newsletter for graduates, students, faculty and friends of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
HST alum and his company: an HST story There is no better way to describe the opportunity and success of the HST educational and research paradigm than to tell a story. Decades before translational research was the buzzword it is today, HST students and faculty were committed to research that would have a direct application to clinical care and ultimately benefit human health. This story Shai Gozani focuses on Shai Gozani, MD ’94, PhD, whose experience in HST laid the groundwork for his company, NeuroMetrix, Inc., and its revolutionary approach to point-of-care nerve conduction studies that offer physicians—and patients—accurate and reliable diagnostic information within minutes, to expedite appropriate treatment. This is a story that comes full circle. With the proceeds generated from the public offering of NeuroMetrix in 2004, MIT has now established a
His MD research focused on computational biology and neurophysiological instrumentation. It was out of this later project that ideas, technologies and, ultimately, patents emerged that would go on to form the basis for NeuroMetrix. Following graduation from HST in 1994, Gozani completed a neuro-physiology research fellowship in the laboratory of Gerald Fischbach at HMS and established NeuroMetrix in 1996. With FDA approval in 1998 for its NC-stat® nerve conduction testing system, designed to measure neuromuscular signals that are used to diagnose and evaluate systemic and entrapment neuropathies, NeuroMetrix was off and running. (continues on page 8 )
David Goodman establishes named endowment fund When looking for a board member with a strong foundation in medicine and business, Shai Gozani turned to friend and fellow classmate David Goodman, MD ’93, who joined the NeuroMetrix board in 2004. “It has been a privilege to be a part of the NeuroMetrix team,” he said. “My involvement in this innovative company would never have happened without my HST experience.” In appreciation for his HST education and training, Goodman and his wife, Marilyn, made a gift of NeuroMetrix stock to set up a named endowment fund to beneﬁt HST students. “We are truly delighted to be able to give back to HST through this fund.” he said.
named fellowship fund and directed it to support a one-year fellowship in HST for a PhD student. Gozani joined HST’s MD program in 1989, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from University of California–Berkeley and a PhD well underway in neurobiology, also at Berkeley. Attracted to the HST curriculum with its emphasis on quantitatively oriented medical science and research, Gozani was a natural for HST. His PhD research focused on the theoretical and experimental analysis of neural integration and plasticity in the cricket sensory system, a system which has great signiﬁcance for understanding the much more complex mammalian sensory systems.
i r e c t o r s ’ notes It all started 25 years ago. Patricia Cunningham came to HST as a temp in the ﬁnance ofﬁce in March 1981 (long before there were child labor laws!), and after almost a decade there, applied for and was hired as the Harvard ofﬁce manager. For 25 years, she has consistently represented and served the HST family. Walter H. Abelmann, MD—one of Patty’s self-confessed role models because of his moral sense of duty—was the Harvard co-director at the time. Walter, Patty and a secretary coordinated all the activities of the HST MD program, including managing the curriculum and student records, supporting the courses and faculty, stafﬁng departmental committees, and acting as a liaison with HMS. Fifteen years later, she is the still managing the Harvard administrative ofﬁce. Patty is so many things to so many people. She is HST’s “go(continues on page 2 )
Patty Cunnigham, caught in a rare moment of nonactivity
hst news Second Year Show lampoons HST Immunology faculty HST’s Immunology course directors, both current and past, played prominent roles in this year’s HMS/HSDM Second Year Show, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fornix, held January 26-28 at Roxbury Community College. This year’s production featured a play within a play: on the eve of the Second Year show, the student cast of Bedside Story (a satirical, medical school take on Bernstein’s West Side Story) is mysteriously kidnapped, necessitating the substitution of “faculty” stand-ins for the student actors. The audience roared as “Sam Kennedy” (Jonathan Fillmore), leader of the HST gang, faced off against New Pathway gang member “Dana Stearns” (Noah Stites-Hallett). Sam was poetically assisted by current HST Immunology director “Shiv Pillai” (Parin Patel). While the faculty romped and stomped through their roles, Bedside Story’s producer, stage manager, and tech director—Sheldon, Steve, and Sue (Nicholas Zwang, Kervin Mack, Sirena Hsieh)—searched for the missing students and discovered the evil faculty member behind the kidnapping: Dr. Andy Lichtman! One of the show’s highlights was the appearance of “Dr. Abul Abbas” (Krishna Yeshwant), who, in spite of having left HMS many years ago for UCSF, remains a popular character in the annual show! Other highlights included the running commentary by the amazingly rendered, life-size puppets representing faculty Richard Schwartzstein and Julian Seifter; the gratuitous bhangra dancing; and vocal talent of New Pathway student Megan Browning (“Maria/Missy”). Special kudos to the HST second year students involved in this year’s farce: Adam Numis (“A-rab”); Sunil and Rahul Sheth (choreographed and danced in the bhangra dance); Brittany Lee and Mark Miller (ensemble); Monica Sircar and Yolanda Tseng (ensemble,publicity); Audrey Wang (art production); and Lucia Madariaga (viola). — Patricia Cunningham
