2020 BUMC Faculty Promotions to Professor Announced

The following nine BUMC faculty have been promoted to the rank of Professor: Megan Bair-Merritt, Suryaram Gummuluru, Andrew Henderson, Judith Linden, Thanh Nguyen, Steven Pizer, Wendy Qiu, Robert Saper, and Minh-Tam Truong. Congratulations!

Megan Bair-Merritt, MD, MED, Pediatrics, is a leader in the field of intimate partner violence and regarded research mentor in the educational field of Academic General Pediatrics. She has transformed the fellowship program in Academic General Pediatrics from a well-regarded local program to one of the top programs in the nation. Dr. Bair-Merritt has taken a leadership role in a large, integrated behavioral health project and the new Center for the Urban Child and Healthy Family at Boston Medical Center. She has been a PI or co-PI on 15 extramural awards from the Health Research and Services Administration, National Institute of Justice, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, PCORI and National Institutes of Health, and recently was awarded a T32 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Bair-Merritt is the author of over 70 original peer reviewed publications. Of note, her 2010 first-author publication, ‘Reducing Maternal Intimate partner violence After the Birth of a Child: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Hawaii Healthy Start Home Visitation Program, represents one of the most substantial contributions to the field of intimate partner violence, and is one of only 30 studies to be considered as positive evidence by the United States Preventive Services Task Force in its 2018 recommendation for screening for intimate partner violence.

Suryaram Gummuluru, PhD, MED, Microbiology, is a scientist in HIV pathogenesis. His research primarily focuses on understanding how HIV-1 is captured and disseminated by cells of the innate immune system, including dendritic cells and macrophages. His work demonstrated the role of a novel, otherwise unknown, receptor-ligand pathway in HIV capture, a finding that has been replicated by a number of other laboratories since that time. He also has demonstrated that this pathway can be exploited for therapeutic delivery to select myeloid cell types in secondary lymphoid tissues.This latter work has been patented with his collaborator, B Reinhard. More recently, he has begun to dissect the mechanisms by which HIV continues to induce a chronic inflammatory state in infected individuals, even when HIV production is fully suppressed by combinatorial antiretroviral therapies, and contributes to numerous virus-associated co-morbidities. He is a regular member of NIH study sections, including chairing special emphasis panels on AIDS and AIDS-related applications. He is a sought-after invited speaker, has been session chair at Cold Spring Harbor meetings and serves as a member of the editorial boards of Virology and Frontiers in Virology.

Andrew Henderson, PhD, MED, Medicine/Infectious Diseases, is known for his work in HIV cell and molecular biology. His research, consistently funded since 1997, primarily focuses on cellular mechanisms of HIV latency with the overall goal of discovering potential targets that may be used to control the HIV reservoir. Highlights from his research include understanding how signals control HIV replication and latency and characterizing transcriptional networks that establish HIV latency. He has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, delivered 65 invited seminars and participates on more than 50 scientific review panels, including serving as chair and standing member of the NIH AIDS Molecular and Cellular Biology study section. In addition to his research, Dr. Henderson has helped establish an NIH-sponsored STEM post-baccalaureate training program for underrepresented groups and established and participated in NIH Fogarty International Center training grants at Makerere University, Uganda, and the University of Liberia. He also is an associate director of the NIH-sponsored Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research.

Judith Linden, MD, MED, Emergency Medicine, is known for her expertise in violence against women/sexual assault and substance use disorder recognition and intervention. She was co-investigator for a National Institute of Justice-sponsored program to train medical and law students to advocate for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), developed best practices for IPV documentation, and served for many years on the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Violence. She co-led a program for Israeli and Palestinian health care workers, focused on developing best practices and interventions for intimate partner violence survivors. Dr. Linden published an invited review in the New England Journal of Medicine on the acute care of sexual assault survivors, cited 106 times and downloaded internationally. She served on a committee to update CDC Guidelines for the treatment/prevention of STI in sexual assault victims, and currently serves on the AAMC’s Women in Medicine and Science Intimate Partner Violence Task Force. Dr. Linden has trained physicians in brief intervention and referral for treatment in substance use disorders. She was a co­investigator on a $1.3 million Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant to develop and evaluate a web-based curriculum to assist providers identify and treat neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and opioid use disorders (OUD) among child bearing age women. More than 300 prescribers have completed the course in person or online. She is a champion of increasing diversity in academic Emergency Medicine, and currently serves on the American College of Emergency Physicians Committee on Diversity and Inclusion in Academic Promotion, as well as the AWAEM (Academy for Women in Emergency Medicine) Administrative Leadership Development Committee.

