The BUSM Pediatric Interest Group has been selected to receive the inaugural...
By Lisa Brown
Two medical students from Boston University have been selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to conduct full-time biomedical research in its Medical Research Fellows Program. Joseph Park and Jacqueline Estevez are two of the selected 68 top medical and veterinary students from 37 different schools in the United States to receive this honor. The $2.8 million annual initiative is designed to develop the next generation of physician-scientists by giving the students a full year of mentored research training with some of the nation’s top biomedical scientists.
This program allows medical, dental and veterinary students to pursue biomedical research at academic or nonprofit research institutions anywhere in the United States except the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland or other federal agencies. The fellows put their medical school coursework on hold, and spend a year immersed in basic, translational or applied biomedical research. Each student applied with a mentor of his/her choice and submitted a research proposal.
Park will working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital under Dr. Matthew Waldor, an HHMI investigator who studies the microbiology of the enteric Vibrio bacteria species. His research will focus on Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is the leading cause of seafood-borne gastroenteritis worldwide. He will be using a novel genome editing method called CRISPR to identify the human genetic determinants of infection by V. parahaemolyticus.
Estevez will be conducting translational research in the lab of Dr. Mindie Nguyen at Stanford University School of Medicine. She will be comparing long-term treatment outcomes and cytokine profiles (biochemical signaling molecules that circulate in blood) in patients with chronic hepatitis B and C infection who have developed liver cancer. The ultimate goal is to use a patient’s individual cytokine profile to predict how well they will respond to different treatments.
“We are extremely pleased that two of our medical students have been chosen for this opportunity,” said Karen Antman, MD, dean of Boston University School of Medicine and provost of Boston University Medical Campus. “They will receive mentored research training from some of the nation’s top biomedical scientists.
The Medical Research Fellows Program has funded more than 1,600 students since it was established by HHMI 26 years ago.
In the largest study to date that examines Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a risk factor for cancer, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), have shown no evidence of an association.
The study, which appears in the European Journal of Epidemiology, is consistent with other population-based studies that report stressful life events generally are not associated with cancer incidence. In addition to corroborating results of other studies, this large population sample allowed for important stratified analyses that showed no strong evidence of associations even among select groups of the population.
The association between stress and cancer has been discussed in scientific literature for more than 70 years. Despite plausible theories that would support this association, findings from clinical research have been mixed.
Researchers compared the rate of various cancer diagnoses among people with PTSD with the standardized cancer rate from the general population in the same time period using data from the Danish national medical and social registers. They found PTSD was not associated with an increased risk for cancer.
“The general public may have a perception that stress contributes to cancer occurrence and given the ubiquity of PTSD and cancer and their costs to individuals and society, any observed associations could have meaningful public health implications,” explained corresponding author Jaimie L. Gradus, DSc, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at BUSM and an epidemiologist at the National Center for PTSD. “This study, however, provided no evidence that a severe chronic stress disorder such as PTSD is associated with cancer incidence.
According to the researchers, the large sample and long study period allowed them to examine associations that have not been studied previously as they were able to look at rare cancer outcomes and associations among important subgroups.
Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (1R21MH094551-01A1).
Honoring the outstanding service of faculty and staff members of Boston University School of Medicine is an important aspect of BUSM. Dean Karen Antman, MD announced the 2015 awards at the BUSM faculty meeting on Thursday, May 7. The faculty awards are being presented at the 2015 BUSM Commencement on Saturday, May 16, and the Office of Academic Affairs Awards are being presented at John McCahan Education Day on Wednesday, May 20. She also shared the 2015 Commencement speaker.
Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching
Lorraine Stanfield, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Committee on Faculty Affairs Educator of the Year Awards
Educator of the Year in Preclinical Sciences
Judith D. Saide, PhD
Associate Professor of Physiology & Biophysics
Educator of the Year in Clinical Sciences
Jane E. Mendez, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Educator of the Year in Graduate Medical Sciences,
Master’s Degree Programs
Maryann MacNeil, MA
Instructor of Anatomy & Neurobiology
Educator of the Year in Graduate Medical Sciences,
Doctoral Degree Programs
C. James McKnight, PhD
Associate Professor of Physiology & Biophysics
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Tracey A. Dechert, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Office of Academic Affairs Voluntary Faculty Award of Excellence
Louis D. Fiore, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Office of Academic Affairs Excellence in Service Award
Administrative and Financial Manager
BUSM Commencement Speaker
Howard Bauchner, MD
Editor-in-Chief of JAMA
Dr. Bauchner, is the Editor-in-Chief of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. Named in 2011, he is the journal’s 16th editor.
Prior to being named JAMA Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Bauchner was a professor of pediatrics and community health sciences at Boston University. He served as the vice chairman of the department of pediatrics at BMC/BUSM and assistant dean, alumni affairs and continuing medical education at BUSM. He was the editor-in-chief of the Archives of Disease in Childhood, the official publication of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the United Kingdom. He was the first U.S.-based editor of that journal. He has participated on many editorial boards, including currently for the British Medical Journal and Journal Watch. Dr. Bauchner has published more than 125 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His research interests include health promotion, clinical trials and quality improvement.
Air pollution, even at moderate levels, has long been recognized as a factor in raising the risk of stroke. A new study led by scientists from Boston University School of Medicine and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggests that long-term exposure can cause damage to brain structures and impair cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults.
Writing in the May 2015 issue of Stroke, researchers who studied more than 900 participants of the Framingham Heart Study found evidence of smaller brain structure and of covert brain infarcts, a type of “silent” ischemic stroke resulting from a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain.
The study evaluated how far participants lived from major roadways and used satellite imagery to assess prolonged exposure to ambient fine particulate matter, particles with a diameter of 2.5 millionth of a meter, referred to as PM2.5.
These particles come from a variety of sources, including power plants, factories, trucks and automobiles and the burning of wood. They can travel deeply into the lungs and have been associated in other studies with increased numbers of hospital admissions for cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
“This is one of the first studies to look at the relationship between ambient air pollution and brain structure,” says Elissa Wilker, ScD, a researcher in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Our findings suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain aging, even in dementia- and stroke-free individuals.”
Study participants were at least 60 years old and were free of dementia and stroke. The evaluation included total cerebral brain volume, a marker of age-associated brain atrophy; hippocampal volume, which reflect changes in the area of the brain that controls memory; white matter hyperintensity volume, which can be used as a measure of pathology and aging; and covert brain infarcts.
“This study shows that for a 2 microgram per cubic meter of air (μg/m3) increase in PM2.5, a range commonly observed across major US cities, on average participants who lived in more polluted areas had the brain volume of someone a year older than participants who lived in less polluted areas. They also had a 46 percent higher risk of silent strokes on MRI,” said Sudha Seshadri, MD, a Professor of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and Senior Investigator, the Framingham Study.
“This is concerning since we know that silent strokes increase the risk of overt strokes and of developing dementia, walking problems and depression. We now plan to look at more the impact of air pollution over a longer period, its effect on more sensitive MRI measures, on brain shrinkage over time, and other risks including of stroke and dementia.”
In addition to Seshadri, and Wilker, who is also affiliated with the Exposure Epidemiology and Risk Program in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), co-authors include: Sarah R. Preis, ScD, of the Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics (BUSPH) and the Framingham Heart Study (FHS); Alexa S. Beiser, PhD, of BUSPH, FHS and the Boston University School of Medicine Department of Neurology (BUSM); Philip A. Wolf, MD, of FHS and BUSM; Rhoda Au, PhD of BUSM; Ital Kloog, PhD, of the Department of Geography and Environmental Development , Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel; Wenyuan Li, MS, of the Department of Epidemiology of HSPH; Joel Schwartz, PhD, of HSPH; Petros Koutrakis, PhD of HSPH; Charles DeCarli, MD, of the Department of Neurology and Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis; and Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH, of BIDMC and HSPH.
