Faculty cited for contributions to science, medicine, public health
Osteoarthritis causes chronic pain for hundreds of millions of people around the world, an estimated 30 million in the United States alone. Doctors can help with medication to treat pain for this most common form of arthritis, and can recommend physical therapy and joint replacement surgery when needed. But, says Tuhina Neogi, a recently promoted School of Medicine professor of medicine, that pretty much covers the treatment options currently available—and that limited toolset is what drives her research into the causes of, and cures for, osteoarthritis (OA).
“A lot of the recent work I have been doing is to understand the pain mechanisms in osteoarthritis,” says Neogi, former chairwoman of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Arthritis Advisory Committee. She is currently conducting a large longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to evaluate patients’ experience with pain and correlated alterations in their nervous systems. “People with OA can develop chronic pain, even at rest,” she says. “By understanding these nervous system alterations, we can gain insight into new treatment targets.”
That insight could also lead to better recommendations for the timing of knee replacement surgery by taking a patient’s nervous system changes into account to reduce the risk of an unsuccessful procedure. It’s just one of several inquiries led by Neogi, who joined the MED faculty as a research fellow in 2003, and whose work also includes significant findings about the triggers for gout that has led to new treatment recommendations (including avoiding consumption of wine).
Neogi is one of 11 MED faculty members promoted to full professor. Three School of Public Health faculty have been promoted to full professor as well.
“We congratulate our very accomplished recently promoted professors,” says Karen Antman, dean of MED and provost of the Medical Campus. “These senior leaders have made significant contributions to science and medicine, and are nationally and internationally recognized as experts in their disciplines.”
Sandro Galea, Robert A. Knox Professor and dean of SPH, says the promotions of SPH faculty Matthew Fox, Jack Clark, and Michael McClean “reflect the deep well of talent and experience each of these faculty members brings to the school. We are delighted to have professors McClean, Fox, and Clark in our midst. Their work moves the needle forward in important areas, globally and locally. I look forward to their continuing contributions to BU and the field of public health.”
Matthew Fox (SPH’02,’07), a professor of epidemiology and global health, is an infectious disease expert. He is codirector of the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office (HE2RO), a collaboration between BU public health researchers and researchers from South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand. In his work at HE2RO, a project operated by BU’s Center for Global Health and Development, Fox analyzes treatment data to find solutions to bettering HIV treatment, broadening treatment access, and improving outcomes for the least cost. His team’s work provides South Africa policymakers with information to improve the lives of more than three million people being treated for HIV. The World Health Organization has formulated treatment protocols based in part on Fox’s work. He is the primary investigator or coinvestigator on grants from the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, and USAID/South Africa.
Fox has cowritten a book on his data-driven research methods, Applying Quantitative Bias Analysis to Epidemiologic Data.
“It’s incredibly gratifying and exciting to be working on problems that require big solutions and that require rigorous evaluation, problems that affect millions of people,” says Fox, adding that the data analysis involved calls for creativity in the search for real-world solutions. “That makes it both fun and useful.”
Also promoted to professor on the Medical Campus are:
Daniel Alford (SPH’86, MED’92), School of Medicine professor of medicine
Alford, assistant dean for continuing medical education, is an expert in addiction medicine and safe opioid prescribing for pain. He developed and directs the Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE) program, which has trained more than 34,000 clinicians in the United States to safely and effectively manage patients suffering from chronic pain with opioid analgesics. For the past 15 years, he has also directed the Chief Resident Immersion Training in Addiction Medicine program, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has trained more than 390 faculty from 117 residency training programs. Alford has received numerous teaching and service awards, from the American Medical Association and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, among others.
Stephan Anderson, MED professor of radiology
Anderson, an in-vivo and in-vitro imaging expert, has created collaborations with mechanical engineering and micro/nanotechnology experts to develop new imaging technologies. In addition, he has developed and validated imaging techniques for the study of diffuse liver disease and trauma. He is section chief of body imaging and is a primary investigator or coinvestigator on grants supported by the National Science Foundation, the NIH, GE Healthcare, and Philips Healthcare.
Tarik Haydar, MED professor of anatomy and neurobiology
On the faculty since 2010, Haydar is known for his pioneering research in brain development in Down syndrome and for his research explaining how neural progenitors generate the variety of neurons within the developing neocortex. His publications include invited editorials and critical reviews in Science, Cell, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience and other journals. Haydar has served on several dozen NIH review committees and recently chaired the Neural Cell Fate NIH Study Section. He is primary investigator on four active grants.
