One studies autism spectrum disorders in children born extremely preterm. Another explores the interplay between inflammation and metabolism in breast cancer, while a third is focused on the connections between politics, public policy, and health. What unites these 3 researchers and the other 15 faculty on the Medical Campus recently promoted to the rank of associate professor is that all are nationally recognized experts in their fields of study.
“We are pleased to congratulate these talented faculty on their career achievement,” says Karen Antman, dean of the School of Medicine and provost of the Medical Campus. “Our Medical Campus community has enjoyed watching them develop their national reputations and impact over time.”
Promoted to associate professor are:
School of Medicine
Sandra R. Cerda, School of Medicine associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, focuses on cytopathology, with particular expertise in the molecular diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Molecular testing is rapidly emerging to determine the need for surgical resection. She is a co-investigator on the ANCHOR Core grant and directs the cytology laboratory and the cytopathology fellowship at Boston Medical Center (BMC), and she has trained medical and master’s degree students in addition to MED pathology residents.
Laurie M. Craigen, MED associate professor of psychiatry, is a counselor-educator who focuses on clinical interventions for youth engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), the concept of vulnerability within clinical supervision, and clinical educator pedagogy. She has served on three national examination committees and is responsible for creating and editing the examinations that lead to licensure for the field of mental health counseling. She also received Diplomate status from the American Mental Health Counseling Association for her work with children and adolescents, and in 2017 received the Educator of the Year award from MED’s Graduate Medical Sciences.
Tracey Dechert, MED associate professor of surgery/trauma and critical care, develops national and international standards for trauma and acute care of surgery patients. She studies the complex management of trauma patients to optimize the standard of care. She is a sought-after speaker on her experiences during the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent scholarly work on leadership in crisis management. She leads the Socially Responsible Surgery program.
Hui Feng, MED associate professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics and of medicine, established the Zebrafish Genetics and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory, using zebrafish to genetically screen for potential therapeutic targets for human cancers, based on tumor suppressive phenotypes. Her research studies how cancer cells adapt to cellular and microenvironmental stress and evade immune surveillance in zebrafish. She also collaborates with chemists to develop small molecule compounds to inhibit MYC-driven cancer aggressiveness. Her extramural funding includes a current R01 and foundation grants (including one from the American Cancer Society). She has published articles in high-impact journals such as Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Cancer Cell, and Leukemia.
Natasha Hochberg, MED associate professor of medicine/infectious diseases and School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, focuses on the interaction between tuberculosis, parasitic diseases, and malnutrition. Although these conditions are often considered independently, her innovative work addresses the fact that they are often coincident and interact clinically and immunologically. She also has made major contributions to the epidemiology of parasitic diseases. She is the primary investigator (PI) of three grants, co-PI/co-investigator on four, and recently was awarded a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the Warren Alpert Foundation to study the impact of nutrition and parasites on tuberculosis in India.
Robert M. Joseph, MED associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology, is a scientist, educator, and mentor who studies the developmental neuropsychology and neuroscience of autism spectrum disorders and neurodevelopment in children born extremely preterm. He directs the neurocognitive and neurobehavioral outcomes component of the NIH-funded Extremely Low Gestational Newborn (ELGAN) Study. He has been continually funded since his initial appointment to the department in 2001.
Hasmeena Kathuria, MED associate professor of medicine/pulmonary, allergy, sleep, and critical care, studies lung cancer prevention and treatment interventions for tobacco dependence in underserved populations. She is considered one of the American Thoracic Society’s leading experts on implementation of tobacco treatment programs in various clinical settings and is vice chair–elect of the society’s Tobacco Action Committee. She has been selected by the American College of Chest Physicians to chair a committee to develop a clinical guideline on implementing inpatient tobacco treatment services. She is PI on a grant from the American Lung Association and co-investigator on an NIH R01 and a PCOR1.
Christina A. LeBedis, MED associate professor of radiology/body imaging, studies emergency computed tomography (CT) of liver, spleen, hepatobiliary, bowel, and pelvic trauma. Her imaging study of bile leaks following hepatic trauma has influenced the evaluation of patients with high-grade hepatic injuries at US hospitals. In addition to publishing seminal studies on emergency CT imaging, she has been asked to contribute to radiology guidelines, certification, and best practices in her clinical field. LeBedis has received numerous teaching awards, including the Boston Medical Center Teacher of the Year Award and MED’s William R. Cranley Medical Student Teaching Award, and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society as a faculty member in 2014.
Honghuang Lin, MED associate professor of medicine/computational biomedicine, is a bioinformatician with extensive experience in the analysis of genetics and genomics data. He works with the Framingham Heart Study and several large consortia such as the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Lin and his colleagues have identified hundreds of genetic loci associated with complex diseases, including atrial fibrillation, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s disease. He also develops machine learning models for the early diagnosis of diseases, using a large collection of blood biomarkers, images, and genomics data. Lin has served on multiple study sections, program committees, and editorial boards.
