ANN ARBOR — University of Michigan experts in genetic and statistical analysis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, head and neck cancer, health policy, and nursing are among the new members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
Gonçalo Abecasis, Carol Bradford, Eva Feldman, Mark Fendrick, Susan Murphy, and Kathleen Potempa were elected to the institute in recognition of their major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. With their election, the U-M now has nearly 60 past and present members of the organization.
Abecasis is a professor of biostatistics and chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the School of Public Health and is a leader in the genetic analysis of complex human traits. His team has developed statistical methods, computational algorithms and software that facilitate quick and accurate analysis of genetic studies of human disease. His studies, and those of other scientists using his tools, are enabling a better understanding of human genetic variation and its role in disease biology.
Bradford is chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Medical School and a professor of otolaryngology and is an otolaryngologist and an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of head and neck cancer. Bradford specializes in head and neck cancer surgery and reconstruction, as well as cutaneous oncology and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Her research focuses on identifying and evaluating biomarkers that can predict outcomes in head and neck cancer patients, and developing therapies to combat certain types of head and neck cancer that are resistant to traditional forms of treatment.
Feldman is a professor of neurology at the medical school and director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute and is an internationally renowned expert in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She has devoted her career to finding new therapies and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, and is at the forefront of applying stem cell research to human disease. As a clinician-scientist, Feldman treats patients and also directs a laboratory staffed by some 30 scientists who are deciphering the mysteries of conditions ranging from diabetic neuropathy to Alzheimer’s disease. She is director of research for the U-M ALS clinic and is the principal investigator of the first-ever FDA-approved human clinical trial of a stem cell therapy for ALS.
Fendrick is a professor of internal medicine at the Medical School and a professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health. As director of the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, he has performed pivotal research and evaluation projects analyzing how clinician payment and consumer engagement initiatives impact access to care, quality of care and health care costs. He is a leading advocate for the development and implementation of innovative health plans that align benefits with the clinical value, not just the cost, of preventive services and treatment options. He has fostered collaborations for such plans with government agencies, health plans, professional societies and health care companies, leading to the V-BID concept’s inclusion in several state and national policy initiatives including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Murphy is a professor of psychiatry and research professor at the Institute for Social Research and is developing new methodologies to evaluate courses of treatment for individuals coping with chronic or relapsing disorders such as depression or substance abuse. While the standard clinical trial paradigm simply tests and compares “one shot” treatments in a defined population, Murphy’s Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial is a means for learning how best to dynamically adapt treatment to each individual’s response over time. Using SMART, clinicians assess and modify patients’ treatments during the trial, an approach with potential applications in the treatment of a range of chronic diseases—ADHD, alcoholism, drug addiction, HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular disease—involving therapies that are regularly reconsidered and replaced as the disease progresses.
Potempa is dean and professor at the School of Nursing, is an internationally recognized leader in nursing, education and science — as well as the integration of education, practice and research in clinical settings. Her research has focused on fatigue, exercise and cardiovascular fitness in physically impaired populations and on community-based approaches to improving health behavior. A notable area of her work involved defining the exercise capacity of post-stroke hemiplegic patients and demonstrating that aerobic exercise can be sustained at a level sufficient to control blood pressure and significantly improve fitness and other health parameters.