School Update

Dear Colleagues,

As we begin another academic year, I’d like to thank you for your contributions to our progress in the 2017-18 academic year.

Faculty Honors

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

Research Accomplishments

BUSM faculty continue to publish cutting-edge research in prestigious medical and scientific journals and receive significant press coverage.

Several published studies received attention from mainstream and science media this past year:

  • Three studies from Ann McKee received more than 3,500 media stories, including her case series featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found nearly every former National Football League (NFL) player who played at least one regular season game and whose brain then was donated for research was diagnosed post-mortem with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Congratulations to Dr. McKee for being named as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018.
  • Lee Goldstein’s study in the journal Brain identified evidence of early CTE brain pathology after head impact—even in the absence of signs of concussion, providing the best evidence to date that head impact, not concussion, causes CTE.
  • Robert Stern’s study in Nature’s Translational Psychiatry found an association between participation in youth tackle football before age 12 and impaired mood and behavior later in life.
  • Neelam Vashi’s letter published in JAMA Dermatology analyzes People magazine’s World’s Most Beautiful list to compare standards of beauty in 1990 with the present day. Dr. Vashi extracted information from the lists for age, sex, race, skin type, hair color, eye color and any visible dermatologic conditions and found what people consider beautiful has changed since the ‘90s.
  • Bindu Kalesan’s study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that the average profile of an American using a gun for suicide is a married, white male over the age of 50 who is experiencing deteriorating health.
  • Jessica Fetterman’s study in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology provides further evidence that e-cigarettes are not necessarily a benign way to help quit smoking. Five flavorings tested in the lab damaged the heart-protective functions of endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels and the heart.
  • Shruthi Mahalingaiah’s study in the journal Human Reproduction found air pollution is tied to irregular menstrual cycles in teens. This study is the first to show that exposure to air pollution among teen girls (ages 14-18) is associated with slightly increased chances of menstrual irregularity and longer time to achieve regularity in the teen years.
  • Matthew Pase’s study in the journal Neurology, found lack of REM sleep may lead to higher risk for dementia. Each percentage reduction in REM sleep was associated with a nine percent increase in the risk of all-cause dementia and an eight percent increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

Large Federal awards of note:

  • An NIH-NCATS Cooperative Agreement continuation award of $10.4 million over two years to PI David Center, MD, Pulmonary Medicine, for the BU Clinical and Transitional Science Institute.
  • An NIH-NIA R01 grant of $4.1 over five years to PI Ann McKee, MD, Neurology, for Tau Pathology in CTE vs. Alzheimer’s Disease: Microvasculopathy and Neuroinflammation
  • An NIH-NIA grant of $2.8 million over five years to PI Alpaslan Dedeoglu, MD, PhD, Neurology, for Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Induced Modulation of Inflammation in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • An NIH-NINDS Cooperative Agreement continuation award over seven years of $2.7 million to PI Robert Stern, PhD, Neurology for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Detection, Diagnosis, Course and Risk Factors
  • An NIH-NIA Cooperative Agreement continuation award of $2.7 million over five years to PI David Felson, MD, MPH, Epidemiology, for Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST).

Foundation awards of note:

  • Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine — $1,000,000 to Mark Grinstaff, PhD, to develop a novel delivery method of Ketamine for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Susan G. Komen — $600,000 to Julie Palmer, ScD, to serve as a Komen Scholar.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — $447,000 to  Joanne Murabito, MD, and Emelia Benjamin, MD, to explore new approaches to health promotion using mobile devices such as smartphones.
  • American Cancer Society — $270,000 to the BU-BMC Cancer Center, to advance early-stage cancer research projects by early-career investigators; $792,000 Research Scholar Grant to Hui Feng, MD, PhD,  to study lymphoblastic leukemia.
  • Walmart Foundation — $250,000 to Tara Galovski, PhD, and Amy Street, PhD, for expansion of the Women Veterans Network (bringing the foundation’s total support to over $700,000).


