After 45 years at BUSM and 15 years as Chair of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics, David Atkinson, PhD, has announced his plans to step down from his role as chair of the department, effective July 1, 2021. He will continue to concentrate on his research program and teaching as a member of the faculty.
Dr. Atkinson received his bachelor of science in Physics with Honors, with specialization in x-ray crystallography, from The City University of London and his PhD in Biophysics from the Council for National Academic Awards in the UK. He was recruited to BUSM in 1975, joining what, at that time, was the Biophysics Institute. He helped guide the transformation of the Institute to departmental status and establish a graduate PhD program in Biophysics in 1988, and finally the merger with the Physiology Department to form the Department of Physiology & Biophysics in 2000. He has served as Chair since 2005.
Dr. Atkinson is internationally recognized for his research to understand, at a molecular and structural level, the formation and function of the plasma lipoproteins that play a central role in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease, particularly Low-Density Lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”) and High-Density Lipoprotein (“good cholesterol”). His research was continuously funded for more than 30 years through an NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Program Project “Structural and Cell Biology of Cardiovascular Disease,” in which he directed a component Project and a Structural Biology Core. He led the Program Project for more than ten years. Subsequently, he has continued his research through an independent research grant. Dr Atkinson was a Visiting Scholar, Division of Structural Studies, Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England in 1987-1988.
Dr. Atkinson has served on a variety of scientific, administrative and advisory committees at international, national, industry, university and medical school levels. These include a four-year term as a Member of the parent Program Project Review Committee, NHLBI.
Dr. Atkinson teaches in many varied disciplines in PhD, MS, MD and DMD programs, including macromolecular structure and function, molecular biophysics, lipid, lipoprotein and membrane biochemistry, and hepatic and pancreatic physiology and endocrinology. He was the recipient of the “Excellence in Teaching in the Basic Sciences” award, Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, in 2008. He has mentored more than 25 PhD students and Post-Doctoral fellows. Finally, he has mentored numerous students in the University and School’s outreach and diversity programs such as Undergraduate Research, RISE, STaRS and EMSSP.