DoM Faculty Promotions – May 2022

Congratulations to the following faculty on their recent appointment or promotion.

Professor

Elizabeth Klings, MD, BUSM, Medicine/Pulmonary/Critical Care, is an adult pulmonary/critical care physician and clinician investigator who has a unique career niche in pulmonary hypertension (PH) of sickle cell disease (SCD). She has built a portfolio of publications, committee work and invited lectures, which has led this field for more than a decade. Dr. Klings directs the largest sickle cell center in New England. She has fundamentally shifted the care of patients through creation of unique clinical programs focused on providing multi-disciplinary comprehensive care. Dr. Klings has expanded the education program for trainees and formalized expansion of the clinical trials program. Her work contributed to the early recognition of patients with SCD being at increased risk for severe COVID-19 by the CDC. While her role internationally in sickle cell lung disease is clear, it is important to note her contributions to the field of pulmonary hypertension (PH). In 2018, Dr. Klings became Director of the PH Center at BU/BMC. Clinically, she created a program that incorporates junior faculty and specialized PH training for pulmonary/critical care fellows. The PH research program now consists of four faculty members within pulmonary along with collaborators in cardiology and rheumatology.

 

Associate Professor 

Vijaya Kolachalama, PhD, BUSM, Medicine/Computational Biomedicine, is a founding member of BU’s Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences and affiliated with the department of computer science. Research interests of his group currently lie at the interface of machine vision, representation learning and domain generalization. His laboratory has spent a significant amount of time to develop automated frameworks to tackle big datasets from multiple cohorts containing tens of thousands of patient samples. He brings multidisciplinary talent from both Charles River and Medical campuses, thereby enabling machine learning-driven innovation along with pursuing clinically relevant questions that have translational significance. His laboratory is funded by multiple awards from the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, private foundations and the pharmaceutical industry. His course, Machine Learning for Biomedical Applications, attracts a diverse set of individuals with little to no background in computer science.

Giovanni Ligresti, PhD, BUSM, Medicine/Rheumatology, leads a successful NIH-funded research program on pulmonary fibrosis. He studies epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms regulating vessel remodeling and myofibroblast differentiation during lung scarring. Dr. Ligresti’s work has led to the discovery that epigenetic repression of metabolic genes is critical to promote lung fibroblast activation in response to biochemical and biomechanical stimuli, laying the groundwork for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to block epigenetic gene repression to reverse lung fibrosis. In addition, his research team is also interested in studying the contribution of aging to lung vascular dysfunction, disrepair, and persistent lung fibrosis.

Xiaoling Zhang, MD, PhD, BUSM, Medicine/Biomedical Genetics and Biostatistics, is a bioinformatician with more than 10 years of research experience combining clinical, genetics, and functional genomics to identify genes, biomarkers and molecular mechanisms for human complex diseases including smoking-related lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Dr. Zhang plays a leadership role in core analysis groups for the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequence Project (ADSP) and the AD Genetics Consortium. In addition, she leads the RNA-Seq harmonization effort within the Functional Data Harmonization Core of the NIA-funded Genome Center for Alzheimer’s Disease, and mitochondrial DNA and functional genomics projects for the ADSP. Dr. Zhang is an executive committee member of the newly formed ADSP-Functional Genomics Consortium, in which she received as contact-PI a $3.6M U01 to identify circular-RNAs and their interactions with RNA-binding proteins to modulate AD-related neuropathology. More recently she has been co-leading a $2.4M U19 (Project 2) to establish the Framingham Heart Study Brain Aging Program.

 

Clinical Associate Professor

Craig Noronha, MD (MED'03, CAS'99), BUSM, Medicine/GIM, is a clinician-educator and advocate for effective use of information technology (IT). He splits his clinical time between outpatient primary care and inpatient medicine, the latter at both Boston Medical Center (BMC) and the West Roxbury VA Hospital. He has been an integral part of BMC IT planning, implementation and optimization over the last 15 years. Dr. Noronha has served as an associate program director (APD) for the Internal Medicine Residency Program since 2011. In his role as an APD, he directs residency quality Improvement and career development programs and curricula. He has led dozens of educational workshops at both the local and national level. Dr. Noronha’s educational focuses include feedback in medical education, residency scheduling models, and high-value care.