Still going strong after 25 years at HST (continued from page 1)
to girl,” who serves as graduate administrator, course manager, student advisor, society representative, special assistant to the directors, and student affairs coordinator. She is the face of HST and HMS to our 240 students. All of these roles are important for the success of HST, but we feel the one area where Patty plays a critical role is advising and counseling HST medical students and their families. She assists students with academic, logistical and personal problems. Patty smoothes rufﬂed feathers, furrowed brows and crumpled egos. Her knowledge
Patty smoothes rufﬂed feathers, furrowed brows, and crumpled egos. and years of experience have elevated her to the position of “All Things HST” from the student’s perspective, so much so that many HST alumni continue to seek her assistance in navigating the two universities from a faculty point of view. Patty leads by example. She helps the students organize their annual formal, which she attends, and the public service day, in which she participates. She coordinates a complex orientation program for the HST MDs and organizes HST community gatherings.
The Connector Editor Walter H. Abelmann, MD Managing Editor/Designer Becky Sun Editorial Assistant Nina Restuccia
• PhD applications increased by 25 percent over last year • MEMP received 300+ applications • 592 applied to the MD program, 18 more than last year • 25 percent of MD applicants were invited for interviews 2
She is the eternal optimist who sees hope and possibility in every situation, and she is one of the nicest people you will ever know. A couple of years ago, she received the MIT Inﬁnite Mile Award, which is given to employees who have contributed signiﬁcantly to their department. Her nomination letter stated that Patty’s years of service “have been characterized by consummate professionalism, continuously creative thinking, unfailing loyalty, and a commitment to making the academic experience a positive
Contact Information Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology 77 Massachusetts Ave., E25-519 Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 P: (617) 253-4418 F: (617) 253-7498 E: email@example.com http://hst.mit.edu
one for everyone involved. The number of miles she has traveled for this institution truly is inﬁnite.” You can send your personal note of congratulations to Patty by e-mailing her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. It gives us inﬁnite pleasure to recognize and thank this wonderful woman for 25 years of extraordinary service to the HST community. May she live long and prosper for 25 more. — Martha and Joe
Volume 20 • Number 2 Editorial Board Patricia A. Cunningham Lisa E. Freed, MD, PhD ’86 Sang Kim (MD ’07) Pamela McGill Catherine Modica Konstantina Stankovic, PhD ’98, MD ’99 Betsy Tarlin James C. Weaver, PhD Peter I-Kung Wu (MEMP) Ex ofﬁcio Joseph V. Bonventre, MD ’76, PhD Martha L. Gray, PhD ’86
The Connector is a quarterly publication of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. The staff and board of The Connector would like to thank the HST alumni, faculty, staff, and students who contributed to this issue. Please send reports of your recent activities and personal news to the above address or email. Previous issues of The Connector can be found at http://hst.mit.edu.
hst news Faculty and Student Honors MEMP student Carlos Gomez-Uribe won the 2005 Merck-MIT Fellowship. This coveted award is one of few given by the MIT Computational and Systems Biology Initiative, a campus-wide education and research program. Gomez-Uribe’s faculty supervisors are Professors George Verjhese and Leonid Mirny. Kenneth D. Mandl, MD, HST afﬁliated faculty and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at HMS and CHB, received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2005. This award recognizes and nurtures some of the ﬁnest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientiﬁc knowledge. Frederick J. Schoen, MD, PhD, Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and of Pathology at HMS and BWH, received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology for 2006. This honor was bestowed upon him at the Society’s annual meeting in February. Schoen is also Executive Vice Chairman of the Pathology Department at BWH. Theodore Marentis (MD ’07) is one of 30 Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellows for 2006. Marentis, who was born in Greece and became a naturalized US citizen in 2004, is coinventor on a renal dialysis patent. This fellowship provides $20,000 and half of tuition costs for up to two years.
