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Building for the Future How Bill and Joyce Cummings are revitalizing the Medford/Somerville campus


From the President

Bringing Exceptional Professors to Campus The faculty at Tufts impress me daily with their vision, insight, and dedication. They are the thinkers, creators, and innovators who shed light on disease, inform policies that improve our world, and deepen our experience of the arts and humanities that enrich our lives. Yet our professors aren’t just top-notch researchers or scholars. They are also outstanding teachers and devoted mentors. ALONSO NICHOLS

As I’m sure you know from your own experience, an inspired—and inspiring—professor can make the critical difference in a student’s education. That’s why generous donors like you have a transformative impact on the lives of our students. By providing support for faculty, you can give Tufts students the extraordinary opportunity to learn from—and work beside—talented experts in a wide range of fields. These outstanding teachers guide students by example, not just as scholars, but as people who live lives of passion and purpose. Faculty members like these attract the very best undergraduate and graduate students— who in turn enrich each other’s educational experiences. In this issue of Blueprint, we highlight stories of the generous individuals and organizations that support our faculty. Arthur E. Spiller, A34, M38, created a professorship at our School of Medicine that helps us attract and retain outstanding faculty members. Joan Cohn, Ph.D., J65, and her husband, Dr. Peter Cohn, have provided research funds to further our understanding of nutrition’s role in combating disease. Professor Maria Papageorge, D82, DG86, DG89, A12P, M18P, organized a fund to support the oral surgery faculty at our dental school. And the Mellon Foundation is funding innovative interdisciplinary seminars in the humanities at Tufts. To support our faculty we must also create new academic spaces for teaching and learning. Trustee emeritus Bill Cummings, A58, H06, J97P, M97P, is doing just that by making it possible for us to create a new building at the corner of Boston and College Avenues on our Medford/Somerville campus. His generous gift will have an impact on faculty and students—and the neighboring community—for years to come. Through partnerships such as these, you sustain a research and teaching enterprise that benefits Tufts students and the larger world. And you educate the next generation of scientists, artists, policy makers, health-care professionals, and business leaders who will shape our shared future. Thank you,

ANTHONY P. MONACO President, Tufts University

Chairman, Board of Trustees Peter Dolan, A78, A08P President Anthony P. Monaco

Provost & Senior Vice President David R. Harris Vice President for University Advancement Eric Johnson

University Advancement Tufts University, 80 George St., 200-3 Medford, MA 02155 USA 617.627.3200 • giving@tufts.edu

Published by Communications and Marketing. Heather Stephenson, editor; Laura McFadden, designer.

COVER PHOTO BY JOHN SOARES


Cummings

Homage to Otto Love of Doberman pinscher inspires a clinical residency focusing on kidney disease BY LAURA FERGUSON

Now’s the time to do twice the good Now through June 2016, you can double the value of your gift to financial aid. If you’ve ever thought of creating a scholarship at Tufts, don’t miss this chance! For more information on the Financial Aid Initiative and its dollar-for-dollar match, please contact Jeff Winey, senior director of principal gifts and university initiatives, at 617.627.5468 or jeff.winey@tufts.edu. Or visit giving.tufts.edu/fai.

Fall 2015

N ew s o f G i v i n g , G r ow t h, and G r a t itude

KELVIN MA

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ILES AND PARKER Collier adored Otto. The Doberman pinscher, says Miles, had a “captivating personality. Anyone who met him immediately fell in love with him.” Otto was only 15 months old when he threw up after a long walk in the meadows and woods near the Collier home in Vermont. Concerned, the Colliers took him to the local veterinarian’s office, where blood tests revealed something was dangerously wrong with Otto’s kidneys. He needed immediate, specialized care. The Colliers rushed him to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, where Tufts veterinarians raced to save his life. Despite their efforts, after 10 days of urgent care, he succumbed to inexplicable kidney failure. The Colliers were devastated. But out of their grief came a desire to honor Otto and the veterinarians who cared for him during his final days. Their generous gift establishes a new three-year clinical residency position with a focus on nephrology (kidney disease). The residency strengthens the school’s research on small-animal nephrology and allows clinicians and veterinarians to spend more time helping dogs and cats with renal disease. “It seemed like a natural thing to do, we were so impressed by the whole team involved in trying to help Otto,” says Miles. “Everyone obviously cared about Otto. Dr. Daure and Dr. Labato did their absolute best and were as heartbroken as we were when he died. That kind of passion deserves to be supported and we are pleased to do so.” “Human patients and their families should have the time and caring and communication we experienced for Otto,” says Parker.

