Faculty & Staff

Faculty Spotlight

Professor Khaw’s Visit and Presentation at Fu Wai Hospital, Beijing, Oct 22, 2012.
During my visit to China in October 2012, I was invited to present a seminar at Fu Wai Hospital, Beijing, the preeminent Cardiology Center of China. My colleagues from my earlier association with the Chinese – Chinese American Society of Nuclear Medicine joint conferences, in 1991 and later, made it a point to attend my seminar. Professor Liu, Xiu Jie was the co-conference organizer with me . Professor Chen was a Nuclear Oncologist. Both have retired but are still participating in clinical practice.

It was a great honor to be presented with a signed copy of Professor Liu’s new Nucelar Medicine Book before the seminar.

The topic of my seminar was,” Molecular Imaging of Very Small Lesions in Cardiovascular to Onclolgy, back to Cardiovascular: Potential therapeutic Applications.” My host was Dr. He, Zou Xiang, the current Professor and Chief of Nuclear Medicine and Nuclear Cardiology at Fu Wai Hospital Cardiology Center. Dr. Yang, Min Fu was the coordinator of my seminar and dinner.

In the group photo, Professor Liu is on my right and to his right is Dr. Yang. On my left is Professor Chen. The younger participants are cardiologist and Ph.D.s of the Center. My presentation will lead to collaborations between Northeastern University, School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Fu Wai Hospital, Cardiology Center. Professor He is very interested in establishing both experimental and clinical collaboration because of the immense potential of being able to detect very small cardiovascular and cancer lesions in their early stages so that maximal therapeutic efficacy may be achieved by early intervention. He is interested in both in vitro and in vivo applications developed in my laboratory at Norhteastern University.

Professor Michail Sitkovsky, the Eleanor M. Black Chair of Immunophysiology and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and the Director of the New England Inflammation and Tissue Protection Institute recently published an article entitled “Purinergic Signaling During Inflammation” in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (for a copy, please click on this link: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1205750)

While everyone else was studying the effects of intracellular ATP or intracellular adenosine, a small field of scientists, including Dr. Sitkovsky, was studying extracellular ATP and extracellular adenosine. But even after several decades of pharmacological studies and after clinical applications of drugs that target extracellular nucleotides, there was still a failure to explain the molecular mechanisms which govern the effects of extracellular ATP and adenosine on their receptors on the surface of many different types of cells.

The authors of this paper were honored by the invitation to write this review because these authors contributed to the breakthrough discoveries of the physiological mechanism which employs purinergic receptors for extracellular ATP and adenosine. It is expected that this field will grow, and judging from requests for copies of the paper, it has had a big impact already. Dr. Sitkovsky uncovered the unexpected physiological basis of what he named “hypoxia adenosinergic immune regulation”. Papers in Nature 2001, Proceedings of National Academy of Science 2006, and Public Library of Science Biology 2005 that were published by Dr. Sitkovsky’s team at the New England Inflammation and Tissue Protection Institute offered medical doctors a conceptually novel way to therapeutically increase inflammatory damage to normal or cancerous tissues. While inflammatory damage sounds negative, paradoxically, increasing inflammatory damage has major medical applications in treating patients with infectious diseases and cancer.

Prestigious 2012 Bangham Award
We are pleased to announce that Professor Vladimir Torchilin, (Pharmaceutical Sciences) has been selected as the 2012 Bangham Award recipient for his outstanding contributions to the study of liposomes which includes his works on: novel materials for stabilizing liposomes; methods to target liposomes to the heart as a potential therapy for myocardial infarctions; and studies on the pharmacology of liposome encapsulated compounds. His studies over the past three decades have been at the forefront of liposome research and have advanced the field.

The Bangham Award is named after the late Professor Alec Bangham. Professor Bangham was a physician who turned to science and applied physicochemical methods to investigate the self-assembling properties of phospholipids and their role in the mechanism of action of lung surfactants. As stated in the Guardian upon his death, “Alec Bangham’s decision to abandon clinical pathology and become a research scientist unleashed a career rich in discovery and innovation.” It spanned six wonderfully fruitful decades during which Alec, who has died aged 88, became known as the father of liposomes. “Past winners of the Bangham Award include: Demetri Paphadjopulos, Yechezkel (Chezy) Barenholz, Francis C. Szoka, Alberto Gabizon, Leaf Huang, Lee Leserman, Pieter Cullis, Terry Allen, Carl Alving, and Gregory Gegoriadis.

Dr. Torchilin will present a 35 minute lecture on his accomplishments in the area of liposome research at the LRD meeting in Hangzhou China on October 12, 2012. After his lecture, the award plaque will be presented to him.