HMS Faculty Named to NAS
Three on the HMS faculty were among the 72 members and 18 foreign associates recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The new HMS members are Michael Brenner, Jonathan Seidman, and Clifford Tabin.
Brenner, the Theodore Bevier Bayles professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, conducts basic and applied immunologic studies of T cells and antigen-presenting cells in microbial and auto-immunity. Currently, his lab is examining the function of CD1-restricted T cells, including NKT cells in humans and mouse models of infection and autoimmunity and the biology of cadherins in cell invasion and rheumatoid arthritis. Brenner is also chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at BWH.
In the Seidman lab, Jonathan Seidman, the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation professor of genetics at HMS, works with lab co-director Christine Seidman (elected to the NAS in 2005) to integrate clinical medicine and molecular technologies to define disease-causing gene mutations and genetic variations that increase disease risk. Major research projects focus on discovery of the genetic contributions to cardiomyopathies, hearing loss, and congenital heart disease.
Tabin’s lab has made major discoveries relating to how genes determine the organization of the early embryo and how they orchestrate the formation of various organs and structures in the body. Using a combination of modern and classical techniques, his lab has addressed issues such as why the heart forms on the left and not the right. Tabin is head of the HMS Department of Genetics.
The NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the progress of science. New members are chosen in recognition of their achievements in original research.
HMS Alumni Week Selected Events
Alumni Week events will take place from June 6 through June 10. A schedule of selected HMS events appears below.
Thursday, June 7
HMS Faculty Symposium, “Cardiovascular Medicine in the Post-genomic Era: From Bench to Bedside”
9 a.m.–12 p.m.
TMEC, Rm. 227
Symposium of the HMS 25th Reunion Class of 1982
Morning Session: “New Concepts in Medicine” and “Institutional and Academic Perspectives”
9 a.m.–12 p.m.
Afternoon Session: “Clinical Work” and “Personal Experiences and Choices”
TMEC, Carl Walter Amphitheater
Degree Ceremony with keynote speaker Joseph Martin, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and the Caroline Shields Walker professor of neurobiology and clinical neuroscience
Friday, June 8
Alumni Day Symposium, “Global Health at Harvard Medical School: Why We Can’t Wait”
10 a.m.–12 p.m.
Gordon Hall, Waterhouse Room
Nominations Sought for Diversity Award
Nominations are being sought for the 2007 Harold Amos Diversity Award, which recognizes HMS and HSDM faculty who have made major contributions to increasing the diversity of the HMS and HSDM community. Nominees must be based at HMS, HSDM, or an HMS-affiliated hospital. Nominations are due June 4.
- Two HMS faculty members were honored at the International Society of Nephrology’s annual meeting in April. Joseph Bonventre, the Robert H. Ebert professor of medicine and health sciences and technology at HMS and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is the recipient of the 2007 Bywaters Award for lifetime achievement in the field of acute renal failure. Jing Zhou, HMS associate professor of medicine at BWH and director of the Harvard Center for Polycystic Kidney Disease Research, was awarded the society’s Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for advancement in the understanding of polycystic kidney disease. Both awards are given once every two years.
- Eleven HMS students and two HSDM students have received fellowships through two new programs from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). HMS students Steven Brauer and Nicholas Zwang and HSDM student Kirsi Hakkinen will participate in the Research Scholars Program, spending a year at the National Institutes of Health conducting laboratory research. The other 10 HMS and HSDM students will participate in the HHMI Research Training Fellowships for Medical Students Program, which supports a year of research at the institution of the fellow’s choice. Joshua Aronson, Irun Bhan, Susan Huang, Sanjat Kanjilal, Loretta Li, Joshua Schulman, Luis Verduzco, and Ai-ris Yonekura—all HMS students—have elected to remain at HMS for their fellowships. HMS student Sandy Mong will complete her fellowship at MIT, and HSDM student Somi Kim will remain at HSDM. In addition, three students from other medical schools have elected to complete their fellowships at HMS. A total of 111 medical and dental students will participate in the fellowships’ inaugural year, which is backed by $4 million in funding from HHMI.
- Adrian Salic, Amy Wagers, and Rachel Wilson have each received a 2007 Beckman Young Investigator Award. The grants, presented by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, go to early-career scientists working in chemical and life sciences fields. Salic, an HMS assistant professor of cell biology, submitted a proposal titled “A multidisciplinary approach to understanding the vertebrate Hedgehog signaling pathway.” Wagers, an HMS assistant professor of pathology at Joslin Diabetes Center, received a grant for her project, “New tools for dissecting muscle stem cell function.” Wilson, HMS assistant professor of neurobiology, won for her project titled “Understanding the performance limits of a biological chemosensor.” The grants go to investigators within their first three years of a tenure-track position and provide an average of $264,000 over three years.
- One HMS student and two residents have been selected to receive 2007 International Health Studies Grants from the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Alliance Foundation. The grants support individuals planning careers serving poor populations around the world. Nazleen Bharmal, a third-year resident and HMS clinical fellow in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was awarded the grant for her work at the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh. Vanessa Kerry, a fourth-year student, serves at the Rwinkwavu District Hospital in Rwanda. Anna Wheeler, a second-year resident and an HMS clinical fellow in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, teaches and provides care at the Maternal and Child Health Center in San Ruiz, Guatemala. The amount of each grant is $750.
Honors and Advances
- The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America has named J. Rodrigo Mora, HMS instructor in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, the winner of the 2007 Young IBD Investigator Award. The award honors early-career scientists working in the field of inflammatory bowel disease research.