Top and bottom left: Otto; Bottom right: Resident Melisa Rosenthal, right, with Mary Labato, V83

Mary Labato, V83, a clinical professor with a primary interest in disorders of the kidneys and bladder, says the gift will advance the school’s focus on a disease that threatens both dogs and cats. “Kidney failure puts the animal at serious risk; kidney cells can’t regenerate like they can in the liver, lungs, bone, and skin,” she says. “We’re grateful to the Colliers for giving us the means to advance our research and training on how renal disease can be treated and managed so that animals can continue to have a quality life.” Dr. Melisa Rosenthal, a graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, says she was thrilled to be selected through the highly competitive annual residency match program. “I chose Tufts for my residency largely because of the excellent dialysis program and the amazing advancements Cummings is making in treating kidney disease,” she says. “Having both treated and seen the challenges of kidney disease in my own pets, I understand how devastating this disease can be, and I wanted to be at a hospital where I felt like I could help make a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love them.” Peggy Manker, the Colliers’ long-time dog trainer, says the gift is an apt reflection of the family’s deep devotion to animals. “When I learned the Colliers made this gift in his honor, I cried,” she says. “I didn’t want people to forget Otto. I’m so glad they could turn his passing into something that will help other animals.” n

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Arts & Sciences

Connecting Globally

BY LAURA FERGUSON

ALONSO NICHOLS

Mellon Foundation underwrites one-year humanities seminar

Professor Lisa Lowe hopes the seminar will enrich humanities research and curricula.

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HE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION is supporting an interdisciplinary humanities seminar that will forge significant connections between Tufts faculty and scholars from around the world. The Comparative Global Humanities seminar will encompass eight sessions that will explore new ideas about the study and teaching of literature, religion, anthropology, and other subjects in the humanities. It is funded with $175,000 from the foundation’s Sawyer Seminars series; Tufts was one of a small number of universities invited to apply for seminar support. “Within a traditional university setting, we don’t always have the opportunity to think across fields of knowledge, but contemporary society encourages us to see multiple layers of any one issue, and that perspective can only enlarge our discussion in the humanities,” says Lisa Lowe, a professor of English and American Studies who is helping to organize the Tufts seminar. “We can be more innovative by both thinking globally and by looking at history through a wider lens that reveals interrelationships. Topics like colonialism, slavery, religion, and war can encourage us to think beyond nation-based studies—they are dynamic processes that don’t fit into fixed categories.”

Conceiving the humanities as emerging out of the longer history of global encounters, each session of the seminar will focus on a cross-cutting theme that brings together scholarship from comparative literature, world history, comparative religion, anthropology, and the arts. Topics may include the study of migration and labor across the Americas and Asia; creolization and cosmopolitanism; religion’s imperial pasts and global futures; cinema and war memory; and human rights and transitional justice. The seminars will bring to Tufts visiting scholars from institutions in both the United States and abroad. Through online video conferencing, scholars from Bangladesh, Australia,


Lebanon, South Africa, Canada, and Hong Kong will also participate. Lowe, who is also a member of the Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, says the concept for the seminar grew out of brainstorming sessions with other Tufts faculty. Lowe wrote the proposal with Kris Manjapra, associate professor of history, and Kamran Rastegar, associate professor of Arabic in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures. “We see the seminar as a thought experiment that will create an innovative space for Tufts—and universities in general—to enrich

the humanities, both in faculty research and in the curricula,” Lowe says. The one-year seminar, to be held at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts, builds on Tufts faculty expertise in issues such as slavery, feminism, colonialism, and immigration to and from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Tufts professors will organize the eight three-hour sessions for faculty and graduate students, which will be held once a month starting in September 2016. Each session will be led by an invited distinguished visiting scholar who will spend several days at Tufts, during which time he or she will also pres-

ent a public lecture. Scholars and students at domestic and international partner universities will link to the eight sessions through videoconference. The seminar will culminate in a one-day conference in April 2017 that will be open to faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and the entire scholarly community. The Mellon funding allows Tufts to create one-year appointments for one Sawyer Seminar postdoctoral fellow and two dissertation fellows in the humanities. These outstanding young scholars will participate in the seminar and continue their research with the support of Tufts faculty and visiting scholars. n

Dental

Honoring a Devoted Mentor ALONSO NICHOLS

Tribute to Dr. Richard J. Sorbera provides for faculty development

Maria Papageorge created the fund to support professors’ research and training.

