Updated March 29 at 6:25am

Five Questions With: Dr. Karen L. Furie

New chief of neurology at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Bradley Hospital talks about her new role.

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Five Questions With: Dr. Karen L. Furie


Dr. Karen L. Furie is the new chief of neurology at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Bradley Hospital, effective Aug. 6, 2012.

Her position solidifies the connection between the hospitals, the Brown Institute for Brain Science and the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute.

Furie’s role will be to extend the reach of pre-clinical translational research into the clinical arena and, in doing so, build out the infrastructure of the new neurosciences institute.

Her leadership role will help to enable Providence and its Knowledge District to attract top scientific talent in neuroscience and new startup firms and entrepreneurs.

PBN: How will your position increase collaboration between the hospitals and the Brown Institute for Brain Science as well as the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute?

FURIE: Many of my recent research endeavors focus on “translational research,” which are projects that begin in the pre-clinical realm (basic science) but are ready to be tested in patients. This stage of research is particularly exciting because it allows for the development of novel approaches and new therapies.

I see myself as having a pivotal role in facilitating BIBS to extend its reach into the clinical arena using the infrastructure of the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute.

PBN: What kinds of new neuroscience research initiatives would you like to see be undertaken by the Rhode Island medical and academic communities?

FURIE: There are many innovative projects currently underway in stroke, memory disorders, and brain recovery. I would like to see Lifespan and Brown is leaders in these critical areas.

PBN: Are there similar collaborative initiatives that you anticipate developing with the behavioral health community in Rhode Island?

FURIE: Establishing collaborations between neurology and key allied subspecialties, such as behavioral health, is a priority. Building upon areas of excellence is the key to success in developing more integrated programs.

PBN: How do you think treatments for Alzheimer's and Parkinsons will evolve in the new future?

FURIE: Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease pose an increased challenge in our aging population. Clearly, there are different therapeutic approaches that need to be evaluated. These range from neuroprotective medical therapies to neurotechnological interventions, such as neurostimulation.

PBN: Do you see Providence becoming a magnet for top talent in the neurosciences?

FURIE: The tremendous enthusiasm and support of the neurosciences at Lifespan and Brown will definitely lure the best clinicians and researchers to Providence, adding to the world-class scientists already in place. This is a very exciting time to be working in neuroscience, and all of the key elements for success are in place in a highly motivated community. I predict great things!


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