The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (ES022243, ES000002, AG08122, AG033193, AG016495, NS17950 and N01-HC-25195) and the United States Department of Environmental Protection (RD834798).
Neil Ganem, PhD, assistant professor of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has been named a 2015 Searle Scholar. Ganem is one of 15 young scientists—and the first from Boston University—to receive the prestigious, three-year $300,000 award.
Ganem received his PhD from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College and was a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of chromosomal instability, broadly defined as the persistent acquisition of both numerical and structural chromosomal aberrations. Chromosomal instability is a hallmark of solid cancers and is known to facilitate tumor initiation, progression and relapse. Last year he received a 2014 Smith Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research.
“We are delighted that Dr. Ganem has been named a Searle Scholar, one of the most prestigious and competitive new investigator awards. He is the first Boston University faculty member to achieve this distinction,” said Karen Antman, MD, dean of Boston University School of Medicine and provost of Boston University Medical Campus. “We thank the Searle Scholars Program for this award, which will further support Dr. Ganem’s research on how cancer cells adapt to abnormal chromosomal content.”
Since the program’s inception in 1980, 542 Searle Scholars have shared $115,620,000 in funding. This year, 186 applications were considered from recently appointed assistant professors, nominated by 126 universities and research institutions. The 2015 Searle Scholars have already demonstrated innovative research and were selected due to their potential for making significant contributions to chemical and biological research over the course of their careers.
“Each of these bold and talented young scientists has opened up novel approaches to answer fundamental questions in biology and the biomedical sciences,” said Dr. Doug Fambrough, Scientific Director. “In addition, they have all thought deeply about how their work might address major human burdens such as cancer, autoimmunity, and autism. We are delighted to be able to give an early boost to their careers.”
Faculty, staff, students and residents are encouraged to attend the Inaugural BU Neurology Research Symposium on Tuesday, May 12 on the BU Medical Campus. Sponsored by the Boston University School of Medicine department of Neurology, the program will include updates on “Dementia Research from the Framingham Heart Study” and “ Research in Parkinson’s Disease.” There will be presentations by senior residents, time to view posters and opportunities to speak informally with peers during the morning symposium.
Boston University School of Medicine
Department of Neurology
Inaugural BU Neurology Research Symposium
May 12, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
BUSM Instructional Building, Hiebert Lounge
- 8-8:15 a.m. Opening Remarks
Dr. Carlos S. Kase
- 8:15-9:45 Senior Resident Presentations
- 9:45-10:15 Update: Dementia Research from the Framingham Heart Study
Dr. Sudha Seshadri
- 10:15-10:45 Poster Viewing
- 10:45-11 Dedication of Top Research Award and Presentation
Dr. Carlos S. Kase
- 11-11:30 Update: Research in Parkinson’s Disease
Dr. Marie Saint-Hilaire
- 11:30-11:45 Closing Remarks
Drs. Anna Hohler and Rafael Zuzuarregui
- 11:45a.m.-1 p.m. Poster Session and Refreshments
RSVP by email to email@example.com, if you plan on attending.
On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10, Boston University School of Medicine faculty members Eric Hardt, MD, and Thea James, MD, will be participating in the 19th annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace. They welcome students, academic colleagues, BMC staff and friends to join them.
Thousands of people will walk 3.6 miles through Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood in support of creating a more peaceful and violence-free community. Funds raised through this event support the efforts of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and other community organizations working to stop the violence.
James, associate professor of Emergency Medicine and assistant dean in the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, also serves as director of Boston Medical Center’s Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP), which provides support services for victims of trauma that are treated at BMC.
“The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace represents a collaborative effort to raise awareness about a topic that affects all citizens of Massachusetts. The loss of young lives is missed opportunities to make positive contributions to communities, society and to the Commonwealth,” said James.