Fall 2015

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BY BRENDA CONAWAY

OW DO YOU BEST recognize a beloved professor who taught the science and craft of oral surgery with patience, skill, and more than a dash of humor? For Maria Papageorge, D82, DG86, DG89, A12P, M18P, the answer was clear: set up an endowed faculty development fund in his name. Dr. Papageorge, who is a professor, chair, and director of the advanced education program in oral and maxillofacial surgery, created the fund to honor Richard J. Sorbera, D.D.S., DG65, who died in May 2014. “Truly to the day he passed away, he was a vital part of this program,” Papageorge says. “He was involved in all aspects of it and was committed and loyal, to Tufts in particular, and to all his students. He loved to teach.” Sorbera was a clinical professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for more than 40 years. “He taught me outpatient oral surgery, and he taught me general anesthesia and safe sedation, which he did, lit-

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erally, to every resident who came through the program,” Papageorge says. Sorbera is remembered as a kind, humble, gifted mentor—and generous provider of doughnuts. For as long as any can remember, he brought the sweet treats every Tuesday to share with residents, students, and staff. The endowed faculty development fund in Sorbera’s name will be used at the discretion of the chair. It will allow the department to train faculty in new surgical procedures, to send them to meetings to stimulate research development, and to encourage collaborative research with other institutions. “And that, in turn, benefits our residents and our patient care,” Papageorge says. The response to the fund by Tufts faculty and alumni speaks volumes for the deep affection many felt for Dr. Sorbera. The fund was set up in February and the $50,000 goal was surpassed by June. “I felt that he was such an inspirational force in this department that we had to honor a person like that,” Papageorge says, “and people responded.” n

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An architectural rendering of the proposed academic building and footbridge

Medford/Somerville

New Building, Footbridge Planned Cummings family supports construction over proposed T station

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BY LAURA FERGUSON

ACK IN 1987, Trustee Bill Cummings, a Massachusetts real estate developer, proposed a radical plan to transform the Medford/ Somerville campus. If Tufts could secure rights to the airspace above the public transit tracks at the busy intersection of Boston and College Avenues, the university could construct a new building on College Avenue and then build a footbridge that connected it to the Hill. “From the time I was a student to my many campus visits as an alum, I was constantly aware of the dangerousness of that intersection,” says Cummings, A58, H06, J97P, M97P. “As a new university trustee, I was in a better position to influence and also to financially support a solution.” He brought schematic plans, drawn up by his senior architect, to then-Tufts president Jean Mayer, who responded enthusiastically. But another senior administrator at the time “was very pessimistic about our ability to acquire the necessary air rights,” Cummings says, and so the plans were shelved. “I thought the project made a lot of sense for Tufts,” he says. “It was a strategic, creative, well-integrated development plan that would improve student safety and the campus appearance.”

His patience has paid off. Tufts is planning to construct a 100,000-square-foot academic building above the site of a proposed new MBTA College Avenue station, along with a footbridge connecting the facility to the campus—all at the same location Cummings proposed nearly three decades ago. He and his wife, Joyce Cummings, J97P, M97P, have made the new building possible through generous support from their Cummings Foundation. In addition, a publicprivate collaboration involving the City of Medford, the MBTA, Tufts, and Cummings Foundation is expected to enhance the MBTA Green Line Extension project with public spaces that the university will maintain around the new transit stop. The planned public transit


project would extend the Green Line from its current terminus at the Lechmere Station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the new station at Tufts. “When we learned that the MBTA was moving forward with the new station, it seemed like a great time to reprise the idea,” says Cummings, a trustee emeritus and a former member of the medical school’s board of advisors. “It’s certainly satisfying because if it was a good idea then, it’s still a good idea now.” Preliminary designs for the new academic space include classrooms, meeting and seminar rooms, offices, and conference and teaching spaces. Some facilities will be available for use by the community. There will also be retail space, such as a coffee shop. Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco says he envisions the new building as a home for “outward-reaching” academic endeavors that will benefit from being near public transportation. He noted that it will foster greater collaboration between faculty and students on the Medford/Somerville campus and those on the health sciences campus in downtown Boston. “Bill and Joyce Cummings have been wonderful friends to Tufts and to the greater community, and their philanthropy has been vital to many of Tufts’ schools and programs,” Monaco says. “This visionary project will enhance public spaces for community use and also help knit together our campuses.”