New HST Courses – Spring 2006 HST 186: Frontiers in (Bio) Medical Engineering and Physics S. Bhatia, M. Poe HST 188: Statistics for Neuroscience Research E.N. Brown HST 424J: Diseases of the Nervous System T.N. Byrne HST 527: Blood Vessels and Endothelial Phenotypes in Health and Disease W. Aird, G. Garcia-Cardena HST 582J: Biomedical Signal and Image Processing J. Greenberg, W. Wells, J.W. Fisher, L.D. Braida HST 780: Advanced Speech and Audio Processing P.J. Wolfe HST 854: Evaluating a Biomedical Business Concept R.J. Cohen HST 987: Case Studies and Strategies in Drug Discovery and Development F.L. Douglas, S.R. Tannenbaum, A.J. Sinskey
Donovan Rewarded for Recycling Effort Congratulations go to Amy Donovan, Administrative Assistant to Professor Richard Cohen, who has won an MIT Excellence Award for her efforts to increase recycling awareness at the Institute. The award will be awarded to the Working Group Recycling Committee, of which Donovan is co-chair, in the category of Creating Connections: Serving Our Communities. She is also the editor of the group’s newsletter, The Bale.
New Appointment Thomas Byrne, MD has been appointed Clinical Professor of Neurology and Health Sciences and Technology at HMS and MGH. His principal interests include the neurological aspects of neoplasms and their therapy. He is course head of HST 422: A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain, and HST 424: Diseases of the Nervous System.
Promotion Dennis M. Freeman, PhD, member of the HST faculty, has been promoted to Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT. His research is focused on sound-induced motions of the sensory receptor cells in the inner ear.
Parrish joins NSBRI HST affiliated faculty John A. Parrish, MD, the Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology at HMS and MGH, and Head of the Department of Dermatology at MGH, has joined the National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s board of directors.
Girl Power Sangeeta Bhatia
Robert S. Langer, Jr., ScD, Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Institute Professor at MIT, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on May 6. He was selected for having developed sustained release drug delivery systems.
and pathophysiology and have individual clinical experiences. They will also participate in seminars showcasing translational and interdisciplinary research. This training program will be a collaboration between MIT and Harvard teaching hospitals. “We want to help change graduate education to increase the pool of scientists who are doing medical-related research,” said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech.
Helmut G. Rennke, MD, HST afﬁliated faculty and Professor of Pathology at HMS and BWH, received the 2006 Jacob Churg Award. This award is presented annually at the meeting of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) to an individual who has made major contributions to the ﬁeld of nephropathology. This is the highest honor that renal pathologists can receive from their peers. For many years Rennke has been a valued member of the core faculty of HST 110: Renal Pathology and Pathophysiology. HST Professors Martha L. Gray, PhD ’86, and Elazer R. Edelman MD ’83, PhD ’84 received one of 13 awards—totaling $10 million—from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to fund innovative graduate programs that will introduce bioscience graduate students to the world of clinical medicine. In this program, PhD students will be educated in medical pathology
Thirty sixth-grade girls from Cambridge Middle School a Saturday afternoon last semester touring the labs of Sangeeta Bhatia and Jagesh Shah. Staff, postdocs and graduate students, such as MEMP student Alice Chen (left), explained how microﬂuidics are used in biotechnology and how cells build tissues, using microscopy.
research news New Method to Treat Infertility Mehmet Toner, PhD ’89, Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Professor of Surgery at HMS and MGH, is co-author of a study that shows mouse sperm can be preserved without freezing. In 1892 Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, inventor of the microscope, described dry animacules which could be resurrected by adding water to dry dust from the gutter. In 2003 S. Bhowmick et al. (Toner was co-author) reported a method for drying mouse sperm at ambient temperature. The present study used the intracellular protectant trehalose, a nonreducting disaccharide, as protection against desiccation and general cellular stress. Here, live- born pups were produced from mouse sperm partially desiccated at ambient temperature and stored in a refrigerator for one month. This study has potential implications for improving in vitro fertilization after prolonged storage of sperm. (LK McGinnis et al., Biol Reprod, 2005 ;73:627-33.)
