DoM Faculty Promotions – May 2022
Congratulations to the following faculty on their recent appointment or promotion.
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.
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.