ARDENT PHILANTHROPISTS The Woburn, Massachusetts–based Cummings Foundation has provided significant support to Tufts in the past. After endowing the Cummings Family Chair in Entrepreneurship and Business Economics, designed to help students develop leadership skills and other talents needed to run a successful business, the foundation committed $50 million to what is now Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Through the foundation’s subsidiary, Cummings Institute for World Justice, it has also funded the Cummings/Hillel Program for Holocaust and Fall 2015

Genocide Education, which supports a student volunteer trip to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda and an annual lecture by a witness of genocide. Cummings, a self-made entrepreneur who started out as a sales trainee for Vick Chemical Company, maker of Vicks VapoRub, and then spent three years with Gorton’s of Gloucester, grew up in Medford’s Haines Square. He fondly recalls his Tufts days as a commuter student, walking down College Avenue to class. He majored in business administration through the economics department and remembers eating “an awful lot of cheeseburgers” at the student hangout known as “The Kursaal,” located in the basement of Curtis Hall, just across the street from the future MBTA station. “Joyce and I have always wanted to do more for Medford and for Tufts,” Cummings says, “and this project is the perfect opportunity. We are thrilled to support a project that better integrates the university with the surrounding neighborhood. The new train station will eventually serve as a stunning, key entryway to the university, and the building will certainly provide Tufts with more visibility.” Cummings says he is also pleased that the project will fulfill another personal goal: naming a building for his wife. Joyce Cummings is a graduate of the University of Alabama, but she has formed a strong connection to Tufts over the years, he says. It would be difficult not to in a family with three Jumbos—Bill and their two daughters, Marilyn Cummings Morris, M97, and Patricia Cummings, J97. “Being a modest, down-to-earth person, Joyce was reluctant on previous occasions to be honored in such a public way,” says Cummings. “But we, as a couple, would not be in the position to do the things we are doing now if we had not spent the past 50 years together, with her supporting me so much and for so long in my work.” After graduating from Alabama in 1962, Joyce Cummings headed north for a dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital. She crossed paths with her future husband at

N ew s o f G i v i n g , G r ow t h, and G r a t itude

JOHN SOARES

“When we learned that the MBTA was moving forward with the new station, it seemed like a great time to reprise the idea.” —Bill Cummings, trustee emeritus

Bill Cummings, A58, H06, J97P, M97P, is pleased that the new building will be named after his wife, Joyce. They’ve been married nearly 50 years.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Bill had recently purchased a Medford company that made fruit punch concentrate, and the hospital was a customer. “Bill tricked me into our first date in April 1965,” recalls Joyce. He invited her to an evening event at the new Prudential Center. “Other women were in ball gowns, and there I was in my hospital whites—I was mortified. But when he dropped me off at home, he asked me to go out again on a real date. I thought, Why not give it another chance with street clothes?” The couple, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year, are committed philanthropists. “Joyce and I have all that we need and want,” Bill says. “We prefer to funnel our financial resources to philanthropy. How we enrich the lives of others is the real measure of our wealth.” Cummings Foundation, which they established in 1986, has grown into one of the largest philanthropic organizations in New England. They were the first Massachusetts couple to join The Giving Pledge, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the world’s wealthiest individuals to give away most of their money to charity. For now, they are eager to see the new academic building and footbridge take shape and await the opening of the new College Avenue station. “I am gratified that our initial idea has not only survived but grown, thanks to a collaboration between private and public institutions,” says Bill Cummings. “Partnerships have always been important to my own success in business; ideas are always made stronger when they are shared.” n

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KELVIN MA

Professor Robert White, right, examines a microchip with Kevin Legonde, E16, and Daniela Torres, E16.

Engineering

Macro Gifts for Nano Technology

Equipment propels lab to cutting edge

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BY BRENDA CONAWAY

T’S HARD TO FATHOM how to manufacture at the nano scale—at sizes smaller than a red blood cell—without hands-on experience. This was a main impetus for Professor Robert White’s successful effort to acquire new equipment for the Tufts Micro and Nanofabrication Facility. “Students have to interact with the equipment, so that it’s less magical and more practical,” he says. Thanks to a $300,000 award from the Richard H. Lufkin Memorial Fund, White and lab manager James Vlahakis have been able to purchase a number of items, including a dual gun RF Sputter system, for the laboratory. “This generous gift from the Lufkin Trust will allow us to keep our laboratories modern and refresh our toolsets so that we’re providing the best education possible to our students,” White says. The dual gun RF Sputter system from Angstrom Engineering is used to deposit smart materials—metals, polymers, or other materials that make controllable and reversible changes in their shape, volume, color, or thermal or electromagnetic properties. The gift also allowed lab staff to purchase a Bruker Dektak profiler to measure the film stress and film thickness of the materials deposited by the sputter system. Next year, the gift will support the acquisition of a nano patterning tool used to create patterned structures at a microscopic scale. In addition to the Lufkin award, Draper Laboratory gave a gift-in-kind of a Denton e-beam evaporator and a Karl Suss MA6 mask aligner. The e-beam evapo-

