Avrum E. Spira MD

Section Chief of Medicine in Computational Biomedicine, Computational Biomedicine

Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship, Computational Biomedicine

75 E. Newton St | (617) 414-6980
Avrum Spira
Sections

Computational Biomedicine

Centers

BU-BMC Cancer Center

Pulmonary Center

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Biography

Dr. Spira is a Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics, and the Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship at Boston University. He is founding Chief of the Division of Computational Biomedicine in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Boston University – Boston Medical Center Cancer Center. He is also an attending physician in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical Center.

Dr. Spira is also the Global Head of the Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) at Johnson & Johnson, which is developing solutions to prevent, intercept and cure lung cancer.

Dr. Spira obtained his MD from McGill University in Montreal, and completed his Internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto and his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at BMC. During his fellowship, Dr. Spira obtained a master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Boston University.

Since his 2003 appointment to the BU faculty, Dr. Spira has built a translational research program that focuses on genomic alterations associated with smoking-related lung disease, leading to a molecular test for the early detection of lung cancer that has successfully translated into the clinic (PerceptaTM) as well as a novel therapeutic for COPD that is in preclinical development. His research program is based on the paradigm that smoking and other inhaled carcinogens create a ‘field of molecular injury’ in epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. By sampling these relatively accessible airway cells, Dr. Spira’s lab has developed novel diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers for lung cancer and COPD as well as a non-invasive approach for measuring the physiological response to a number of inhaled environmental exposures. He has co-founded both a molecular diagnostics company and a pharmaceutical company in order to translate these tools from “bench to bedside”.

He serves as Principal Investigator on grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI); National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD), and has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Spira was a permanent member of the NIH’s Cancer Biomarker Study Section (CBSS) and currently serves as Senior Editor at Cancer Prevention Research as well as Associate Editor at the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. He was elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2010 and a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP) in 2017.

Other Positions

Professor, Computational Biomedicine

Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Education

MD, McGill University, 1996

Engineering, MSc, Boston University, 2002

DEC, Vanier College, 1991

Publications

Published on 8/31/2021

Kammer MN, Lakhani DA, Balar AB, Antic SL, Kussrow AK, Webster RL, Mahapatra S, Barad U, Shah C, Atwater T, Diergaarde B, Qian J, Kaizer A, New M, Hirsch E, Feser WJ, Strong J, Rioth M, Miller Y, Balagurunathan Y, Rowe DJ, Helmey S, Chen SC, Bauza J, Deppen SA, Sandler K, Maldonado F, Spira A, Billatos E, Schabath MB, Gillies RJ, Wilson DO, Walker RC, Landman B, Chen H, Grogan EL, Barón AE, Bornhop DJ, Massion PP. Integrated Biomarkers for the Management of Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 Aug 31. PMID: 34464235.

Published on 5/10/2021

Sinjab A, Han G, Treekitkarnmongkol W, Hara K, Brennan PM, Dang M, Hao D, Wang R, Dai E, Dejima H, Zhang J, Bogatenkova E, Sanchez-Espiridion B, Chang K, Little DR, Bazzi S, Tran LM, Krysan K, Behrens C, Duose DY, Parra ER, Raso MG, Solis LM, Fukuoka J, Zhang J, Sepesi B, Cascone T, Byers LA, Gibbons DL, Chen J, Moghaddam SJ, Ostrin EJ, Rosen D, Heymach JV, Scheet P, Dubinett SM, Fujimoto J, Wistuba II, Stevenson CS, Spira A, Wang L, Kadara H. Resolving the Spatial and Cellular Architecture of Lung Adenocarcinoma by Multiregion Single-Cell Sequencing. Cancer Discov. 2021 Oct; 11(10):2506-2523. PMID: 33972311.

Published on 5/10/2021

Becker EJ, Faiz A, van den Berge M, Timens W, Hiemstra PS, Clark K, Liu G, Xiao X, Alekseyev YO, O'Connor G, Lam S, Spira A, Lenburg ME, Steiling K. Bronchial gene expression signature associated with rate of subsequent FEV1 decline in individuals with and at risk of COPD. Thorax. 2021 May 10. PMID: 33972452.