Catherine Rich, MD, BUSM, Medicine/General Internal Medicine, is a general internist and clinician-educator focused on training primary care physician leaders for urban underserved populations. Since 2011 she has led the Primary Care Training Program within Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Internal Medicine Residency. Under her leadership, the program has recruited, trained and graduated more than 55 residents who are thriving in ambulatory careers. Through her leadership, focus on building inclusive learning environments, and innovative programming around care of marginalized populations, she has impacted the development of the primary care workforce at BMC and across the nation. She was the recipient of the prestigious Society of General Internal Medicine New England Regional Award for Excellence as a Clinician Educator in 2020, an award given annually to a physician faculty member from among the medical institutions in the northeastern U.S.

Ad Interim Leadership for the Framingham Heart Study

Joanne Murabito, MD, and George O’Connor, MD, have agreed to serve as ad interim directors and co-principal investigators of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), effective 9/1/2022, replacing Vasan Ramachandran, MD, who will be leaving BU in September to become the founding Dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health at San Antonio. We are planning a national search for a permanent director and PI in partnership with the NHLBI.

Dr. Murabito studies the determinants of healthy aging and longevity and reproductive aging in the community, as well as genetic and genomic factors. Dr. Murabito is also introducing mobile health into the FHS and exploring the use of mHealth in older adults to improve health and function. She leads multidisciplinary international consortia including the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomics Epidemiology (CHARGE) and the Aging and Longevity working group. 

Dr. O’Connor studies genome-wide associations at the FHS seeking novel genetic determinants of lung function impairment, interstitial lung abnormalities and atopy. He has been the BU site PI of many NIH-funded, multi-center studies, including the Inner-City Asthma Consortium (ICAC), the Vitamin D Antenatal Asthma Reduction Trial (VDAART), and the All of Us Research Program.

George O’Connor, M.D., M.S. – Interim Chief of the Section of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Medicine

We are delighted to announce that George O’Connor, M.D., M.S. has agreed to serve as Interim Chief of the Section of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Medicine starting September 1, 2022. Dr. O’Connor is Professor of Medicine based in the Pulmonary Section. He is internationally known for his studies of the epidemiology of chronic respiratory diseases, particularly in asthma, and currently serves as Associate Editor of JAMA. Dr. O’Connor is also a skilled clinician and educator, in addition to his considerable accomplishments as a physician investigator.

 

Dr. O’Connor will be replacing Dr. Vasan Ramachandran who will be moving to the University of Texas at San Antonio to become the founding Dean of the School of Public Health. Dr. Ramachandran is one of the world’s leading cardiovascular epidemiologists who has led a number research and training programs in the Department and School of Medicine, especially including the Framingham Heart Study and RURAL study, two of the most important longitudinal studies of cardiovascular risk in the U.S. We are very grateful for his academic leadership, mentorship of innumerable trainees and faculty, and his enduring positive impact on the Department.

 

Please join us in congratulating Dr. O’Connor and in thanking Dr. Ramachandran for his leadership!

Dr. Vasan Ramachandran Appointed Founding Dean, University of Texas School of Public Health at San Antonio

Vasan Ramachandran, MD, has been appointed the founding Dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health at San Antonio, effective in September.
A member of our community since 1993, Dr. Ramachandran is the Jay and Louise Coffman Professor of Vascular Biology, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at BUSM and BUSPH, and Chief of the Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology in the Department of Medicine. Since 2014 he has served as principal investigator and director of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). He also is principal investigator of the RURAL (Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal) Cohort Study, which aims to address critical gaps in our knowledge of heart and lung disorders in rural counties in the southeastern U.S. An internationally known and highly respected physician scientist and clinical epidemiologist, Dr. Ramachandran’s research has focused on heart failure, blood pressure and cardiac remodeling.