Interoperable Networks for Data Exchange John D. Halamka, MD, SM ’98, Associate Professor of Medicine at HMS and BIDMC, and CHIP Information Ofﬁcer at BIDMC, is ﬁrst author of a report describing the history, role and evolution of health care organizations’ information technology collaborations in Massachusetts. (J Halamka et al., J Am Med Inform Assoc 2005; 12:596-601.)
Prestrain Decreases Susceptibility of Cartilage to Compression Injury Thomas M. Quinn, PhD ’96, Research Scientist at Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, is senior author of a study of the role of prestrain in the response of articular cartilage to injurious compression. Articular cartilage of bovine osteochondral explants was subjected to prestrain prior to application of injurious ramp compression. It was found that the formation of macroscopic cracks as well as mortality decreased with increasing prestrain. (V Morel et al., Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2005; 13:964-70.)
What Makes Frogs Jump? MEMP student Vincent C.K. Cheung is the ﬁrst author of a study carried out in the Bizzi Laboratory of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the McGovern Institute in Brain Research at MIT. This study addressed the role of sensory feedback in the activation and organization of muscle synergies. Electromyography (EMG) signals were collected from 13 hind limb muscles of bullfrogs during swimming and jumping, before and after severing the nerve roots feeding sensory information from hind leg muscles into the spinal cord. In general, interruption of the sensory input from muscles did not perturb 4
the synergies involved in natural jumping and swimming movements. This work, which implies that the near autonomy of muscle synergies makes it possible to control a large number of muscles with a few signals generated in the central nervous system, may have implications for the design of neuroprostheses. (Neurosci 2005; 25: 6419 – 6434.)
Step Toward Human Phenome Project Atul D. Butte, PhD ’04, MD is ﬁrst author, and Isaac S. Kohane, MD, PhD is senior author, of “Creation and implications of a phenomegenome network.” Recognizing that relations between phenomic and environic concepts are invaluable to medicine, the authors consider associations between components of phenotype, genotype and environment to identify genes that may govern phenotype responses to the environment. Using the Uniﬁed Medical Language System, a compendium of biomedical vocabularies, they describe a network of relations between phenotypic disease, environment and experimental contexts, as well as associated genes with differential expression. Novel genes related to aging are identiﬁed. (Nat Biotechnol 2006; 24:55-62.) Butte is Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Informatics) and Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kohane is the Lawrence J. Henderson Associate Professor of Pediatrics at HMS and CHB, Director of the HST Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics Training Program, and Director of the Countway Library at HMS.
Role of New Protein in Atherosclerosis Robert S. Lees, MD, Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, is senior author of “Atherin: a newly identified, lesion-specific, LDL-binding protein in human atherosclerosis. An early event in atherogenesis is the retention of LDL at athersoclerosis-prone susceptible sites in the arterial wall. The authors worked with de-endothialized rabbit aortas, a model for early atherosclerosis characterized by signiﬁcant retention of LDL in healing lesions. A newly described 56kDaLDL-binding protein, called atherin, was shown by confocal microscopy to be present only in human atherosclerotic lesions, not in healthy intima. The data suggest a pathway for atherogenesis that begins with functional modiﬁcation of endothelial cells, which signal smooth muscle cells to produce atherin, which binds with LDL, resulting in oxidation of LDL. The LDL/atherin complexes are internalized by macrophages which form foam cells and then plaques. (AM Lees et al., Atherosclerosis 2005; 182: 219-230.)
Suppression of Murine Genital Herpes Judy Lieberman PhD, MD ’81 is senior author of “An siRNA-based microbicide protects mice from lethal herpes simplex virus 2 infection.”
Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) causes signiﬁcant disease and also is a co-factor for the transmission of HIV infection. This investigation demonstrated that the vaginal instillation of small interfering siRNAs targeting HSV-2 protects mice from lethal infection. This therapy was well-tolerated and provided protection whether administered before or after lethal challenge with HSV-2. The authors conclude: “These results suggest that SiRNAs are attractive candidates for the active component of a microbicide designed to prevent viral infection or transmission.” (D Palliser et al., Nature 2006; 439:89-94.) Lieberman is Professor of Pediatrics at HMS and CHB, and the CBR Institute for Biomedical Research.
Mechanism of Olfactory Learning Jeffrey D. Macklis, MD ’84, HST afﬁlicated faculty and Associate Professor of Surgery at HMS and MGH, is senior author of “Adultborn and pre-existing olfactory granule neurons undergo distinct experience-dependent modiﬁcations of their olfactory responses in vivo.” This study tested the hypothesis that newly generated, adult-born, murine neurons contribute to neural plasticity and learning. The authors found that familiarizing mice with test odors increases the response of the recently incorporated adult-born neuron population to the test odors, and that this increased responsiveness is long-lasting. Thus, this study supports the hypothesis that adult-born neurons are involved in olfactory learning. (SS Magavi et al., Neurosci 2005; 25: 10729-39.)
Oxygen Pressure Measured by MRI Greg Zaharchuk, PhD ’98, MD ’00 is ﬁrst author of a report of a new method to measure the partial pressure of oxygen in cerebrospinal ﬂuid Pcsf02 by means of MRI. Pcsf02 is considered a marker for the oxygenation of brain or spinal ﬂuid. O2 had been found to be a major contributor to spin-lattice relaxation (R1= 1/T1), and a linear relationship between 02 content and R1 has been demonstrated. In this study, CSF T1 was measured in the lateral ventricles, third ventricle, cortical sulci and basilar cisterns of eight normal subjects breathing room air or 100 percent oxygen. The results were comparable to those obtained by invasive studies. This method of measuring partial pressure of oxygen noninvasively may be applicable to other body ﬂuids. (Magn Reson Med 2005;54:113-21.) Zaharchuk is a postdoctoral Clinical Fellow in Neuroradiology at University of California San Francisco.
A New Model to Explore Liver Zonation Sangeeta N. Bhatia PhD ’97, MD ’99, Associate Professor of HST and EECS at MIT, is senior author of “In vitro Zonation and Toxicity in a Hepatocyte Bioreactor.” In vitro models of the liver have aided our understanding of the (continues on page 7)
Stultz relishes challenges such as ﬁnding new therapies for common diseases and being a Yankees fan in Boston
ollin Stultz emigrated from Jamaica to Brooklyn, N.Y., when he was four years old. He lived in Brooklyn for 13 years before moving to Boston and has lived here for the last 20 years. His parents, two sisters and one brother are still in New York, which explains his ties to the state, but there is simply no explanation for his ties to the New York Yankees! He professes to having two main hobbies: reading popular science books on theoretical physics (à la Leonard Susskind and Stephen Hawking) and watching baseball, speciﬁcally the pin-striped team and more speciﬁcally the two teams that make up the most famous baseball rivalry in history: the Yankees and the Red Sox. He’s a classy Yankees fan (is that an oxymoron?) who also enjoys horror movies and lively political debate.
Collin Stultz, HST alumnus and assistant professor, researches macromolecules and how their structure affects common human diseases.
