National Academy of Medicine elects 9 HMS faculty members

Harvard Medical School – October 19, 2020

Dan Barouch, MD, PhD (Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC) was elected to the National Academy of Medicine for being an international leader in virology and immunology, developing novel vaccines and cure strategies for viruses of global importance, including one of the first COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the first Zika virus vaccine, and the first global mosaic HIV-1 vaccine, as well as defining immunotherapeutic HIV-1 cure strategies.

Nine HMS faculty members are among 100 new members elected by the National Academy of Medicine. Considered one of the highest honors among scientists, engineers and health professionals, NAM membership recognizes individuals who have demonstrated commitment to service and outstanding professional achievement in the advancement of science, medicine, technology and health.

Below are the new NAM regular members and their election citations:

Dan Barouch, the HMS William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

For being an international leader in virology and immunology and developing novel vaccines and cure strategies for viruses of global importance, including working on one of the first COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the first Zika virus vaccine and the first global mosaic HIV-1 vaccine, as well as defining immunotherapeutic HIV-1 cure strategies.

Myles Brown, the HMS Emil Frei III Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

For his leadership in oncology and endocrinology, whose seminal contributions have fundamentally reformulated the mechanistic understanding of hormone dependence of breast and prostate cancers, enabling the development of new therapies for these diseases.

Yolonda Lorig Colson, the  HMS Hermes C. Grillo Professor of Surgery in the Field of Thoracic Surgery and chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

For contributions to the fields of thoracic surgery, polymer-mediated chemotherapy release and lymphatic drug delivery and for leading a national paradigm shift to improve maintenance of certification for surgeons.

Merit Cudkowicz, the HMS Julieanne Dorn Professor of Neurology and chief of Department of Neurology and director of the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS at Mass General.

For leading the first neuroscience antisense oligonucleotide therapy trial; establishing the first platform trial in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; helping to develop a successful treatment for sporadic ALS, AMX0035; and creating global networks to accelerate treatment development for many disorders.

David E. Fisher, the HMS Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology and chief of the Department of Dermatology at Mass General.

For elucidating the ultraviolet pigmentation pathway, UV-seeking endorphin response, skin cancer prevention strategies, and hair graying mechanism; discovering melanoma and sarcoma oncogenes; and developing a routinely used melanoma diagnostic.

Joel Hirschhorn, the HMS Concordia Professor of Pediatrics and professor of genetics and chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

For his development of methods and standards for performing and interpreting genome-wide association studies. He leads the Genetic Investigation of ANthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium, which identified most currently known loci associated with stature and obesity.

Aaron Kesselheim, HMS professor of medicine and faculty member of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

For his national leadership in studying how prescription drugs and medical devices interact with regulatory practices and the law to affect patient health outcomes. Blending rigorous empirical and policy analysis, his research shapes the understanding of how to improve the safety, effectiveness and affordability of medical products.

Judy Lieberman, HMS professor of pediatrics and chair of cellular and molecular medicine in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s.

For uncovering the molecular basis for mammalian and microbial cell death by cytotoxic lymphocytes and during inflammation/sepsis triggered by pathogens and danger signals. She pioneered harnessing RNA interference for therapy and gene discovery and was the first to show that small RNAs could be used as drugs in vivo.

Paul Ridker, the HMS Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s.

For his paradigm-shifting work that has not only provided proof-of-principle for the inflammation hypothesis of atherothrombosis but also provided clinicians with the first Food and Drug Administration-approved diagnostic test for vascular inflammation and the first proven anti-inflammatory treatment for atherosclerosis.

“This distinguished and diverse class of new members is a truly exceptional group of scholars and leaders whose expertise in science, medicine, health and policy will be integral to helping the NAM address today’s most pressing health challenges and inform the future of health and health care for the benefit of everyone around the globe,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “It is my privilege to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine.”

The National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. NAM works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.