    • With a current active annual research grant portfolio of nearly $20 million and as a recipient of over $100 million from the National Institutes of Health over the last 20 years, Dr. Ramachandran is a prolific and collaborative investigator with a primary focus of leading and evaluating studies related to the epidemiology and genetic architecture of blood pressure, cardiac and vascular remodeling, and he contributed to the description of the entity of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
    • He has earned an h-index of 188 in Google Scholar discovery with over 1,060 publications to his name including many in prominent journals such as NEJM, JACC, JAMA and Circulation.
    • He led and directed the first School of Public Health in India, the Achutha Menon Center for Health Science Studies in Kerala, where he enrolled and coordinated the first two cohorts of Master of Public Health students, a two-year residential, 60-credit program targeting mid-career physician leaders in the country. He oversaw the recruitment of the core faculty and staff, supervised curriculum development and arranged for collaborations with prominent U.S. universities such as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, UC Berkeley and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    • As director of two NIH training grants (T32 and R38), Dr. Ramachandran has built mentoring support groups for non-white scholars within the Department of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. His experience as an immigrant and foreign-medical graduate from a developing country has given him a heightened awareness of the challenges encountered by individuals from non-majority groups and he has thus focused his attention on addressing health disparities and working toward health equity.

Dr. Ramachandran received his primary and high school education in India after which he completed a year of premedical training and then entered the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the top-ranked medical institution in India and South Asia with an attached 2,000-bed multispecialty teaching hospital. He spent the next 15 years in India training to be a physician as an internist, a senior resident and a cardiologist before moving to the United States, where he sought additional subspecialty training in imaging and cardiovascular epidemiology at the Framingham Heart Study.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ramachandran on his new appointment and thanking him for his many contributions to our community.

BUMC Faculty Promotions – April 2022

Congratulations to the following faculty on their recent appointment or promotion.


Clinical Professor

Thomas Treadwell, MD, BUSM, Medicine/Infectious Diseases, a trusted and skilled provider for hundreds of HIV-seropositive patients, founded one of the first community HIV programs in Massachusetts in 1985, currently providing care for ~300 HIV-infected patients. Dr. Treadwell provides inpatient consultation on the ID service at our BU affiliate, Metro West Medical Center, where he serves as assistant dean. He is the recipient of many awards, including 1999 Clinician of the Year from the Massachusetts Medical Society and the 1999 Outstanding Clinician Award from Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, and was the first BU physician to receive the Kenneth Kaplan Clinician of the Year award from his peers in the Massachusetts Infectious Diseases Society in 2010.


Clinical Associate Professor

Dong Wook Kim, MD, BUSM, Medicine, provides clinical care and teaching at Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Nutrition and Weight Management Center. As a nutrition director, he leads the Nutrition Support Service team and manages consults for patients with severe malnutrition, multiple nutritional deficiencies and feeding difficulties. As a primary investigator, he has been working on phase 2 clinical trials for GLP1 use in short bowel syndrome. Dr. Kim is also the obesity medicine fellowship program director at BMC. He coordinates training activities and is involved in teaching and mentoring fellows.

Jason Worcester, MD, BUSM, Medicine/GIM, has served as medical director of the GIM Adult Primary Care Clinic, where he has transitioned a modest-sized Adult Primary Care Practice in the early 2000s into the large complex primary care system it is today, serving 40,000 patients and acting as a major force in the Medicaid Accountable Care Organization within the Boston Medical Center (BMC) health system. He partnered on implementing the Nurse Practitioner (NP) anchor program, which pairs nurse practitioners with physicians in a team model that enhances the timeliness and efficiency of care delivery. Dr. Worcester joined the Massachusetts Consultative Service for the Treatment of Addiction and Pain in 2019, responding to a need for support by clinicians across the state of Massachusetts seeking to manage patients with chronic pain and substance use disorders. He has been an integral part of the service, providing real-time telephonic consultation to clinicians across Massachusetts to help them manage high risk patients. In addition, he serves as senior advisor for the BUSM Continuing Medical Education Office and has participated in several educational programs over the last 15 years that have reached tens of thousands of learners in the U.S. and around the globe.

Angelique Harris, PhD, Named Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion

We are pleased to announce Angelique C. Harris, PhD, associate professor of medicine, director of faculty development and diversity for the Department of Medicine and BUMC director of faculty development, has been appointed associate dean for diversity & inclusion, effective immediately.

Dr. Harris has designed, implemented and led innovative programs that provide and promote more equitable learning and working environments for faculty, staff and students around issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice. A medical sociologist, Dr. Harris’s research includes race and ethnicity, gender and sexualities, health and illness, social movements, cultural studies, urban studies and media studies. More specifically, examining how groups construct health issues and how the structural marginalization and stigmatization they experience impact their experiences with health care. Dr. Harris has authored and co-authored dozens of books, articles, and essays, including Womanist AIDS Activism in the United States: “It’s Who We Are” (Roman & Littlefield, 2022), Queer People of Color: Connected but Not Comfortable (Lynne Rienner, 2018) and the Intersections of Race and Sexuality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) book series.