In March 2005, Stultz married Asha Parekh, who is a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital; they spent a wonderful honeymoon week on the island of St. Martin in the West Indies. Parekh, who was born in Bombay, India, grew up in California and Michigan and came to Boston for training at MGH. They were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, and the good news is that Parekh is not a die-hard Yankees fan and has been known to cheer for the Red Sox! Although Stultz was very interested in law and could have become an attorney, he chose science and medicine. He is an HST alumus (1997 MD-PhD) who graduated magna cum laude. After completing a research residency in internal medicine and a cardiovascular fellowship—both at BWH—he applied for a dual HST-EECS faculty position. In the fall of
2004 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, and EECS at MIT. He teaches classes for HST and EECS and serves on committees in both departments, with his work on the HST MD and MD-PhD Admissions Committees being one of the most rewarding, he adds. Stultz has ﬁve students working in his research lab, which is located in the Stata Center on the MIT campus. His research interests revolve around understanding conformational changes in macromolecules and the effect of structural transitions on common human diseases. His lab employs an interdisciplinary approach that utilizes techniques drawn from computational chemistry, signal processing and basic biochemisty. He says, “Traditionally, physical biochemistry has not played a major role in biomedical research. It is my vision to bring computational and theoretical biophysics to the forefront of biomedical investigation.” Using computer simulations and biochemical experiments, he and his students examine the conformation of different proteins that play important roles in human disease. Stultz believes that the relationship between the shapes of proteins and human disease is underappreciated. Abnormal protein conformations may play a signiﬁcant role in diseases such as Altzheimer’s, arthritis and atherosclerosis. He theorizes that different disease states can cause some proteins to adopt abnormal conformations, and that interventions which prevent the formation of these abnormal structures may prove to be effective therapies. Stultz believes students in his lab would say that he is rigorous and readily available for advice and jokes. Given the challenges and rewards of a dual appointment, he admits that there is no other institution where he could do his work, because HST and EECS understand the importance of new methods and technologies, and they provide the best and brightest students in the world. One statement that sums up Collin Stultz: “I hate mediocrity in myself and in my students.” When you look at his educational background, his research career, and his Yankees-Red Sox obsession, one would have to agree! —Pamela K. McGill The Connector
Wax applies medical science to social and legal problems
courtesy of Amy Wax
any of the questions we ask about why individuals or groups in society behave as they do are questions whose answers can come from biology, culture, or individual actions. Clarifying these behaviors involves shining a light on different layers of the question using techniques from different disciplines. Few people are multidisciplinary enough to perform this task. Amy Wax is one such person who can bring her broad academic background to bear on the social and legal questions she currently teases apart. Her years studying neuroscience as an HST MD (1981), followed by a JD, allow her a perspective on scholarly work in the legal profession that few people can boast. As a member of the second class of women at Yale University, one of only about 200 women, Wax was often the only woman in her science or math classes. Far from having a sense of isolation, she relished the attention and loved every minute of obtaining her undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. “Ironically and paradoxically, because most women weren’t at the time, I was encouraged to continue in science,” she said. Wax enjoyed research, but medicine was an attractive next step, one that would combine her skills in biology and math, but would also have a practical application. At the same time, her minor in philosophy pointed in a direction away from medicine: Should she drop science in favor of observing thought and learning to ask the correct questions? A Marshall Scholarship to Oxford University allowed her to spend a year exploring the connections among philosophy, physiology, and psychology. This was a year that helped her make the decision to enter the HST MD program, but also provided training that is reﬂected in the rigor and thoughtfulness of her current writing. Wax exclaimed, “I loved my experience at Harvard Medical School. The HST program was terriﬁc, and the people extraordinary.” She continued to pursue her interest in neuroscience, graduating cum laude with a distinction in the subdiscipline. Her thesis, Studies on the Anatomy of Substance P Neurons in the Sympathetic Nervous System, examined pain impulses in the autonomic nervous system of rats. Another highlight of medical school was
Amy Wax, MD, JD
meeting Roger B. Cohen, MD (HMS ’80). They married in 1985—and are still married, Wax is proud to report. Cohen is currently Director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Wax’s experience at HST involved meeting so many exceptional people and absorbing their standards of excellence. The expectation that all the graduates would be leaders continues to inﬂuence her. Understanding the underlying mechanisms in the nervous system didn’t allow her to also understand how people acted in reality. There was no single event of “cosmic signiﬁcance,” Wax said, but a number of small incidents and nagging questions about continuing to pursue a science career. “Law is concerned with ordering and regulating behavior. It is interdisciplinary by nature, since it brings together knowledge from all areas to bear on human conduct. In comparison, philosophy was too abstract,” she said. Wax laughed as she recounted that colleagues refer to her as a “concrete head,” not as a criticism but out of respect for her concern with results and the bottom line, even in the world of academia.
