School Update

Dear Faculty and Staff,

With the arrival of our GMS students on Friday, Sept. 1, we now have our full complement of students for the 2017-18 academic year. I would like to thank you for your contributions during the 2016-17 academic year and recognize some of our faculty’s accomplishments.

For a list of faculty members who received local, regional and national honors this year, click here.

Research Accomplishments
BUSM faculty continue to publish cutting-edge research in prestigious medical and scientific journals with significant press coverage. The studies that received the most attention from mainstream and science media in academic year 2016-17 and for the academic year 2017-18, to date, were:

  • Sudha Seshadri and Matthew Pase’s studies in the journals Stroke and Neurology on the possible link dementia with soda and sleeping more than nine hours each night, respectively.
  • Bindu Kalesan’s study in the journal Injury Prevention found that school shootings were less likely to occur in states with background checks on gun purchases.
  • BUSM ‘18 Daniel Aaron’s study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed the nation’s two largest soda companies sponsored at least 96 national health organizations from 2011 to 2015.
  • Avrum Spira and Marc Lenburg’s study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that a genomic biomarker in the nasal passage can accurately determine the likelihood of a lung lesion being malignant.
  • Ann McKee’s report in Journal of the American Medical Association this summer of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in NFL players.

A number of faculty have been awarded particularly large NIH grants:

  • Sudha Seshadri’s (Neurology) NIA $12.2 million continuation award for Temporal Trends, Novel Imaging and Molecular Characterization of Preclinical and Clinical Alzheimer’s Disease in Framingham Cohorts.
  • Joseph Mizgerd’s (Pulmonary Medicine) new $5.9 million NHLBI award for Pneumonia Biology.
  • Darrell Kotton’s (Regenerative Medicine) $4.2 million NCATS continuation award for A National IPS Cell Network with Deep Phenotyping for Translational Research.
  • Marc Lenburg and Avi Spira’s new $3.1 million NCI award for Molecular and Imaging Biomarkers for Early Lung Cancer Detection.
  • Rhoda Au, Hoon Ryu, and Thor Stein’s new ~$3 million NIA new award for Epigenetic Changes in Synaptic and Inflammatory Genes Involved in the Age-Dependent Development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

We have received a number of foundation awards of note from the:

  • William Wood Foundation – $1,066,934 to Tom Perls, MD, and Paola Sebastiani, PhD, to determine the biomarkers and genetic basis of healthy aging.
  • Walmart Foundation – $469,392 to Tara Galovski, PhD, and Amy Street, PhD, to develop and launch a national network for women veterans.
  • Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation – $392,307 to Suzanne Sarfaty, MD, and Sondra Crosby, MD, to create and lead a longitudinal educational program to advance refugee health.
  • LUNGevity Foundation – $300,000 to Joshua Campbell, PhD, to investigate genomic alterations in premalignant lung lesions.
  • K. Kellogg Foundation – $260,603 to Brian Jack, MD, to roll out an online system to promote health in young black men.


Provost Workshops: Workshops on campus in FY17 addressed the health consequences of marijuana use, a series of senior leaders from University of Chicago, Duke, Vanderbilt and Columbia who discussed the organizational structures for biomedical research at academic medical centers, and model interventions for urban homelessness. In addition, we hosted the Fifth Annual Joining Forces Symposium with the VA Boston Healthcare System, and Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who discussed ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic and was also our 2017 Graduation speaker the same day.

Commencement: Following tradition, BUSM celebrated two commencement ceremonies for our Class of 2017.

At the GMS ceremonies on May 19, 354 master’s degree students received their diplomas.

We conferred 150 medical degrees, six MD/PhDs, three MD/MPHs, and 46 PhDs on May 18, where we also honored six faculty members with Educator of the Year Awards: Laurie Craigen, PhD; Janna Doherty, MD; Christopher Gabel, PhD; Jessica Levi, MD; Elizabeth Whitney, PhD; and Aaron Young, PhD. Edward Feinberg, MD, MPH, received the Leonard Tow Humanism Award and R. Jarrett Rushmore III, PhD, received the Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dean’s Office Initiatives

Academic Affairs

  • Priya Garg and Rob Lowe launched the planning phase of our MD curriculum redesign set to begin in 2020 focused on medical school curriculum outcomes.
  • Successful role out of a vertically integrated curriculum for safe opioid prescribing initially organized by Governor Baker and coordinated among all Massachusetts medical schools.
  • Priya Garg, representing BUSM, is working with Dr. Atul Gawande to develop curriculum objectives and assessments for an end of life/palliative care curriculum for medical students, in coordination with all Massachusetts medical schools and Ariadne Labs.

Student Affairs

  • Our students did extremely well in the MATCH into very competitive programs in a broad range of specialties. One hundred percent of our students matched this year.
  • Students continue to be very active on campus and in the surrounding community, with 39 vibrant student organizations, 27 career interest groups, and 27 service learning groups.
  • The Office of Student Affairs restructured their activities around the concept of PATH which encompasses the major domains of medical student development that fall under the OSA’s watch:
    • Professional Identity Formation;
    • Advancing to residency through advising and mentoring;
    • Technique acquisition for lifelong learning, resilience and well-being; and
    • Humanism.
  • The OSA developed the Network of Advisors, building on the success of the new advisor model implemented two years ago. The Network includes tighter linkages to the Peer Advisor Program that pairs second and fourth year students with incoming first years as well as closer communication between the OSA and the Field-Specific Advisor Program as students move through clinical years towards residency applications and GME.

Graduate Medical Sciences


  • BUSM received more than $36 million cash in FY17.
  • We have raised $231M to date in the campaign and are $9M away from the School’s $240M goal.
  • We raised $2M in scholarship support in FY17, which brings the total for new scholarship support to $21M in this campaign (on a base of $35M at the start of the campaign).

Basic Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Centers and Institutes
Click here
to read the latest news from our chairs.