and Chair, Department of Neurosciences, and
H. and Curtis F. Garvin Professor in Neurosciences
T. Landmesser, Ph.D., was elected to the National Academy of
Sciences in May, attaining the highest honor accorded scientists
and engineers short of the Nobel Prize.
recognizes a lifetime of achievement in science and the contribution
of groundbreaking discoveries in one's field.
NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers that
acts as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request,
in any matter of science or technology. Dr. Landmesser was one
of 72 new members--including only seven women--elected in 2001,
bringing the organization's active membership to 1,874.
path to this much-deserved accomplishment was filled with fateful
decisions and choices sometimes questioned by others, but her
story ultimately serves as inspiration for those who hope to
find both fulfillment and sustenance doing work they love.
I first went to college, I was actually going to be a medical
technologist or something that one could earn a living from,"
Dr. Landmesser said. "But before you got into those courses,
you had to take biology, and I realized that I was more interested
in that. People said, 'Well, what can you do with a biology major?
You'll never have a job.' But I didn't care that much. I thought,
'Well, I'm enjoying it, and when I get to that point [of having
to make a living], I'll deal with it.'"
her interest in her studies, the future Dr. Landmesser contemplated
taking a year off when she was in her third year at the University
of California, Los Angeles. "I liked to do research, so
although I was doing well in all my courses, I was finding the
class work somewhat boring," she said. So she wrote to one
of her zoology professors about the possibility of doing a research
project in her senior year. "I was starting to become interested
in behavior, but in essence I realized that I was really more
interested in what was making the behavior, in the nervous
system that was underlying various types of animal behavior.
So I wrote a letter to this professor. He was on sabbatical,
and just by chance--all these things that happen in your life--they
sent it to a different professor there. His name was Ted Bullock,
and he was an early pioneer in the field of neuroscience."
Dr. Bullock invited her to take his class on the nervous system,
saying that if she did well, she could pursue her interest in
a small lab course in the second semester as well as do her proposed
research project. "I took the course, and then when I did
the research project, I became really enamored of the nervous
system. So that's what got me interested in neuroscience,"
1965, her bachelor of arts degree in hand, she decided her next
step would be to pursue additional education. "Originally,
I was going to get a master's degree, and then I decided to go
on and get a Ph.D.," Dr. Landmesser said. "I didn't
realize at that time that you could have a real career in science.
That just wasn't something that I was considering. And then when
I found out that you, indeed, could, it just matched well with
a lot of things that I liked doing."
earned her Ph.D. in neurophysiology from UCLA in 1969. Next,
she planned to do a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded
postdoctoral fellowship in Czechoslovakia, because no one elsewhere
was studying the type of neural development she had become interested
in, but as with some previous plans regarding her education,
her path changed. "The man that I was going to go work with
had a heart attack and died," she said. She had an opportunity
to go to Harvard but decided instead to go to Salt Lake City
to work on her fellowship at the University of Utah College of
Medicine with Guillermo Pilar, M.D. She had come to know him
and his work through meetings of the Western Nerve Net, a forerunner
of the Society for Neuroscience. "He was beginning to work
on neural development, when few else were," she said. "We
got to talking at one point, and the research proposed seemed
like it would be very novel and interesting."
came the questions from others. "Everyone said, 'Salt Lake
City? Boy, you must be out of your mind.'" But she went.
The decision had personal consequences as well as professional
ones: Dr. Pilar ultimately became her husband.
Landmesser spent two years in Salt Lake City and another at the
University of Connecticut and was planning to gain another year
of post-doc experience when Yale came knocking, seeking to hire
a developmental neurobiologist, a rare breed in the early 1970s.
"I decided, 'Well, I'll go and stay a while, but I can always
go back to the West.' Having grown up in California, the East
was just not appealing to me. And then, you know, one thing leads
to another. So I spent 11 years at Yale and my husband, meanwhile,
moved and was a professor at the University of Connecticut"
two hours away in Storrs.
Landmesser lived in New Haven during the week and spent weekends
with her husband, but years of commuting and the birth of a son
eventually prompted her to move to the University of Connecticut,
too, where she spent 10 years before coming to CWRU in 1993.
Even the move to Cleveland was unscripted.
was an excellent group of people at CWRU who were interested
in neural development and the molecular basis of axon path-finding,
and they invited me to give a seminar. We got to talking afterward
and the department chair, Story Landis, Ph.D., asked if I might
have some interest in moving. I began to think that maybe that
wouldn't be such a bad idea. A couple of years later, we moved,"
she said, noting that the relocation was timed so that their
son, Gabriel, could attend all four years of high school in the
Landmesser became chair of the CWRU Department of Neurosciences
in 1999 and was named the first Arline H. and Curtis F. Garvin
Professor in Neurosciences in 2001.
along, her interest has been in trying to understand how neural
circuits form, especially in the spinal cord. Her research has
established basic principles of how nerve cells make accurate
connections with other cells, such as muscles, skin or other
neurons. The accuracy of such connections is essential for all
aspects of brain function, including how humans control movements,
sense the world, experience emotions, think and dream. Her initial
experiments combined elegant microtransplantation of pieces of
spinal cord with electrical recordings to show that even if nerve
cells were moved relatively large distances from their normal
positions, they could follow novel routes to reach their correct
targets. This finding proved that there must be molecular factors
that axons could follow to establish their connections. The principles
established by these experiments, conducted in the 1970s and
early 1980s, have served as a road map for subsequent experiments
by scientists around the world looking for molecular cues that
can be used to repair damaged or improperly developed nervous
systems. Her work has relevance to developing strategies for
enhancing recovery following spinal cord or peripheral nerve
Dr. Landmesser's lab studies various knockout mice and uses molecular
biological tools to hunt for genes that distinguish different
types of motor neurons, the nerve cells that control muscles.
In this way, she hopes to pinpoint the factors that produce the
amazingly complex and precise connectivity found in the nervous
Landmesser said the thrill of discovery, as well as the people
in the scientific community, are the aspects of her work that
she finds most rewarding. "Experimental science is fun because
you find new things, and you find unexpected things," she
said. "You develop ideas, and sometimes your ideas aren't
right. For the most part, that's why you do experiments, and
often you find out that they're not right. But when you go into
the lab and see something novel for the first time, that's very
exciting because you realize that no one has ever seen this before.
There's a lot of drudgery involved in experimental science, but
these little moments make it all worthwhile.
biologists and biomedical researchers are in general a very nice
group of people. People come through your lab--graduate students
and post-docs--and they become your friends and colleagues forever,
and over time you generate a very large circle of friends all
over the world. It's a nice community. The people who are genuinely
interested in science are really fun people to interact with."