Originally from Mattapan, Mass., Dr. Harris received a BA in social psychology and an MA in applied sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston; an MA in sociology from CUNY-Queens College, and MPhil and PhD in sociology, with a focus in medical sociology, from CUNY-Graduate Center.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Harris on their new role.

Kaku So-Armah, Ph.D., has accepted the role of Assistant Chair for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA)

We are delighted to announce that Kaku So-Armah, Ph.D., has accepted the role of Assistant Chair for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in the Department of Medicine’s Faculty Development and Diversity Office effective July 1, 2022.

Dr. So-Armah identifies as a husband, a father, an epidemiologist, and an Associate Professor in the Section of General Internal Medicine, amongst other things.  His lab uses molecular biology coupled with data on health behaviors, risk factors, and disease diagnoses to identify and explain novel epidemiological associations and identify novel intervention targets. His research focuses on substance use and chronic infections like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and tuberculosis (TB) and how these exposures impact the heart, liver, and lungs. The populations and problems on which his lab focuses have attracted scientists from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce. He recognizes, values, and leverages the power of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives in solving complex research and clinical problems.

Additionally, Dr. So-Armah currently collaborates with several fantastic teams on the following initiatives:

  • The Inclusion Diversity & Equity In Addiction medicine, Addiction health professions, and Addiction research (IDEAAA) program. 
  • The Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging Program
  • The Grayken Center for Addiction Anti-racist Approach to Substance Use Treatment working group
  • The BU School of Medicine Faculty Development and Diversity Committee (FDDC)
  • The BU Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) grant application

Working alongside the Faculty Development & Diversity Office, as Assistant Chair, Dr. So-Armah will focus on:

  • Serving as a faculty resource to ensure that all DoM Faculty are recruited using best practices for inclusive searches.
  • Meeting with potential Faculty candidates to discuss DEIA in the DoM.
  • Advising DoM Faculty Development and Diversity’s Evans Student Scholars Program.
  • Working with Vice Chair, Director, and Associate Chair on DEIA initiatives in the DoM.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. So-Armah!

Anthony “Tony” Hollenberg, MD, has been named the John Wade Professor and Chair of the DoM at BUSM, and Physician-in-Chief at BMC

We are pleased to announce that Anthony “Tony” Hollenberg, MD, has been named the John Wade Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine (DOM) at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), and Physician-in-Chief at Boston Medical Center (BMC). Dr. Hollenberg will join BUSM/BMC this fall.

Currently, Dr. Hollenberg is the Chair of the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and Physician-in-Chief at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Prior to this role, he served as Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism and Vice Chair for Mentoring at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Hollenberg, a native of Toronto, received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and his medical degree from the University of Calgary. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, followed by a clinical and research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A leading physician-scientist specializing in endocrinology, Dr. Hollenberg’s work focuses on thyroid disorders, investigating the physiological and molecular mechanisms by which thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, including body weight. Additionally, his laboratory explores the underpinnings of thyroid gland development. He has published more than 98 original studies in journals and contributed 31 book chapters and reviews. Dr. Hollenberg’s extensive research expertise will enhance pre-clinical, translational, and clinical research across the Department.

Under his leadership, the Department will cultivate and attract top talent in academic medicine and research while also fostering and mentoring emerging talent, advancing our core missions, and raising BUSM/BMC’s national profile even further.

We thank David Coleman, MD, who has served as Chief and Chair of the Department of Medicine since 2006, who announced his plans last year to step down from his leadership role. We are grateful for Dr. Coleman’s many lasting contributions to the Department, including the recruitment of outstanding faculty and growing the Department’s research programs in size and scope, and for his exceptional leadership and his many contributions to our health system, faculty practice, medical school, and professional community over his 16 years at BUSM/BMC.

We also would like to thank Jennifer Tseng, MD, MPH, Chief and Chair of Surgery, and Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DPH, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor, Boston University School of Public Health, who led the search committee, as well as the committee members for their work that developed a very strong national candidate pool.

Please join us in thanking Dr. Coleman and welcoming Dr. Hollenberg back to Boston.