June People Notes

Linda M. Abriola, dean of the School of Engineering, has been elected to a three-year term as a councilor of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. M. Sawkat Anwer, professor and associate dean for research at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed chair of the Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Brien A. Barnewolt, assistant professor of medicine, was elected president of the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians during the group’s annual meeting in May. Barnewolt is the emergency physician-in-chief at Tufts-New England Medical Center and the Floating Hospital in Boston. He has served on the College’s Board of Directors for seven years and has practiced emergency medicine in Massachusetts for the past 15 years.

Debbie Beasley, research associate professor of medicine and director of the Laboratory of Vascular Myocyte Biology in the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute at Tufts-New England Medical Center, has been awarded a four-year, $1.6 million NIH grant, titled “Autocrine Role of Cytokines in Vascular Smooth Muscle,” for her research on vascular disease. Beasley’s research team recently discovered that inflammatory pathways and receptors of the innate immune system are expressed by cells within the muscular layer of the arterial wall. The goal of the grant is to determine the roles of these molecules in the development of vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and post-surgical restenosis (recurrent arterial narrowing). The award is a competing renewal of her previous grant, which was first awarded in 1992, and will extend the funding of her project through its eighteenth year. Beasley’s team also received an Innovation Award at the BIO 2007 conference, held in Boston in May, for research conducted on a suspected microbial cause of atherosclerosis, in which the scientists showed that the bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae infects vascular myocytes and activates their growth and expression of inflammatory molecules.

Dr. Rina Bloch, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation; Dr. Harry Webster, assistant professor and acting chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation; and Dr. Deniz Ozel, assistant clinical professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, were among those doctors cited as outstanding physicians in the spring/summer edition of Boston Consumers’ Checkbook magazine. The article surveyed area physicians and asked them which specialists they would choose to provide care to a loved one.

Sean Carroll, who received his Ph.D. in immunology from the Sackler School in 1983, is among the 72 new fellows admitted to the National Academy of Sciences. He is a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Election to the academy is considered one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed upon an American scientist. Carroll, an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, studies how genes and genetic regulation drive the development and evolution of diverse animal forms. He has written two popular science books on the topic. His work on fruit flies and other insects has revealed some of the key genetic players underlying major events in animal development, such as limb growth and coloration patterns.

Madeline H. Caviness, the Mary Richardson of Art and Art History; Martin J. Sherwin, the Walter S. Dickson Professor of English and American History, and Tufts trustee and School of Engineering overseer Bernard Gordon have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They are among 203 new fellows and 24 new foreign honorary members named to the academy’s Class of 2007. The 227 scholars, scientists, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders come from 27 states and 13 countries. Caviness is a renowned scholar of medieval art, particularly medieval stained glass. Her current research explores feminist theory in the context of medieval art objects. In 2005, Caviness won the Tufts University Award for Distinguished Research and the Seymour Simches Award for Teaching and Advising. That year, she was also recognized by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation with the Distinguished Senior Scholar Award. American Prometheus, Sherwin’s co-authored biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project physicist whose work resulted in the development and use of the atomic bomb in August 1945, won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for biography and the National Book Critics Circle Award for the best biography of the year. Sherwin has also served as an advisor for several documentaries on the nuclear age and is a widely renowned scholar on the topic. Known as a technological pioneer and a philanthropist, Gordon is co-founder and chief executive officer of NeuroLogica Corp., a neuroscience-based medical imaging company in Danvers, Mass. He previously served as a top executive at Analogic Inc., which he founded in 1969. Two decades ago, Gordon founded the Gordon Institute, now hosted at the School of Engineering, which is dedicated to developing leaders in the engineering and technical fields. Last fall, Sophia Gordon Hall, a new dormitory named for his wife, opened on the Medford/Somerville campus.

Debbie K. Chen, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, has received a $1,000 scholarship from SPIE, an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Chen received the award for her research in the use of a non-invasive optical method to study functional imaging of the human brain. The 2007 SPIE Educational Scholarship in Optical Science and Engineering will help Chen finance her studies of fast optical signal due to electrical stimulation in the peripheral nervous system. “I am very excited to be a part of the biomedical community and cannot wait to see what biomedical optics will bring to the field in the next few years,” said Chen. SPIE is the world’s largest international nonprofit society in the fields of optics, photonics and imaging, with 17,500 members, including 3,500 students.

Victoria Fields, V10, received a U.S. Army award for her research, “A Study of Desmodus Rotundus-mediated Bovine Rabies in Ometepec, Mexico.”

Michael Forgac, professor of physiology, is this year’s recipient of the School of Medicine’s Zucker Family Research Prize. Forgac was recognized for his many contributions to the study of vacuolar ATPase, a large enzyme complex that pumps protons across cell membranes and plays a key role in maintaining the pH in different cellular compartments. Since joining the Tufts faculty in 1984, he and his research group have focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which this protein complex functions. They researchers are beginning to illuminate the way the complex may influence disease, with a focus on cancer metastasis.

Christos Georgakis, professor of chemical and biological engineering, has been elected a fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), given to those who have made extraordinary contributions in the field. He will be honored at an IFAC council meeting on June 28 in Toulouse, France. Georgakis is the second U.S. chemical engineer to receive this distinction and is among 14 international fellows selected this year. He was cited “for seminal methodological contributions to chemical process control and for fostering highly productive industry/university research collaborations.” Georgakis is also a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has held endowed professorships at the Polytechnic University, Lehigh University and MIT.

Soha Hassoun, associate professor of computer science, has been named to the Defense Science Study Group, which selects young professors from many of the nation’s top universities to focus on defense policy, related research and development and the systems, missions and operations of the armed forces. The two-year program is designed to develop strong links between the national security community and young, emerging leaders in science and technology, especially in those fields that have not traditionally been associated with defense.

Eileen Kennedy, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, is co-editor of a new book, The Nation’s Nutrition (International Life Sciences Institute, 2007), which brings together the scientific evidence that underlies U.S. nutrition policies and programs. Her co-editor is Richard Deckelbaum of Columbia University. For more information, go to http://www.ilsi.org/Publications/press_nationsnutrition.htm.

Dr. Mary Anna Labato, a staff veterinarian at the Cummings School’s Foster Hospital, and Dr. Linda Ross, associate professor of clinical sciences, and colleagues in Louisiana and Florida have been awarded an American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation Grant for their project, “Use of HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Chronic Renal Failure in Dogs.”

Dr. David Leader, D85, assistant clinical professor of general dentistry, has rewritten the “Scleroderma and Dentistry” brochure for the National Scleroderma Foundation. The brochure targets those who suffer from scleroderma, a rare, chronic disease characterized by excessive deposits of collagen in the skin or other organs. Approximately 300,000 Americans have the disease. Leader became interested in the condition a few years ago and learned that many dentists cannot treat patients who have scleroderma. Often, scleroderma will cause the lips and face to tighten, leading to microstomia. This makes oral health care much more difficult, and trips to the dentist can be complicated and uncomfortable. Leader has become a regular lecturer at national and regional meetings, including the Yankee Dental Congress, and is the only dentist on the Medical Advisory Board of the New England chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation. The word “scleroderma” comes from two Greek words: “sclero,” meaning hard, and “derma,” meaning skin.

Molly Mead, the Lincoln Filene Professor at the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, is leaving Tufts to become the first director of the new Center for Community Engagement at Amherst College. Mead has been a primary partner in building Tisch College from its very beginning. She served as director of the college from 1999 to 2003 and as Lincoln Filene Professor and director of faculty programs since then. She has been at Tufts since 1990, when she joined the faculty of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. She also has done pioneering research on issues of gender in philanthropy and on youth development programs for girls. Starting in 1995, she helped to design, and she continues to help run, a nationally recognized program to train breast cancer activists to participate in federal breast cancer research decision-making.

Claire L. Moore, professor of molecular biology and microbiology, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Moore has made major contributions to our understanding of eukaryotic mRNA 3’ end formation. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fellows are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-reviewed process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.

Adil Najam, associate professor of international negotiation and diplomacy at the Fletcher School, and William Moomaw, professor of international environmental policy at Fletcher, are among the lead authors of a new report, “Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change,” which outlines the actions, policies and incentives that governments and industries can implement in the coming decades to address the causes of global warming. Both Najam and Moomaw have been interviewed by a number of media outlets on the report, including the New York Times. The report can be found at http://www.ipccinfo.com.