Landmesser's teaching and research activities have indeed produced
a large circle of friends and colleagues. As a teacher, she has
advised numerous Ph.D. candidates, post-doctoral fellows, and
research associates, many of whom hold academic appointments
around the United States and abroad. She also lectures on neural
development at the medical school and in several graduate courses.
In addition to holding two NIH research awards, she is the principal
investigator on an NIH Predoctoral Neurosciences Training Grant
and co-principal investigator on an NIH Developmental Biology
addition to her election into the National Academy of Sciences--where
she joins CWRU faculty members Cynthia M. Beall, Ph.D., Oscar
D. Ratnoff, M.D., and Frederick C. Robbins, M.D.--Dr. Landmesser
has earned numerous other honors and has held several leadership
positions in her field.
is president-elect of the Neuroscience Section of the American
Society for the Advancement of Science, of which she is a fellow;
has served as president of the Society for Developmental Biology
and as secretary of the Society for Neuroscience; and was a member
of the National Advisory Council of the NIH's National Institute
of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She is a member of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society for Developmental
Biology, and the American Physiological Society. She serves on
the editorial board of the Journal of Neuroscience.
her other awards and honors are the McKnight Senior Investigator
Award (1997), election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
(1993), membership on the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
(1993), and two Jacob Javits Investigator awards (1985-92, 1992-99).
She was named one of Northeast Ohio's Distinguished Women in
Healthcare by the Visiting Nurse Association in November, local
recognition of the same accomplishments which led to her election
into the NAS earlier in the year.
Bowes Davis, M.D., Ph.D.
of Pediatrics, CWRU, and Chief, Division of Pediatric Pulmonology,
Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
her residency in internal medicine, Pamela Bowes Davis, M.D.,
Ph.D., was invited to join the cystic fibrosis (CF) laboratory
at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "I didn't know
anything about the disease, so I read about it and decided that
it was a great thing to study because it potentially could be
solved in my professional lifetime. I thought that would be tremendously
exciting," she said. "That turned out to be quite a
naïve response to a difficult problem, but as the years
go on, I am more and more convinced that we will solve the major
problems of the disease."
Dr. Davis is a recognized authority in CF research who has made
seminal contributions to the understanding and treatment of CF,
one of the most common fatal genetic diseases in the United States.
She has shared her findings as the author of more than 100 articles,
book chapters and other publications related to the disease.
Davis, who has secondary appointments in the departments of medicine,
physiology and biophysics, and molecular biology and microbiology,
is the only CWRU faculty member to be awarded two simultaneous
center grants from the NIH. She received one for the Cystic Fibrosis
Research Center and another for the new Specialized Center of
Research on Lung Inflammation. She consistently is named to the
school's list of "Million Dollar Professors" for bringing
in more than $1 million in research funding annually from sources
such as the NIH. Her research focuses on developing new therapies
the gene for CF was discovered in 1989, therapies were all directed
at the symptoms, and they were effective in extending the lives
of the patients to about 30 years," she said. "Patients
with CF suffer much morbidity and mortality from the lung disease.
They become infected with bacteria very early in life, and the
infection cannot be killed no matter what we do with antibiotics.
The patients mount a tremendous inflammatory response against
the bacteria, and the inflammatory response progressively destroys
the late 1980s and extending into the 1990s, we worked on developing
anti-inflammatory therapies for CF. The laboratory work culminated
in a four-year clinical trial of high-dose ibuprofen for patients
with CF, which was effective in slowing the rate of pulmonary
decline. This represented proof that the inflammatory response
in CF is indeed excessive and provided a whole new strategy of
therapy for the disease." The research was a breakthrough.
follow up of the patients who participated in that trial shows
that they still show benefit from those four years of therapy,"
Dr. Davis said. "It is really exciting to deliver a new
treatment for a disease, and to have the prospect of delivering
other treatments to the patients. To me, it is the application
to people that matters most."
the gene for CF was discovered in 1989, Dr. Davis' lab has worked
on gene therapy. "We are planning our first clinical trial
for 2002," she said. "In addition, we are working on
the mechanism by which the CF protein works as a transporter
of chloride ion, in the hopes of discovering ways to activate
the defective protein in the disease state."
Davis has been working in Cleveland since 1981. "Case Western
Reserve University / Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
(RB&C) has always had one of the world's best cystic fibrosis
centers," she said. "One always wants to work where
excellence in all aspects of the disease, clinical and research,
is valued and where one's colleagues are first-rate, and the
CWRU / RB&C center is such a place."
Davis herself has been recognized as "first-rate" too.
Adding to a long list of awards, in 2001, her undergraduate alma
mater, Smith College, presented her with the Smith College Medal.
Also, she was inducted into the Cleveland Medical Hall of Fame.
Davis is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a
member of the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Thoracic
Society, the American Physiological Society, the American Pediatric
Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Society
for Gene Therapy and the Biophysical Society. She serves on many
committees at the local and national level, is associate editor
of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular
Biology and Respiratory Research, and is a reviewer
for several other journals.
G. Douglas, M.D.
of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, CWRU, and
Division of Hypertension, University Hospitals of Cleveland
Janice Douglas was a student at Meharry Medical College in her
native Nashville, one of her professors had a stroke and died.
"He was in his mid-30s, and he was really my best professor,"
she said, adding that, because high blood pressure often leads
to stroke, "I got really interested in the whole issue about
what's most effective for blood pressure control." Her interest
was solidified when another professor had a stroke that resulted
in an automobile accident and left him paralyzed.
Dr. Douglas is an internationally renowned physician-scientist
making a difference in the health of African-Americans and others
through her basic and clinical research.
hypertension tends to develop more severely and at a younger
age in African-Americans than in Caucasians, African-Americans
have a greater risk of kidney failure and death from stroke or
heart disease. Dr. Douglas consistently earns a place on the
list of the medical school's "Million Dollar Professors,"
bringing in more than $1 million in funding annually from sources
such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), trying to improve
large study, the Genetics of Salt Dependent Hypertension, involving
1,000 patients, is examining "the genetic determinants of
hypertension, particularly how salt affects blood pressure,"
large study, the African American Study of Kidney Disease and
Hypertension, for which Dr. Douglas heads the steering committee,
is focusing on why the incidence of end-stage renal disease secondary
to high blood pressure is so prevalent in African-Americans.
