July 2011
Dean Lawley
Thomas J. Lawley, Dean

National leaders selected as chairs in psychiatry and anesthesiology

I'd like to welcome to the School of Medicine two outstanding new physicians as department chairs, Laureen Hill to the Department of Anesthesiology and Mark Rapaport to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Both are nationally respected academic leaders and researchers in their specialties. Hill will begin on Aug. 1, and Rapaport will join the department on Sept. 15.

Laureen Hill
Mark Rapaport

Hill comes to Emory from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., where she is vice chair of the anesthesiology department and professor of anesthesiology and cardiothoracic surgery. Her research interests include the critical care and anesthesia care of patients undergoing cardiac or thoracic surgery and those who have congenital heart disease and require non-cardiac procedures. She helped develop a cardiothoracic intensive care unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

When she arrives later this summer, Hill also will become chief of anesthesiology for Emory Healthcare. She succeeds James Zaidan, who will step down as chair but will maintain his current positions as professor of anesthesiology and associate dean for graduate medical education.

Rapaport will move from Los Angeles, where he is professor and vice chair of the department of psychiatry at UCLA. His research interests include psychopharmacology, immunity abnormalities in schizophrenia, the biologic genesis of anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and depression. In addition, Rapaport has served in leadership positions on review committees at the NIH and the National Institute of Mental Health and on the board for the committee for data safety for the National Institute on Drug Abuse clinical trials network.


Warren elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Steve Warren

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) inducted Stephen Warren, William Patterson Timmie Professor and Charles Candler Chair of Human Genetics, as a member last April, honoring him for his excellence in original scientific research. He joins three other Emory faculty who are academy members, and he was one of 71 researchers elected to the NAS this year. This is one of the highest of all American scientific honors. More than 180 living NAS members have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Most of us at Emory and many worldwide know Warren for his remarkable scientific discoveries in human genetics that have led to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. His work not only has made a notable difference in the lives of these individuals and their families, but his breakthrough laboratory research has led to discoveries in a relatively short amount of time.

Warren and his colleagues also developed a diagnostic test for fragile X syndrome. Subsequent research has led Warren and other scientists to identify potential drug treatments that currently are being tested in clinical trials.


Marshall chair in urology established

Fray Marshall

The Department of Urology recently honored Fray Marshall, Ada Lee and Pete Correll Professor of Urology, with a named endowed chair. The proceeds from the Fray F. Marshall Chair in Urology will be devoted to research within the urology department.

"Fray believes that a culture of scientific inquiry is critical to develop innovations that improve how we treat urology patients," says Chad Ritenour, associate professor and interim chair of urology. "The chair will help ensure the legacy he created at Emory."

An endowed chair is the highest named academic position in the medical school. The designation recognizes Marshall for his many achievements at the helm of the department, developing a division of surgery when he first came to Emory in 1998 into an internationally renowned urology department by the time he stepped down as chair in 2010 (he remains a professor). He was instrumental in developing one of the most sought after urology residency programs in the country, a nationally recognized research program in molecular therapeutics, and clinical programs in cancer, minimally invasive surgery, men's health, and female urology. Most important, he is known for his unparalleled patient care.

The majority of the funds to endow the chair came from grateful patients, but faculty and colleagues also were contributors. Marshall's friends and coworkers honored him with a dinner this past March to celebrate the chair.


New construction boosts research, patient care

Health Sciences Research Building

Three new projects will expand research space and improve patient care and satisfaction. Construction on the new Health Sciences Research Building on Haygood Drive officially began this summer with a groundbreaking ceremony in June. More than half of the research space will be dedicated to the Emory-Children's Pediatric Research Center, a joint project with WHSC and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The remaining portion of the building will house research areas such as adult cancer, immunology, and drug discovery.

A two-story bridge will connect the new building to the Emory-Children's Center. The cost of the new building is an estimated $90 million, which will be funded primarily through philanthropic contributions.

In a separate redevelopment project to enhance patient care spaces, Emory's board of trustees approved a site on Clifton Road in front of The Emory Clinic's building B for a new 210-bed hospital bed tower. The board also approved the expenditures needed to begin planning, such as preparing the site, installing utilities, enhancing parking areas, and updating entrances and exits.

At Emory University Hospital Midtown, another ICU for cardiothoracic patients and a bridge between hospital buildings will be built so that post-operative patients may be transported directly to the ICU without having to enter an elevator. This $8 million project is part of an overall plan to integrate all Emory Healthcare ICUs and standardize the care of critically ill patients. Tim Buchman, founding director of Emory's Center for Critical Care, is heading up this effort.

"This approach will standardize and harmonize critical care, optimizing quality and making it easier for patients, families, and all members of the care team to understand and participate in the care process," Buchman says.