Wax felt a desire for her own family, and was beginning to see the tremendous obstacles to women having a successful career in science and medicine. Law appeared to give her a better chance at having a successful career and the ﬂexibility to attend to a family. Wax entered Harvard Law School while still writing her MD thesis and successfully completed the year. After that year, she moved to New York for an internship at Albert Einstein in internal medicine and a residency at Cornell Medical Center in neurology. She remembers her ﬁrst practice of medicine at an HMO in the Bronx as a compelling experience, caring for a generally poor and culturally diverse patient population. The clinic served African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and immigrants from Africa, South America, Mexico, and Asia. She couldn’t help but notice very interesting differences in the way members of different cultures regarded family ties and childrearing. Some cultures seemed to encourage individuals to make decisions that were clearly going to allow them to be successful both ﬁnancially and at parenting, while others made decisions that seemed irrational in comparison. Wax continued working at the clinic part-time while pursuing her law education at Columbia. Then, a summer internship led to the prestigious position of assistant to the Solicitor General in the United States Department of Justice, who is responsible for representing the federal government in law suits that come before the Supreme Court. For seven years this position allowed her to try cases before the high court and indulge her love of argument. After six years in the Department of Justice, she shifted direction once again, beginning her academic career in law at the University of Virginia Law School in Charlottesville. In 2001 Wax was appointed Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she teaches remedies, civil procedure, social welfare law and policy, labor law, and the law and economics of work and family. She has written widely on topics such as the doctor-patient relationship, women’s rights, disability rights, welfare rights and reform, workplace reform, and consumer bankruptcy. Her work encompasses both scholarly articles and op-ed pieces, including an op-ed series for the Wall (continues on page 7)
alumni news 1980s
Paul E. Okunieff, MD ’82, Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., is co-PI of one of seven centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation. The University will receive $21 million over ﬁve years —the largest grant received from NIH—to improve the country’s response to radiological attack such as a dirty bomb.
Pedro E. Huertas, MD, PhD ’93 has joined Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. in Cranbury, N.J., as Chief Development Ofﬁcer. Amicus is engaged in developing small-molecule chaperones to rescue and enhance activities of proteins involved in disease. These diseases encompass areas as broad as severe genetic disorders and genetic susceptibility to psychiatric illness and approaches them from the standpoint of diseases of conformation. Diseases of conformation result from the abnormal folding, trafﬁcking and localization within the cell and give rise to variety of responses, beyond decreased activity and function, causing pathology. Huertas’ residence remains in Concord, Mass.
David C. Page, MD ’84 and his seminal contributions to medical science were proﬁled by science writer Bijal Trivedi in the February issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Trivedi wrote, “Page’s mapping and sequencing of the human Y chromosome has triggered a renaissance in sex chromosome research.” This tribute accompanies Page’s inaugural article on the occasion of his election to the National Academy of Sciences ( J Koubova et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2006; 103:2474-79). Page is Director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Professor of Biology at MIT. Bruce R. Rosen, PhD ’84, MD, Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, as well as Professor of Radiology at HMS and MGH, has been appointed the national science director of the Mental Illness and Neuroscience Discovery (MIND) Institute. He will oversee the Institute’s science board. Structural Genomix, Inc., of which Stephen Burley MD ’87, D Phil is Clinical Scientiﬁc Ofﬁcer and Senior Vice President of Research, is one of four centers sharing $200 million in new awards from NIH. This award is a part of the Protein Structure Initiative, which aims to decipher 5,000 new protein structures. Cynthia Sung, PhD ’88, formerly Associate Director of Pharmacokinetics at Human Genome Sciences, Inc. in Rockville, MD, writes: “I’ve been in Singapore for half a year. We moved here because of an exciting job opportunity for my husband and because we wanted to give our children an international living experience. They are 10, 8 and 5 now, so it’s a good age to do this. I’m in the very initial stages of setting up a consulting company targeting companies and institutions interested in conducting clinical trials of drugs in Singapore. Hopefully, my experiences at NIH, FDA and the biotech industry can help them design more informative trials.” Sung can be reached via email at email@example.com.
