The MSTP hosts an annual lectureship by a distinguished medical scientist who has successfully integrated basic science with medicine. In addition to the keynote address that is delivered to the institution at large, the trainees dine and personally interact with the guest. This unique opportunity for the trainees provides them with insight and guidance for careers in academic medicine from some of the most influential medical scientists of the times.
Previous physician-scientists include:
Allen C. Steere, MD was our latest Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. Dr. Steere is Professor of Medicine and Rheumatology and Director of Translational Research at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital and discovered the infectious nature of Lyme Disease. He continues to study the molecular and immunological aspects of this disease towards the development of a vaccine. Dr. Steere’s seminar, “Elucidation of Lyme Arthritis”, provided his perspectives in determining the nature of the agent responsible for this disease. At, dinner Dr. Steere also addressed our trainees from the perspective of a past MSTP Director (Tuft’s School of Medicine) and encouraged our trainees to continue the focus their research on fundamental biomedical problems. We had a great time learning and interacting with him.
George Kunos, MD, PhD, is the Scientific Director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Kunos has conducted pioneering studies on a paracrine mechanism where endocannabinoids generated in macrophages and platelets act on vascular cannabinoid receptors to elicit vasodilation. In his seminar entitled "Endocannabinoids and Energy Homeostasis" Dr. Kunos described an integrative approach to defining mechanisms that regulate vascular tone and factors that activate this pathway. Following his seminar, students had additional interaction with Dr. Kunos during the MSTP poster session and evening dinner. Dr. Kunos has been the recipient of numerous awards and has recently been elected a fellow of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of the American Heart Association and is a foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
J. Michael Bishop, who along with Harold Varmus (head of NIH), received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Drs. Bishop and Varmus's research uncovered that normal cells contain genes that are capable of becoming oncogenes. Seeking the evolutionary origins of the oncogene src carried by Rous Sarcoma Virus, they discovered that the gene had been derived from normal cells by a form of genetic recombination. The discovery of the cellular src gene sparked a spectacularly successful assault on the genetic origins of cancer that continues to this day.
Helen Blau, who is a professor of Molecular Pharmacology at Stanford University School of Medicine, focuses on how and why cells become and remain differentiated during development, and how differentiation can go awry in cancer, using muscle as a model tissue. Dr. Blau's success with myoblast transplantation in mice may one day lead to a powerful therapeutic approach to the treatment of muscle and nonmuscle diseases. Her many honors and awards include: Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1991, and visiting Professorship at the Curie Institute and the Pasteur Institute in 1995. She also serves as a member of a NIH committee overseeing gene therapy clinical trials and the Basic Science Council of the American Heart Association.
Tom Shenk, the Elkins Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of viral replication and exploring the molecular basis of viral pathogenesis, using cytomegalovirus and adenovirus as model systems. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Howard Hughes Investigator, past president of the American Society for Virology and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Virology.
Ken Chien, director of the UCSD Institute of Molecular Medicine and Co-Director of the UCSD Cardiovascular Center, focuses on understanding the molecular basis of multifactorial human diseases, especially cardiac arrhythmias. His pioneering studies have established a subset of genes central to mouse cardiogenesis, which play an important role in the development of heart failure. Dr. Chien's reductionist approach to translational cardiovascular research is also leading to promising new targets for the treatment of heart failure. He also holds an Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research sponsored by the American Heart Association and shared the 1996 Pasarow Foundation Medical Research Award with Stanley Pruisner and Alfred Knudson.