It is the first major study of kidney disease in African-Americans.
have anywhere from five to 20 times more end-stage renal disease
secondary to high blood pressure than any other segments of the
population," Dr. Douglas said. "And they're very much
over-represented in the dialysis population. African-Americans
represent more than 30 percent of the dialysis population and
only 10 or 12 percent of the general population. We're looking
at what drugs are most effective, comparing three different drugs
[a beta-blocker, a calcium channel blocker and an angiotensin-converting
enzyme (ACE) inhibitor] and two levels of blood pressure control
to see if we can prevent progression of diseases."
results of this 1,100-patient study, which began in 1995 and
will continue for another five years, were presented at the American
Heart Association meeting this fall. Some data were presented
earlier when the commonly used calcium channel blocker being
studied, amlodipine, was found not to protect the kidney as well
as the ACE inhibitor ramipril.
other clinical studies we're involved in are looking at new directions
for using different antihypertensive agents to protect the kidneys
from deterioration," she said. In addition to the clinical
studies, Dr. Douglas and her lab, together with researchers in
the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, receive $1.3 million
annually for basic research examining cellular mechanisms for
blood pressure control and the progression of renal disease.
"We're particularly interested in one of the hormones, angiotensin,
and how it protects the kidney from deterioration," she
excites her about her work? "There are a lot of challenges,
and I like a challenge," she said. "I like the idea
of developing hypotheses and testing them, seeing projects to
completion. Because of all the technology we have and the large
group that we have, it is possible to actually see conclusions
of studies. You actually cannot only just develop a study, you
can see it through to an end in terms of outcome."
Douglas recently completed service on the Advisory Committee
on Research on Minority Health for the NIH's Office of Research
on Minority Health. Among her many other honors, she was elected
into membership of the Institute of Medicine of the Academy of
Sciences. She currently is vice president of the International
Society on Hypertension in Blacks and is a member of its board
of directors. Also, she is a member of the American Heart Association,
the American Society of Nephrology, the Inter-American Society
of Hypertension, the American Physiologic Society, the American
Society of Hypertension, the American Society for Clinical Investigation,
and the Association for American Physicians. She has authored
or co-authored well over 100 papers, has served in an editorial
capacity for numerous journals, and has mentored more than 35
M.D. students, Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows.
A. Headrick, M.D.
of Medicine and Director of the Primary Care Track,
and MetroHealth Medical Center
a seventh-grade student, Linda Headrick knew she wanted to be
a doctor. As a teacher during her chief resident year of training,
she homed her interest to academia, because she enjoyed teaching.
Headrick came to Cleveland in 1985 to help run a residency program
and a fourth-year primary care medical student clerkship. With
the help of others, she improved the residency program but came
to realize that, without quantifying the successes, the improvements
might be difficult to sustain. "That got me interested in
research in medical education," she said.
Dr. Headrick has added a master's degree in health services research
to her credentials and is internationally known for her work
in continuous quality improvement. "I'm interested in how
you teach students, physicians and other health professionals
so that they finish their training ready to assess and improve
what they do as part of their routine, daily professional roles--and
also how we can use that same approach to improve what we do
as educators," she said.
field of quality improvement is relatively new to medicine. "Most
physicians and other health professionals don't finish their
training with the knowledge and skills in measurement, in interprofessional
collaboration, and other key aspects of this area," she
situation is changing, however, as research proves that the approach
works and as accreditors and policymakers increasingly see improvement
principles as a way to reduce error in medicine and shorten the
time it takes practitioners to put into practice the updated
treatment guidelines they learn about in the literature. The
Council on Graduate Medical Education has identified practice-based
improvement as one of six core competencies all physicians must
have by the end of their training.
the medical school, Dr. Headrick has plenty of opportunities
to put quality improvement principles to work. Directing the
medical school's Primary Care Track, she said, "taps into
my core clinical interest in primary care and also is an opportunity
to take what I've learned and apply it to something that would
be of direct benefit to medical students. We've been very careful
to look for ways to measure how we're doing and make it better
over time, and that's one of the reasons that the program has
been successful." Also at the medical school, Dr. Headrick
is the faculty team leader of an interdisciplinary course on
improvement, co-director of an elective about health promotion
and disease prevention research for first-year students, and
a member of the steering committee of the M.D., Ph.D. in health
services research program.
MetroHealth Medical Center, Dr. Headrick leads the Catalyst Initiative,
with the goal of improving education and patient care in primary
care practice. In 1999, she initiated a MetroHealth-supported
health professional fellowship, Faculty Scholars in the Improvement
of Health Care. Also, she is a member of the MetroHealth System
Board of Trustees Quality Standards and Improvement Committee.
Headrick's commitment to quality improvement extends beyond her
activities in Cleveland. Since 1994, she has led a series of
demonstration projects in interdisciplinary education known as
the Interdisciplinary Professional Education Collaborative, sponsored
by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Bureau of
Health Professions/Health Resources and Services Administration.
This work has resulted in more than 25 peer-reviewed publications,
including special issues of the Joint Commission Journal of
Quality Improvement and the Journal of Interprofessional
Care. She co-founded the Association of American Medical
Colleges Group on Educational Affairs' Special Interest Group
on Quality Improvement in Medical Education and co-chairs its
Headrick is a member of the editorial board of the Journal
of General Internal Medicine and the Joint Commission
Journal on Quality Improvement and is a reviewer for several
journals. She is a member of the North American Advisory Board
for the Journal of Interprofessional Care and the Advisory
Committee of the Association for Academic Health Centers/Health
Resources and Services Administration Center for Interdisciplinary,
Community-Based Learning. She is a member of the American College
of Physicians, the Society for General Internal Medicine, Physicians
for Society Responsibility, and Physicians for Human Rights.
of Neuroscience, CWRU, and
Senior Research Scientist,
MetroHealth Medical Center
a child, Diana Kunze would bring home insects and snakes and
other animals. "I really liked biology," she said.
When it came time to go to college, "I didn't even think
twice about what I was going to do."
As a graduate student, she began to study respiration and circulation
and then became interested in how the nervous system could regulate
them. Today, Dr. Kunze studies the autonomic nervous system and
nurtures others' interest in science by mentoring Ph.D. and postdoctoral
fellows and by participating in a program through which two young
women who attend a Cleveland public high school are spending
one day a week during the school year, plus summers, for three
years in her lab.
students have learned that the autonomic nervous system controls
functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and
the gastrointestinal track that happen automatically without
our thinking about them. "It's a complicated area to study
because the neurons that control these functions are dispersed
throughout many areas of the brain. You can't point to a set
of neurons and say, 'Ah ha, this is it,'" said Dr. Kunze.
"So to study this, we had to develop a lot of techniques
to identify specific neurons and now we're addressing questions
about how the pathways connecting these cells communicate. In
particular, I'm interested in respiration and blood pressure
and heart rate control."
of the neurons act as sensors, sending information to the brain
so that it can make adjustments as needed. "If your blood
pressure is too high, then the brain tries to lower it. If your
oxygen level is too low, then the brain increases your respiration
to raise the oxygen level," Dr. Kunze explained. "In
a way it's like working with a thermostat, which is continuously
sensing the temperature in the room and then making adjustments
to keep the temperature in a set range."
particular, Dr. Kunze is studying the ion channels responsible
for the electrical activity that transmits information from one
neuron to another and how neurons adapt, short term and long
term, to changes in blood pressure or oxygen levels."