2000s Atul J. Butte, PhD ’04, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Informatics) and Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, writes: “Things are going well. It’s been an unbeatable setup for me here at Stanford. Gini
[wife] is now working in strategic marketing at Affymetrix, a biotech company making genomic diagnostic products. Also, I was awarded one of three Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) Research Starter Grants in Informatics, providing funding for two years.” Christopher R. Carr, PhD ’05 writes: “I am enjoying life as a postdoc, and have gone from my PhD work on space suit design and energetics of human movement to working on a life detection experiment for Mars. “I’m currently working with an interdisciplinary team at MIT, MGH, and Harvard and am building a low power low mass “lab on a chip” device for DNA detection with Earth applications. Years ago I would never have imagined combining aero/astro, electrical engineering, medical physics, and planetary science in the same project; HST really gave me a good feel for the power of interdisciplinary collaborations. “I have also enjoyed helping establish (with a great team) the MIT International Development Initiative (http://web.mit.edu/idi) over the last couple of years.”
Research News (continued from page 4)
metabolism of drugs but have not distinguished between the periportal and centrilobular patterns of response to a toxic insult. This paper presents a perfused bioreactor that imposes oxygen gradients on co-cultures of rat hepatocytes and nonparenchymal cells. This bioreactor was modeled mathematically and then validated experimentally. This bioreactor system will support further in vitro studies of zonation and dependent phenomena involving the metabolism and toxicity of drugs. (JW Allen et al., Toxicol Sci 2005; 84:110 –119.)
Plea to Expose Medical Students to Entrepreneurship David A. Shaywitz, MD ’99, PhD, Research Fellow in Medicine at HMS and at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Neuroendocrine Unit at MGH, pleads that students should be exposed to life-science entrepreneurs, either by optional courses in the curriculum or by opportunity to intern at young biotechnology companies. (DA Shaywitz, Nat Biotechnol 2005; 23: 1447-8.)
Motion in the Cochlea John J. Guinan, Jr., PhD, HST afﬁliated faculty and Associate Professor of Otology and Laryngology at HMS and MEEI, and Holden Cheng, SM ’05 challenge the conventional explanation of the excitation of auditory nerve
ﬁbers in the mammalian cochlea being due to motion produced by the basilar membrane wave traveling through the organ of Corti, ampliﬁed by the outer hair cells. Studying the effects of medial-olivocochlear (MOC) efferents upon click responses from single-auditory-nerve ﬁbers in cats, they found unexpectedly that MOC stimulation inhibited the ﬁrst peak of the response at moderate to high sounds levels. The data were interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that there is a motion that bends inner-hair-cell stereocilia which can be inhibited by MOC efferents. Thus, the classical basilar membrane traveling wave is not the only motion that excites auditory-nerve ﬁbers. (JJ Guinan and H Cheng, J Acoust Soc Am 2005 118:2421-33.)
Amy Wax (continued from page 6)
Street Journal, using social science, medicine, and economic analysis to weigh in on social issues and policy. Her body of work challenges some of the accepted empirical and conceptual underpinnings of social policy. Wax and Cohen are raising three children, ages 9, 11, and 15. In her leisure time she attends the opera and ballet in Philadelphia and enjoys traveling with her family. — Sarah Grifﬁth
Non-Proﬁt Organization US Postage PAID Cambridge, MA Permit No. 54016
The Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology 77 Massachusetts Ave., E25-519 Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
HST Graduation Wednesday | June 7, 2006 | 11:00 a.m. Harvard Club 374 Commonwealth Avenue • Boston
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It went public two years ago. Today, key elements of the company’s proprietary technology include: ■
Advanced biosensors that communicate bioelectrical signals between physiological tissue, such as peripheral nerves, and electronic instruments.
Sophisticated bioelectronic instruments that interface with the biosensors and perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Biomedical signal processing, automation and analysis algorithms.
Information systems utilizing sophisticated informatics and decision support technology that maximize clinical utility.
| Keynote Speaker |
Leon E. Rosenberg, MD Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Princeton University 8
Gozani is pleased that HST now has an endowed fellowship funded with proceeds generated from the public offering of NeuroMetrix, and appreciates the opportunity to give back to the place that gave him so much. “I am deeply grateful to HST and the resources it provided me that made possible my research and the company that it spawned,” Gozani said. “The creative and encouraging HST environment helped motivate my efforts to commercialize my ideas and build a stand-alone medical device company.” He added, “It gives me great pleasure to know that the work of NeuroMetrix is not only making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients throughout the world, but that HST students will beneﬁt from our work as well.” — Betsy Tarlin