Founded in 1996 by parents still grieving the loss of their son to violence, the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute has been a healing center, training resource and an educational program for the city of Boston and surrounding communities. The Institute is a resource for families, crisis management protocol for professionals and curriculum development for children.
Learn more about the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.
The BUSM+ Medical Education Digital Badge Program that is targeted to healthcare professionals provides the opportunity to learn the fundamentals about teaching and learning that they may have missed in their professional careers or now want to review to enhance their teaching. The online, open admissions, asynchronous program is conveniently offered 24/7 during your selected time. Take a session or sign up for a competency badge with CME credit and join the global BUSM+ learning community. The 10 sessions include video chats with teaching tips from the Boston University School of Medicine faculty and zipinars on the latest technologies and pedagogies. Registration is open now until May 30, 2015 and the first session starts June 14, 2015. Free for all BU/BUMC/BUSM faculty, staff and students who teach at BUSM.
Do you have your badge? A digital badge is an electronic symbol embedded with your accomplishments in completing a project, mastering a skill, or documenting an experience in Blackboard that is distributed through Mozilla Open Badge to your CV, social networking sites, ePortfolio, or signature line.
For more information and to register, please go to http://www.bu.edu/busmplus . The Teaching and Learning course begins June 14, 2015 and registration is open until May 30, 2015.
James Feldman, MD, a Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) professor and physician at Boston Medical Center (BMC), has been honored by the Massachusetts Medical Society with its Committee Chair Service Award, an honor recognizing exceptional leadership and service to the Society, the statewide professional association of physicians. He will receive the award at the Society’s annual meeting in Boston on April 30.
Feldman is being honored for his six years of chairing the Society’s Committee on Quality of Medical Practice, which provides consultation to the Society’s Board of Trustees and its House of Delegates on the improvement of the quality of health care provided by physicians. It is the second award he has received from the Society in two years; in 2014, he was presented with the Grant V. Rodkey Award, an honor recognizing a Massachusetts physician for outstanding contributions to medical education and medical students.
Feldman and has held many clinical, academic, and administrative posts at BUSM and BMC for more than 30 years. He was named a full professor at the school in 2009, and, in addition to his clinical and teaching responsibilities, was appointed to the administrative post of Vice Chair of Emergency Medicine Research in 2002. He has been an attending physician at BMC since 1983.
Feldman was twice named Outstanding Faculty and twice cited with the Chair Award in Emergency Medicine at BUSM. He has received four top honors from the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians: Distinguished Service Award, Vanguard Award, President’s Award, and Pinnacle Award. He was named a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Medicine in 1990.
Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs Jean E. Ramsey, MD, has been honored by the Massachusetts Medical Society with its Committee Chair Service Award, an honor recognizing exceptional leadership and service to the Society, the statewide professional association of physicians. She will receive the award at the Society’s Annual Meeting in Boston on April 30.
Ramsey is being honored for her years of service on the MMS Committee on Interspecialty, which facilitates communication, cooperation, and coordination between and among the medical specialty societies of Massachusetts, their members and the Massachusetts Medical Society. Dr. Ramsey joined the committee in May 2004 and has served as its chair for the last 10 years.
Ramsey is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics, Vice Chair of Education and Residency Program Director for the BMC Department of Ophthalmology, and a BMC physician. Board-certified in ophthalmology, she specializes in pediatric ophthalmology and the vision disorder of strabismus.
A 1990 magna cum laude graduate of BUSM, Ramsey completed her ophthalmology residency, chief residency and pediatric fellowship at Tufts New England Medical Center Hospital. In 2008, she received her Master’s in Public Health with honors from Boston University School of Public Health.
Dr. Ramsey has served as Vice President of the BUSM medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha and is a past president of the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.
Her previous honors include the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Achievement Award and the Alan Crocker, MD Health Services Award from the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities, presented for her advocacy on behalf of patients with disabilities.