Dr. Kunze is part of a National Institutes of Health program
project grant studying intermittent hypoxia as a model for sleep
apnea. "We're trying to understand how the nervous system
responds when airways are obstructed during sleep. Your oxygen
goes down, you wake up and then you resume regular breathing,
and this process repeats over and over during the night. We hope
that if we can understand what kinds of changes are occurring
in the neurons in response to the intermittent hypoxia, then
treatments or ways of ameliorating the problems associated with
sleep apnea can be developed.
same thing is true with blood pressure control. Some forms of
hypertension are the result of increased activity in the sympathetic
nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system.
If we can understand why that occurs, by looking at animal models,
then maybe specific treatments for that kind of hypertension
can be developed."
Kunze and her lab have identified a number of ion channels and
some of the mechanisms responsible for adaptation in neurons,
but "no one knows why that part of the brain is overactive,
why those neurons are overactive," she said. The possibility
of answering that question excites her.
love mysteries," she said. "I had a mentor once who
said, 'If you really like mysteries, this is what you should
be doing.' I like going in every day and having the possibility
of discovering something new. Obviously, it's not like that every
day. A lot of days are not like that. But every time you wake
up in the morning, you know you can go do something that's creative
and that you can use your mind and can discover something new
that you didn't know, and that no one knew."
Kunze has authored or co-authored 80 publications. She is a member
of the American Physiological Society, the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, the Biophysical Society, and
the Society for Neuroscience. Locally, she is active on several
committees related to research, education and faculty matters
at CWRU and MetroHealth and is a member of the American Heart
Association Northeast Ohio Valley Affiliate's Research Committee
and of the Biomedical Research Cleveland Working Group.
Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, and
Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program
am a curious person by nature," said Sandra Lemmon, Ph.D.
Curious meaning inquisitive. "My husband always laughs that
I still ask as many questions as a small child. I love making
new discoveries and finding out how things work."
work, the basic scientist feeds this curiosity investigating
the role of phosphorylation in the regulation of membrane transport.
"All eukaryotic cells are surrounded on their surface by
a plasma membrane and contain a complex array of internal membranes.
There is a continual exchange of nutrients, signaling molecules,
and other factors between the internal compartments and the cell
surface," she explained. "My laboratory is interested
in how proteins are transported between these different membrane
compartments and find their proper location in the cell."
her lab studies transport in baker's yeast that is mediated by
a protein called clathrin. "Since a large percentage of
the proteins expressed in yeast have relatives in animals, including
humans, this has been an incredibly important organism for understanding
a wide variety of basic processes that take place in the cells
from any multi-cellular organism." Her research is currently
funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Lemmon came to CWRU in 1988 as an assistant professor, pleased
by the number of bacterial geneticists on faculty. "The
open, collaborative atmosphere here was also readily apparent,
so overall I thought CWRU would provide a good environment for
me as a young faculty member," she said.
considerations came into play, also, she said. "My husband
[Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Neurosciences]
and I were a dual-career couple looking for two positions in
the same city. Finding faculty positions together was challenging,
and CWRU offered a great opportunity for both of us to continue
to develop our scientific careers. Furthermore, we had two young
sons, and we felt Cleveland offered many advantages of a city,
but at the same time the size of the city and proximity of CWRU
to nice housing and good public schools made it an easy place
to live for a couple juggling careers and family."
Lemmon assumed her current title of associate professor in 1996
and in 1999 also became associate director of the Medical Scientist
Training Program (MSTP).
are NIH-funded M.D.-Ph.D. programs that develop researchers who
can bridge the gap between basic science and clinical research.
Each student earns a Ph.D. in the basic science discipline of
his or her choosing, undertaking the usually three- to four-year
Ph.D. portion of the program primarily after the first two years
of medical school and finishing work toward the medical degree
after the Ph.D. work is complete. CWRU's program is one of only
39 in the country.
associate director, Dr. Lemmon said, "I am mainly an academic
adviser who helps students with the graduate school aspects of
their training that occur during the first two years in parallel
to the medical school curriculum. I help them identify good mentors
for research rotations in their areas of interest, with the ultimate
goal that they will find a lab for their Ph.D. training by the
time they finish their second year of medical school. I also
advise them in selecting graduate courses, which they take in
addition to their medical school classes. And I am there to consult
with them and assist with any other concerns or problems that
come up during the first two years.
really enjoy interacting with the students and getting to know
them," she continued. "These students are very bright,
talented and motivated. A combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is quite
demanding and challenging, and the MSTP students have a lot of
extra hurdles to leap. I find it very rewarding to see how the
students develop into physician-scientists over the course of
their time here, and it is satisfying to have this special role
where I can provide support and advice as they learn and grow."
CWRU, Dr. Lemmon serves on the MSTP Steering Committee, the School
of Medicine Women's Issues Advisory Committee, and the School
of Medicine's Nominating Committee. She also is very involved
in activities of the university's cell biology community. She
is a regular participant in the Cell Biology Journal Club and
the Cleveland Membrane Traffic Group.
the medical school, Dr. Lemmon is a reviewer for several journals,
including Journal of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology
of the Cell, Current Biology, Traffic, and
Journal of Cell Science. She is a member of the American
Society for Cell Biology and is a previous recipient of a Career
Advancement Award from the National Science Foundation.
Lemmon also has contributed to the knowledge base in her field
through invited seminars, symposia and meeting presentations
and by authoring or co-authoring numerous abstracts, journal
articles, reviews and book chapters.
of work, Dr. Lemmon enjoys travel and outdoor activities such
as hiking and biking. Her most memorable trip was the sabbatical
year that she and her husband took in Switzerland in 1997-98.
In addition to their laboratory work, they had many wonderful
times touring Europe and biking, hiking and skiing in the Alps
with their children. This past summer, she completed a 500-mile,
seven-day bike trip across Wisconsin. She is proud of that accomplishment
but is looking forward to a more leisurely vacation with her
family this year.
of Radiation Oncology, CWRU, and
Resources Core Facility and Radiation Biology Program,
Cancer Center, CWRU and University Hospitals of Cleveland
Oleinick, Ph.D., has spent the past 15 years of her career studying
photodynamic therapy (PDT), a promising treatment for cancer.
"The focus of my current research is to elucidate the mechanisms
by which it works," the basic scientist said.
PDT, a photosensitive drug is injected into a cancer patient.
