April People Notes

Giana Angelo, a graduate research assistant in the Mineral Bioavailability Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts, is one of 12 finalists in the 2005 American Society for Nutritional Sciences’ Procter & Gamble Graduate Student Research Awards abstract competition. The finalists will compete in an oral competition at the 2005 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego on April 2. Angelo’s presentation is titled “RNAi-mediated Knockdown of Heat Shock Protein 90 beta (Hsp90 beta) Impairs Responsiveness to Vitamin D in Caco-2 Cells.”

Wei-Hsun Chao has been hired as a postdoctoral associate in the HNRCA’s Vitamin Metabolism Laboratory.

Lenore Cowen, associate professor of computer science, is leading the Tufts portion of a new Boston-area consortium in computational biology. The group, led by Simon Kasif of Boston University, also includes researchers from MIT and the Broad Institute and will study high-throughput functional annotation of emerging genomes. While many diverse information sources from published journal articles, to sequence similarity searches, to protein structure prediction, can give clues to the function of a newly sequenced gene, it is still the case that for more than half these genes, scientists are unable to annotate them with any prediction of what they do. Cowen’s group will focus on the computational biology problem of improving methods for functional prediction based on better protein structure prediction and on the computer science problem of how best to integrate diverse information sources, each with uncertain and incomplete data.

Leila Fawaz, Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies and founding director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts, was invited to serve on the external review committee of the history department at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and to give a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations in Chicago. This August, Fawaz has been invited to present a paper at the University of Erlangen’s international conference on “The Roots of Liberal Thought in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Kate Ford and Gail Rogers are the recipients of the 2004 Employee Recognition Awards given by the HNRCA. Ford has been the assistant to the HNRCA director for four years. She was recognized for her efforts to keep the director’s office running smoothly and for her work on a number of HNRCA planning committees. A member of the Nutritional Epidemiology Program staff since 1995, Rogers was honored for her ability as a senior statistical programmer to explain often-complicated statistical programming issues. The two were presented their awards by HNRCA Director Robert Russell during the HNRCA Employee Assembly on January 19.

Dr. Gregory R. Giugliano, associate director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory and cardiology research at Baystate Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine, currently works as an interventional cardiovascular specialist performing more than 200 coronary interventional procedures each year. He holds a M.S. in epidemiology and statistics from Harvard School of Public Health. He published two papers in the American Journal of Cardiology: “Meta-Analysis of Corticosteroid Treatment in Acute Myocardial Infarction” and “Determinants of 30-Day Adverse Events Following Saphenous Vein Graft Intervention With and Without a Distal Occlusion Embolic Protection Device.” His most recent article, “Cutting Balloon Entrapment During Treatment of In-Stent Restenosis: An Unusual Complication and Its Management,” was published in the March issue of the Journal of Invasive Cardiology. He is the editor of a chapter in the well-known Colman text, Hemostasis and Thrombosis, to be published this December by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. He is the local primary investigator on several nationwide randomized clinical trials, and his ongoing research interests include embolization during percutaneous procedures, acute coronary syndromes, myocardial infarction, drug eluting stents and saphenous vein graft interventions. He is the director of the upcoming Plotkin Cardiovascular Symposium in western Massachusetts.

Dr. Barbara Greco, associate clinical professor of medicine at Baystate Medical Center, a Tufts affiliate, is the co-principal investigator, with Dr. George Hartnell, professor of radiology, on the project “Cardiovascular Outcomes in Renal Atherosclerotic Lesions (CORAL).” The NIH-funded study is looking at randomizing patients with renal artery stenosis to renal stenting versus optimal medical therapy. Greco also serves on the steering committee for Women Advancing and Achieving in Medicine, a mentoring group for women physicians at Baystate.

Kenneth I Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, and Dr. Richard Shader, professor of pharmacology, co-chaired the 32nd annual Postgraduate Course in Clinical Pharmacology, Drug Development and Regulation, held at the Four Seasons hotel in Boston February 7-11. The five-day program focused on the drug development process, regulatory procedures and the current economic environment for pharmaceutical innovation. There were more than 90 attendees. Kaitin spoke on the decline in productivity in the research-based pharmaceutical industry at the DIA Outsourcing and Finance annual meeting in Philadelphia on February 21.

Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, was a keynote speaker in March at the 4-H State Leaders’ annual conference, held in Tucson, Ariz. In April, Lerner will travel to Atlanta to participate in the Society for Research in Child Development’s 2005 biennial meeting. The sixth edition of the Handbook of Child Psychology, which Lerner co-edited with William Damon of Stanford University, was submitted to publisher John Wiley & Sons. With the sixth edition, the four-volume handbook returns to Tufts, where the first edition was managed under the editorship of former Tufts President Leonard Carmichael, a prominent psychologist, in 1946.

Nan Levinson, lecturer in English, gave a lecture on “Civil Discourse and Free Speech” at Roger Williams University in March. She also taught a class on the First Amendment for students in the communications and the law and justice programs there. She will be a panelist for the Writer’s Life series at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in April. Her panel, “Writing Profiles,” will draw on her book, Outspoken: Free Speech Stories, and her work as a journalist. Since last fall, she has spoken about free speech on radio stations from Massachusetts to California and points in between, including a Voice of America program called “Coast to Coast.”

Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the HNRCA and Stanley N. Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at the Friedman School, on February 14 spoke on “Heart Disease and Women: What’s All the Fuss” to a group of 60 HNRCA staff dressed in red in support of the American Heart Association’s Wear Red Day campaign. The focus of the Wear Red campaign is to increase awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of women and men in the United States. Lynn Hyams, HNRCA human resources representative, and Natalie Viernes, staff assistant, arranged the program.

Jing Ma has joined the HNRCA as a scientist in the Vitamin Metabolism Laboratory.

Dr. Joseph C. McCarthy, clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the medical school, was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons at the organization’s 72nd annual meeting, held February 23-27 in Washington, D.C. He will serve the academy as secretary for the Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies. McCarthy, who is also staff orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital, specializes in total joint arthroplasty and hip arthroscopy. After earning his medical degree from Georgetown University Medical School, McCarthy completed an internship in internal medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, residencies in general and orthopedic surgery at Tufts-New England Medical Center and a fellowship in reconstructive joint surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has served as president of the medical staff at New England Baptist and participates in residency training programs for orthopedic residents from Tufts, the University of Massachusetts and the Otto Aufranc Hip Fellows. He is president of the executive committee of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. McCarthy has authored or co-authored 13 book chapters and two textbooks and published more than 44 peer-reviewed articles. He currently serves as a consultant reviewer for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, Journal of Arthroplasty, Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and Arthroscopy. He was presented with the prestigious AAOS Otto Aufranc Award in 2001.

Seth I. Merrin, A82, founder and CEO of Liquidnet Holdings, the top electronic marketplace for block trading that debuted on April 10, 2001, has been elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees. Liquidnet is the third technology firm that Merrin has started. The company recently was named the fifth fastest-growing private company in America, according to Inc. magazine. In 1997, Merrin co-founded VIE Systems Inc., a financial services application integration software company, and in 1985, he founded his first company, Merrin Financial, which broke new ground with its institutional trading solutions. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from Tufts and is an active member of the New York Tufts Alliance and a steady supporter of Tufts Hillel. He and his wife, Anne, have established the Merrin Family Scholarship Fund at Tufts, which assists disadvantaged students from the New York City area.

Dr. Christopher-Paul Milne, assistant director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, gave a presentation on “Pediatric Pharmacoeconomics” at the ESDP-EUDIPHARM Pediatric Pharmaceutical Course in Brussels, Belgium, February 3-5. He talked on the “Future of Big Pharma” at the Innogen International Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, February 23-25 and gave a presentation on the “Impact of Pediatric Research Incentive” at the DIA annual EuroMeeting in Lisbon March 7-9.

Sarah Peterson has been hired as a staff assistant in the Metabolic Research Unit at the HNRCA.

Vincent Pollina, associate professor in the Department of Romance Languages, lectured in the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University on “Manuscript Sources and Literary Criticism: The Troubadour Vidas and Razos.”

Ligi Paul Pottenplackel has been hired as a scientist in the HNRCA Vitamin Metabolism Laboratory.