Meredith Nelson, V10, received an NIH award for her proposal titled “Prevalence of Human-derived Strains of Escherichia coli in Black-Backed Gulls (Larus marinus) and Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) That Forage and Roost at Landfills and Wastewater Treatment Plants.”

Lonnie H. Norris, dean of the School of Dental Medicine, was honored by the Mattapan Community Health Center at its 11th annual “Rock the Boat” fund-raising gala on April 28. Norris received the 2007 Community Health Pinnacle Award for “exemplifying strong leadership in community health care” and for his “outstanding work in community-focused oral health.” The Mattapan center is a comprehensive health delivery organization that serves individuals from the Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury and Hyde Park neighborhoods of Boston as well as Brockton, Randolph and Stoughton. The center was established in 1972 to improve the quality of life for residents of Mattapan and surrounding communities by providing comprehensive, accessible, affordable and culturally appropriate health-care services. The center serves more than 7,000 individuals annually through 26,000 patient visits.

Dr. John O’Reilly, a pediatrician at the Tufts-affiliated Baystate Medical Center; Dr. Mark Drapkin, professor of medicine; and Dr. Elisabeth Wilder, assistant professor of medicine, received the School of Medicine’s 2007 Clinician Leadership Educator Awards. O’Reilly won the Milton O., M30, and Natalie V. Zucker Clinical Teaching Prize in the innovation category; Drapkin, associate chief of infectious diseases at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, won in the Milton O., M30, and Natalie V. Zucker Clinical Teaching Prize in the accomplishment category; and Wilder, a physician at Tufts-New England Medical Center, won the Mark Aisner, M.D., Award for Excellence in Teaching Physical Diagnosis.

Jose Ordovas, director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA), has been named president of the scientific advisory board of Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA-Alimentación), a new institute of excellence in research created by the government of Madrid in coordination with universities, research centers and industry. The mission of the institute is to improve public health through nutrition research focused on nutrigenomics and food quality and safety. In addition to serving as president of the scientific advisory board, Ordovas is also serving as president of the board of trustees of the IMDEA Foundation.

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) has established an annual grant in honor of Dr. Mary Rose Paradis, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School, to recognize her work on behalf of the ACVIM Foundation, which supports veterinary research. Paradis has served on the board of the foundation for the past three years. She also has donated a percentage of the royalties from her book on neonatal foal medicine to the foundation.

Dr. Eli Peli, adjunct professor of ophthalmology at Tufts School of Medicine and director of the vision rehabilitation service at Tufts-New England Medical Center, has been elected a fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering. Peli conducts basic and applied research with the goal of enhancing imagery for the visually impaired. He was one of the first researchers to apply digital image processing to analysis of nerve fiber layer in glaucoma and for the measurement of drusen, tiny yellow or white accumulations of extracellular material that build up in the eye membrane, and their changes in age-related macular degeneration. His work on electronic and optical devices for impaired vision has led to several products on the market as well as many novel approaches for testing the effects of vision enhancement and image quality.

Sharon Ray, lecturer in occupational therapy, and Mary Alicia Barnes, fieldwork coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy, presented a workshop on April 22 titled “Reflective Practice: Supporting Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders” at the annual conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association in St. Louis.

Kathleen Riley, V10, received NIH funding for her research proposal titled “Molecular Mechanisms of Cytoskeletal Remodeling Following E. coli Infection in vivo.”

Dr. Robert Russell, director of the HNRCA, has accepted an invitation to become an advisor to the Nestle Foundation for the study of problems of nutrition in the world. The foundation is an independent institution that initiates and supports research in human nutrition with public health relevance in low-income countries.

