HMS assistant professor of anesthesia at MGH, and her husband, Lee Schwamm, HMS professor of neurology at MGH; his grandchildren, Samuel and Eli Schwamm; and his sister, Joan Bolker of Newton Highlands.
Gifts in Leffert’s memory may be made to the MGH Robert Leffert Memorial Fund, c/o the Development Office, 165 Cambridge Street, Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114.
Harry Mellins, professor emeritus of radiology, died on Jan. 22. He was 87 years old.
Mellins received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1941, his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1944 and a master’s degree in radiology from the University of Minnesota in 1951.
He interrupted his medical training in radiology for military service and served in the U.S. Airforce Medical Corps from 1946 to 1948, attaining the rank of captain. He completed his residency in radiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he joined the faculty. In 1969, Mellins was recruited to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and HMS by Herbert Abrams, then head of the Department of Radiology. He went on to serve BWH for three decades as chief of the Diagnostic Radiology Division and residency program director. He was appointed professor of radiology at HMS in 1969, a title he maintained until retiring as professor emeritus of radiology in 1991.
Mellins was noted as an iconic figure in American academic radiology and as a teacher and mentor to several generations of radiology students and faculty at BWH. After he stepped away from full-time work in 1995, he continued to serve the Department of Radiology at the Harvard Health Service. Mellins is survived by his wife, Judy; daughter, Elizabeth; sons, William and Thomas; grandchildren, Lisa, Jeffrey and Samuel; and brother, Robert.
Contributions may be made to the Harry Z. Mellins Society, c/o the Brigham and Women’s Development Office, 116 Huntington Ave., 5th Fl., Boston MA 02116, 617-732-5008.