Archive: 2014

Not only is he a great physician and scientist, Professor Hap Farber is also an avid ski adventurer, as highlighted in the Boston Globe.

Congratulations to Professor David Center for being elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in honor of his contributions to innovation, education, and scientific leadership in the field of Medical Sciences.

Assistant Professor Lee Quinton and Professor Jay Mizgerd have a contribution in the 2015 Annual Review of Physiology that provides perspectives on the dynamics of lung defense during pneumonia. The paper highlights how protection against respiratory infection depends on combined forces of immunity against the microbe and resilience of the tissue against damage, with changes in these parameters throughout a lifetime dictating susceptibility and resistance.

Professor Darrell Kotton is lead author of a Nature Medicine perspective on regenerative medicine and lung disease. The paper outlines emerging concepts in how the lung normally repairs itself to maintain function, and highlights areas where such research has special potential to impact the care of pulmonary disease patients.

Associate Professor Dan Gottlieb and colleagues report in the New England Journal of Medicine results of their clinical trial comparing the effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and nocturnal oxygen supplementation on blood pressure outcomes in obstructive sleep apnea patients. Treatment with CPAP significantly reduced mean arterial blood pressure, while nocturnal oxygen supplementation did not.

Assistant Professor Renda Soylemez Wiener and colleagues report in JAMA Internal Medicine how pulmonary nodules are currently being evaluated and whether that matches with existing guidelines. They observed poor concordance, including inadequate care as well as inappropriate/excessive care, suggesting that new quality improvement systems should precede lung cancer screening becoming more widely implemented.

Congratulations to PhD student Fadie Coleman for receiving the 2014 Raymond W. Sarber Award from the American Society for Microbiology. Under the mentorship of Professor Jay Mizgerd, Ms. Coleman is studying macrophage-pneumococcus interactions differentiating whether exposures lead to pneumonia or instead to effective host defense. The Sarber Award is national recognition for excellence in student research.

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Andrew Wilson for receiving a 2014 Shillelagh Award from the Alpha-1 Foundation. The award is named after a Celtic weapon to symbolize the battle waged by doctors and researchers against the lung and liver disease caused by genetic deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin.

Congratulations to Professor Jeff Berman for receiving the 2014 Henry D. Chadwick Medal. The Henry D. Chadwick Medal is the highest honor awarded by the Massachusetts Pulmonary Section of the American Lung Association, recognition for meritorious contributions in the study and treatment of thoracic diseases and being outstanding in the field of pulmonary medicine.

Assistant Professor Felicia Chen and colleagues report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that fetal insufficiency of the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid can lead to lifelong structural changes in the lung involving increased airway smooth muscle and excessive bronchoconstriction. This new link between prenatal vitamins and subsequent lung structure and function may be relevant to diverse pulmonary diseases, particularly asthma which includes such airway hyper-responsiveness as a defining feature.

Assistant Professors Allan Walkey and Renda Soylemez Wiener report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine that academic hospitals seeing greater numbers of severe sepsis patients achieve lower mortality rates for this disease, suggesting that hospitals with more experience caring for such patients have improved outcomes.

Associate Professor John Berk and colleagues report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) the discovery of a new treatment for amyloidosis patients. Their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-institutional trial demonstrated that the generic drug diflunisal can slow amyloidosis disease progression. These findings are exciting for providing treatment hopes and alternatives for amyloidosis patients and their physicians, and for supporting the NIH mission of re-purposing old drugs for new uses.