Promotions on the Medical Campus
Associate professorships go to seven faculty
Seven Boston University Medical Campus faculty members have been recently promoted to the rank of associate professor. Noted for their outstanding research and exemplary teaching, these men and women, one from the School of Public Health and six from the School of Medicine, have made valuable contributions to the understanding and treatment of pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases, acute stroke, gastrointestinal cancer, renal disease, anticoagulation therapy, and new targets for potential antivirals.
“Achieving the rank of associate professor recognizes the major contributions of these faculty members and their national, and in some cases, international reputations,” says Karen Antman, provost of the Medical Campus and dean of MED. “We are exceedingly pleased to have such outstanding faculty on our campus.”
Faculty are selected for promotion based on the quality of the research and scholarship conducted in their classrooms and laboratories. While tenure is not granted to faculty on the Medical Campus, being promoted to associate professor is equal to being on the tenure track.
Matthew Fox (SPH’02,’07), an SPH associate professor of epidemiology and a member of the University’s Center for Global Health and Development (CGHD), focuses on the treatment of childhood pneumonia. His recommendation for treating pneumonia in underserved populations with outpatient therapy administered by community health workers was influential in convincing the World Health Organization (WHO) to change its policy for treating the disease. His publications on HIV/AIDS protocols have been instrumental in changing public policy decisions for the South African national AIDS program. A six-time SPH teaching award winner, Fox is highly regarded for his ability to communicate challenging concepts and epidemiological methods. His favorite part of teaching, he says, is the “energy students bring” to the classroom. They have a “willingness to think about problems in a new way and apply difficult concepts to real-world problems.”
Fox says his promotion to associate professor is “recognition by the University” of his team’s work at the CGHD and in SPH’s department of epidemiology.
An expert on human papilloma virus (HPV) prevention, Katherine Hsu is a MED associate professor of pediatrics, director of the STD/HIV Prevention Training Center of New England, and cochair of the National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers. Hsu says her job as a pediatric infectious disease specialist has been made easier as people have become better educated about HPV. She also points to the now “universally recommended vaccine” that can prevent “this way-too-common sexually transmissible infection,” as another factor that has helped to significantly reduce transmission of HPV.
Nevertheless, she says, the challenge is getting young people to be vaccinated before what she refers to as their “sexual debut,” since the three-dose series has proven to be most effective when administered before the start of sexual activity. Too often “patients don’t come back on time for the second and third doses,” Hsu says, either because of forgetfulness or avoidance. She cites studies that show the “real-world impact of this vaccine is going to be as predicted—a reduction in the incidence of genital warts and anogenital precancerous lesions,” and other possible benefits, such as “a reduction in oral cancers that are now known to be related to HPV type 16, which is one of the types of HPV the vaccine protects against.”
Hsu also is medical director of the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, is a member of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at MED and Boston Medical Center (BMC), and is involved in ongoing studies of invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal ecology.
“The promotion represents another milestone in my career,” she says. “It is really nice to pause and have BU recognize my accomplishments to date.”
As well as Fox and Hsu, the following have been recently promoted to associate professor.
John H. Connor, MED associate professor of microbiology
Connor was recruited to MED in 2006 as a young virologist and was one of the first winners of a Peter Paul Career Development Award. Connor’s research has identified new targets for potential antivirals. He has a number of National Institutes of Health http://www.nih.gov/ –funded collaborations with College of Engineering faculty to develop, among other things, sensors for viral surveillance and diagnostics.
Weining Lu, MED associate professor of nephrology
Appointed to the renal section of the department of medicine in 2004 with a mandate to develop an independent research program, Lu heads the Kidney Development and Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and Urinary Tract laboratory. A molecular and developmental biologist, his research focuses on the molecular and genetic basis of renal disease and urinary tract developmental abnormalities. Considered a rising star in his field, he has received international recognition for his work identifying the Robo2 gene related to vericoureteral reflux, an abnormality of the urinary system, and his discovery of a change in chromosome 17 related to urinary tract abnormalities.
Thanh Nguyen, MED associate professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and radiology
Nguyen is director of interventional neuroradiology and interventional neurology at BMC and a member of the vascular neurology service in the department of neurology. In addition, she developed and currently directs the endovascular surgical neuroradiology fellowship.
The author of 45 peer-reviewed publications, Nguyen does research involving outcomes of endovascular therapy for acute stroke, intracranial atherosclerotic disease, aneurysm coiling, and cerebrovascular dissection. She says she enjoys “seeing students progress and gain independence in developing their own research ideas through their own curiosity and a passion for learning,” something that she experiences as she leads medical students and residents on rounds and lectures on neuroradiology and neurointervention. Nguyen is also an accomplished, prize-winning concert pianist.
Adam Rose, MED associate professor of general internal medicine
Rose’s research seeks to improve patient outcomes by improving oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT), which millions of Americans receive each year to prevent morbid or fatal adverse events such as stroke, venous thromoboembolism, and major hemorrhages. His work has provided a greater understanding of how to measure and improve the quality of care in OAT. Largely credited with creating the field, his work is changing clinical practice. With the recent award of a four-year Veterans Affairs (VA) grant, he will be testing his findings to improve performance among VA anticoagulation clinics in the New England region. Rose is also deputy editor of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Satish Singh, MED associate professor of gastroenterology
Noted for his translational research, Singh (CAS’87, MED’87) has worked to develop better tools for detecting gastrointestinal cancer, such as adding fiber optics to standard endoscopy tools to make it easier to distinguish normal from abnormal tissue in the field. He is also internationally recognized for his research on intestinal transport. A contributor to a number of influential textbooks, Singh has published seminal articles in a number of professional publications. He has received numerous awards, including the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Basic Research Award from the American Gastroenterological Association, the Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology’s Career Development Award, and two MED research awards.
This BU Today story was written by Amy Laskowski.