By Lisa Brown

GSDM Students Share Unique China Externship Experiences

February 18th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Dr. Laisheng Chou, Erik Harriman, Alena Mehtani, Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, Erica Weinberg, Grant Murray, and Dr. Michelle Henshaw

Dr. Laisheng Chou, Erik Harriman, Alena Mehtani, Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, Erica Weinberg, Grant Murray, and Dr. Michelle Henshaw

Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) DMD ‘14 students Alena Mehtani, Erica Weinberg, Erik Harriman, and Grant Murray presented to  to a packed classroom about  their two-week international externship to two world-renowned institutions for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) located in China.

The October 2013 trip commenced an expansion of GSDM’s Global Elective Externship program to include an exchange program with two institutions in China: Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Stomatology (SJUSS), located in Shanghai, and the Fourth Military Medical University School of Stomatology (FMMUSS), located in Xi’an.

Professor and Director of the Division of Oral Medicine Dr. Laisheng Chou serves as the GSDM program leader. Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Health Services Research and Associate Dean for Global & Population Health Dr. Michelle Henshaw accompanied the students on the externship.

For their presentation, the students, in turn, described all aspects of their unforgettable trip, including clinical, social, and cultural experiences. Murray stressed the uniqueness of their clinical environment. He spoke with awe of being in a hospital with four floors for OMFS. Weinberg talked about the experience in terms of her interest in pediatric dentistry, noting that the trip is valuable even to those interested in specialties outside of OMFS. She illustrated this with a photo from the trip of herself carrying a baby who’d just had a cleft palate surgery. Harriman and Mehtani presented some of the fascinating cases of rare conditions they saw and learned about on the trip.

The students also reflected on the influence of culture on the overall nature of treatment in China. They witnessed a robust sense of camaraderie between all levels of staff in the operating room. They also noted the systematic nature of treatment.

Mehtani, Weinberg, Harriman, and Murray fielded questions from the audience regarding the procedures they observed, the prevalence of certain conditions, and about clinical culture they experienced, among other topics.

Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, who attended the students’ presentation, said, “It was a pleasure to hear about Alena, Erica, Erik, and Grant’s unforgettable trip.” He continued, “I am very proud that students from our School were able to have this truly unique clinical and cultural experience as we expand the global presence of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.”

In conclusion, the students gave glowing recommendations of the trip and welcomed anyone with interest in the externship to contact them. Students interested in international externships can also contact Elizabeth Anatori of Global & Population Health at or 617-638-4674.

Photos from the trip are available on Facebook and Flickr.


GSDM’s Helmerhorst Delivers Keynote Address at AADR Boston Meeting

February 10th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Eva Helm

Eva Helmerhorst

Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology Dr. Eva Helmerhorst delivered the keynote lecture at the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Boston Section Semiannual meeting in December, on the BU Medical Campus.

Boston Section President and Associate Professor in the Department of Periodontology Dr. Robert Gyurko opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and summarizing the Boston Section’s role in the AADR. He described open Boston Chapter Officer positions and began the election process.

The newly elected Boston Section Officers are:

  • Councilor – Dr. Ricardo Teles, Senior Member of the Staff, Co-Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Vice Chair in the Department of Applied Oral Health Sciences at Forsyth Institute
  • Alternate Councilor – Dr. Judith Jones, Professor and Chair in the Department of General Dentistry, GSDM
  • Secretary – Dr. Corinna Culler, Director of School-Based Programs, GSDM
  • Treasurer – Dr. Frank Gibson, Associate Professor of Microbiology, BUSM, Section of Infectious Diseases

They join current Boston Section Officers:

  • President – Dr. Robert Gyurko, Associate Professor in the Department of Periodontology, GSDM
  • Vice President – Dr. Alpdogan Kantarci, Associate Member of the Staff in the Department of Applied Oral Health Sciences at Forsyth Institute

Dr. Helmerhorst followed the election with her presentation, “Gluten-degrading enzymes in human saliva: novel therapeutic potential for the treatment of celiac disease.” Dr. Helmerhorst discovered that human saliva harbors bacteria that can very effectively cleave gluten. Glutens are important targets since these represent the proteins that cause celiac disease, an inflammatory disease of the small intestine. Her presentation focused on the identification of these bacteria and oral microbiome characterizations in health and celiac disease.

