Avrum E. Spira, MD

Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship, Medicine

Avrum Spira
617.414.6980
75 E. Newton St Evans Building

Biography

Dr. Spira is a Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics, and the Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship at Boston University. He is founding Chief of the Division of Computational Biomedicine in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Boston University – Boston Medical Center Cancer Center. He is also an attending physician in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical Center.

Dr. Spira obtained his MD from McGill University in Montreal, and completed his Internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto and his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at BMC. During his fellowship, Dr. Spira obtained a master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Boston University.

Since his 2003 appointment to the BU faculty, Dr. Spira has built a translational research program that focuses on genomic alterations associated with smoking-related lung disease, leading to a molecular test for the early detection of lung cancer that has successfully translated into the clinic (PerceptaTM) as well as a novel therapeutic for COPD that is in preclinical development. His research program is based on the paradigm that smoking and other inhaled carcinogens create a ‘field of molecular injury’ in epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. By sampling these relatively accessible airway cells, Dr. Spira’s lab has developed novel diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers for lung cancer and COPD as well as a non-invasive approach for measuring the physiological response to a number of inhaled environmental exposures. He has co-founded both a molecular diagnostics company and a pharmaceutical company in order to translate these tools from “bench to bedside”.

He serves as Principal Investigator on grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI); National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD), and has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Spira was a permanent member of the NIH’s Cancer Biomarker Study Section (CBSS) and currently serves as Senior Editor at Cancer Prevention Research as well as Associate Editor at the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. He was elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2010 and a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP) in 2017.

Other Positions

  • Professor, Computational Biomedicine, Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Section Chief of Medicine in Computational Biomedicine, Computational Biomedicine, Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Director, Cancer Research Center, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Mentor for Graduate Medical Students, Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences
  • Active Staff Privileges, Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep & Critical Care Medicine, Medicine, Boston Medical Center
  • Member, Bioinformatics Graduate Program, Boston University

Education

  • McGill University, MD
  • Boston University, MSc
  • Vanier College, DEC

Publications

  • Published on 6/22/2018

    Billatos E, Faiz A, Gesthalter YO, LeClerc A, Alekseyev Y, Zhang X, Liu G, Ten Hacken NHT, Heijink I, Timens W, Brandsma CA, Postma DS, van den Berge M, Spira A, Lenburg ME. The Impact of Acute Exposure to Cigarette Smoke on Airway Gene Expression. Physiol Genomics. 2018 Jun 22. PMID: 29932825.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/6/2018

    Reyfman PA, Washko GR, Dransfield MT, Spira A, Han MK, Kalhan R. Defining Impaired Respiratory Health: A Paradigm Shift for Pulmonary Medicine. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 Apr 06. PMID: 29624449.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/27/2018

    Spira A, Coleman D. Impact of an Interdisciplinary Computational Research Section in a Department of Medicine: An 8-Year Perspective. Am J Med. 2018 Jul; 131(7):846-851. PMID: 29601802.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/6/2018

    Pine PS, Lund SP, Parsons JR, Vang LK, Mahabal AA, Cinquini L, Kelly SC, Kincaid H, Crichton DJ, Spira A, Liu G, Gower AC, Pass HI, Goparaju C, Dubinett SM, Krysan K, Stass SA, Kukuruga D, Van Keuren-Jensen K, Courtright-Lim A, Thompson KL, Rosenzweig BA, Sorbara L, Srivastava S, Salit ML. Summarizing performance for genome scale measurement of miRNA: reference samples and metrics. BMC Genomics. 2018 03 06; 19(1):180. PMID: 29510677.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/20/2018

    Billatos E, Vick JL, Lenburg ME, Spira AE. The Airway Transcriptome as a Biomarker for Early Lung Cancer Detection. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Jul 01; 24(13):2984-2992. PMID: 29463557.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/1/2018

    Dubinett SM, Spira AE. Impact of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease on Immune-based Treatment for Lung Cancer. Moving toward Disease Interception. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 Feb 01; 197(3):278-280. PMID: 29072842.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/30/2018

    Kantrowitz J, Sinjab A, Xu L, McDowell TL, Sivakumar S, Lang W, Nunomura-Nakamura S, Fukuoka J, Nemer G, Darwiche N, Chami H, Tfayli A, Wistuba II, Scheet P, Fujimoto J, Spira AE, Kadara H. Genome-Wide Gene Expression Changes in the Normal-Appearing Airway during the Evolution of Smoking-Associated Lung Adenocarcinoma. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 Apr; 11(4):237-248. PMID: 29382653.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/21/2017

    Boudewijn IM, Faiz A, Steiling K, van der Wiel E, Telenga ED, Hoonhorst SJM, Ten Hacken NHT, Brandsma CA, Kerstjens HAM, Timens W, Heijink IH, Jonker MR, de Bruin HG, Sebastiaan Vroegop J, Pasma HR, Boersma WG, Wielders P, van den Elshout F, Mansour K, Spira A, Lenburg ME, Guryev V, Postma DS, van den Berge M. Nasal gene expression differentiates COPD from controls and overlaps bronchial gene expression. Respir Res. 2017 Dec 21; 18(1):213. PMID: 29268739.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/1/2017

    Obeidat M, Nie Y, Fishbane N, Li X, Bossé Y, Joubert P, Nickle DC, Hao K, Postma DS, Timens W, Sze MA, Shannon CP, Hollander Z, Ng RT, McManus B, Miller BE, Rennard S, Spira A, Hackett TL, Lam W, Lam S, Faner R, Agusti A, Hogg JC, Sin DD, Paré PD. Integrative Genomics of Emphysema-Associated Genes Reveals Potential Disease Biomarkers. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2017 Oct; 57(4):411-418. PMID: 28459279.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/29/2017

    Tessema M, Yingling CM, Picchi MA, Wu G, Ryba T, Lin Y, Bungum AO, Edell ES, Spira A, Belinsky SA. ANK1 Methylation regulates expression of MicroRNA-486-5p and discriminates lung tumors by histology and smoking status. Cancer Lett. 2017 Dec 01; 410:191-200. PMID: 28965852.

    Read at: PubMed

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