Klempner named head of UMass Biologics Laboratory

April 05, 2012
  Mark S. Klempner, MD

Mark S. Klempner, MD, has been appointed executive vice chancellor for the UMass Biologics Laboratory. Dr. Klempner comes to UMBL from the Boston University School of Medicine, where he was the Conrad Wesselhoeft Professor of Medicine and professor of microbiology. Klempner, who is an associate editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, also served as the first director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL).

“Mark Klempner is an internationally known figure at the intersection of infectious disease research and the development of therapeutics and vaccines,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “Not only is he an outstanding scientist whose research has had a real world impact on improving lives, he’s clearly a visionary executive who understands how to lead a complex organization with focus, insight, and importantly, measurable effectiveness. Having served on the UMass Biologics Advisory Board, Dr. Klempner already has a keen understanding of UMBL, which will be an asset as he launches a new era in UMBL’s rich history dedicated to public health.” 

From 2003 to 2011, Klempner served as principal investigator of a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to design and build one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories. Known as the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, these laboratories study newly emerging infectious diseases such as hemorrhagic fever viruses and re-emerging diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza. The focus of research is on basic and translational studies leading to improved understanding of the pathogenesis of these agents and development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. In 2011, Klempner stepped down as NEIDL director to become director of the lab’s clinical research core.

Klempner’s own research includes investigations into the basic molecular biology and pathogenic mechanisms of Lyme disease; patient-based clinical research on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease; and novel molecular methods for detecting, identifying and quantifying microorganisms. He also discovered the inflammatory connections between neutrophils/macrophages and cytokines, leading to therapies for inflammatory disorders.

Additionally, Klempner and colleagues authored the influential paper in the New England Journal of Medicine that demonstrated that excessively long courses of antibiotics were no more effective than placebo for treating persisting symptoms in patients with Lyme disease and that evidence of persisting infection could not be found.

Prior to his appointment at Boston University, Klempner was the Louisa C. Endicott Professor of Medicine and member of the faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine for more than 22 years. While at Tufts, he served in a range of research, teaching and administrative roles, including vice chair for scientific affairs in the department of medicine and chair of the New England Medical Center Research Council.

A graduate of the Cornell University Medical College, Klempner trained at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Naval Medical Center. He is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the NIH Clinical Center and has served in a number of advisory roles that include the Governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Board, the board of directors and chair of the infectious disease subspecialty board of the American Board of Internal Medicine; president of the Association of Subspecialty Professors and roles on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Eli Lilly, Abbott Labs, Roxbury Community College, the Harvard Center of Excellence in Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Watch a video of the announcement, in which Klempner talks about his excitement at joining UMass Biologics.