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Cancer expert Karen Antman appointed Medical Campus provost, MED dean

New Medical Campus Provost and MED Dean Karen H. Antman

This story was published in the BU Bridge on February 18, 2005.

Karen H. Antman, a prominent oncologist who is recognized internationally as an expert on breast cancer and other malignancies, has been named provost of the Medical Campus and dean of the School of Medicine. She will assume the positions May 1.

“Dr. Antman is an outstanding choice for these two posts,” says President ad interim Aram Chobanian, who held both jobs before stepping up to lead the University in November 2003. “She is a proven administrator and educator, she is an excellent clinician and clinical scientist, and she is an established leader on health policy issues. We are indeed fortunate to find an individual who combines all of these strengths, and I am sure she will be an exemplary leader for both our School of Medicine and the entire Medical Campus.”

As provost, Antman will be responsible for the overall operation of the Medical Campus in Boston’s South End, which includes the School of Medicine, the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and the School of Public Health. In addition, she will oversee the University’s role in Boston Medical Center. Currently, MED Professor Thomas Moore serves as acting provost of the Medical Campus and MED Professor John McCahan as MED acting dean.

Antman has been deputy director for translational and clinical sciences at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health for the past year. Translational research generally refers to early clinical trials of new drugs and treatments. Previously she spent more than 10 years on the faculty of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she was Wu Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center. She was voted Senior Faculty Teacher of the Year by medical residents at Columbia in 1993. Antman also has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and has had hospital appointments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

“The opportunity to work with the outstanding group of educators, care providers, and laboratory, clinical, and public health investigators at Boston University Medical Center is an enormous privilege,” says Antman. “Under Dr. Chobanian’s leadership, each of the components of the Boston University Medical Campus has thrived, and we will build on the strong foundation already created.”

Best known among oncologists for developing a standard treatment regimen for sarcomas of the bone and soft tissue, as well as her groundbreaking research on blood growth factors, Antman also is outspoken on public health policy issues. She has written extensively about impediments that exist to conducting clinical research on cancer, and she has testified before Congress on the need for federal research dollars to support cancer research.

Antman has served as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. She was for seven years an associate editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and has been on the editorial boards of several other major medical journals.

She was inspired to enter academia, she says, “when as a young oncologist I realized that I could be the best possible physician and my cancer patient still could die. It seemed essential for me to get involved in research and education. When problems arose in obtaining care for patients, colleagues and I wrote editorials. I was invited to participate in committees and became involved in making medical policy.”

Among Antman’s goals at BU will be to increase philanthropic support to the Medical Campus schools and encourage academia-industry partnerships. “I think that it’s the best of times, in that the biomedical sciences never have had so much information and resources available,” she says, “and it’s the worst of times in that the National Institutes of Health’s budget is now constricting. So we’re going to have to use new strategies and be more efficient than ever to stay competitive.”

Antman lives in Weston with her husband, Elliott Antman, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a Harvard Medical School professor. They have two children, Amy, a fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School, and David, a third-year student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In her free time, Antman enjoys backpacking and traveling with her family.