“My research is at the interface of oral and gastrointestinal biology and I was able to show that saliva research is not limited to functions in the oral cavity,” explained Helmerhorst.

The findings may benefit a large section of the population since celiac disease has a prevalence of about 1 percent, affecting roughly 3 million Americans. Dr. Helmerhorst stressed that contributing to the success of her project was the multidisciplinary team, which includes Forsyth Institute microbiologists Dr. Floyd Dewhirst and Dr. Bruce Paster and gastroenterologists Dr. Ciaran Kelly and Dr. Dan Leffler from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Helmerhorst said, “It is important that oral biology researchers in the Boston area come together regularly to keep each other updated on their research, and the AADR Boston Chapter meeting is a perfect platform to foster new collaborations.”

Her research was also highlighted in Boston University’s Annual Report video project.


Meeting the Needs of America’s Heroes: A Lifetime and Community Obligation

February 10th, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Meeting the Needs of America’s Heroes: A Lifetime and Community Obligation”
Jonathan Woodson, MD
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Department of Defense, United States Government

Dr. Woodson will discuss the major medical advances that have led to the highest survivability from warfare in history. He will also offer insight into the nation’s long term-obligations to those who are ill or injured as a result of our most recent conflicts. Dr. Woodson serves as principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for health issues and ensures the effective execution of the Department of Defense medical mission. Previously, Dr. Woodson served as associate dean for diversity and multicultural affairs and professor of surgery at the BUSM and as senior attending vascular surgeon at BMC. He holds the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Monday, Feb. 10
1-2 p.m.
BU Charles River Campus, School of Law, 765 Commonwealth Ave., Barrister’s Hall
Co-Sponsored by BU School of Law and the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights at BU School of Public Health.

After the Storm

February 7th, 2014 in Uncategorized

A snowman enjoys a sunny afternoon on Talbot Green! Photo by Sara Cody

A snowman enjoys a sunny afternoon on Talbot Green! Photo by Sara Cody

Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine, Feb. 10 Lecture with Louis Sullivan, MD

February 6th, 2014 in Uncategorized

sullivan, louisDr. Louis Sullivan, BUSM ’58, will be discussing his newly published autobiography, Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine, on Monday, Feb. 10, at 4 p.m. in the 670 Albany Street Auditorium, First Floor.

A 1958 graduate of BUSM and former faculty member who currently is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, Dr. Sullivan is the founding dean and first president of Morehouse School of Medicine (now president emeritus). He served as Secretary of Health and Human Services during the George H. W. Bush administration. He is chair of the board of the National Health Museum in Atlanta and the Washington, D.C.–based Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professionals. He also is author of The Morehouse Mystique: Becoming a Doctor at the Nation’s Newest African American Medical School (with Marybeth Gasman).

Dr. Sullivan has many annecdotes to share about his experiences in Washington, D.C., dealing with the burgeoning AIDS crisis, PETA activists, and antismoking efforts, along with his efforts to push through comprehensive health care reform decades before the Affordable Care Act. His interactions with political figures, including Thurgood Marshall, Jack Kemp, Clarence Thomas, Jesse Helms and the Bushes, capture a time in recent history.

A reception and book signing will follow in the auditorium foyer.

  • Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine, Lecture and book signing
  • Dr. Louis Sullivan, BUSM ’58
  • Monday, Feb. 10
  • 4 p.m.
  • 670 Albany Street Auditorium, First Floor

Depressive Symptoms Linked to Adult-onset Asthma in African-American Women

February 6th, 2014 in Uncategorized

According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University, African-American women who reported high levels of depressive symptoms had a greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma compared to women who reported fewer depressive symptoms.

Patricia Coogan

Patricia Coogan

The study, which currently appears online in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, was led by Patricia Coogan, DSc, senior epidemiologist at SEC and research professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health.

