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Bernardo Ghetti named fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dec. 5, 2013

Bernardino Ghetti, M.D., IUPUI Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the IU School of Medicine, is one of five IU faculty members who have been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of their distinguished efforts to advance science.

Bernardo Ghetti

Bernardino Ghettii, M.D.

Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine and vice president for university clinical affairs at IU, called Ghetti a pioneer in his field who is respected by peers around the world.

“We are pleased that Dr. Ghetti has received this well-deserved recognition,” Dr. Hess said, “and are all called to now work toward that same standard of excellence that the members of AAAS have recognized in him.”

The additional AAAS fellows from IU are Olaf Sporns, Ph.D., of the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Peter T. Cherbas, Ph.D., Elizabeth C. Raff, Ph.D., and Malcolm E. Winkler, Ph.D., all members of the members of the College’s Department of Biology.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie, Ph.D., congratulated the scholars on being recognized by an organization of peers that represents the largest general scientific society in the world, with 261 affiliated societies and academies of science that serve 10 million individuals.

“These five individuals have dedicated their lives to taking on intellectual challenges the answers to which mean to address and resolve some of society’s most vexing issues -- from understanding and combating Alzheimer’s to advancing the field of genomics for the purpose of promoting public health,” Dr. McRobbie said. “We are indebted to each of them for their long and distinguished service to both Indiana University and to mankind.”

The AAAS, founded in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Scienceas well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million.

This year, AAAS has awarded this honor to 388 members because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and rosette pin Feb. 15 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The announcement brings the total number of AAAS Fellows affiliated with IU to 86.

Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Neurologist Brandy Matthews combines a love of science with a passion for song

Dec. 5, 2013

The path to medical school is different for everyone. But not many neurologists get their start as a wedding singer.

Brandy R. Matthews, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical neurology at the IU School of Medicine who conducts clinical research on neurodegenerative dementias at the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center and directs the school's neurology residency program, is the first to admit she took the road less traveled to a career in science and medicine.

Brandy Matthews

Brandy R. Matthews, M.D.

"As a child I always perceived myself -- and was perceived by others -- as a 'creative type,'" said Dr. Matthews, who enrolled at Ball State University as a musical theater major. The graduate of Wes-Del High School in Gaston, Ind., made the non-traditional choice to sing, rather than speak, her valedictorian address.

"I never imagined straight out of high school that things like advanced math or science would resonate with me; it felt like you had to choose one or the other: science or the arts," she said. "Since then I've realized that it's a completely false dichotomy; creative pursuits are critically important for people studying science and medicine because it's absolutely necessary to be creative in order to generate unique ideas that advance medical science and make progress for patients."

It was also while at Wes-Del High School that she began singing at churches and weddings, earning extra spending cash on weekends. Dr. Matthews’ interest in theater persisted at Ball State, where she envisioned herself "on the fast track to Broadway." However, after much deliberation, she ultimately switched majors to psychology, pursuing performance through a minor in theater.

This shift also set her on the path to a medical degree, said Dr. Matthews, who eventually had to put singing on hold to contend with the rigors of medical school pre-requisites at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she studied before her acceptance at the IU School of Medicine.

"It actually wasn't until my third year of medical school here at IU that I finally started singing again," said Dr. Matthews, who was encouraged to perform at the Evening of the Arts, an annual talent revue founded by IU medical students in the early '90s to raise funds for local charities.

Two years later, Dr. Matthews took her show on the road, singing in a talent revue she founded at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where she completed her residency in neurology. Later, during a fellowship at the University of California-San Francisco, she once again found time to sing on a weekly basis, meeting with a vocal coach and performing in small venues such as coffee shops and wine bars.

Dr. Matthews' professional experiences at the Mayo Clinic and UCSF have also helped shape the creative way in which she approaches both medical care and student education, including employing stories about creative historical figures with neurodegenerative disorders in order to keep students engaged during lectures. This interest also informed work she published in 2010 titled "Bravo! Neurology at the Opera," and a companion chapter on neurological disorders in the works of Shakespeare in "Neurological Disorders of Famous Artists," a book that attempts to bridge the gap between medicine and the creative arts.

Brandy Matthews

Dr. Matthews performs at the first Talent Review, which she founded while serving as a resident at the Mayo Clinic, in 2003. | Photo courtesy Brandy Matthews

Moreover, Dr. Matthews' research also attempts to forge connections between the arts and sciences, including a project titled "MEANING: Musical Emotion and Affect Naming In NeurodeGeneration," which earned a grant in 2007 from the Grammy Foundation, an organization more commonly known for its awards show honoring rock stars rather than scientists. The research, which was conducted at UCSF, yielded preliminary data suggesting that patients with some forms of dementia may retain the ability to understand emotion in music despite the loss of the ability to communicate with language.

“My research primarily aims to find creative ways to improve my patients' care by discovering or studying methods and techniques to improve quality of life," Dr. Matthews said. "Similarly, my work with curriculum development focuses on finding creative ways to improve students’ and residents' ability to diagnose, treat and deliver care to neurological patients on an individual level."

While research, education and patient care leave little personal time, Dr. Matthews is exploring new opportunities to participate in the arts -- especially now as a mother with a toddler son who loves to dance and a 4-year-old daughter taking violin lessons.

"I'm right alongside her learning to play violin for the first time," said Dr. Matthews, who's never been one to shy away from the stage -- or a new challenge.