Fast-growing tumor tissue absorbs more of the drug than does
surrounding tissue, so it accumulates in the tumor. When a laser
is aimed at the tumor, its light interacts with the drug to destroy
the cancerous cells without damaging the surrounding tissue.
PDT is the word that describes her work for the past several
years, collaboration is the word that describes a theme for her
I got involved with this, I worked on mechanisms of damage to
DNA by ionizing radiation," Dr. Oleinick said. "Around
15 years ago, I was involved in some conversations with Antonio
Antunez, [M.D., now professor emeritus of radiation oncology],
who used to be the director of radiation therapy in what was
then the Department of Radiology. We used to meet and talk about
his interests in radiation therapy and possible new ideas. I
had learned a little about PDT, and I asked him, 'Would you be
interested in some kind of collaborative work on this new treatment
for cancer?' He was, and I went to a meeting and learned more
about it. Then I said, 'I have to find out who else on this campus
knows something relevant to this topic.'"
went looking for people who knew about lasers and light and the
kinds of molecules used for photosensitizers, and she found them.
From an initial group of more than 20 people, an eventual core
of about six or seven started to work together. Funding from
several sources supported the research.
work at CWRU has been supported through a National Cancer Institute
grant for the last 11 years "because of a very strong collaboration
with other investigators here at the university," Dr. Oleinick
said. Among those collaborators are Malcolm Kenney, Ph.D., professor
of chemistry, who synthesized the photosensitizer used in her
studies, Pc 4; Hasan Mukhtar, Ph.D., professor of dermatology,
who has worked with Dr. Oleinick for many years; and Timothy
Kinsella, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology,
who is leading the first clinical trial of Pc 4 at University
Hospitals of Cleveland. Also, she pointed out, Anna-Liisa Nieminen,
Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy and "confocal microscopist
par excellence" helped identify that mitochondria were the
primary sites to which Pc 4 is attracted. Other long-time collaborators
are Helen Evans, Ph.D., and Marie Varnes, Ph.D., both of the
Department of Radiation Oncology, and Cecilia Whitacre, Ph.D.,
of the Department of Medicine.
Dr. Oleinick said, "the lab is trying to understand the
initial damage done when the photosensitizer creates damaging
oxygen and causes oxidation of molecules in the mitochondria.
What are those molecules-we think we know one of them; we may
know two of them-and how does that damage lead to cell death?
We think this has importance for understanding how PDT works
in real tumors, and we think it also may offer a mechanism for
combined modality treatment, which is the way most cancers are
of PDT with Pc 4 now has extended into the clinical setting.
"It's handed over to my clinical colleagues," Dr. Oleinick
said. "I cannot do a clinical trial, but I hope to do a
translational study as part of the clinical work.
a basic scientist, I'm interested in mechanism, how something
works. We study this in cells, we study this in model tumors
in animals. We'd like to know if anything in our preclinical
models has any relevance to the clinical situation. We certainly
hope some of it does, but we won't know until we've done that.
And then can we use that new information to improve treatment."
deeper into mechanism, particularly biochemical mechanism, and
working on something that may benefit patients, is exciting to
Dr. Oleinick, she said. "I think any basic scientist in
a medical school probably has those goals, but not every line
of work allows them to do this. And there are fringe benefits
that fall from this work, too. You get to meet and work with
some fascinating people."
Oleinick came to CWRU in 1966 after earning her Ph.D. "My
husband, for business reasons, had moved to Cleveland, so I was
particularly interested in finding work in Cleveland," she
said. The academic science community was still warming up to
the idea of women faculty, but Dr. Oleinick found a home as a
postdoc and instructor in the biochemistry department and, subsequently,
as an assistant professor in the radiology department. She progressed
to the rank of professor in 1985. The radiation oncology division
of the department became its own department, and she's held her
current title of professor of radiation oncology since 1998.
"It's happenstance that I ended up here at CWRU, but what
I have liked about being here is the tremendous openness for
collaboration," she said.
others, Dr. Oleinick holds two patents related to photosensitizers
and their use, and she has lectured on PDT in courses offered
through the pharmacology, environmental health sciences, and
serves on several committees at the medical school and within
her department and is perennially named a "Million Dollar
Professor" at the School of Medicine in recognition of annually
bringing in $1 million or more in research funding from sources
such as the National Institutes of Health.
than 40 undergraduate chemistry, biology, and biochemistry students
have worked on research projects in her lab, and she has mentored
medical students, predoctoral and master of science students,
postdoctoral associates, and visiting scientists working on research
Dr. Oleinick's contributions to her field extend beyond the medical
school. She has given numerous lectures and has chaired or participated
in many symposia. She has written or co-written more than 100
journal articles and almost 20 reviews and chapters, and she
referees manuscripts for numerous journals. She chairs the National
Cancer Institute Initial Review Group's Manpower and Training
Subcommittee, serves on the advisory board for a program project
on PDT at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, and serves
on the Veterans' Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards
and the NASA Radiation Effects Review Panel.
is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular
Biology, the Radiation Research Society, and both the European
and American societies for photobiology, and she is a past president
of the American Society for Photobiology.
Redline, M.D., M.P.H.
of Pediatrics, CWRU, and
Chief, Division of Clinical
Epidemiology, Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
first ties to Cleveland for Queens, N.Y., native Susan Redline,
M.D., M.P.H. came in the late 1970s, as she graduated from the
Boston University School of Medicine summa cum laude and Phi
Beta Kappa. "My husband and I chose to do our residencies
as a couple in 1979," she said, "and Case Western Reserve
University was very welcoming to couples."
completing an internship and residency in internal medicine and
a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at CWRU
affiliate MetroHealth Medical Center, Dr. Redline undertook a
fellowship in respiratory epidemiology at Brigham and Women's
Hospital, at the same time pursuing her master of public health
degree at Harvard. She went on to work at Brown Medical School
but was attracted back to Cleveland in 1990. "I had maintained
contact with many of my mentors" in Cleveland, she said.
"The opportunity to work with people such as Drs. Murray
Altose and Kingman Strohl [professors of medicine] and to live
in a family-welcoming community such as Cleveland attracted me
Redline's work focuses on understanding the epidemiology (distribution,
causes and outcomes) of chronic health conditions, particularly
sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and chronic airway diseases
including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. "I
am especially interested in the issue of individual susceptibility
to chronic diseases and how genetic and environmental factors
interact to influence this susceptibility," she said. "I
am also very interested in how prenatal and early childhood exposures
influence the expression of disease in later life."
chosen field stems from a longstanding interest in environmental
health. "It started in high school when I participated in
a National Science Foundation summer program on the environment
and studied mercury poisoning," she said. "As a pulmonary
fellow, I was further exposed to many patients whose lung diseases
appeared to be related to occupational and other environmental
Cleveland, Dr. Redline's research interests have led to the establishment
of two of the largest population-based studies of sleep apnea,
a pediatric cohort and a family cohort. Her work has played a
key role in defining the population distributions of SDB and
the role of gender, race, and age in this disorder; describing
the natural history of the disorder; describing racial differences
in age of onset (identifying blacks to have SDB at younger ages);
and describing racial differences in SDB-associated outcomes.