This study followed 31,848 African-American women between 1999 and 2011, all of whom are participants in the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS) who completed health questionnaires every two years. In 1999 and 2005 they rated the frequency of experiencing 20 symptoms (e.g., “I felt depressed”, I felt lonely”, “I could not get going”). The 20 answers were summed into a scale ranging from zero (rarely or never experiencing depressive symptoms) to 60 (experiencing all depressive symptoms “most or all of the time”). The scale is commonly used in epidemiologic studies and a score of 16 has been used to identify individuals at high risk of depression.

The results indicated that as the frequency of depressive symptoms increased, the incidence of adult-onset asthma also rose, up to a two-fold increase in women in the highest category (score of ≥33) compared to the lowest category (score <16) of the depressive symptom scale. Furthermore, the incidence of asthma was increased 2.8 times in women who had a depressive symptom score of ≥16 and also reported use of antidepressants.

“Our results are consistent with positive findings from three previous studies of depressive symptoms and asthma incidence conducted in smaller and primarily white populations,” said Coogan. “The hypothesized mechanism linking depressive symptoms to asthma incidence is depression-related stress and its physiological consequences, particularly effects on the immune system and the airways. Given the high prevalence of both asthma and of depression in women, the association is of public health importance,” Coogan added.

The BWHS is the largest follow-up study of the health of African American women in the United States. Led by researchers at the Slone Epidemiology Center, the BWHS has followed 59,000 African-American women through biennial questionnaires since 1995 and has led to a better understanding of numerous health conditions that disproportionately affect African-American women.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (grant award #HL107314) and the National Cancer Institute (grant award #CA058420).

BU Awards Community Grant To Franklin Park Coalition to Support Youth Programming

January 27th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Boston University today announced a grant of $2,500 to the Franklin Park Coalition (FPC). Boston University makes ongoing grants to local community organizations offering programs and services that benefit youth and make a difference in the lives of young people in Boston.

The FPC advocates for Franklin Park, a 527-­acre historic green space located in the geographic heart of Boston and surrounded by some of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. FPC works to engage all park users and community members through advocacy, programs, and restoration.

FPC_logo_final_grn-245pxThe BU Community Grant will be used to help support FPC’s Back to Nature in Franklin Park program. The program is designed to bring up to 1,000 young people (ages 5-18) to the park to engage in a series of energetic outdoor activities in a natural setting. Using a range of events, including activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, tree climbing, kite flying, biking and a weekly drop in sports night, the goal is to expose youth to new recreational options in wilderness spaces and get them moving.

“Boston University Medical Campus is committed to helping provide resources for organizations and agencies whose programs support youth in the South End and Roxbury. FPC’s Back to Nature program promotes opportunity, access and an active lifestyle. This program is an outstanding example of utilizing one of the finest natural and wilderness spaces in Boston, Franklin Park. The program benefits youth and families in our city,” said Valeda Britton, Executive Director BU Community Relations/Medical Campus.

The $2,500 community grants are awarded to programs and services that benefit residents of BU’s host communities, with special consideration given to programs that benefit youth. Beautification projects are also encouraged. Funding is intended to supplement the existing budgets of established organizations and agencies. Organizations such as, Boston City Lights, Discover Roxbury, the Roxbury Boys & Girls Club, and Mandela Homes have previously received a similar grant.

BU ADC Professor Awarded Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant

January 16th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Participating in the Alzheimer’s Association award present are Lenore Jackson-Pope of the Alzheimer’s Association; Neil Kowall, MD; Wendy Qui, MD, PhD; Peter Ham of the Alzheimer’s Association and Robert Stern, PhD. Photo by Sara Cody

Participating in the Alzheimer’s Association award present are Lenore Jackson-Pope of the Alzheimer’s Association; Neil Kowall, MD; Wendy Qui, MD, PhD; Peter Ham of the Alzheimer’s Association and Robert Stern, PhD. Photo by Sara Cody

Representatives of the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) presented Wendy Qui, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and pharmacology with a check for $239,000 on Wednesday, Jan. 15 to support her research. Dr. Qui received the funding as part of the Alzheimer’s Association Investigator-initiated Research Grant Awards program. The presentation took place preceding Dr. Qui’s lecture, “Amylin and its Analogs: Friend or Foe for Alzheimer’s Disease,” part of the BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center (ADC) Spring 2014 Lecture Series.