Robin Ingalls, MED professor of medicine
The work of Ingalls, an infectious diseases expert who has been at MED since 1995, has been critical in advancing the understanding of diseases such as sepsis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and pneumonia. Ingalls is known for collaborating with basic scientists to develop innovative, clinically relevant research, and her expertise extends to innate immunity, sexually transmitted diseases, and bacterial pathogenesis. She serves on the NIH Immunity and Host Defense study section and the Veterans Affairs Infectious Disease Merit panel.
Virginia R. Litle, MED professor of surgery
Litle is an expert in the management of chest malignancies, esophageal cancer in particular, and in reducing the perioperative risk of venous thromboembolism. She directs several programs at Boston Medical Center, including the Barrett’s Esophagus Program, the Clinical Research Program in Thoracic Surgery, and the Center for Minimally Invasive Esophageal Therapies. Litle has participated in multi-institutional research groups since 2005, and was principal investigator on an NIH-funded translational research project of microRNA profiling of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.
Jennifer I. Luebke (MED’90), MED professor of anatomy and neurobiology
Luebke, anatomy and neurobiology department vice chair and graduate program director, is an expert on the structure and function of neurons in the cerebral cortex. Her research focuses on the normal structure and function of individual cortical pyramidal cells and their alterations in transgenic mouse models of neurological disease and in a rhesus monkey model of normal aging. The director of MED’s Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology, Luebke has published papers and review articles focusing on the effects of normal aging and the morphology of cortical neurons.
David McAneny, MED professor of surgery
Recognized for his work on cost-effective and safe management of surgical patients, McAneny and his team developed a mnemonic device for simple interventions to reduce pulmonary complications after surgery, such as pneumonia. Called I COUGH, it has been adopted by scores of hospitals in the United States and other English-speaking countries. McAneny’s expertise is in endocrine surgery and hepatobiliary-pancreas-gastrointestinal surgery. He is a recipient of MED’s annual Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching, given in recognition of a faculty member’s teaching and devotion to students.
Michael Paasche-Orlow, MED professor of medicine
Paasche-Orlow, a leader in the emerging field of health literacy, has coordinated statewide learning networks for health providers in New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Minnesota, and has helped create and evaluate a range of patient empowerment and decision-support tools. He is the founding editor in chief of the new journal Health Literacy Research and Practice and has run the international Health Literacy Annual Research Conference, the largest such conference, for the past eight years.
Marie-Helene Saint-Hilaire, MED professor of neurology
An expert on movement disorders, Saint-Hilaire is a leading researcher of Parkinson’s disease. Her research interests include new medications and the role of neurorehabilitation and neuroprotective treatments and the search for biomarkers in Parkinson’s. She directs MED’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, where she focuses on clinical research in Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Since 2003, Saint-Hilaire has directed the American Parkinson Disease Association Advanced Center for Parkinson Research, one of eight such US centers. Her research has been funded by the NIH, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the American Parkinson Disease Association, and industry.
Flora Sam, MED professor of medicine
Cardiologist Sam is recognized worldwide as an expert in a type of heart failure called preserved ejection fraction, also known as diastolic heart failure. Her outstanding scholarly achievement in biomedical research was recognized by election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2011. Sam’s translational research program, supported by the NIH, investigates inter-tissue communication in heart failure. Her research has contributed to defining important biomarkers in cardiac amyloidosis, a disorder that disrupts the proper working of the heart.
Jack Clark, School of Public Health professor of health law, policy, and management
Clark is an internationally known medical sociologist and health scientist whose research focuses on how people live with chronic diseases, use health services, communicate with doctors, reach treatment decisions, and perceive health care outcomes. He developed the concept of regret in patients following their decisions about the type of care they receive, first defined in studies to characterize the outcomes of prostate cancer treatment. Clark developed patient-centered tools to assess care outcomes and led studies to improve the quality of care provided in the Veterans Health Administration. His current research projects are funded by VA Health Services Research & Development, the VHA Office of Rural Health, and the American Cancer Society.
Michael McClean, SPH professor of environmental health
McClean, SPH associate dean for research and faculty advancement, is a scholar in environmental and occupational exposure assessment. His studies of potential health effects from exposures to chemical, physical, or biological agents have resulted in more than 130 peer-reviewed articles in such journals as Environmental Health Perspectives, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Neurology. McClean has applied his exposure assessment method to a range of public health issues, including kidney disease, occupational cancer, and most recently, traumatic brain injuries.
This BU Today article was written by Michael Goldberg. He can be reached at email@example.com.