Published on 5/4/2021

Tilston-Lunel A, Mazzilli S, Kingston NM, Szymaniak AD, Hicks-Berthet J, Kern JG, Abo K, Reid ME, Perdomo C, Wilson AA, Spira A, Beane J, Varelas X. Aberrant epithelial polarity cues drive the development of precancerous airway lesions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 May 04; 118(18). PMID: 33903236.

Published on 4/13/2021

Xu F, Tanabe N, Vasilescu DM, McDonough JE, Coxson HO, Ikezoe K, Kinose D, Ng KW, Verleden SE, Wuyts WA, Vanaudenaerde BM, Verschakelen J, Cooper JD, Lenburg ME, Morshead KB, Abbas AR, Arron JR, Spira A, Hackett TL, Colby TV, Ryerson CJ, Ng RT, Hogg JC. The transition from normal lung anatomy to minimal and established fibrosis in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). EBioMedicine. 2021 Apr; 66:103325. PMID: 33862585.

Published on 3/12/2021

Han G, Sinjab A, Hara K, Treekitkarnmongkol W, Brennan P, Chang K, Bogatenkova E, Sanchez-Espiridion B, Behrens C, Solis LM, Gao B, Girard L, Zhang J, Sepesi B, Cascone T, Byers LA, Gibbons DL, Chen J, Moghaddam SJ, Ostrin EJ, Scheet P, Fujimoto J, Shay J, Heymach JV, Minna JD, Dubinett S, Wistuba II, Stevenson CS, Spira AE, Wang L, Kadara H. Single-Cell Expression Landscape of SARS-CoV-2 Receptor ACE2 and Host Proteases in Normal and Malignant Lung Tissues from Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma Patients. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 12; 13(6). PMID: 33809063.

Published on 1/1/2021

Treekitkarnmongkol W, Hassane M, Sinjab A, Chang K, Hara K, Rahal Z, Zhang J, Lu W, Sivakumar S, McDowell TL, Kantrowitz J, Zhou J, Lang W, Xu L, Ochieng JK, Nunomura-Nakamura S, Deng S, Behrens C, Raso MG, Fukuoka J, Reuben A, Ostrin EJ, Parra E, Solis LM, Spira AE, McAllister F, Cascone T, Wistuba II, Moghaddam SJ, Scheet PA, Fujimoto J, Kadara H. Augmented Lipocalin-2 Is Associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Counteracts Lung Adenocarcinoma Development. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 01 01; 203(1):90-101. PMID: 32730093.

Published on 10/22/2020

Ostrin EJ, Sidransky D, Spira A, Hanash SM. Biomarkers for Lung Cancer Screening and Detection. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 12; 29(12):2411-2415. PMID: 33093160.

Published on 10/15/2020

Faiz A, Imkamp K, van der Wiel E, Boudewijn IM, Koppelman GH, Brandsma CA, Kerstjens HAM, Timens W, Vroegop S, Pasma HR, Boersma WG, Wielders P, van den Elshout F, Mansour K, Steiling K, Spira A, Lenburg ME, Heijink IH, Postma DS, van den Berge M. Identifying a nasal gene expression signature associated with hyperinflation and treatment response in severe COPD. Sci Rep. 2020 10 15; 10(1):17415. PMID: 33060632.

Published on 9/16/2020

Billatos E, Ash SY, Duan F, Xu K, Romanoff J, Marques H, Moses E, Han MK, Regan EA, Bowler RP, Mason SE, Doyle TJ, San José Estépar R, Rosas IO, Ross JC, Xiao X, Liu H, Liu G, Sukumar G, Wilkerson M, Dalgard C, Stevenson C, Whitney D, Aberle D, Spira A, San José Estépar R, Lenburg ME, Washko GR. Distinguishing Smoking-Related Lung Disease Phenotypes Via Imaging and Molecular Features. Chest. 2021 02; 159(2):549-563. PMID: 32946850.

View full list of 160 publications.