Provost Workshops

Workshops were held on campus in FY18 that discussed topics including:

  • diversity in the biomedical workforce,
  • implications of the new blood pressure guidelines, and
  • the future of health systems.

In addition Dr. David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund, served as a visiting professor and lectured on “Managing the Sickest of the Sick in an Accountable Environment,” and Michael Salcman (BUSM’69) gave a Distinguished Alumni Talk on “The Brain as a Metaphor-Making Machine.”


BUSM celebrated two commencement ceremonies for our Class of 2018 on May 17. We conferred 137 medical degrees, five MD/PhDs, two MD/MBAs and 27 PhDs at the MD and MD/PhD ceremony and 365 master’s degrees at the GMS ceremony.

Dean’s Office Initiatives

Academic Affairs

  • The third-year clerkship developed and implemented a new standardized assessment form with behaviorally based anchors to create a more objective assessment across the third year.
  • BUSM, in collaboration with the three other Massachusetts medical schools and Dr. Atul Gawande, developed medical student competencies to address end of life care.
  • Congratulations to co-PIs Suzy Sarfaty, MD, and Sondra Crosby, MD, for receiving a three-year, $392,000 grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to help train future physicians to better serve refugee and immigrant populations.
  • The Office of Affiliate Sites has significantly expanded, developed and supported clinical clerkship opportunities for third-year students. Our students now have access to the largest number of high quality sites in the School’s recent history.

Student Affairs

  • For the second year in a row, 100 percent of our students matched into very competitive programs in a broad range of specialties. An online resource was implemented this year to help students track interviews and facilitate communication with their OSA deans and Field Specific Advisors. Personal Statement workshops continue as a valuable resource for student MATCH prep, thanks to enthusiastic and much appreciated faculty participation. All fourth-year students continue to have at least one mock interview in the OSA to help them prepare for their residency interviews.
  • The Miselis Medical Student Lounge opened, providing students with new relaxation and quiet study space on the fourth floor of the A Building.
  • Increasing the emphasis on career development from early on, new sessions in Professional Identity Formation were implemented this year:  Dealing with Mistakes and Utilizing Feedback and How to Get the Most Out of the Advisor Network.  Additionally, ePortfolios were rolled out to the Class of 2022, a new resource to help students keep track of their professional development activities, encouraging reflection and planning, with helpful tips and suggestions.

Graduate Medical Sciences

  • Graduate Medical Sciences held their inaugural PhD Distinguished Alumni Awards to honor graduates who have made outstanding contributions to the fields of medicine and science. This year’s awardees are Erika Ebbel Angle, PhD (BUSM’12) and Steve Perrin, PhD (BUSM’95)
  • GMS received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its pilot project BEST BET: Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training – Beginning Enhancement Track
  • GMS launched a new initiative for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion to support academic, and research programs that aim to educate, recruit and retain an inclusive community. Pipeline initiatives, such as the Summer Training as Research Scholars Program (STaRS), recently renewed for a second five-year period and BU PREP are designed to promote access to graduate education for traditionally underrepresented students in the biomedical sciences and medicine.


  • FY18 Cash in for Research: $23,797,346
  • FY18 Cash in for Professorships: $4,052,060
  • Newly announced/established or installed BUSM professorships during FY18:
    • Louis W. Sullivan, MD, Professorship
    • Robert Witzburg, MD, Scholarship Fund
    • Hye Jin Chung, MD, MMS, was installed as the Lynne J. Goldberg, MD, Junior Faculty Professor in Dermatopathology
    • Catherine (Kate) Distler Michelson, MD, MMSc, was installed as Karp Family Professor in Pediatrics
    • Hemant Roy, MD, was installed as the Franz J. Ingelfinger, MD, Professor in Gastroenterology
    • Debjani Sahni, MD, was installed as the Dr. G. Robert Baler Junior Faculty Professor of Dermatology
    • Naomi M. Hamburg, MD, MS, FACC, was installed as the Joseph A. Vita, MD, Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine

Basic Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Centers and Institutes

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