Dr. Martha Skinner is a Professor Emerita of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. She graduated from the Women’s Medical College of PA in 1962 and completed a medical residency at the New England Deaconess Hospital. She became a clinical and research fellow in rheumatology at Boston University Medical Center in 1966, joining Dr. Alan Cohen just after he discovered the fibril structure of amyloid tissue deposits. At that time, nothing was known about amyloid diseases, except that they were usually rapidly fatal, and no treatment was available. Over the years she and her colleagues focused on research to understand causes of amyloid diseases and worked to develop better treatments for patients.
Dr. Skinner became the director of the Amyloid Treatment and Research Program in 1990 and led its expansion to a multidisciplinary research and clinical program. The Program was recognized as a Center of Excellence by Boston University and named the Amyloidosis Center. High-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation treatment for AL amyloidosis was pioneered by Dr. Skinner and her team in 1994. Now, at the 20 year anniversary of HDM/SCT, it is the standard of care, increasing survival and quality of life. Dr. Skinner’s collaboration with Dr. David Lewis at the New England Deaconess Hospital, and the Lahey Clinic, led to liver transplantation as the first treatment for familial transthyretin amyloidosis. Research progress continues to provide new treatment options.
Dr. Skinner’s leadership and contributions were recognized by election as President of the International Society of Amyloidosis. She served as an Associate Editor of the Amyloid Journal from 1993 until 2013, and as a member of the NIH Biochemistry Study Section, the Amyloidosis Support Groups, and the Amyloidosis Foundation. Dr. Skinner is a past president of the New England Rheumatism Society and a past member of the Board of Trustees, the Medical and Scientific Committee, and the Nominating Committee of the Mass Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation (now the New England Regional Arthritis Foundation). She received a Master’s Award from the American College of Rheumatology in 2004. She is an author of more than 350 publications.
Dr. Skinner lives in Boston with her husband, Dr. Sumner Stone. They have 2 sons and 3 granddaughters. She continues to work as the Director of Special Projects in the Amyloidosis Center.