Six faculty members from Harvard Medical School (HMS) are among 60 new members recently elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer on committees engaged in a broad range of health policy issues.
The new members
Robert Brown Jr. is a professor of neurology and director of the Day Neuromuscular Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital. His studies of the molecular defects underlying selected inherited neuromuscular diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), a form of muscular dystrophy, one form of periodic paralysis, and a familial nerve disease, have resulted in identifying the gene defects triggering these disorders. Brown has studies under way to define the genetic mechanisms that cause paralysis.
Joan Brugge is a professor of cell biology, whose lab is examining the cellular pathways and associated gene products that control the initiation and progression of breast cancer. Her lab also is exploring cellular pathways that mediate cytoskeletal rearrangements associated with adhesion, migration, and phagocytosis of hematopoietic cells involved in inflammation and blood clotting.
Dennis Kasper, executive dean for academic programs at HMS and the director of the Channing Laboratory, is a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics whose research is focused on the pathogenesis of bacterial infections and the interaction of these organisms with the host. Kasper, the William Ellery Channing professor of medicine, has major interests in the biochemistry, biology, and genetics of capsular polysaccharides of important human pathogens. His work has resulted in the development of novel interventions to prevent and treat infectious diseases and their complications.
Elliot Kieff, the Harriet Ryan Albee Professor of Medicine and professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, is the co-director of the Channing Laboratory, whose lab has pioneered the genetics and biochemistry of the Epstein – Barr virus infection. Kieff’s recent work has explored the mechanisms by which this virus persists in cells, alters lymphocyte growth, and causes lymphomas and Hodgkin’s disease.
Joseph Vacanti, the John Homans professor of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, studies tissue engineering for reconstructive surgery and organ fabrication to meet the need for organs in transplantation. His clinical interests are in pediatric and transplantation surgery.
Warren Zapol is the Reginald Jenney Professor of Anasthesia and anasthetist – in – chief at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has contributed to the understanding of acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary circulation and its control of vascular resistance during inflammatory lung disease, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (artificial lungs), and, most recently, the use of inhaled nitric oxide for treating pulmonary hypertension in newborns and adults.