Spotlight on radiation oncology

Emory's Department of Radiation Oncology is a recognized national leader in innovative radiotherapy. Established 20 years ago, the department includes the divisions of clinical affairs, cancer biology, and medical physics. It has some of the most advanced technology available to provide individualized care to cancer patients.

"The department has experienced significant growth over the past few years," remarks Walter Curran, department chair and executive director of the Winship Cancer Institute. "The department has added 12 new faculty since 2008, expanded its clinical trials program, and increased its extramural research funding by 94% from 2008 to 2010. Our training program recently expanded to include a residency program to train medical physicists."

Other recent department accomplishments include the following:

  • Emory became the first facility in the nation in more than three years to be included as a full member of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), one of nine National Cancer Institute-supported cancer cooperative groups conducting large multi-center cancer clinical trials in the United States and Canada. Emory joins 28 American and seven Canadian institutions that currently comprise the full-member roster. Full membership enables Winship to establish affiliate members, allowing researchers to recruit patients from a wide geographic and demographic area. Curran was re-elected to serve as the RTOG group chairman, and Atlanta will host an RTOG semiannual meeting in January 2012.

  • This summer, the department will begin using its new Varian Medical Systems TrueBeam system. The system offers 3D images and a therapeutic dose that is 40% to 140% higher than earlier generations of this technology, yet provides 25% less radiation. For lung and other tumors affected by respiratory motion, the system also monitors breathing and compensates for tumor motion while delivering a dose during a continuous rotation around the patient.

  • NASA Specialized Centers of Research awarded Ya Wang and her colleagues a $7.6 million grant. The grant includes funding for four projects, two core laboratories, and an educational/outreach component, all centered on the study of how radiation in space may induce lung cancer in astronauts.

  • Radiation Oncology recently added six outstanding new faculty members, radiation oncologists David Yu, Roberto Diaz, and Liza Stapleford, medical physicist Tian Liu, and cancer researchers Xingming Deng and Priya Kapoor.

  • Emory Healthcare and Radiation Oncology recently signed a letter of intent with Advanced Particle Therapy, LLC, opening the door to potentially develop the state's first proton therapy facility. There are only nine proton centers in the country, the closest of which is in Jacksonville, Fla. Emory's new center will provide patients specialized therapy that offers a more precise and aggressive approach than conventional therapies to destroy tumors without damaging nearby tissues.

  • Department faculty and staff who have been named to Winship leadership positions include Paul Doetsch as associate director for basic science, Paula Vertino as leader of the Winship Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Program, Michael Rossi as director of the Winship Cancer Genomics Shared Resource, and Diane Cassels as Winship's executive administrator.


Recent awards and honors

Ray Dingledine
Mark Goodman
Carla Haack
Fadlo Khuri
Mark Rigby

Daniel Barrow (neurosurgery) was elected chair of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons.

Robert Campbell (pediatrics) was selected as a 2011 IMPACT Leader by Business to Business magazine. The awards honor Atlantans who contribute to the improvement of the Atlanta business and civic community.

Ray Dingledine (pharmacology) was appointed chair of the investment committee of the Society of Neuroscience. The committee oversees a $34 million portfolio. He also gave the Third Annual Theodore Brody Distinguished Lecture at Michigan State University.

David Feliciano (surgery) and Carla Haack (surgery) were among the Healthcare Hero Honorees celebrated at the Inaugural White Coat Grady Gala. The event was attended by more than 600 Atlantans and raised $850,000 to support Grady Hospital.

Mark Goodman (radiology and imaging sciences) was named chair of the radiation therapeutics and biology study section of the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

Katrina Johnson (psychiatry) received a NARSAD Young Investigator Award to study how children of mothers with bipolar disorder are at greater risk for psychiatric illness.

Tanja Jovanovic (psychiatry) received a NARSAD Young Investigator Award to study how maternal trauma and PTSD confer risk and/or resilience in offspring.

Fadlo Khuri (hematology and medical oncology) was named editor-in-chief of Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society.

David Lefer (surgery) received the 2011 Benedict Lucchesi Award in Cardiac Pharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. The award recognizes his scientific leadership in ischemia/reperfusion and cardio-protection.

Bradley Randleman (ophthalmology) was named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Refractive Surgery, published by the International Society of Refractive Surgery.

Mark Rigby (pediatrics) was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine.

William Sexson (pediatrics) received one of the 2011 Heroes in Healthcare Ethics Awards from the Health Care Ethics Consortium of Georgia.

Andrew West (Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute) was named 2011 Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Volunteer of the Year.

Aliza Wingo (psychiatry) received a NARSAD Young Investigator Award to study the possible role of the disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene in resilience.

William Woods (pediatrics) was awarded this year's American Society of Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology Distinguished Career Award.

James Zimring (pathology) was elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

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