Recent work has provided evidence that the incidence of SDB increases
in children born prematurely. "This finding suggests intriguing
possibilities regarding the role of developmental influences
on respiratory control and/or craniofacial anatomy and helps
identify susceptible subsets of the population," she said.
Cleveland family cohort also has provided the strongest data
to date characterizing the role of genetic influences on sleep
apnea," Dr. Redline continued. "We have obtained genome-wide
scan data on 635 members of this cohort, and early genetic analyses
suggest genes for obesity, blood pressure, lung function, and
Redline and her colleagues also have established an internationally
recognized center for the collection, processing, and analysis
of sleep studies, known in the field as research polysomnograms.
The methods and manuals they developed now serve as templates
for use in other research and clinical centers.
Sleep Heart Health Study data are being made available electronically
to the public to allow a variety of technical and physiological
questions to be broadly addressed," she said. "The
most recent work from this study, published in April 2000 in
the Journal of the American Medical Association, has provided
the best evidence to date linking hypertension to SDB. We have
now been invited to participate in two new, large-scale, population-based
studies, one on the relationship of SDB to cardiovascular disease
in African-Americans, and the other on the relationship of sleep
disorders to osteoporosis and falls."
Dr. Redline has been involved in community-based asthma screening
initiatives and just completed a one-year project in which her
team developed and validated a new tool to screen for asthma
and allergies in schools. Initially used in the Shaker Heights
schools, the work will be extended to the Hough schools through
a grant from the Ohio Commission of Minority Health, and a modification
of this tool soon will be tested in Dallas, Chicago and Rochester,
Minn., for use in other cities across the United States.
Redline repeatedly has been named one of the medical school's
"Million Dollar Professors" for annually bringing in
more than $1 million in funding from sources such as the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), but she contributes to the growing
body of knowledge in her field in many ways in addition to her
research. As an educator, she has organized programs, lectures
and elective courses, and she has mentored more than 20 medical
students, doctoral students, fellows and faculty members. Also
locally, she is a member of the Greater Cleveland Asthma Coalition
Steering Committee and St. Luke's Foundation's Healthy Children
2020 Think Tank.
expertise is recognized beyond Cleveland, too. On a national
level, Dr. Redline is very active on NIH committees. For the
NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, she is chair
of the subcommittee on polysomonography for the Sleep Health
Study and is a member of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board
of the Multicenter Asthma Clinical Network. For the NIH's National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, she is a convener
of the Peak Flow Pilot Study Committee.
Dr. Redline is an associate editor of Sleep and the American
Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine. She is a fellow
of the American College of Chest Physicians, chairs the clinical
trials subcommittee for the American Association of Sleep Medicine,
and is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American
Thoracic Society and its Committee on Questionnaire Revisions,
the Society for Epidemiologic Research, the International Society
for Human Genetics, the American Professional Sleep Society,
and the Ohio Lung Association.
has made numerous presentations to fellow researchers as well
as students and patient groups and has authored or co-authored
more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and an equal number of
abstracts, as well as several other publications.
of Psychiatry, CWRU, and
Director, Family Achievement
Clinic, Westlake, Ohio
Rimm, Ph.D., is nationally known for her books, tapes, newsletter,
syndicated newspaper column, scholarly and popular articles,
and radio, TV and personal appearances, all aimed at helping
parents raise their children and examining what motivates children
to be successful. The psychologist's book See Jane Win
and its companion, How Jane Won, have earned her appearances
on the New York Times bestseller list and well as the
"Oprah" show. Her textbook Education of the Gifted
and Talented is the most popular one in its field.
has a special interest in gifted and creative children. "Though
I work with all children, the phenomenon of some gifted children
doing so well in school and other gifted children underachieving
and not working to their ability always challenged me,"
Dr. Rimm said.
her work, she has found that in addition to learning skills,
parents who stress the importance of education and "who
set high expectations, who are positive in those expectations,
who are united in those expectations, are really a very key part
of success" for children.
addition to helping parents across the nation, as a member of
the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine's clinical,
or part-time, faculty for the past nine years, Dr. Rimm has helped
medical school students and residents become better doctors through
her teaching and through grand rounds presentations at the university's
affiliated hospitals. "Right now, we're working with the
family practice residents in clinical work," she said. "Each
resident spends a couple days with us and we introduce them to
parenting and child issues that may affect them in their family
play a crucial role in the lives of families and in helping parents
be good parents, Dr. Rimm said. Physicians may be confronted
with questions about school, siblings, rebellion, sexual issues
and adolescent issues, so "helping them understand what
kinds of answers they can handle medically and when they should
refer for extra help is extremely important.
example, one of the concerns nationally now is the overuse of
attention deficit medications. Families will often come to their
family physician or their pediatrician for those kinds of prescriptions,
so learning to work with a psychologist or a psychiatrist on
when to prescribe and when not to prescribe is really important.
Another example might be headaches or stomachaches and when they're
psychological and when they're related to school phobia and anxieties.
Psychologists refer to physicians to look at the physical components
first, but if they find there isn't anything, it's important
to be aware of the kinds of symptoms that suggest that this child
needs psychological help. Psychologists and docs need to work
together, particularly when they're working directly with families."
students and residents with whom she works already often have
come to appreciate the importance of collaboration; what they
gain from her is an awareness of a more subtle point of doctoring,
she said. "One thing I've taught medical school students
that I've gotten an 'a ha' response from is something I call
referential speaking, adult talk about a child in front of the
child, and how it affects the child. Sometimes doctors don't
realize the impact of what they say to a parent about the child
in front of the child. The child assumes that whatever the doctor
says is true and immutable. Suppose a doctor says to a parent,
'Your child needs medication because he's impulsive and can't
concentrate' and proceeds with a long description of the symptoms
of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That child
may think, 'Am I sick? Will I never be able to concentrate? Am
I a bad person?' I tell a doctor, 'You need to either say that
differently in front of that child or ask the child to leave
the room, because you don't want to disempower that child. After
all, many children outgrow the symptoms of ADHD and can learn
to control impulses.' Furthermore, even children on medication
can learn more appropriate behaviors. Even simple kinds of things--'Oh,
he's a little devil, isn't he?'--are really hurtful to children.
Saying 'this child is a genius' can put terrible pressure on
are examples of things that I've heard from doctors, and when
I point this out to medical students or residents, they really
find it surprising."
