Cartoon: Bridging the gap between advances in biology and their application to major human diseases

Demystifying Medicine 2017

Tuesdays: January 10 through May 23
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Building 50 Conference Room
(unless otherwise noted)

Main Page
Course Materials
Speaker Profiles
Topic Introductions
Final Examination

Speaker Profiles

January 10 - Mitochondria, Aging, and Chronic Disease
- Richard Hodes, MD (NIA) - Richard J. Hodes, M.D., directs the research program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health. A leading immunologist, Dr. Hodes was named Director of the NIA in 1993, to oversee studies of the biological, clinical, behavioral and social aspects of aging.

Under Dr. Hodes' stewardship, the NIA budget has grown to nearly $1.6 billion, reflecting increased public interest in aging as America and the world grow older. Dr. Hodes has devoted his tenure to the development of a strong, diverse, and balanced research program, focusing on the genetics and biology of aging, basic and clinical studies aimed at reducing disease and disability, including Alzheimer's disease, related dementias, and age-related cognitive change, and investigation of the behavioral and social aspects of aging. Ultimately, these efforts have one goal - improving the health and quality of life for older people and their families.

The NIA has led new and innovative ways to conduct research, share data and translate findings into practical interventions and public information. In biology, studies examine genetic and other factors influencing aging, how they affect longevity and how they intersect with the development of age related diseases. Research in geriatrics is uncovering new ways to combat frailty and other age-related conditions. Behavioral and social research is deepening understanding of the individual behaviors and societal decisions that affect well-being.

Dr. Hodes also directs the Federal research effort to find effective ways to treat or prevent Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The NIA is the NIH lead in research on these dementias, and cutting edge research conducted and supported by the Institute has helped revolutionize the way we think about these diseases. Studies in genetics, basic mechanisms, imaging and biomarkers have spurred the development of potential therapies aimed at a variety of targets and the testing of interventions at the earliest signs of disease. Dr. Hodes represents NIH on the HHS Secretary's Federal Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Disease Research, Care, and Services and coordinates the NIH research efforts under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.

Dr. Hodes is a graduate of Yale University and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed training in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and in Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Hodes is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a member of The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. As an author of more than 250 research papers, he is an influential scientist in and contributor to the field of immunology.

- Toren Finkel, MD, PhD (NHLBI) - Biosketch - Toren Finkel, M.D., Ph.D., joined the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 1992 as Investigator, Cardiology Branch. He was named Chief of the Cardiology Branch in the Institute's Division of Intramural Research in 2001. Dr. Finkel's primary research interests are in oxidant or free radical-mediated diseases, aging, and the cardiovascular clinical implications of stem cells.

Dr. Finkel received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA in 1986. That same year, he received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Harvard University School of Arts and Sciences. He graduated summa cum laude in 1979 with a B.S. in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Finkel pursued a Fellowship in Cardiology at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital from 1989-1992. He conducted his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1986-1987 and 1987-1989, respectively.

Dr. Finkel is the author or coauthor of over 80 publications. He has edited one book and is Editor-in-Chief of Drug Discovery Today-Disease Mechanisms. Dr. Finkel also is the Associate Editor of Circulation Research and is on the editorial boards of several peer-reviewed journals.

January 17 - Addiction and Habituation: Drugs and Food
- Nora Volkow, MD, PhD (NIDA) - Biosketch
- Kevin Hall, PhD (NIDDK) - Biosketch

January 24 - New Approach to Atherosclerosis from Studies of Chronic Granulomatous Disease
- John I. Gallin, MD (CC) - Biosketch

January 31 - Glycoproteins, Allergy, and Other Diseases
- John Hanover, PhD (NIDDK) - Biosketch
- Michelle Bond, PhD (NIDDK) - Biosketch
- Jonathan Lyons, MD (NIAID) - Biosketch

February 7 - CANCELED: Inflammation: Cytokine Storm
- Irini Sereti, MD (NIAID)
- Richard Childs, MD (NHLBI)

February 14 - Inflammation: One Gene at a Time
- Dan Kastner, MD, PhD (NHGRI) - Kastner Group Website - Dr. Dan Kastner obtained his A.B. summa cum laude in philosophy from Princeton University and a Ph.D. and M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. After completing an Internal Medicine residency and chief residency also at Baylor, Dr. Kastner moved to the NIH in 1985. He completed clinical Rheumatology training in the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and then rose through the NIAMS faculty ranks to become NIAMS Clinical Director from 2005 to 2010. From 2008 to 2011 he was also the first NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Clinical Research. Since late 2010 he has served as Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Throughout his career at the NIH Dr. Kastner's research has focused on using genetic and genomic strategies to understand inherited disorders of inflammation, often stimulated by patients seen at the NIH Clinical Center. Dr. Kastner's laboratory identified the gene mutated in familial Mediterranean fever by positional cloning, discovered the genetic basis for a second recurrent fever syndrome they named TRAPS (TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome), and made seminal genetic discoveries that establish other distinct illnesses as disorders of the IL-1 pathway, thus helping to define the role of IL-1 in human biology and establishing the conceptual basis for therapeutic trials with IL-1 inhibitors. More recently his laboratory has utilized genomic approaches in genetically complex disorders, such as Behçet's disease, and Dr. Kastner continues to maintain a very active clinical research program. His group also proposed the now widely accepted concept of autoinflammatory disease to denote disorders of innate immunity. Dr. Kastner has won a number of awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010 and to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2012.

February 21 - Inflammation and Pancreatic Cancer
- S. Perwez Hussain, PhD (NCI)
- Christine Alewine, MD, PhD (NCI)

February 28 - HIV: Frontiers and Vaccine Development
- John Coffin, PhD (NCI)
- Jeffrey Lifson, MD (NCI)

March 7 - Hepatocellular Cancer and Liver Transplantation
- T. Jake Liang, MD (NIDDK)
- Lynt B. Johnson, MD, MBA (Chair, Department of Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital)

March 14 - Genetic Disease Testing: Current Status and Future Prospects
- Robert Nussbaum, MD (Chief Medical Officer, Invitae Corporation)

March 21 - Fibrosis: Inflammation and Cirrhosis
- Thomas Anthony Wynn, PhD (NIAID)
- Theo Heller, MD (NIDDK)

March 28 - Obesity: Brown and Other Fat
- Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, MMSc (NIDDK)
- Rebecca Brown, MD, MHSc (NIDDK)

April 4 - Sight-threatening Uveitis: a 2-way Street between Research and Clinic
- Rachel Caspi, PhD (NEI)
- Hatice Nida Sen, MD, MHS (NEI)

April 11 - Alzheimer: What, When and How
- Mark Mattson, PhD (NIA)
- Dimitrios Kapogiannis, MD (NIA)

April 18 - Bioengineering: Bridging Brain, Computer, and Neurologic Disease
- Jonathan Wolpaw, MD (National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies)

April 25 - Addison's Disease meets Chromatin Biology
- Lynnette Nieman, MD (NICHD)
- Daniel Larson, PhD (NCI)

May 2 - Current Infectious Disease Challenges
- Anthony S. Fauci, MD (NIAID)

May 9 - Schizophrenia: From Childhood to Genomes
- Judy Rapoport, MD (NIMH)
- Joshua Gordon, MD, PhD (NIMH)

May 16 - Immunotherapy of Cancer
- James Gulley, MD, PhD (NCI)
- James Yang, MD (NCI)

May 23 - TITLE
- Michael M. Gottesman, MD (NCI)


This web page was last modified on 13 February 2017. For questions about the course, please contact