Thanh Nguyen, MD, MED, Neurology, is a leader in the field of stroke, brain aneurysms and interventional neuroradiology. Her most impactful work is advancing endovascular treatment of brain aneurysms and reperfusion of large vessel occlusion stroke. She is the author of more than 90 peer-reviewed publications, national guidelines (American Heart Association), textbook chapters including Neurology in Clinical Practice and numerous case reports. She serves on multiple editorial boards, including Frontiers of Vascular and Interventional Neuroradiology, and Interventional Neurology. Dr. Nguyen has been an invited speaker around the world, including the American Academy of Neurology, Society of Neurointerventional Surgery and International Stroke Conference. In the Society of Vascular and Interventional Neurology (SVIN), she was elected Research Chair and was Chair of the SVIN 10th Annual Meeting held in Boston in 2017. She has received numerous awards, including a 2018 Boston Medical Center Be Exceptional Award and 2018 SVIN Distinguished Service Award. In addition, she participates in federal governmental research, specifically for the Canadian Institute of Health Research and has served on multiple data safety monitoring boards for major international studies DELTA, TESLA, ENDOLOW and TATUM. Currently, she is Principal Investigator of the CLEAR trial, a multicenter study on imaging selection for acute stroke in the late window.

Steven Pizer, PhD, SPH, Health Law, Policy & Management, is a health economist with expertise in microeconometrics, program evaluation and policy analysis. His applied research addresses the consequences of management and policy related to access to care, health care financing, and choices of coverage and treatment. He is a leader in methodology for observational comparative effectiveness research and validation of performance metrics built from large administrative databases. Since 2003, his work has been continuously supported by NIH, CMS, AHRQ, VA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Dr. Pizer has reviewed grants for NIH, VA, PCORI (session chair), and the Health Research Board of Ireland. He serves as Deputy Editor for Medical Care, the official journal of the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association. He chaired the Methodology Theme for the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting and served as a Scientific Reviewer for the European Health Econometrics Workshop in addition to chairing or facilitating a variety of national scholarly and policy meetings for the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Wendy Qiu, MD, PhD, MED, Psychiatry, is known for her work studying the fundamental causation mechanisms of dementia by seeking biomarkers for the diagnoses and treatment of psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Qiu’s research capitalizes on the combination of several large human studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, and the disease mouse models to identify biomarkers leading to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and seek the drug targets for AD. She has successfully conducted a pilot clinical trial on pramlintide to repurpose the drug for AD, in which Dr. Qiu and Boston University received a patent for this work. Her research has provided a new perspective for Alzheimer’s therapeutics, which currently has no disease-modifying treatment. Because of her scientific achievements, Dr. Qiu has received several NIH grants, including the NIH K24 award, NIH R21, and three NIH R01 grants. Dr. Qiu served as a Principal Investigator (Pl) on the Investigator-Initiated Research Grant from the Alzheimer’s Association on setting up a challenge diagnostic test. In 2018, this project provided evidence to support the amylin challenge test for AD in humans by using the amylin analog pramlintide.

Robert Saper, MD, MPH, MED, Family Medicine, is an investigator, scholar and leader in integrative medicine and family medicine. Dr. Saper has published nearly 60 peer-reviewed papers in high-impact journals and received numerous federal awards, including NIH R01 and large national PCORI awards. His 2017 Annals of Internal Medicine paper demonstrating non-inferiority of yoga to physical therapy for improving chronic low back pain in underserved populations was critical in moving yoga forward as an evidence-based approach for nonpharmacologic pain management. He is a sought-after presenter with almost 200 invited presentations. He is the creator of the multi-disciplinary Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Disparities, which has earned international praise for its excellence and innovation.

Minh-Tam Truong, MD, MED, Radiation Oncology, is a head and neck radiation oncologist, known for her contributions in evaluating the Quality of Life (QOL) and improving functional outcomes of head and neck cancer patients. She has designed several QOL multicenter trials and is study co-chair on six NRG Oncology internationally conducted randomized trials and concepts conducted by the NRG Oncology Group, which is part of the National Cancer Trials Network (NCTN). She is known for her work in normal tissue toxicity and improving radiation techniques for head and neck cancer. Her research work includes functional imaging using PET/CT and CT perfusion imaging and brachial plexus contouring techniques for Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy for head and neck cancer. She has expertise in the application of radiotherapy for benign diseases, including localized airway amyloidosis. She has served as the track chair for benign diseases for the Scientific Committee of the American Society of Radiation Oncology. She is an invited oral board examiner for the head and neck and skin section of the American Board of Radiology. She has co-authored over 65 peer-reviewed publications, several book chapters, editorials, and invited reviews and more than 100 abstract presentations at national and international meetings. She also contributes her head and neck expertise to the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board, which has more than 12 million annual internet visits, of which 61 percent are international.