rator is used to apply thin films of metals and dielectrics, materials that can store energy. The MA6 is used for contact printing down to 1 micron or smaller. “There were a number of people involved in bringing us the award from Draper,” White says. “And we’re extremely grateful for their continued collaboration with Tufts.” “These are critical gifts, and we appreciate both organizations for their ongoing support,” White says. As a core facility, the lab is used by many undergraduate and graduate students across the engineering school and in the sciences. The experience the students will gain has applications for emerging technologies in a wide range of industries from optics and medical technology to semiconductors and aerospace. “Having this equipment available helps our students learn cutting-edge skills that they can take to their future careers and build things that will make the world a better place,” White says. n


Fletcher

A Renewed Commitment

Brad Meslin, F82, F84, names new scholarship fund after dean

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BY ABBY KLINGBEIL

RAD MESLIN, F82, F84, and Dean James Stavridis, F83, F84, first crossed paths as graduate students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Nearly three decades would pass before they would meet again. During that time, Meslin and Stavridis ascended to the top levels of business and the military, respectively. Meslin co-founded CSP Associates Inc., which grew to become the leading global aerospace and defense advisory firm, engaged in nearly 1,000 mergers and acquisitions. Stavridis rose to U.S. Navy admiral and NATO supreme allied commander, responsible for more than one million U.S. and allied forces. “It’s interesting how things have come full circle,” says Meslin, who reconnected when Stavridis became Fletcher’s dean two years ago. “It’s through Admiral Stavridis’s leadership and inspiration that I’ve become much more actively involved with the Fletcher School again.” Meslin recently helped develop Fletcher’s new strategic plan, “To Know the World.” Meslin’s friendship with Stavridis and his renewed connection with the Fletcher School inspired him to establish the Admiral James Stavridis Endowed Scholarship Fund. “The scholarship fund is a way of recognizing Jim’s role in leading the School forward. I also hope that it motivates others to contribute to a very worthy cause,” says Meslin, whose multiyear gift was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Fletcher School through the university’s Financial Aid Initiative. The program matches

gifts of $100,000 or more to existing or new endowed scholarships made by June 30, 2016. Meslin credits his Fletcher education with the development of CSP, founded with Mark Oderman, F80, and Peter Malone, F78, F83, A18P, and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “We took our Fletcher background and applied it to help translate the often arcane vocabulary of government contracting, national security, and defense programs into terms that investors could understand.” Through the Stavridis Scholarship Fund, Meslin hopes to help Fletcher attract more top students, some of whom will follow nontraditional paths like he did. “Fletcher offers a unique multidisciplinary curriculum not replicated anywhere else,” he says. “But it is still at a disadvantage relative to other schools that can offer financial aid to more of the students they accept.” n

The gift from Brad Meslin, F82, F84, is being matched through the Financial Aid Initiative.

ALONSO NICHOLS

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N ew s o f G i v i n g , G r ow t h, and G r a t itude


HNRCA

The Right Balance

Gift boosts research on nutrition, aging, inflammation, and disease BY BRENDA CONAWAY

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HEN ILLNESS STRIKES, your immune system goes on attack, sending out chemicals that increase inflammation in your body to drive out harmful invaders such as viruses or bacteria. This system works well when it remains in balance. The right amount of inflammation helps us heal from infection or injury. But too much inflammation and the body turns on itself, damaging cells and tissues. No one knows exactly why, but as we age, our body seems to lose the ability to control inflammation. This makes us more vulnerable to age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Solving this mystery is a main focus for the scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA). Joan Cohn, Ph.D., J65, and her husband, Dr. Peter Cohn, have made a generous gift to help them unlock the secrets of aging, inflammation, and chronic disease, and the role nutrition can play in keeping inflammation in balance within the body. Joan Cohn is an advisor to the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the HNRCA’s sister institution and key partner at Tufts. “This gift will advance the research and provide opportunities for graduate students, scientists, and faculty,” says Simin Nikbin Meydani, D.V.M., Ph.D., A09P, director of the HNRCA and professor of nutrition and immunology at the Friedman School and the Tufts Sackler Graduate Program in Immunology. She is grateful that the Cohns have provided additional funding for a seminar connected to this topic

