BU faculty member receives Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award

(Boston)–Michelle Long, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has been awarded a three-year, $495,000 Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The award supports junior faculty transition into independent research careers. Long, a gastroenterologist at Boston Medical Center (BMC), was one of 16 funded investigators out of 210 applicants.

Long will use her award to further her research on hepatic fibrosis in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). NAFLD affects nearly 40 percent of Americans and represents a spectrum of liver disease that occurs in the absence of excessive alcohol use, including an accumulation of fat in the liver (hepatic steatosis) and a progression of excess scar tissue (hepatic fibrosis).

She will investigate the relationship between physical activity and hepatic steatosis and fibrosis. While weight loss through physical activity and diet is recommended to reverse the consequences associated with NAFLD, more information is needed to determine its effect on fibrosis. Long’s project will use technology to identify metabolite signatures that may serve useful as biomarkers of early disease and risk for progression. She aims to determine which individuals are more likely to benefit from physical activity, the different effects of physical activity and the dose level of physical activity needed to improve hepatic fibrosis. “This research will advance our understanding of NAFLD and help provide targets for disease prevention and treatment,” said Long.

Long received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and master’s degree in epidemiology from Boston University School of Public Health. She completed her internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital followed by gastroenterology fellowship at BMC. Her clinical focus is in hepatology, including NAFLD, viral hepatitis and end stage liver disease. Long also conducts research with the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and completed a research fellowship at FHS from 2013-15.

She is an active member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Gastroenterological Association and the American College of Gastroenterology. She serves on the Training and Workforce Committee for the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and is in the American Gastroenterological Association’s Future Leaders program. She participates in the training of fellows, residents and medical students at BUSM and BMC.

The Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award provides grants to early-career physician scientists to facilitate their transition to independent clinical research careers.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. DDCF’s Medical Research Program supports clinical research that advances the translation of biomedical discoveries into new preventions, diagnoses, and treatments for human diseases.

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Media Contact
Gina DiGravio
ginad@bu.edu

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