Dr. Ferrara is a physician-scientist whose clinical and research career has focused on the immunology of bone marrow transplantation (BMT), particularly its major complication graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). Using trailblazing proteomic techniques, his team has identified and validated unexpected biomarkers for skin, gut and steroid-resistant GVHD. He has created exceptionally large and informative biorepositories and then mined them to meld these biomarkers into the first algorithm that predicts response to treatment and that can guide GVHD therapy. Dr. Ferrara’s pioneering mechanistic studies have illuminated unexpected interactions between the innate and adaptive immune systems and have led to both conceptual breakthroughs and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets. A superb clinician and world-class clinical investigator, his decades-long focus on GVHD has significant potential impact in making BMT safer and more effective for all patients.
Dr. Ferrara graduated Cum laude from Georgetown Medical School and then completed his pediatric residency at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and his fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1987 where he remained until 1998 when he went to the University of Michigan as the Ruth Heyn Professor of Pediatric Oncology to direct the combined adult and pediatric BMT program. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mout Sinai recruited Dr. Ferrara in 2014 to become the Ward-Coleman professor of Cancer medicine and to direct the Center for Translational Resarch in Hematologic Malignancies. He created the Mt. Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium (MAGIC), a group of ten BMT centers throughout the US and Europe to conduct ground-breaking clinical trials in GVHD.
Dr. Ferrara is the only pediatrician to chair the steering committee of the NIH BMT Clinical Trials Network, whose scientific agenda he significantly advanced. A charismatic mentor committed to fostering the next generation of researchers, he served as principal investigator for a major training grant in Molecular and Translational Pediatric Hematology. Two thirds of the fifty fellows have become medical school faculty, with at least ten considered as international BMT leaders in their own right.
1990 Junior Faculty Research Award, American Cancer Society
1993 Scholar Award, Leukemia Society of America
1997 Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation
Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, German Republic
America’s Top Doctors
Who’s Who in America
American Pediatric Society
2002 Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award
Outstanding Clinician Award, University of Michigan Medical School
2003 Member, Association of American Physicians
2004 Senior Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows
2008 American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor
2009 Doctor of Medicine (h.c.) University of Regensburg, Germany
Doctor of Science, Oxford University
2011 E. Donnell Thomas Lecturer, Am Society of BMT
Visiting Fellowship, All Soul’s College, Oxford, England
2012 Nobel Lecture, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden