spring/summer 2006, Vol. 28 No. 3 The Magazine of The University ...
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spring/summer 2006, Vol. 28 No. 3 The Magazine of The University ...

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32 Pages
English

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ects, visit http://www.loreegriffinburns.com/. “Scientists, by .... the scientific rationale for the project, documents his or her efficacy results to ..... postdoctoral research at prestigious institutions, join a .... Function for VPR and VPX of Primate. Lentiviruses ..... recently an assistant professor of medicine at Eastern Virginia. Medical ...

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spring/summer 2006, Vol. 28 No. 3 When I Grow Up The Magazine of The University of Massachusetts Medical School ‘World-Class’ Discovery Making It Real   GI  7 G - O      L., the plural of life The name of this magazine encompasses the lives of those who make up the University of Massachusetts Medical School community, for which it is published. They are students, faculty, staff, alumni, volunteers, benefactors and others who aspire to help this campus achieve national distinction in education, research and public service. As you read about this dynamic community, you’ll frequently come across references to partners and programs of UMass Medical School (UMMS), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ only public medical school, educating physicians, scientists and advanced practice nurses to heal, discover, teach and care, compassionately. Commonwealth Medicine UMass Medical School’s innovative public service initiative that assists state agencies to enhance the value and quality of expenditures and improve access and delivery of care for at-risk and uninsured populations. The Research Enterprise UMass Medical School’s world-class investigators, who make discoveries in basic science and clinical research and attract over $175 million in funding annually. UMass Memorial Foundation The charitable entity that supports the academic and research enterprises of UMass Medical School and the clinical initiatives of UMass Memorial Health Care by forming vital partnerships between contributors and health care professionals, educators and researchers. www.umassmed.edu/foundation UMass Memorial Health Care The clinical partner of UMass Medical School and the Central New England region’s top health care provider and employer. www.umassmemorial.org   GI  7 G - O      Contents News and Notes 2 Features 7 Grants and Research 20 Alumni Report 22 The Last Word 28 When I Grow Up 7 Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences alumna Loree Griffin Burns, PhD ’98, moved from practicing science to writing about it—for kids. ‘World-Class’ Discovery 10 UMass Cancer Center Director Dario Altieri, MD, receives a unique federal award to seamlessly guide a disease-killing compound from lab to clinic. Making It Real 14 At UMass Medical School, simulated patient experiences in medical education enjoy a healthy history—and a technological tomorrow.   GI  7 G - O      News and Notes UMMS Ranks Fourth in Nation in Primary Care Education UMass Medical School repeated its see public affi rmation of our efforts to fourth place ranking in primary care provide high quality, primary care education among the nation’s 125 ac- education to tomorrow’s physicians.” education, thanks to the remarkablecredited medical schools and 19 schools In the U.S. News listing of top PhD contributions of scores of the Common-of osteopathic medicine in weekly news stprograms, UMMS ranked 51 , through its wealth’s most brilliant thinkers,” saidmagazine U.S. News & World Report’s Graduate School of Biomedical University of Massachusetts Presidentannual review, “America’s Best Graduate Sciences, and in the category of top Jack M. Wilson. “The Medical SchoolSchools.” thresearch schools—48 . Beyond its core is a vibrant and exciting institution that “Through unparalleled service and mission of distinction in health sciences has built a stellar reputation as a magnet education, our outstanding faculty education, the past decade has seen for the highest caliber leaders in medi- has a lasting and profound impact on UMMS explode onto the national scene cine, research and public service. We the health of the Commonwealth and as a major center for research. applaud Dr. Lazare and his colleagues the nation,” said Chancellor and Dean “UMass has shown great successes for setting the standard of quality in Aaron Lazare. “It’s greatly rewarding to in countless areas of public higher medical education.” Antibody Shows Potential for Lung Cancer Therapy While attempting to yield new data about mechanism that causes the cancer cells to as a new therapy for lung cancer and receptors that control the development self-destruct without affecting healthy tis- perhaps other tumors.” of the body’s infection-fi ghting T-cells, sue. The antibody also helps direct other To further the clinical development of researchers at UMass Medical School natural immune mechanisms to target and the antibody, and to make the necessary developed a monoclonal antibody, DMF kill the tumor cells, and it is particularly modifi cations that will allow for DMF 10 10, which they found is a likely treatment effective against human lung cancer cells. to be tested in people, UMMS has part- for lung cancer. “Lung cancer is a devastating disease nered with EvoGenix, a leading antibody Created in the laboratory of Kenneth L. and we sorely need better, more effec- therapeutics company in Sydney, Austra- Rock, MD, professor and chair of pathol- tive therapeutics for it,” Dr. Rock said. lia. EvoGenix has licensed the rights to ogy, DMF 10 destroys lung cancer cells by “While we still have some important DMF 10 and Rock will join the company’s binding to the surface of tumor cells and work ahead of us, I believe this antibody scientifi c advisory board to help direct initiating apoptosis, an internal cellular has excellent prospects to be developed further development of the antibody. “Magnifi cent 7” (left) is one of over 140 teams whose members honor cancer survivors—as well as those lost to the disease—at the annual Walk to Cure Cancer on the UMMS campus. Thousands will join “The 7” to raise funds for cancer research on September 10, 2006, at noon. For 2 information, visit www.walktocurecancer.com.   GI  7 G - O      New Cancer Biology Program Offered to Students The Graduate School of Biomedical tumor pathology, cancer medicine and Sciences and the Department of Can- cancer biology, followed by advanced cer Biology are prepared to take cancer courses in these and other topics includ- research at UMass Medical School to a ing biochemistry, genetics, and molecu- new level with the establishment of the lar and cell biology. Monthly conferences PhD Program in Cancer Biology. Working will bring together scientists, physi- closely with physicians beginning early cians and students to explore common in their doctoral education, Cancer Biol- interests and identify mutual goals for ogy students will conduct translational research, clinical trials and patient care. studies—basic scientifi c research with Dr. Mercurio was recruited to UMMS direct implications for improving clini- in 2004 from Harvard Medical School cal prevention, diagnosis and treatment and brings more than 20 years of experi- of human cancers. “Exposing the next ence in tumor cell biology to the new generation of cancer biologists to study PhD program. His laboratory is currently of the disease itself early in their careers studying the mechanisms that contrib- will lead to better scientifi c inquiries,” ute to the metastasis, or spread, of solid explained Arthur M. Mercurio, PhD, tumors like breast and colon cancers. professor and vice chair of Cancer Biol- Metastasis causes most of the morbidity ogy and the new PhD program’s director. and mortality associated with cancer and The innovative curriculum features a is thus a key target of Cancer Biology’s fi rst-year foundational course covering translational research. Professor and Vice Chair of Cancer Biology Arthur Mercurio, PhD, is the new program’s director. Achievements in Medicine, Nursing and Science Celebrated of Medicine, the Graduate School of 19th century to the present day. In her Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate current role as editor-in-chief of JAMA, School of Nursing—were inspired by DeAngelis has made an effort to publish keynote speaker Catherine D. DeAngelis, substantive scientifi c articles on women’s MD, MPH, editor-in-chief of The Journal health issues. of the American Medical Association, Honorary degrees were awarded to whose own career has included roles as a Barbara R. Greenberg, a community registered nurse, an early advocate of nurse School of Medicine graduate Lara Antkowiak leader in Central Massachusetts who practitioners, an epidemiological research-checks on her fellow graduate Tobin Abraham has been a vital force for UMass Medical before ceremonies begin. Abraham was the er, an academic and a practicing physician. School and UMass Memorial Health CareSOM class speaker; Destin Heilman spoke for the GSBS and Patricia MacCulloch for the GSN. Dr. DeAngelis was recently recognized as chair of the UMass Memorial Foun- by the National Library of Medicine in its dation Board of Directors, and Paul La The University of Massachusetts Worces- “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrat- Camera, general manager of WBUR, who ter awarded 160 degrees, including two ing America’s Women Physicians” began his relationship with UMMS in honorary degrees, at its 33rd Commence- exhibition—recently on display in the UMMS 1993 when his son, Peter, was a fi rst-year ment Exercises held at Mechanics Hall Lamar Soutter library—that celebrates the student; that year, he and his wife, Mimi, in Worcester on June 4. Graduates of the lives and careers of some of America’s established the UMass Medical School institution’s three schools—the School extraordinary women physicians from the Parents Association. 3   GI  7 G - O      News and Notes Scientists Report DNA Sequencing of Extinct Mammoth relationships between wooly mammoths drial DNA possesses its own genome and elephants. that exists outside of the cell nucleus and is inherited only from the mother,Evgeny Rogaev, PhD, and colleagues found that Dr. Rogaev and his collaborators the wooly mammoth and Asian elephant, sister allowing for the tracing of a more direct reported the sequence of the completespecies, diverged soon after their common genetic line.ancestor split from the African elephant lineage. mitochondrial genome of a woolly mammoth extracted from permafrost- “The reconstruction of an animal’s With results supported by the oldest preserved remains from the Pleistocene evolutionary history based on complete mitochondrial genome sequence epoch, a period of time usually dated mitochondrial sequence analysis is determined to date from the remains from between 1.6–1.9 million to about a powerful method to determine the of a mammoth that died approximately 10,000 years before present. Their study relationship between closely related 33,000 years ago, Evgeny I. Rogaev, PhD, demonstrates that the woolly mam- extinct and extant species,” said Rogaev. a professor of psychiatry at UMass Med- moth and the Asian elephant are a sister “However, data from both mitochondrial ical School and professor of genetics at species that diverged soon after their and nuclear DNA may offer further in- the Russian Academy of Medical Sci- common ancestor split from the lineage formation on the development of a spe- ences, and colleagues from the Brudnick of the African elephant. cies. Given the unique quality of some Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, specimens from mammoths found in DNA in the cell’s mitochondria offeredRussian Academy of Sciences, Moscow Siberia, nuclear DNA may potentially be State University and the University Rogaev and colleagues valuable infor- recovered and used for further confi rma- mation on evolutionary development.of California-San Diego have weighed tion of the results of this study.” in on the debate over the genetic Distinct from nuclear DNA, mitochon- WPC Celebrates Ten Years of Opportunity This year marks the tenth anniversary Associate Vice Chancellor for School Hamblett ’03, Ainex Baez ’04, Jean of the Worcester Pipeline Collabora- Services Deborah Harmon Hines, PhD. Marcelin ’05, Theo Matteos ’05, Jackie tive (WPC), founded by UMass Medical “It has been my privilege as well as my Nkrumah ’05 and Julie O’Brien ’05. School and local educational, commu- charge to develop and nurture the WPC Currently, another six of the program’s nity and business partners to provide with Dr. James Caradonio, the current participants are enrolled at UMMS. minority and economically disadvan- Worcester Public Schools superinten- Other WPC programs have effectively taged students the opportunity to gain dent, and Robert Layne, my colleague piqued students’ interests in a health the scientifi c and mathematic literacy at UMass Medical School and the care or science career. UMMS graduate necessary to thrive as members of the program’s director.” Miguel Rodriguez, MD ’01, and current workforce, particularly in the health, One of the most successful collabora- third-year medical students Jose Abad science and biotechnology industries. tions is the Post-baccalaureate Program; and Rothsovann Yong participated in “This partnership serves as a national since its inception in 1989, 66 percent the High School Health Careers Pro- model of collaboration between lo- of participating students have been gram, while Graduate School of Nursing cal schools and an academic health admitted to UMMS. Within recent years, student Joslyn Cortez and School of sciences center that prepares a more six participants have received degrees Medicine students Tuan Nguyen diverse health care workforce,” said from the School of Medicine: Kathy ’07, Luis Asbrishamian-Garcia ’08, 4   GI  7 G - O      The Promise of a West Nile Virus Vaccine More than 19,000 cases of West Nile virus known to induce immunity in humans have been reported in the United States were replaced with the corresponding since the disease made its initial appear- genes of the West Nile virus. The resultant ance in 1999, resulting in more than 750 immune response from infection-fi ghting fatalities. With the threat of continued white blood cells to the new vaccine was epidemics looming, efforts to identify a determined by the UMMS team—led by vaccine for the virus have accelerated. CIDVR’s Sharone Green, MD, associate Now, collaborative research between professor of medicine, and colleagues UMass Medical School’s Center for Infec- Francis A. Ennis, MD, professor of tious Disease and Vaccine Research and medicine and CIDVR director, and Jeff leading vaccine developer Acambis Inc. Kennedy, MD, assistant professor of reveals the promise of ChimeriVax-West medicine—and Acambis Chief Scientifi c Nile, a recombinant vaccine against the Offi cer Thomas P. Monath, MD. The West Nile virus. research suggests that ChimeriVax-West Nile is a promising candidate that war- ChimeriVax-West Nile was constructed rants further evaluation to determine its with Acambis’s ChimeriVax technology, safety and immunogenicity; Acambis has which uses a live yellow fever vaccine begun a Phase II clinical trial of the new to create viruses composed of genetically vaccine, testing ChimeriVax-West Nile in different tissues. In this case, specifi c Sharone Green, MD, published the fi ndings with her healthy adult subjects. collaborators in the Proceedings of the National Acad-genes from the yellow fever virus that are emy of Sciences; it represents the fi rst published report of a West Nile virus vaccine candidate in humans. and Miguel Concepcíon ’09, attended the WPC’s Summer Research Experience “Teaching students to set for Undergraduate Minority Students. WPC’s decade of success has laid the high academic standards groundwork for the establishment of additional partnering initiatives, such and expectations for as the Graduate School of Nursing’s Worcester Nursing Pipeline Consortium and the Carnegie Foundation-funded themselves is at the heart of Small Learning Communities. “Teaching students to set high academic what we do and do well.” standards and expectations for them- selves is at the heart of what we do and – WPC Director Robert Layne, MEd do well,” said WPC Director Robert Layne, MEd. Ainex Baez, MD ’04, a WPC Post-baccalaureate Program and UMass Medical School graduate 5   GI  7 G - O      News and Notes A $1 million grant from The Kresge Foundation brings the UMass Memorial Foundation one step closer to the fund-raising goal for the Emergency Care Campaign, which supports the dramatic expansion of the hospital’s emergency department and other urgent care areas at the University Campus. The Kresge Foundation focuses on opportunities to strengthen leadership and giving through challenge grants for capital projects. Through the foundation’s Capital Challenge A view of the main entrance to the UMass Memorial Grants program, the UMass Memorial Foundation must raise the campaign’s remaining Medical Center—University Campus and the Lakeside balance by January 1, 2007, to receive the grant.Wing, accessed via the Remillard Family Pavilion. In Memoriam Over the last year, the UMass Memorial Foundation and the Penelope Booth Rockwell institutions it supports through philanthropy—UMass Medical A native of Worcester, Penelope Booth Rockwell learned at an School and UMass Memorial Health Care—mourned the passing early age the value of community involvement and volunteer- of two dedicated benefactors who were also inspiring leaders. ism as well as the promise of basic biomedical research. Her Morton H. Sigel grandparents were friends of Dr. Hudson Hoagland, the Worces-Supporter of biomedical ter Foundation’s co-founder,research and honorary chair and she was a schoolmateof the Worcester Foundation of a daughter of Dr. Gregoryfor Biomedical Research, Mort Pincus, Worcester Founda-Sigel lost his three-year battle tion scientist and co-inventorwith Lou Gehrig’s disease in of the contraceptive pill. Mrs.February this year. Rockwell’s spirit of exploration Mr. Sigel was driven by “an proved a natural complement old-fashioned philosophy to to the Worcester Foundation’s do things for the community” scientifi c investigations, and and committed to the support she fi rst served as a trustee in of basic biomedical research 1990 and then as vice chair in 2003 and 2004. With her family at UMass Medical School through the Worcester Foundation. deeply affected by the loss of her young nephew to muscular He assumed the role of Foundation chairman in 1996 after dystrophy, Mrs. Rockwell’s commitment to basic biomedical serving as a trustee for nearly a decade, and one of his fi rst research stemmed from the potential impact of such research accomplishments was assisting Chancellor and Dean Aaron on virtually all human illness, and she credited recent discov- Lazare in the facilitation of the successful 1997 merger of eries to the laboratory resources and collaborative environment the Worcester Foundation with UMMS. Today, the Founda- fortifi ed upon the 1997 merger of the Worcester Foundation tion retains its historic identity and legacy of achievement with UMMS. in developing a strong philanthropic foundation for UMMS In addition to the gifts Mrs. Rockwell and her husband Sherburneresearch endeavors. Rockwell, who preceded her in death, made to research, her com- “Strategically brilliant but beautifully human, Mort was a mitment to UMMS continued when she led the Hudson Hoagland man of uncommon generosity of spirit. He was an extra- Society from 1994 to 2000. Under her leadership, the society ordinary man and friend to all of us and we are better people generated more than $1 million in unrestricted funds for biomedi- today for having known him,” said Thoru Pederson, PhD, the cal research, which assisted UMMS investigators as they pursued Vitold Arnett Professor and scientifi c director of the Worcester promising leads to uncover the causes of devastating illnesses. Foundation for Biomedical Research. Mrs Rockwell died from liver cancer in November 2005. 