B. Shurin, M.D.
of Pediatrics, CWRU, and Chief, Division of Pediatric
Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
Photo by Marius Chira
an outsider, the prospect of working with children who have cancer
or blood diseases such as sickle cell disease or hemophilia might
seem depressing, but to Susan B. Shurin, M.D., it is her life's
think people tend to focus on the fact that death in children
is a reality among our patients," she said. "It is
there, but there's an awful lot of success, too, and we contribute
to that. Virtually all of the patients we take care of are taken
care of on research protocols, so we're not just benefiting these
patients, we're benefiting future generations of patients. And
most of our patients not only survive but live very productive
and happy lives."
Dr. Shurin especially enjoys the ability to establish long-term
relationships that her specialty affords.
get to know the families really well. I know the grandparents,
I know the dogs. I have a really powerful sense of how all the
pieces fit together, and I like the sense of being able to make
a difference in terms of how people face very challenging times."
Those challenges were part of the attraction when she chose to
concentrate in hematology/oncology, she said. "I went into
this because it was intellectually exciting, because I admired
the people who were doing this, and because I like taking care
of whole people and melding cutting-edge science with clinical
care. Over the course of my career, I've seen a very significant
number of completely new entities described. I've actually described
three of them myself. And that's fun."
an educator, Dr. Shurin has advised master's degree and Ph.D.
students. She teaches hematology to second-year medical students,
in the classroom and in small groups. She also works with the
third-year medical students who do a month of inpatient training
on the pediatric hematology/oncology unit of the hospital. "A
huge piece of what we do is the art of communicating with people.
Often that means giving people bad news," she said. "The
students rotating through are very much an integral part of our
team. We want to be graduating students who have all the factual
knowledge they need, but we're also trying to make sure they
learn how to be humane doctors."
passing along wisdom to future researchers and clinicians, fully
aware that her own education never stops. "I learn something
from every patient I see-and a lot from some of them," she
of the patients from whom Dr. Shurin learns are those she meets
because the hospital is a member of the Children's Oncology Group,
a national cooperative clinical research group. Dr. Shurin is
chair of the group's bioethics committee. The group refines promising
or proven treatments for childhood cancers. "Most of the
kids we take care of are treated on protocols designed to provide
the optimum therapy and collect information so we continue to
make advances," she said. "And if we already have very
good therapies for some of these diseases, then we try to diminish
the side effects or shorten the duration of treatment."
She is an active member of and director of pediatric activities
in the CWRU comprehensive cancer center, "comprehensive"
being the highest classification among National Cancer Institute-designated
advances in the field come relatively quickly is exciting to
Dr. Shurin. "In the 24 years I have been here, the management
of many hematologic disorders has been transformed,' she said.
"We have gone from bench to bedside and back again several
times. The clinical work stimulates the laboratory, and vice
versa. I have seen formerly incurable diseases routinely cured.
Children who formerly would have died of complications that are
now preventable are sending me pictures of their children. This
really keeps you going!"
addition to her bioethics work with the cancer group, Dr. Shurin
is chair of a Data Safety and Monitoring Board for a pediatric
study at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "The
best science is also the most humane science. No experiment is
good if it does not optimally protect its subjects," she
said. "Much of what I am involved in is an attempt to optimize
medical care and enhance the standards of care we offer, which
is crucially important in national networks of clinical research."
Shurin also is very active outside the hospital room, lab and
classroom. At CWRU, she is immediate past chair of the university's
Faculty Senate, has served on several search committees for key
personnel, and has served on and chaired the medical school's
Faculty Council. She's also served on numerous hospital committees.
She is chief of the division of pediatric hematology/ oncology
at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, with administrative
responsibilities for running the clinical service, and developing
the careers of faculty colleagues and postdoctoral trainees.
leadership experience and potential was recognized in 2000-2001
when she was selected to participate in the Executive Leadership
in Academic Medicine program for women. The prestigious national
program, for women who aspire to be deans or department chairs
or to hold other senior leadership positions at academic medical
centers, is a chance to learn new skills and meet similarly accomplished
Shurin also is active in numerous professional organizations
related to her field. She is a member of the board of trustees
of the local and state chapters of the American Cancer Society
and chairs or serves on several committees within several other
is a reviewer for several medical journals and serves on the
editorial board of the Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
She is the author of numerous journal articles, abstracts and
of Bioethics, Medicine and Epidemiology
Laura Siminoff was a young child, her grandfather died of cancer.
"At the time, people did not say the 'c' word, and they
certainly did not speak to young children about cancer, so I
was told very little," she said. "He just went off
and then died and was gone. That made a lasting impression on
me, which was that keeping people in the dark doesn't necessarily
help people feel better, and it doesn't necessarily help them
cope with serious illness. I have a feeling that that very traumatic
experience stayed with me, and when I went into the field of
public health, I became very interested in this issue."
Dr. Siminoff's research seeks to ease the health care experience
for breast cancer patients making decisions about post-surgery
treatment and families trying to decide whether to donate the
organs of loved ones. She is a perennial "Million Dollar
Professor," bringing in more than $1 million a year in research
funding from sources such as the National Institutes of Health.
her work related to women choosing treatment for breast cancer
following surgery, she said, "What we're finding is that
patients want to try to make decisions that are in line with
their own personal beliefs and preferences and values, but that
they need really specific information, the sort of information
that an oncologist would have but that tends not to be very accessible
to patients because it tends to be complicated.
developed a decision guide to try to make that information easier
for patients to understand and easier for physicians to share.
We're looking at sharing prognostic information, very specific
numbers, with patients so they can partner more with their physicians
and decide what they want to do with that information."
Doing so helps physicians as well as patients, she said. "When
we do that, we find that patients are more satisfied with their
decisions and tend to stick with their decisions rather than
starting treatment and then changing their minds."
request from an administrator at another institution led Dr.
Siminoff to do 15 years' worth of research related to organ procurement.
Dr. Siminoff was asked whether she could determine why the organ
donation level was so low at the institution at which she worked
at the time.
did a very small study, and we found a very strange thing--well,
at the time it seemed strange: most of the families who were
asked to donate refused to do so," she said. "We thought,
'Well that's strange, because everybody tells us that everybody
wants to donate, that it's just a matter of asking them.'"
