School Update

Dear Colleagues,

As we begin another academic year, I’d like to thank you for your contributions to our progress in the 2018-19 academic year. Our faculty, staff and students collaborated in our LCME review for which we received eight more years of LCME accreditation (without a citation!).

Furthermore, grant funding increased an impressive 26 percent in FY19 over FY18.

Faculty Honors

Our faculty have received well deserved recognition. For a list of faculty who received national and international honors this year, click here.

Research Publications

BUSM faculty continue to receive significant press coverage for their cutting-edge research in competitive medical and scientific journals including:

  • Deborah Anderson‘s New England Journal of Medicine perspective asked if it were time for a new contraception revolution.
  • Bindu Kalesan’s study in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine found overall life expectancy loss due to firearm deaths was twice as high among blacks compared with whites.
  • Tuhina Neogi’s study in JAMA Internal Medicine found the gout drug allopurinol may protect against chronic kidney disease.
  • Nicole Spartano’s study in JAMA Network Open found light, physical activity reduces brain aging.
  • Thor Stein’s study in Acta Neuropathologica Communications identified a genetic variation that may influence chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) disease severity. Another of his studies, published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, found an association between contact sports and Lewy body disease, Parkinson’s disease symptoms and dementia.
  • Robert Stern’s New England Journal of Medicine paper found an experimental PET scan could detect abnormal tau protein in brains of living former NFL players.

New Research Grants

  • Vasan Ramachandran, MD, Professor of Medicine, received a renewal of the Framingham Heart Study, the country’s oldest cohort study on cardiovascular disease, with $38M in new funding, which will allow our investigators to examine how aging affects the heart and other organs, from the brain to the liver. He also received six-year, $33.2M award from the NIH–National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for RURAL: Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal Cohort Study.
  • Deborah Anderson, PhD, Professor of OB/GYN, Medicine and Microbiology, received a four-year, $7.7M award from the NIH-National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for Antibody-based Contraceptive MPTS: Preclinical and Clinical.
  • Avrum Spira, MD, Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics, received a five-year, $6.7M award from the NIH–National Cancer Institute for The Lung PCA: A Multi-dimensional Atlas of Pulmonary Premalignancy.
  • Stephan Anderson, MD, Professor of Radiology, received a $4.9M grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to create a state-of the-art facility to accelerate development of novel brain imaging techniques to track subtle changes in the brain after neurotrauma. The Center for Translation Neurotrauma Imaging (CTNI), will pioneer biomarkers, diagnostics and therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
  • Benjamin Wolozin, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, received a five-year, $3.1M award from the NIH–National Institute on Aging for Capturing the Molecular Complexity of Alzheimer’s Disease through the Lens of RNA Binding Proteins.

Private awards of note:

  • Michelle Long, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine, received a $495,000 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award to investigate the relationship between physical activity and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
  • Nhat Le, postdoctoral associate, received a $400,000 Warren Alpert Distinguished Scholars Fellowship Award to study the progression and potential treatment of prion disease.
  • Tsuneya Ikezu, MD, PhD, and Weiming Xia, PhD, Professors of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, each received a $345,000 Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Alzheimer’s research grant.


At BUSM’s two commencement ceremonies for our Class of 2019 on May 17, we hooded and distributed diplomas to 168 new physicians, seven MD/PhDs, three MD/MBAs, one MD/MPH, one MD/JD and 26 PhDs and 348 master’s degrees.

Dean’s Office Initiatives

Medical Education

  • The preclerkship Integrated Problems and Introduction to Clinical Medicine courses have been redesigned into the new Doctoring 1 and Doctoring 2 courses, using our new Academy Medical Educators and providing the students with a more integrated experience. The redesigned curriculum will provide students with more standardized patient opportunities, increasing their hands-on experience in the curriculum. Seventeen Academy Medical Educators will work with students in the Doctoring 1 and 2 courses and serve as advisors.
  • The Enrichment Office has expanded their Medical Student Summer Research Program to include more than 50 students, an increase of approximately 66 percent. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has provided a grant that will provide research scholarships for 12 students each summer over the next five years.
  • The Affiliated Sites Office has developed new and expanded existing sites, particularly in our Pediatrics and Psychiatry Clerkships. The office has streamlined the academic appointment process for new site preceptors, and had conducted visits to our affiliated sites over the academic year, sharing performance data and providing faculty training.

Student Affairs 

  • The Professionalism series initiated last year with the M1 class was expanded to the M2 class, to continue emphasis on early career development. Additionally, “What’s Next?” class meetings were implemented, partnering with the Medical Education Office and Registrar to increase face time and information sharing with students.
  • For the third consecutive year, 100 percent of our fourth-year students matched into competitive programs across a range of specialties. Student Affairs continued to offer Personal Statement workshops as a resource for student MATCH prep, thanks to enthusiastic and invaluable faculty participation. All fourth-year students continue to have at least one mock interview with a Student Affairs dean to help them prepare for their residency interviews.
  • The office overhauled the Field Specific Advisor (FSA) program to ensure a more cohesive and consistent experience for both students and Advisors. The new process includes a streamlined FSA request form for students, a revised handbook for FSAs, and a resource for standardized advising practices across all specialties.
  • In collaboration with Medical Education, the next iteration of student advisors – the Academy of Medical Educators, which pairs advising with clinical teaching activities – is rolling out in the academic year 2019-20.
  • Continuing focus on student wellness, the personal day policy proposal was implemented, which allows personal days for third-year students.
  • A resource card for students was developed and distributed.
  • Opportunities for student involvement in a diverse array of activities abound, with 79 active student groups overseen by Student Affairs, from advocacy, community outreach and career exploration.  Building on this robust experience of school support for student activity groups, service learning was formally integrated into the curriculum in collaboration with the MEO.

Graduate Medical Sciences

  • Deborah Stearns-Kurasawa, PhD, was named ad interim associate provost/dean of GMS, replacing Dr. Linda Hyman, who accepted a position at the Marine Biology Laboratories, Woods Hole, Mass.
  • Robin Cotton, PhD, and Sabra Botch-Jones, MS, MA, were appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Forensic Science Oversight Board for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • The GMS Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Dr. Steven Treon, a quadruple terrier – earning a BA in Biology, MA in biochemistry, PhD in microbiology and MD with honors.
  • The inaugural Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle Community Service Award was presented to two students awardees: Alicia Wooten and Katharine Babcock, PhD Candidates in Molecular & Translational Medicine and Anatomy & Neurobiology, respectively.


  • FY19 Total support (cash & pledges) for Research: $53,170,341 (cash=$26,6963,409).
  • FY19 Total support (cash & pledges) for Scholarships: $7,003,178 (cash=$1,701,833), with five new endowed scholarships established.
  • Ten events during the year included six regional events, the Keefer and Scholarship Dinners, the White Coat Ceremony reception with more than 525 guests, and a Match Day reception with more than 300 guests.

Basic Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Centers and Institutes

Click here to read the latest news from our chairs.