Meet this month’s Member Spotlight, Martha Furie, PhD, Professor of Pathology at Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY). Dr. Furie has been an ASIP member since 1992 and has served the Society in several ways including as Chair of the Education Committee (2006-09), ASIP President (2011-12), and currently as the Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Pathology—the first female to serve in the position since the Journal’s original inception in 1896. Additionally, Dr. Furie received the ASIP Robbins Distinguished Educator Award in 2017.
Dr. Furie earned her bachelor’s in Genetics at Cornell University and later earned her PhD in Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University. At Stony Brook University, Dr. Furie is a Professor of Pathology and a founding member of the Center of Infectious Diseases. She currently directs the Genetics Graduate Program, comprising over 40 predoctoral trainees and more than 100 faculty based at both Stony Brook University and nearby Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Dr. Furie’s research is centered on how the body’s innate immune system interacts with bacterial pathogens, including Borrelia burgdorferi (the agent of Lyme disease) and Francisella tularensis (the cause of tularemia). A particular focus was on recruitment of circulating leukocytes to infected tissues by endothelium, using a novel model of the blood vessel wall. Recruited leukocytes play an essential role in host defense, but their anti-microbial weaponry can also lead to destructive inflammation if unleashed excessively. Using in vitro and in vivo approaches, the Furie Laboratory dissected the mechanisms whereby B. burgdorferi and F. tularensis regulate recruitment of leukocytes by respectively exacerbating or suppressing the pro-inflammatory activation of endothelial cells. In 2021, she was bestowed the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
What is your favorite part about being a member of the ASIP?
As a relatively small society, ASIP gave me the opportunity to hold leadership positions, including President and now Editor-in-Chief of its flagship journal. I’ve welcomed the opportunity to advance the goals of ASIP through such positions, and they were key elements in advancing my career. I also treasure the friendships I’ve established along the way, many of which go back decades, as well as the chance to get to know the up-and-coning generation of investigative pathologists.
Where is the next place on your travel bucket list?
No contest—the Galapagos!
What is your favorite hobby?
Hanging out with my three highly energetic little grandkids, followed by yoga and reading fiction to recover!