“Dr. Qui is an outstanding member of our center and quite unique in that she is a practicing geriatric psychiatrist as well as a very productive basic science and clinical researcher,” said Robert Stern, PhD, Clinical Core director of the ADC. “This is a very important grant award, and we are deeply appreciative of the Alzheimer’s Association’s generous support of her research.”

Dr. Qiu’s research interests include identifying biomarkers and modifiable and non-modifiable factors related to Alzheimer’s disease and understanding how gene mutations interact with environment to cause diseases in the elderly. She cares for patients with dementia as well as psychiatric illnesses, including late-life depression. She also examines research participants for ADC clinical trials.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s Research in the world,” said Peter Ham of the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, in making the presentation. “For us it is all about having an impact on people’s lives. Dr. Qui received one the highest evaluations by our grant reviewers, and we are very pleased to support her work.”

BUSM Professor Receives 2013 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

January 16th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Katherine Iverson

Katherine Iverson

Katherine Iverson, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has been named as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Iverson, who is also a Clinical Research Psychologist at the VA Boston Healthcare System, was recognized for her outstanding contributions to research and clinical proficiency in women’s mental health following potentially traumatic events, especially as they relate to intimate partner violence (IPV) among military veterans.

Iverson received her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, and her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. She then performed her postdoctoral training through the BUSM/VA Boston fellowship program, where she specialized in research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her present research focuses on pinpointing best practices for the treatment and prevention of IPV among female military veterans, and is funded through a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Career Development Award.

“I am honored by this award and inspired by the attention it is drawing to this important issue. It is my hope that this recognition will facilitate my continued research on the impact of intimate partner violence on military and veteran families,” said Iverson.

“We are deeply pleased that Dr. Iverson was selected this year for this prestigious, interdisciplinary, national award,” said Terence Keane, PhD, assistant dean for research at BUSM and Associate Chief of Staff for Research at VA Boston Healthcare System and Professor of Psychiatry. “Her work on the psychology of intimate partner violence and the effects of sexual assault is trend setting and she is poised to make significant contributions to the field for decades into the future,” he added.

Established by President Clinton in 1996, awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach and is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Iverson joins Boston University’s College of Engineering assistant professor of biomedical engineering Xue Han as two of this year’s 102 awardees.

BU Epidemiologist Honored by the American Journal of Epidemiology and the Society for Epidemiologic Research

January 13th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Lauren Wise

Lauren Wise

The American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) and the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) has selected an article written by Lauren A. Wise, ScD, a senior epidemiologist at BU’s Slone Epidemiology Center and an associate professor of epidemiology at BUSPH, among the 2013 Articles of the Year, a newly created award sponsored jointly by the AJE and SER.

The article “Is the Observed Association Between Dairy Intake and Fibroids in African Americans Explained by Genetic Ancestry?” was chosen by the editors of the Journal, to represent scholarship that is truly distinguished. A list of all 10 2013 Articles of the Year will be released online in January and will appear in the February 15, 2014, issue of the Journal.  In addition, all Articles of the Year awardees will be formally recognized at SER’s 47th Annual Meeting in Seattle Washington, in June.

Wise joined the Department of Epidemiology in 2004 after completing her ScD degree at the Harvard School of Public Health. She has an interest in reproductive epidemiology. Her research has involved the study of benign gynecologic conditions and delayed time-to-pregnancy in women. Wise is co-investigator of the Black Women’s Health Study, a nationwide prospective cohort study of more than 59,000 African-American women. She is principal investigator of NICHD-funded studies examining the influence of diet, genetics, and psychosocial factors on risk of uterine fibroids in African-American women. She is also Principal Investigator of Boston University Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), an Internet-based prospective study of time-to-pregnancy.