Todd Quinto, professor of mathematics, co-organized and spoke at a short course on tomography at the national meeting of the American Mathematical Society in January. The short course consisted of a series of lectures that introduced newcomers to an exciting applied field in mathematics. Tomography involves areas as diverse as medical imaging, electron microscopy, nondestructive evaluation and seismology. As a follow-up, Quinto co-organized a special research session on “Radon Transforms and Inverse Problems.” In addition to a number of experts from around the world, the list of invited speakers included three Tufts math faculty members. Fulton Gonzalez, associate professor, spoke about his current research on “Support Theorems for Radon Transforms on Grassmannians,” which generalizes results of Helgason, one of the founders of the field. Misha Kilmer, assistant professor, spoke on joint research with Eric Miller, Tufts student Marco Enriquez and David Boas on “The Cortical Constraint Method for Diffuse Optical Tomographic Imaging.” In her talk, Kilmer described a reduced-complexity technique that she and her colleagues developed to locate anomalies in optical properties (e.g. those indicative of tumors) on the surface of the cortex. Lisa Perrone, assistant professor, spoke on “Kronecker Approximations and Anti-Reflective Boundary Conditions in Image Restoration,” providing an elegant and efficient way to do image restoration that involves great savings in computer processing time and memory requirements.

Kimberley Russell has joined the HNRCA as a senior research coordinator in the Dietary Assessment and Epidemiology Research Program.

Dr. Robert Stern, assistant professor of otolaryngology and chief of otolaryngology at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, was named one of Boston’s top doctors by the patients who know them best in the February issue of Boston magazine. Sanford Sylvan, a baritone and internationally acclaimed opera singer, had battled a misdiagnosed sinus infection for more than a year before he went to see Stern, who prescribed the right antibiotic. Stern “was absolutely brilliant,” Sylvan told Boston. “There are thousands of dollars hanging in the balance if my voice doesn’t work the way it should.”

Jan Swafford, lecturer in English, has given pre-concert talks for the Boston Symphony, and he was a featured speaker and scholar at Charles Ives festivals in Tucson, Ariz., and in Boston. In March, he lectured on film music at the Concord Library. Last fall, he taught graduate seminars on Beethoven and Brahms at the Boston Conservatory. This June, an article on Swafford’s music will appear in the magazine Chamber Music.

Allen Taylor, director of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the HNRCA, participated as a “critical thought leader” in the Association for Research in Ophthalmology (ARVO) U.S.-Indo Workshop on Collaborative Research sponsored by the National Eye Institute. The workshop incorporated visits to three cutting-edge eye health facilities committed to preventing and controlling global blindness: the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, the Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology in Madurai and the Sankara Nethralaya Institute in Chennai, India. From there he traveled to Singapore and gave a talk on “The Function of the Ubiquitin Proteolytic Pathway in Control of Protein Quality, Cell Proliferation and Differentiation” at the second annual Singapore Eye Research Institute­ARVO Symposium on Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Jodi Thompson has joined the HNRCA as the dietary night and weekend supervisor in MRU Nutrition Services.

Dr. James E. Udelson, associate professor of medicine and radiology at the School of Medicine, was installed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology during its 54th annual scientific session in Orlando, Fla., on March 7. Udelson has received the School of Medicine’s Excellence in Teaching Award three years in a row. He is also associate chief of the Division of Cardiology and director of the Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory at Tufts-New England Medical Center. Udelson’s research has made significant contributions to cardiovascular care, including studies on heart failure and cardiovascular imaging. He has promoted cardiology education and research with 64 peer-reviewed publications, 37 research studies, 17 abstracts and more than 100 reviews, editorials and book chapters. He sits on the editorial board of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Agnes Varis, H03, the founder and president of Agvar Chemicals Inc. of Little Falls, N.J., has been elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees. Agvar provides FDA-approved bulk pharmaceutical active substances for generic dosage form drugs manufactured in the United States. Varis was also one of the founders of Marsam Pharmaceuticals Inc., which, until its acquisition, was one of the largest manufacturers of generic, sterile, injection dosage forms in the United States. She is also the founder and president of Aegis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of generic dosage form pharmaceuticals for the United States. An ardent advocate for women, Varis broke the male-only member policy of the Chemist Club, the Drug Chemical Allied Trade Association and the Sales Association of the Chemical Industry. At Tufts, she is a member of the Board of Overseers to the School of Veterinary Medicine and one of the school’s greatest benefactors. She is an ardent advocate of animal welfare and spearheaded a public service campaign in New York City to encourage companion animal adoption. In 2000, she donated the Agnes Varis Lecture Hall, and in 2003, the cat ward in the school’s Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals. She established the Agnes Varis University Chair in Science and Society, an endowed professorship that will rotate among the university’s seven schools. Tufts awarded her an honorary doctor of public service degree during commencement ceremonies in 2003.

