New Investigator Grant
Boston University

Researcher Douglas GrossHow do you think your research will impact your local community?
Our research is the product of our community. The Framingham OA and Framingham Foot Studies represent the efforts and commitment of two generations of Framingham residents. The scientists here are only the most visible part of the community’s dedication to reducing the devastating impact of arthritis. It is only on the shoulders of the people in this community that this study is able to move ahead.

How would you ultimately like to see your research applied?
My intention is to apply what we learn about the foot’s relationship to knee OA to the development of better targeted conservative interventions. My hope is that this series of investigations will culminate in a clinical trial of foot orthoses that are capable of effecting change in the mechanical stressors that trigger OA progression.

What are your impressions of the Arthritis Foundation?
I see the AF as the antidote to cynicism and apathy. The AF is a collection of ordinary people who have taken it upon themselves to champion a cause that will benefit other ordinary people in the years to come. It’s a very selfless gesture.

What role do you feel the Arthritis Foundation plays in the progress of arthritis research?
I see my own case as typical. I have some good ideas. I am capable and committed. I have the friends and resources to pursue my ideas. Yet, my resume is not yet competitive for big NIH grants. The AF is the one institution that will invest in my career and foster my commitment to arthritis research. As a result, I will now be able to build my resume and move forward with my line of research. Without the AF, many like me would undoubtedly turn away from research and from their potential.

Given the prevalence of arthritis – one in three Americans with the disease – do you have a personal connection that makes the disease more than a statistic to you?
My grandfather celebrates his 100th birthday this July. I dedicate my first paper on OA to the one joint is his lower half that is still working painlessly. After that is published, I will dedicate the next paper to my housemate in graduate school who had severe RA by age 25.

Considering all the medical conditions in need of your field of research, what are the mysteries surrounding arthritis that interest you most?
What are the mechanical causes of joint breakdown, and how can we lessen their impact using cheap, non-invasive, and preventative means.

When you’re not in the lab, where can you most often be found?
Cruising the bookstores or strumming my guitar.

Favorite non-medical book you read last?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It’s written from the perspective of a child with autism.

Favorite music and artist?
Yngwie Malmsteen and his indescribable blend of speed metal and classical music.

If you weren’t a medical researcher, what would you be doing now?
Well, I am still planning on becoming a rock star someday.

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