6   GI  7 G - O      When I Grow Up Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences alumna Loree Griffin Burns, PhD ’98, moved from practicing science to writing about it—for kids. By Kelly A. Bishop Photo: Betty Jenewin 7   GI  7 G - O      Once upon a time there was a little girl who absolutely, she also absolutely, positively loved science. Through science, she could ask questions about all sorts of things. She could look positively loved books. Through books, she joined Nancy Drew in the quest to solve The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk and through a microscope and explore cellular worlds and tiny crea- urged on young Alec in his effort to befriend The Black Stallion. tures; she was hooked. And so began the story, still unfolding, She explored distant lands—and not so distant ones ––as she of Loree Griffin Burns, PhD, the little girl who grew up to meld her two passions into the perfect career. related to the plucky heroine who asked, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Then one day, the not-so-little girl discovered that From her earliest memory, Dr. Loree Griffi n Burns has been a including those books that so captivated her as a youth, Burns lover of words and of books. Refl ecting on her childhood, she again realized how much they enrich lives. She began to think fondly recalls the power that books had over her. “I devoured about writing children’s books—books about science. books and immersed myself in the stories. I thought I was Serendipitously, a July 2003 Associated Press article gave Nancy Drew and even started my own detective agency.” Burns the inspiration for her fi rst book. The article recounted With such natural curiosity and an engagement with learn- the work of Curtis Ebbesmeyer, PhD, an oceanographer who ing, it’s no surprise that Burns—inspired by James Micarelli, her infl uential Everett (Massachusetts) High School teacher who made a dramatic impression in the class- room—was energized and excited by science. “Mr. Micarelli was a remark- “Books truly give able teacher. He taught us the scientifi c method and encouraged us to take on children experiences real research projects. With a nod to Nancy Drew, I studied the relationship beyond their lives.”of genetics and fi ngerprints.” While Mr. Micarelli taught his student how to think like a scientist, to ask questions, – Loree Griffin Burns, PhD Burns knows that “most importantly, he made me feel like I was a good, de- cent kid with potential, and that gave Photo: Betty Jenewin me such a huge boost of confi dence.” Burns’ interest in science continued beyond high school and she completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Worcester Polytechnic discovered that bathtub toys that fell from a container ship Institute, where she cultivated her interest in books and writ- into the sea more than a decade earlier could offer scientists ing, submitting stories and poems for the college’s publica- the ideal opportunity to study ocean currents. Intrigued by tions. “I never gave up my literary life.” the science of currents and aware that those numerous color- ful, bobbing rubber duckies would surely pique the interest In 1991, Burns decided to pursue her doctoral degree and, of children, Burns wrote Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and attracted by the quality of the program and its location, chose the Science of Ocean Motion. The book examines the work of the UMMS Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She Dr. Ebbesmeyer and his colleagues Jim Ingraham, who used completed her thesis work on transcriptional regulation in Ebbesmeyer’s data to develop a computer modeling system yeast in the laboratory of Craig L. Peterson, PhD, professor of that can accurately simulate ocean movement, and Captain molecular medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharma- Charles Moore, a marine conservationist who has worked tire- cology, in 1997 and upon graduating in 1998 came to a cross- lessly to quantify the extent of plastic pollution in the Pacifi c roads of sorts with the birth of her twins (a third child would Ocean. The book, written for middle school-aged children, follow soon after). As she started to read with her children, 8   GI  7 G - O