Dr. John Schreiber has been appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief and chief administrative officer at the Floating Hospital for Children. He starts his new job in July. Interim pediatrician-in-chief Dr. Kevin P. Petit, assistant professor of pediatrics, will serve as vice chair for clinical affairs in the pediatrics department. Schreiber is currently pediatrician-in-chief at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital and the Ruben-Bentson Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He received his M.P.H. and M.D. from Tulane University. Schreiber completed his pediatric residency and clinical and research fellowships in infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School. He served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves for 11 years, including a call-up for Desert Storm as a flight surgeon with the 757 Airlift Squadron at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

Dr. Robert D. Stacks, associate clinical professor of pediatrics, has been inducted into the Medicine Academy of the National Academies of Practice. He received a B.S. in pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at the Boston Floating Hospital for Children. A diplomate and fellow of the American Board of Pediatrics, Stacks has chaired the pediatrics departments at St. Elizabeth’s and Faulkner hospitals in Boston.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Philip Starks, assistant professor of biology, who gave the commencement address to 800 graduates and their families on May 19 at the Haverhill, Mass., campus of Northern Essex Community College. He received an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Northern Essex and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in neurobiology and behavior from Cornell University. He advised the graduates to “pay attention to those who care for and challenge you, to be proud that your record reflects your accomplishments and to take joy in the process that leads to your successes.” An Army veteran who served in the Gulf War, Starks teaches Tufts students about the behavior of honeybees and paper wasps.

Ayron Strauch and Jocelyn Muller, graduate students in biology, attended the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology March 28 to April 1 in Tampa, Fla. Strauch discussed some of his research in Tanzania in a presentation titled “The Human-Environment Interface and Water Supply in Rural Tanzania: A Case Study of Social-Ecological Resilience.”

Grace Talusan, J94, lecturer in English, wrote the story for the coloring book, “Joey’s Special Eye,” published by the Eye Care Foundation in May. Talusan was inspired to write the book when her then-2-year-old niece, Joli, was diagnosed with eye cancer in 2005. The book will be distributed for free to families affected by retinoblastoma and will also be available for free download from the Eye Care Foundation’s website: http://www.eyecarefoundation.org/index.htm

Allen Taylor, chief of the HNRCA Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research and professor of nutrition, biochemistry and ophthalmology, received the Osborn and Mendel Award for Excellence in Nutrition Research from the American Society for Nutrition at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. He will receive the Denham Harmon Award for Excellence in Aging Research at the annual meeting of the American Aging Association in San Antonio in June. Taylor has been awarded a grant from the American Foundation for Aging Research. Together with Dr. Chung-Jung Chiu, an HNRCA scientist, and other members of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research, Taylor will use the funds to investigate relationships between dietary sugar intake and risk for age-related macular degeneration. Chiu has received a grant from the Ross Aging Initiative to study genetic and nutritional relationships with age-related macular degeneration. Taylor was a speaker at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s plenary symposium in May, when he gave a presentation on “Functions for the Ubiquitin Pathway in Eye Homeostasis, Cell Proliferation and Development: Expression of K6W Ubiquitin Confirms Critical Roles for the Ubiquitin Proteasome Pathway in Lens Formation and Function.”

Dawn Geronimo Terkla, executive director of institutional research; Lisa O’Leary, assistant director of institutional research; Nancy Wilson, director and associate dean of Tisch College; and Ande Diaz of Tisch College co-authored “Civic Engagement Assessment: Linking Activities to Attitudes,” which is the lead article in the May-June 2007 issue of Assessment Update.

Kristen Thane, V09, received a Morris Foundation grant for her proposal titled “Prognostic Factors and Microbiology of Abdominal Sepsis in Dogs.”

Honorine Ward, research associate professor of medicine, is this year’s recipient of the Milton O. and Natalie V. Zucker Prize at the School of Medicine. Ward was recognized for her contributions to our understanding of Cryptosporidium pathogenesis. This organism causes diarrheal disease that can be life-threatening in immuno-compromised individuals. Because no vaccine exists and therapeutic options are extremely limited, the organism is a significant worldwide public health problem. By combining basic molecular studies with translational approaches, Ward and her research group have identified targets for drug and vaccine development. In addition to these fundamental studies, she employed molecular epidemiological approaches to understand the way the organism is maintained and spread, particularly in the developing world, work that reflects her longstanding commitment to address critical global health problems.

Giovanni Widmer has been promoted to the rank of full professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Vicky Yang, V09, received an NIH grant for her work on “Development of a Novel Analysis Method for Determining the Left Ventricular Diastolic Function from Color M-Mode Doppler Echocardiography.”