Class Notes: Spring/Summer 2023
School of Medicine
Kenneth W. Sharp, professor in the Department of Surgery and vice chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences for Faculty Promotion and Development at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been named president of the Southern Surgical Association. He was asked to give the Annual Gershon Efron Lecture at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Daniel C. DiMaio (Ph.D.), deputy director of the Yale Cancer Center and Yale School of Medicine professor of genetics, molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and therapeutic radiology, recently received the Yale Cancer Center Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, DiMaio received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute for his studies of human papillomaviruses.
Myles A. Brown, professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, was selected as a winner of the 2023 Gerald D. Aurbach Award for Outstanding Translational Research, one of the Endocrine Society’s Laureate Awards. Brown’s research has fundamentally reformulated the mechanistic understanding of hormone dependence in breast and prostate cancers, which has enabled the development of new therapies for these diseases.
Since 2018, John M. Leonard has been president and CEO of Intellia Therapeutics, which announced last June, with collaborator Regeneron, that its investigational treatment for transthyretin amyloidosis showed that its lipid nanoparticle delivery system could carry the gene editing machinery where it needed to go — in this case, the liver — and that CRISPR technology could be harnessed as an in vivo treatment to potentially cure genetic diseases.
In January 2023, Jonathan H. Talamo was appointed as chair of the board of CXL Ophthalmics, a clinical-stage company developing a minimally invasive treatment for keratoconus, corneal disease, cataract and refractive surgery. Talamo’s previous roles include chief medical officer at Ocular Therapeutix and chief medical officer and worldwide vice president of clinical and medical affairs at Johnson & Johnson Vision.
Honored as one of The Baltimore Sun’s 25 Black Marylanders to Watch in 2022, Michelle D. Abram of Owings Mills was named in January 2023 as the new chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. She is also a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and epidemiology/preventive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a senior associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and author of Reclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African American Wellness.
In February 2022, John A. Wagner (Ph.D.) was appointed as the first chief medical officer of Koneksa, which designs and validates digital biomarkers to accelerate drug development. With more than 20 years of drug development experience, Wagner has led more than 150 first-in-human studies and is editor-in-chief of Clinical and Translational Science.
Arthur W. Wallace (Ph.D.) is founder, chief science officer and director of Atapir, which designs cost-effective medical devices that prioritize patient safety and streamline patient care to reduce the risk of respiratory and cardiac arrest in hospitalized and nursing home patients. In December, the company won first place in CharmHealth’s digital health care competition. Wallace is also a professor of anesthesiology and perioperative care at the University of California, San Francisco, and chief of the anesthesiology service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
Leslie J. Bisson is chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at the University of Buffalo and head orthopedic surgeon for the Buffalo Bills NFL team. In addition, he is team physician for both the Bills and the Buffalo Sabres (NHL), and the team orthopedist for Buffalo State College.
John D. Davis IV, of Flowood, Mississippi, was appointed by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves to serve on the state’s Board of Health. Davis currently works as a neurosurgeon at NewSouth NeuroSpine in Flowood. He previously served as chief of medical staff at River Oaks Hospital and president of the Mississippi Neurological Society.
In May 2022, Denise Howard was appointed chief of obstetrics and gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. She is also a vice chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Howard was previously chief of gynecology at Geisinger Health System. Her clinical research has focused on pelvic floor problems arising from childbirth and cervical cancer prevention.
Lawrence Kim, a partner at South Denver Gastroenterology, is in his second year of a two-year term as secretary/treasurer of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Digestive Health Physicians Association. Kim focuses on improving the quality of digestive care worldwide, having led or served on multiple medical missions to Vietnam, Cambodia and Peru.
Siddhartha Kadia (Ph.D.) was named as CEO of PhenomeX, a new company formed after the Berkeley Lights acquisition of IsoPlexis. Kadia had been CEO of Berkeley Lights. PhenomeX will focus on cancer care using a single-cell analysis tool to refine its immunotherapies and offer more personalized care for patients.
A medical oncologist at the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Nadine A. McCleary was the keynote speaker at the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island’s annual Cancer Summit in October 2022. The summit’s theme was “A Decade of Promise for Survivorship in 2022 — Striving Toward Health Equity.” McCleary spoke about addressing gaps in cancer genomics and clinical trials in underrepresented populations.