Dr. Xiang-Dong Wang, associate professor and director of the HNRCA’s Nutrition and Cancer Biology Laboratory, will receive the 2005 E.L.R. Stokstad Award for outstanding fundamental research in nutrition during the 2005 Experimental Biology meeting April 3 in San Diego. The award, given by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, cites Wang for his innovative research on the role of carotenoids in cigarette smoking related lung carcinogenesis and metabolism of vitamin A in liver disease. He and his Tufts colleagues, Robert M. Russell, Norman I. Krinsky and Chun Liu, focused their research efforts on mechanisms of carotenoid conversion to retinoids and other metabolites and showed that anticarcinogenic and procarcinogenic responses to beta-carotene in people are related to the dosage used in intervention trials. Wang will give an invited presentation, “Carotenoids, Gene Regulation and Cancer Prevention,” at the carotenoid interaction conference April 2 at the Experimental Biology meeting. He has also been invited to speak on “Ferret: a Unique Model for Studying Lung Cancer Prevention” at the International Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, which will be held July 14-15 in Washington, D.C. Wang and his Tufts colleagues, Johanna Dwyer and Russell, were invited to speak on their recent research on lycopene function at the NIH/NCI symposium on “Promises and Perils of Lycopene/Tomato Supplementation and Cancer Prevention” held in February in Bethesda, Md.

Jo Wellins, director of development and alumni relations at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy since 1999, has taken on a new role as associate director of principal and leadership gifts in the university’s Advancement Division. Wellins has worked in Tufts’ fund-raising division since 1994. When Wellins started with the nutrition school, the Friedman name was not yet associated with the school. Playing a key role in facilitating the naming of the school and stewarding the involvement of the Friedman family is just one of her many accomplishments in her current role. She also led efforts to fund the Gershoff Chair of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Louis Lasagna Chair in Medicine and played a lead role in securing $5 million gifts from John Hancock and New Balance. In her new role, Wellins will coordinate the cultivation and solicitation of key university prospects and donors, lead development efforts around university-wide initiatives, provide assistance and advice to school-based development officers on strategies for principal gift prospects and help develop proposals and case statements on priorities for the upcoming capital campaign. For the next several months, Wellins will divide her time between the Friedman School and Packard Hall.

Donald Wertlieb, professor of child development, has had his ongoing collaboration with colleagues at Inflexxion Inc. yield good news with the funding of the next phase of work on their mutimedia interactive violence prevention curriculum for young children. The National Institute of Mental Health has awarded the team $750,000 over the next two years to develop and field test their program that fosters children’s emotional intelligence and social skills. Principal investigator Michael Davis presented the work at a seminar on resilience last spring. Dr. Robert Sege, director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Health Research Center at Tufts-New England Medical Center and associate professor of pediatrics at the medical school, serves as co-principal investigator, and Geetha Pai, G07, a graduate student in child development, serves as research assistant. Former Eliot-Pearson Children’s School Head Teacher Sue Steinseick serves as a consultant on the project.

Dr. Vangel R. Zissi, D62, K67, clinical professor of endodontics at the School of Dental Medicine, is the new president of the International College of Dentists’ USA Section. As a member of the Navy Dental Program while at Tufts, Zissi was assigned to active duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego immediately after graduating in 1962, and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. He served as a senior dental officer, First Battalion, 25th Marine Reserve Unit, 4th Marine Division, from 1965-67, completing his obligation in June 1972, with the rank of lieutenant commander. In 1967, Zissi was the first graduate of the dental school’s postgraduate endodontics program. He has been a diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics since 1970. He has been teaching part time at Tufts dental school for 38 years and also serves as the school’s director of continuing education.