Shruthi Mahalingaiah (SPH’15), MED associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, focuses on air pollution exposures and gynecologic disease incidence, particularly the association of air pollution exposures, incident infertility, and menstrual irregularity. She was selected for the Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health from 2011 to 2014, and created the Ovulation and Menstruation (OM) Study and the Boston Medical Center Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Cohorts. This work earned her an Early Investigator Award from the Endocrine Society in 2016. She collaborated on a menstrual tracker application for use in the OM Study, which has a global user base of 12 million women. With this breadth of data, she is developing predictive models to identify women with early stage gynecologic disease.
Suzanne Mitchell, MED associate professor of family medicine, studies health disparities in care transitions and relationship-centered care, specifically, how communication with patients and families influences medical decision-making, health behaviors, and health outcomes. Her research has contributed to the redesign of care transitions for vulnerable populations. Mitchell’s NIH-funded projects include development of care transition programs for patients with chronic disease and depression and a social needs screening tool for discharge planning. Her work in relationship-centered care includes an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality career development award in shared decision-making and a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases R01 to study the comparative effectiveness of a virtual world social gaming platform for diabetes education. She received a 2017 article impact award from the National Association for Healthcare Quality for work studying the dissemination of evidence-based care transition programs.
Valentina Perissi, MED associate professor of biochemistry, is a molecular and cell biologist whose NIH- and Department of Defense–supported work investigates the interplay between inflammation and metabolism in the context of breast cancer and obesity-induced insulin resistance and diabetes. Her lab investigates the transcriptional and nontranscriptional functions of various cofactors with a particular focus on their misregulation during disease states such as cancer, diabetes, and other inflammatory disorders.
Elissa Schechter-Perkins, MED associate professor of emergency medicine, focuses on the intersection between public health, infectious diseases, and emergency medicine. She implemented public health screening programs for HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the emergency department (ED). The HCV program, now a model nationwide, was revolutionary because ED physicians focus on acute care and hadn’t considered screening a function of their department. Schechter-Perkins is PI on an industry-sponsored grant that supports the HCV screening and linkage initiative, and co-investigator on a large state grant on infectious disease prevention, linkage, and retention in care.
Jeffrey I. Schneider, MED associate professor of emergency medicine, is a nationally recognized leader in medical education, studies graduate medical education, and is the recipient of numerous local, regional, and national teaching awards. He is MED’s assistant dean for graduate medical education and Boston Medical Center’s designated institutional official (DIO) for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, where he oversees more than 60 training programs that involve more than 700 residents and fellows. He has been an invited speaker by national organizations such as the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges and is an Oral Boards examiner for the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
Neelam A. Vashi, MED associate professor of dermatology, is one of a small group of dermatologists whose research and clinical work focuses on disorders that affect patients with darker skin. She has also significantly contributed to the study of body dysmorphic disorder. She is the editor of two textbooks, Beauty and Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Clinician’s Guide (Springer, 2015) and Dermatoanthropology of Ethnic Skin and Hair (Springer, 2017), and has been featured extensively in the media.
Elisha Wachman, MED associate professor of pediatrics, focuses on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and perinatal substance use disorder, specifically clinical and genetic predictors of infant opioid withdrawal severity. She has participated in NAS medication trials and long-term outcome studies, and her R01 was recently funded to study buprenorphine vs. naltrexone, a multicentered cohort study of the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacogenomics of naltrexone in pregnant women with opioid use disorder. She provides technical support on NAS management to hospitals around the country. In addition, her NAS quality improvement work was recognized with a national Gage Award by America’s Essential Hospitals.
Katharine O’Connell White, MED associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is focused on women’s reproductive health by increasing access to contraception, enhancing abortion techniques, and evaluating training programs in family planning. In addition to her peer-reviewed publications, she has contributed to several national guidelines and practice recommendations (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, World Health Organization, and Society for Family Planning). Her survey of National Abortion Federation members on first- and second-trimester surgical abortion practices has been used to inform Society of Family Planning Clinical Guidelines. Her study on oral contraceptive side effects and depression was cited by the WHO to establish medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use. She has had continuous funding since 2006 and has turned the OB/GYN fellowship into one of the preeminent family planning fellowships nationwide.
School of Public Health
David K. Jones, School of Public Health associate professor of health law, policy, and management, is a health policy scholar focused on the connections among politics, policy, and health. He has been awarded the Association of University Programs in Health Administration’s John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators, Academy Health’s Outstanding Dissertation Award, and the SPH Excellence in Teaching Award. His book Exchange Politics: Opposing Obamacare in Battleground States (Oxford University Press, 2017) examines how states made decisions about implementing key components of the Affordable Care Act. His work has appeared in high-impact journals and he has been cited in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among other media outlets.