School Update Archives

School Update

Dear BUSM Faculty, Staff, and Students,

As we complete the first half of the academic year, I would like to share some of the highlights with you.

Nobel Prize Winner Speaks to Standing Room Only Crowd

Dr. Osamu Shimomura, 2008 Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, shared his Nobel Prize lecture with a packed house of faculty, staff and students. Introduced by President Brown, he modestly and humorously described his pioneering work on discovering Green Fluorescent Protein. Not only the science, but also the story of his accomplishments, was compelling, from his strategies to get an education after surviving the Hiroshima bombing, to the photos of him, his family and colleagues catching jelly fish at Friday Harbor in Seattle. The principles were persistence, creatively jerry-rigged equipment constructed to enhance productivity, flashes of inspiration (thinking in the rowboat) and even serendipity (unexpected fluorescence when dumping remains of experiments into the sink). His final take home point was the value of discovery for its own sake; his intent was to study fluorescence, not to enhance medical research with green fluorescent protein.

BUSM at AAMC Meeting

BUSM was well represented in presentations and leadership at the annual meeting of the AAMC in Boston. Students, faculty and administrators shared their expertise and moderating skills on a variety of topics in many sessions.

Jonathan Woodson, in addition to receiving the Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award at the meeting, spoke at the award recognition luncheon and was on hand for the Minority Student Medicine Career Awareness Workshops and Recruitment Fair.

Other examples include:

Katie Spina MD/PhD ’10 moderated the plenary session on “The Business of Medicine–Efficiency or Exploitation: The Risks and Benefits of Electronic Management of Personal Health Records.” Doug Hughes spoke to his colleagues about “Perspectives on Enhancing Medical Education in Psychiatry.” Phyllis Carr gave a workshop on “Mentoring Matters: Essential Components of Mentoring in Medical Education.” John Wiecha spoke on the “Impact of Specialty Income and Student Debt on Career Choice and Quality of Life.” Bob Witzburg delivered a talk on the “Holistic Review: Using Socioeconomic Status in Medical School Admissions. Amit Garg presented on using simulation of dermatological lesions in physical diagnosis. Ann Zumwalt and Carla Romney also presented at the AAMC meeting.

BUSM served as host of the American Medical Association section on Medical Schools and the AAMC deans’ reception, and I spoke at plenary sessions, “The Ideal Academic Health Center” and “New Business Models for Academic Medical Center Research.”

Nancy Bucher Professorship

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is extraordinarily pleased to announce the Nancy L.R. Bucher Career Development Professorship Fund. The fund includes dollars from the generous challenge grant given by former BU Board of Trustees Chair Alan Leventhal and his wife, Sherry, who is Vice Chair of the BUSM Dean’s Advisory Board, to establish endowed positions throughout the University. The professorship is named for Dr. Bucher, a long time faculty member in the Department who has made significant scientific contributions to understanding of liver regeneration. She has published dozens of articles in leading journals. Dr. Bucher is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has received the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the American Liver Foundation. Funds from the Bucher Professorship will be used to recruit a junior faculty member and provide salary support during the initial phase of their career. The Department is currently recruiting a scientist who shares Dr. Bucher’s passion for investigative work. BUSM now has 5 endowed assistant professorships.

Medical Library Renovations

Thanksgiving weekend marked the beginning of the first phase of planned Library renovations in advance of accreditation for all three medical campus schools in 2011. During the two and a half days that we closed the facility, work commenced on the 12th floor. HVAC work, demolition of a hallway wall, painting and removal of some journal stacks, as well as a new entryway and ceiling with improved lighting, provided expanded space. Planned for construction later this year are new flooring and walls and the relocation of the circulation desk and vending machines. New computer and study tables, with lounge and café style seating will be installed at a later date.

Academic Affairs

Dr. Sharon Levine, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will be on medical leave until January. During her absence, Dr. John Wiecha, associate professor of family medicine will be handling her responsibilities. Dr. Deborah Fournier, assistant provost for institutional research and evaluation for the Medical Campus, will handle LCME issues.

LCME Update – all roads lead to February 27 – March 2, 2011 site visit

* Timelines have been established

* The six required data bases of LCME materials are collected

* Subcommittees to write the reports on Institutional Setting, Educational Program, Medical Students, Faculty and Educational Resources, as well as the Student Self Study, have received their charges and implemented regular meetings.


Dr. Witzburg, Associate Dean for Admissions, reports that we are ending the first round of interviews for the entering class of 2010, which accounts for about 60% of all interviews for this year. The 2010 BUSM applicant group, once again, is very strong and has grown to well over 11,000 candidates for approximately 125 four-year MD seats in the class. The BUSM applicant pool now represents more than 28% of the national pool.


Rhoda M. Alani will arrive as Herbert Mescon Professor of Dermatology and Chair of the Department of Dermatology, at BUSM and chief of the Department of Dermatology at BMC in January 2010. She is joining us from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she is a faculty member in oncology, dermatology, and molecular biology and genetics. She currently serves as director of The Laboratory of Cutaneous Oncology in the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

Howard Bauchner has been named chair of the BUSM Appointments & Promotions Committee.

Jerrold J. Ellner has been named professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine and chief of the section of infectious diseases at BMC. He previously served as chair of the Department of Medicine at the New Jersey Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) from 2002 to 2006, and was most recently professor of medicine and scientific director of the Center for Emerging Pathogens at UMDNJ. He is internationally recognized for his research on tuberculosis and its interactions with HIV infection. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and trained in infectious diseases and immunology at the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Avrum Spira has been named chief of the section of computational biomedicine in the Department of Medicine. This newly established division will develop and apply computational approaches to the analysis of high-throughput molecular datasets to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of complex medical diseases.


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the Medical Campus totals $28 million. Most of these grants will continue for an additional year. Congratulations to the following faculty for receiving million dollar plus annual ARRA funding:

  • Barbara A Seaton Collectins and innate defense against inhaled pathogens
  • Dae-Shik Kim, 3t quasar dual MRI scanner for multimodal and molecular imaging
  • Martin H. Steinberg Genetic diversity of sickle cell anemia
  • Darrell N. Kotton & Gustavo Mostoslavsky Characterization of human hematopoietic and endodermal progenitors

Best wishes for the holidays and for a safe and productive New Year.


Karen Antman, MD
Provost, Boston University Medical Campus
Dean, School of Medicine
Professor of Medicine

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine