Dermatology Professorships Honor Long-time Faculty


Derm-086 (2).JPG sized

From left:  Jag Bhawan, MD; Barbara Gilchrest, MD; Michael Lichtman, MD; Rhoda Alani, MD; Dean Karen Antman, MD; Vincent Falanga, MD; Peter Pochi, MD ’55; Michael Rosenbaum, MD ’78.

Two of the most renowned dermatologists and long-time BUSM Department of Dermatology faculty members were honored during a professorship installation ceremony held on the medical campus November 8. Former Dermatology Chair Barbara Gilchrest, MD, and former Herbert Mescon Professor of Dermatology Peter Pochi, MD ’55, were lauded for their seminal contributions to the field and recognized with named professorships.

“Our recent professorship installations allowed the Department of Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine to celebrate its illustrious past, outstanding present, and bright vision for the future,” says Rhoda Alani, MD, Herbert Mescon Professor and Chair of the Department of Dermatology. “This was truly a celebration of the dedication to excellence that epitomizes Boston University.

Barbara Gilchrest served as BUSM professor and chair of dermatology for 23 years growing the department from 1.5 members to more than 40 full-time clinicians and researchers. An internationally recognized expert in skin aging, pigmentation and other effects of light on normal and diseased skin, she has authored or co-authored more than 450 articles and books. She has served in leadership roles in all major U.S. dermatologic organizations and has been repeatedly named among America’s Top Doctors. Gilchrest is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is a charter member of the National Academy of Inventors. She currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

“Barbara Gilchrest is a truly remarkable person,” said Jag Bhawan, MD, professor of dermatology and pathology and head of the Dermatopathology Section. “Under her leadership four endowed professorships, one career development award, and two international fellowships were established in our department. In addition, she was able to convince BU leadership to give dermatology its own building. How many departments in the country have their own building?”

The first occupant of the Barbara A. Gilchrest Professorship in Dermatology is Vincent Falanga, MD, vice chair for research and program director for the Department of Dermatology and research professor of biochemistry. “Dr. Vincent Falanga was appointed as the Barbara A. Gilchrest Professor of Dermatology, connecting two world-renowned leaders in skin diseases research and two former department chairs through this new professorship,” Alani notes. “Both Drs. Falanga and Gilchrest are widely viewed as true visionaries in their fields of translation wound healing research, and photobiology, skin pigmentation, and photoaging respectively. It is truly amazing to have two such legendary figures in dermatology at our institution and to honor them in such a fashion.”

A Harvard Medical School graduate, Falanga completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital, a dermatology residency at the University of Pennsylvania and a dermatopathology fellowship at Roger Williams Medical Center. He has been a BUSM faculty member for 15 years also serving as assistant dean of clinical and faculty affairs and director of the BUSM Ambulatory Medical Clerkship at Roger Williams Medical Center.

A specialist in wound healing, Falanga was the first to successfully test and use bone marrow-derived in human non-healing wounds and was the first to use a human recombinant growth factor in chronic wounds. He led the research showing the effectiveness of living bioengineered skin in venous ulcers, which became the first ever FDA-approved bioengineered skin for wounds. Falanga also discovered the effectiveness of anabolic steroids for cryofibrinogenemic ulcers. As vice chair for research he directs studies related to tissue injury, repair processes and regeneration.

“We were also delighted to appoint Dr. Michael Lichtman as the Peter E. Pochi Assistant Professor of Dermatology,” says Alani. “A longtime member of the BU Dermatology faculty, Dr. Pochi is currently Professor Emeritus at BU where he made an illustrious career in academic dermatology and dermatologic research. His most notable accomplishments were in critical discoveries related to the roles of hormones and retinoids in the development of acne in patients. His discoveries were critical to the development of retinoid and hormonal therapies for the treatment of recalcitrant acne and his previous contributions were recognized by his appointment as the first Herbert Mescon Professor of Dermatology, an appointment now held by myself as department chair. Dr. Pochi retired from practice in 1991; however, he continued to make significant contributions to our institution through his generous donation of time and resources to supporting the School of Medicine and for which he received its Distinguished Alumnus Award.”

A 1955 graduate of BUSM, Pochi completed his internship and dermatology residency at BUSM. The author of more than 150 publications, he was associate editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and on the editorial boards of the Archives of Dermatology and the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. He was also elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of dermatology and was vice-president of the Society for Investigative Dermatology. Pochi received the BUSM Frederick Jackson Faculty award for excellence in teaching and the BUSM Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Michael Rosenbaum, MD ’78, clinical associate professor of dermatology, recalled as a dermatology resident that, “Dr. Pochi showed me by example, great wisdom, compulsive tenacity in clinical problem solving and total respect for each individual patient’s unique life situation and personality. In addition to being the heart and soul of BU dermatology for decades, Dr. Pochi has also been a tireless and loyal supporter and builder of the medical school as a whole.”

“In naming Dr. Lichtman, a new faculty member in dermatology, as the Peter E. Pochi Professor, we link the department’s illustrious past to its brightest and best hope for the future,” adds Alani. “Dr. Lichtman will be pursuing a translational research program dedicated to the use of stem cells to treat patients with recalcitrant wounds. He will work collaboratively with Dr. Falanga in these efforts thus bringing the entire celebration full-circle. We were delighted to honor these tremendous leaders in dermatology and to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to our specialty in such a meaningful way.

Lichtman received his medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center and dermatology training at the University of Texas Southwestern. Simultaneously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he served as clinical director of the Angiogenesis and Wound Healing Center. His research focus is on the interface between immunology and stem cell biology to improve treatment of complex wounds.

“This event celebrates four careers, all active within the School of Medicine,” said Dean Karen Antman, MD. “Drs. Falanga, Gilchrest and Pochi are eminently distinguished professors of dermatology. Dr. Lichtman is launching his promising career with the resources of the Peter E. Pochi assistant professorship.”