A subsequent large study verified the smaller study's findings,
to CWRU because of its top-rated bioethics and cancer centers,
Dr. Siminoff came to Cleveland and completed another large study
to determine the reasons people refused to donate. The
results of that study were published in the July 4 issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association.
research found that "people who had some sort of discussion
with their family members ahead of time were much more likely
to donate," Dr. Siminoff said. "It may have been a
large discussion, such as 'I checked my license and I want to
be a donor,' or it could have been something more casual in which
somebody said, 'Listen to this news report about somebody who
needs an organ. If I were ever in a situation where I could donate,
I'd like to do it.' We found that having those discussions is
very, very important."
study also found that families had questions about whether there
was a cost involved with organ donation (there is no cost to
the family), whether they still would be able to have an open-casket
funeral if organs were donated (they would, since no disfigurement
is involved with organ donation), and whether they could tailor
the donations (they can designate which organs to take).
research also has shown that it's not enough to just ask people
to donate organs, that the process we use is very important,"
Dr. Siminoff said, "and we found that organ procurement
organization staff are probably better people to be having these
discussions with families rather than physicians and nurses."
She and her colleagues now are planning a randomized controlled
trial of an intervention "to see whether we can put together
a process that will make a difference."
a difference is the bottom line of her work. "There's a
saying that the cure is worse than the disease, and I think that
can happen in medicine. I think we need research that will ameliorate
that as much as possible. I'm hopeful that the work I do will
help improve people's quality of life and help improve their
experiences as they go through the health care system."
Siminoff was selected to participate in the national Executive
Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women for the 2001-2002
academic year. The prestigious national program, for women who
aspire to be deans or department chairs or to hold other senior
leadership positions at academic medical centers, is a chance
to learn new skills and meet similarly accomplished women.
is a member of the American Public Health Association, the Society
for Clinical Trials, the National Women's Health Network, the
Society for Medical Decision-Making, the Association for Health
Services Research, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities,
and the American Gerontological Society. She is on the editorial
boards of the Journal of Transplant Coordination and Progress
in Transplantation and is a referee for numerous journals.
Siminoff has made lasting contributions to her field by authored
or co-authored journal articles, books and other publications;
delivering lectures at the university and elsewhere around the
country; and mentoring those pursuing master's and doctoral degrees
as well as fellow faculty members. She directs the doctoral program
in bioethics at the Center for Biomedical Ethics based at the
medical school, and she is director of the prevention research
educational postdoctoral training program based at the comprehensive
cancer center of CWRU and University Hospitals of Cleveland.
is a study section member for several national organizations
related to cancer and health services research and has been a
member of several committees at the medical school.
and University Vice President, and Professor of Pediatrics,
CWRU, and Staff Psychologist, Rainbow Babies &
16, Lynn Singer, Ph.D., was named vice provost for planning and
assessment at Case Western Reserve University.
Office of the Provost, as the chief academic budget and operating
office for the university, provides leadership to support the
scholarly enterprise of the university and plans and implements
academic programs. The principal duties of Dr. Singer's newly
created position include institutional planning involving resource
allocation and policy assessment and development; evaluating
the structure and staffing of the university's School of Graduate
Studies; coordinating activities related to the university's
new ad hoc Committee on Postdoctoral Researchers; and implementing
strategies to help ensure the university's continued accreditation.
Singer, whose titles, in addition to the ones listed at the top
of this page, also include professor of psychiatry at CWRU and
associate medical staff member at University Hospitals of Cleveland
and MetroHealth Medical Center, planned to work half-time in
this newly created position while fulfilling the responsibilities
of her other roles at the university's School of Medicine and
its affiliated hospitals. April 27, however, CWRU's president,
David H. Auston, Ph.D., resigned and Provost James W. Wagner,
Ph.D., was named interim president, leaving Dr. Singer alone
in the Office of the Provost.
have to laugh when I remember that I was originally worried about
taking this position because I was afraid it would be too bureaucratic
and boring," she said. In light of the unforeseen events,
Dr. Singer has increased her commitment to the Office of the
Provost but noted that the experienced administrative staff of
the office has been of great assistance. She has been able to
continue her medical research by working nights and weekends
and with the help of the co-investigators and coordinators of
her two major studies, including Bob Arendt, Ph.D., assistant
professor of pediatrics; Betsy Short, Ph.D., associate professor
of psychology; Sonia Minnes, Ph.D., senior research associate;
and Sarah Fulton.
her work in the Office of the Provost, Dr. Singer said, "Everything
I am doing is exciting right now. Particularly challenging and
fun for me has been having the chance to speak out 'at the table'
on women's issues such as equity in hiring and promotions for
female faculty, especially in the sciences. I am particularly
concerned that we have only two endowed chairs held by women
faculty in the medical school, out of a total of 60, and we must
make efforts to increase the numbers of women on the tenure track
and at senior levels within the university. CWRU has only 37
percent women undergraduates, and we know that to attract women
students, we need to have role models on the faculty.
through the issues related to hospital affiliations and, especially,
trying to represent the concerns and interests of faculty, is
gratifying. Becoming acquainted with parts of the university
that I had little or no contact with in the past--for example,
engineering, tech transfer activities, the business school, and
members of the board of trustees--has left me awed by their talents,
accomplishments and hard work. The undergraduate initiative to
transform the educational and social experiences of CWRU students
was also very appealing."
she's not working in the Office of the Provost, Dr. Singer focuses
her medical research on high-risk infancy conditions. "Over
the last decade, my collaborators and I have been investigating
the developmental sequelae of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic
lung disease of prematurity, as well as the implications of caring
for the high-risk, very low birth weight infant for the family,"
she said. "I have focused on the effects of very low birth
weight birth on maternal psychological status and its impact
on the developing infant. We have demonstrated that very low
birth weight birth results in significant psychological stress
for mothers and that mothers whose infants have significant disabilities
are at high risk for significant depression.
other major focus of my work has been a longitudinal study of
cocaine-exposed infants, whom we have now followed until six
years of age," she continued. "Over time, we have come
to recognize that fetal exposure to various substances, whether
drug abuse or pesticides, or even prescribed drugs, may affect
fetal brain development and have long-term implications."
she does with her provost-office work, Dr. Singer enjoys affecting
policy changes through her research. "What excites me most
from my work as a scientist is the realization that you can make
a difference with your research," she said. "It is
really very important that we as a society examine issues systematically.
When others write you and you see that your work may actually
be influencing the development of policies, it's exciting. I
recently received a letter from a neonatologist who is also the
mother of a very low birth weight infant who wrote to me about
how accurately our descriptions of the responses of mothers in
the neonatal intensive care unit were."
Singer also is the principal investigator of a new National Institutes
of Health-funded longitudinal study to assess the effects of
MDMA ("ecstacy") on infants with investigators from
the University of East London in Great Britain. She serves on
two data safety and monitoring boards at the NIH's Heart, Lung
and Blood Institute and is a reviewer for journals such as Pediatrics,
the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal
of the American Medical Association. Another major accomplishment,
which occurred this summer, was serving as senior editor of a
new book, Biobehavioral Assessment of the Infant.
Medical Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001/2002
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