Archive: 2016

Professor George O’Connor is leading the BU component of the New England Precision Medicine Consortium, as part of the “All of Us Research Program” that the NIH created in response to the call from President Barack Obama for a national Precision Medicine Initiative. This is a longitudinal research program of ambitious scope, aiming altogether to enroll over 1 million U.S. participants who will contribute data including questionnaires, electronic medical records, biological samples, physical examinations, and information gathered via personally carried devices such as cell phones. Big science for big advances!

The Pulmonary Center is offering a new course for PhD students, MM725 Biology of the Lung and Pulmonary Disease. It is led by Associate Professor Lee Quinton and Professor Jay Mizgerd, and many of the Center’s faculty participate to teach the fundamentals, ongoing progress, and emerging questions most critical to today’s pulmonary medicine. Offered Fall semester of 2016.

Assistant Professor Katrina Traber received a K08 award titled The Role of Oncostatin M in Pneumonia from the NIH, designed to transition her physician-scientist career to the role of principal investigator and to elucidate immune signaling pathways important to defending the lung against infection.

Assistant Professor Laertis Ikonomou and colleagues published an important perspective on “stem cell tourism” in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Laertis is working to help protect patients from irresponsible charlatans who are peddling predatory and potentially harmful sham medicine, often by exploiting the most desperate.

Our T32 training grant “Biology of the Lung: A Multidisciplinary Approach” was successfully renewed, ensuring 45 years of continuous support from the NHLBI for the BU Pulmonary Center to train scientists in lung biology and pulmonary medicine. Great work by the PIs, Professors David Center and Jay Mizgerd, and all of the mentors and trainees who continue to make this a thriving success.

Congratulations to Greg Wasserman who successfully defended his PhD thesis! While mentored by Assistant Professor Matt Jones, he discovered that the protein Miwi2 unexpectedly functions within a subset of airway multiciliated cells to regulate immune responses to pulmonary challenge.

Congratulations to Nicole Stauffer Smith who successfully defended her PhD thesis! She was mentored by Professor Jay Mizgerd in studying how repeated respiratory infections remodel pulmonary immunity, particularly resident memory cells in the lung.

Professor Avi Spira has been named Director of the Cancer Center for BU and BMC. This Center combines clinical care and research activities to discover personalized approaches to cancer detection and treatment.

Assistant Professor Felicia Chen received a new R01 grant from the NIH to test the hypothesis that ongoing retinoic acid signaling in the adult respiratory tract is required to maintain normal airway health by limiting airway smooth muscle cell mass and preventing airway hyperresponsiveness.