for the Tufts community and the general public this year. “This support will allow us to look at the way food and particular nutrients facilitate, for example, good cognitive function as we age and also deter cancer,” says Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., senior scientist and director of the HNRCA’s Neuroscience and Aging Lab. Steindler studies how diet and nutrition can improve the function of stem cells within the brain to help prevent diseases such as brain cancer and Alzheimer’s. Other researchers at the HNRCA are looking at both whole foods and particular compounds of foods and their effects on inflammation. For example, certain compounds in blueberries may help improve mental fitness in older adults. Meydani and her colleagues have conducted research on the effect of EGCG, a compound in green tea, on autoimmune diseases. Other studies will focus on how diet interacts with genes to improve inflammatory responses as we age. “This gift is very timely, and I think that the Cohns are very forward looking in providing support for this area of research and education,” Meydani says. “The potential is huge for making advances.” n

ROBERT CAPLIN

Joan Cohn, Ph.D., J65, and her husband, Dr. Peter Cohn, support nutrition research.


Medicine

Focus: Interdisciplinary Research Professorship attracts talented new department chair

BY JOAN BARKER

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HE ASSUMPTION that conditions like cancer, obesity, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis are separate and unrelated could be hindering important scientific breakthroughs. But thanks to a generous gift to support a professorship, Tufts has brought a champion of interdisciplinary medical research to its faculty—and she is challenging such assumptions. Caroline Attardo Genco, Ph.D., is driven to understand if and how seemingly disparate medical conditions might share common underlying mechanisms. Genco was recently selected as the new chair of the Department of Integrative Physiology and Pathobiology at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). She will hold the Arthur E. Spiller, M.D., Professorship, an endowed professorship that enables Tufts to attract and retain talented medical researchers. The Spiller Professorship will allow Genco to continue her studies of genetic elements—in both pathogens and their hosts—that contribute to inflammatory responses. Her research will focus on interdisciplinary approaches to understanding immune-mediated diseases. “This is the wave of the future in disease research, to look at the whole disease, not just one particular pathway,” Genco says. “The professorship will be essential to my ability to do this work.”

KELVIN MA

Professor Caroline Attardo Genco, right, studies the underlying genetic elements of disease.

Fall 2015

N ew s o f G i v i n g , G r ow t h, and G r a t itude

Genco points to diseases like cancer, autoimmune disease, and obesity as examples of what happens when the immune system goes awry. When the system designed to protect us from infection misfires, it can have a devastating effect. Yet the tendency to focus on narrow parameters can render medical research blind to the way diseases are triggered and how they progress. “Many of us in science work in a vacuum,” she says. “We study one particular pathway but we don’t study the whole disease. For me, the big picture should be the disease, understanding it so we can diagnose and treat it.” Genco comes to TUSM from the Boston University School of Medicine, where she was a professor of microbiology and immunology, research director for the department of medicine’s section of infectious disease, and the recipient of a lifetime achievement award for research and service. She has served on numerous NIH review panels and editorial boards and was appointed as a scholar of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The professorship she now holds at Tufts was created through a generous bequest made through the estate of Arthur E. Spiller, A34, M38, an ophthalmologist who practiced in Needham, Massachusetts, for many years. Dr. Spiller saw the professorship as a satisfying, tangible legacy of his career as a physician and the medical training he received at Tufts. He was married to another Tufts graduate, the late Dr. Sylvia Ruby Spiller, J31, an allergist who practiced in Waltham. The support of the professorship and the warm, welcoming community at TUSM attracted Genco to the medical school. She was also inspired by the school’s commitment to interdisciplinary research. By sharing research and insights, she hopes her department will look both broadly and methodically at diseases. “Tufts has an openness to innovation that aligns well with my philosophy of science,” she says. n

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PHOTO: ALONSO NICHOLS

Blueprint is published three times a year for alumni, parents, and friends who generously support Tufts University as donors and volunteers.

READY TO TEACH

By supporting Tufts faculty—through research funds, professorships, and start-up funds—you make it possible for the next generation of leaders to learn from the best. Here, faculty members gather to welcome the Class of 2019 at Matriculation in September. Read more inside about how you, and people like you, help prepare students on our three campuses to lead in their fields.

Blueprint Fall 2015  

Blueprint Fall 2015

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