Gary Romano (Ph.D.) was appointed chief medical officer of Alector Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering immuno-neurology, in March 2022 and will lead the company’s global clinical development strategy. Romano had served previously at Merck, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and Passage Bio.
Cardiothoracic surgeon Trevor A. Ellison (Ph.D.) recently joined the Genesis Heart & Vascular Group in Zanesville, Ohio, as medical director. Ellis was a Gates Cambridge Scholar, focusing on international medical relief while earning his M.B.A. from the University of Cambridge in England.
Faculty, Fellows and House Staff
In January 2023, Robert J. Gould (fellow, neurosciences, 1981–84) became interim CEO of Fulcrum Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on genetically defined rare diseases. Gould was founding president and CEO of Fulcrum from 2016 to 2021, after which he remained a member of the board of directors. In his 35 years of management experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, he worked for a period at Merck and advanced more than 20 compounds from discovery into clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas.
Philip A. Templeton (faculty, radiology, 1988–90), chief innovation officer and co-founder of DocPanel Technologies, has self-published the book Cyberbolt: COVID-19 Is Just the Eye of the Storm, which is the result of years of work and passion to alert the community about medical cybersecurity and an exciting thriller novel. It is available on Amazon.
An expert on infectious disease research and HIV/AIDS prevention, Peter Kilmarx (HS and fellow, infectious diseases, 1990–94) has been named acting director of the Fogarty International Center and acting associate director of global health research at the National Institutes of Health. At Fogarty, he co-led an initiative to transform African health professional education and research, resulting in the formation of the African Association for Health Professions Education and Research, and the African Postdoctoral Training Initiative, which brings African postdoctoral fellows to NIH. Kilmarx previously served as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s country director in Zimbabwe.
Colin K. Phoon (fellow, pediatrics, 1990–92; HS, pediatrics, 1990–93, 2007) has been promoted to professor of pediatrics at New York University Grossman School of Medicine and is an attending pediatric and fetal cardiologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. His research focuses on Barth syndrome, an ultra-rare mitochondrial disorder, and cardiolipin biology.
John G. Finkenberg (HS, orthopedic surgery, 1992; faculty, orthopedic surgery, 1991–92) is the current president of the North American Spine Society (NASS), where he previously served in a variety of roles, including director of the Advocacy Council and of the Education Council. He’s also an associate editor for The Spine Journal. In 2018, he was the recipient of NASS’ Spine Advocacy Award.
Atul Varadhachary (fellow, biological chemistry, 1993–1994) is managing partner at Fannin Innovation Studio, a life science development group focused on early-stage pharmaceutical and medical device assets, which is partnering with the Addiction Treatment Discovery Program within the National Institute of Drug Abuse to evaluate Fannin’s drug known as 11h. Fannin’s Goldenrod Therapeutics portfolio startup, founded in 2020, is overseeing clinical development of the drug.
As a co-coordinator of a research consortium, Christoph Stein (faculty, anesthesiology and critical care medicine, 1994–1997) received two recent grants: 4.2 million euros from the German research foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to study mechanisms and treatments of chronic back pain, and $350,000 from the National Science Foundation and the German Ministry of Science to study the mechanism of pain relief by opioids. Stein is head of the Department of Experimental Anesthesiology at Charité Medical School in Berlin.
Faculty member Rachel Marie E. Salas (fellow, neurology, 2006–2008) received a 2022 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, given annually to up to four gifted medical educators for their “outstanding contributions to medical education.” The last time someone from Johns Hopkins won this award was in 2013, and Salas is the first female neurologist ever to receive the honor.
Burton J. Tabaac (fellow, neurology, 2018–2020), a neurologist at Carson Tahoe Health, gave a TEDx talk in summer 2022 at UCLA, “Mental Health Meets Psychedelics,” during which he invoked Johns Hopkins and the work of Roland Griffiths, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of neuroscience at the school of medicine.
Vikas Ramachandra (fellow, biomedical research, 2020–2021) is chief technology officer and co-founder of Onward Health Assist, a tele-diagnostics firm in India focused on cancer deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Onward platform provides educational resources for training junior pathologists. It has been deployed in multiple low-resource settings in India and Africa using a hub-and-spoke model, with patients’ data collected in villages and sent via cloud to experts in large cities. Onward has won multiple awards in India and globally for its work.