David L. Felten, M.D., Ph.D. is a well known and respected researcher whose contributions helped to establish the field of psychoneuroimmunology and lay the foundations for the physiological understanding of complementary and integrative medicine. Dr. Felten first demonstrated a direct connection between nerve fibers of the sympathetic nervous system and cells of the immune system in several organs, including the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, and bone marrow. These nerves are major participants in stress responses and their health consequences. Dr. Felten has shown that these nerve connections can influence the onset and course of cancer, infectious diseases including retroviral infections, autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis), and age-related decline in immune responses. He currently is Vice President for Research, and Medical Director of the Beaumont Research Institute at the William Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak, MI.
Dr. Felten previously served as Dean of the School of Graduate Medical Education at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ from August of 2003 to Sept of 2005, and Executive Director of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, and Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine in Irvine, CA, from July of 2001 to Sept of 2003. Prior to that appointment, he served for 3 ½ years as the founding Director of the Center for Neuroimmunology at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, CA. From 1983 to 1997, he was at the University of Rochester, first as Professor, and then as the Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, and as Director of the Markey Charitable Trust Institute for Neurobiology of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Aging.
In the past 10 years, Dr. Felten and colleagues have expanded the scope of their studies to encompass many disease models in cancer, aging, and infectious disease, and to identify the physiological changes in stress hormones, inflammatory mediators, and immune responses that are induced by complementary and integrative interventions such as humor and laughter, music therapy, guided imagery, aerobic exercise, use of antioxidants and other nutritional supplements, and other approaches. His research incorporates sophisticated quantitative molecular, cellular, and tissue engineering approaches to assessment of the mechanistic foundations of complementary and integrative medicine.
David Felten has received numerous honors and awards. For his pioneering findings in neural-immune interactions, he received the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, sometimes called the “genius award" by the press. He was twice nominated for a Lasker Prize. Dr. Felten is one of only a handful of researchers ever to receive two 10-year peer review-based MERIT awards from two separate Institutes (Aging, and Mental Health) at the National Institutes of Health, research support given for an extended period to proven investigators whose work has had extraordinary importance or impact. The John E. Fetzer Institute has honored Dr. Felten’s pioneering contributions with the Norman Cousins Award in Mind- Body Medicine in 1995.
Dr. David Felten is co-author of the definitive scholarly text in the field, Psychoneuroimmunology (Academic Press, 3rd edition, 2001), and was the founding co- editor of the major journal in the field, Brain, Behavior and Immunity, with Drs. Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen of the University of Rochester. Dr. Felten is the author of over 210 peer-reviewed journals and reviews, most on links between the nervous system and immune system, and has given more than 100 major addresses and presentations at national and international symposia and scientific meetings, including many prestigious named lectureships. He is the lead author of the major revision to the highly acclaimed Frank Netter Medical Illustrations of the Nervous System, published by Icon Learning Systems as Netter’s Atlas of Human Neuroscience, 2003, The Netter Presenter: Human Neuroscience Collection, the electronic version, 2004 and Netter’s Neuroscience Flash Cards, 2005.
The news media also have recognized his important contributions to integrative and complementary medicine. Dr. Felten was featured in Bill Moyer’s PBS series and book, Healing and the Mind, a feature on 20/20, BBC’s “Worried Sick”, and many other programs on U.S., Canadian, Australian, and German National Public Television. He has been a guest on several National Public Radio programs, such as “Science Friday” and “Mind-Body Matters”, and his contributions to science and medicine have been featured in many magazine articles around the world. Dr. Felten's continuing goal is to carefully investigate the scientific foundations for the physiological and molecular benefits of many life style, mind/body, and complementary interventions, helping to fully integrate these approaches into conventional medicine for an evidence-based integrative “whole person care.”
Dr. Felten also has an active role in business activities related to medical science. He is a co-founder of Sumavera Medical Innovations, LLC, a company that developed innovative intellectual property related to medical and scientific needs. He served as the Chairman of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of this company for 5 years. He also serves as the Chairman of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of ACT (USA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Avantogen, Ltd (formerly Australian Cancer Technology, Ltd); this company is developing unique, high-quality supplements for patients with extraordinary needs (e.g. cancer patients). Dr. Felten also served as Director, and now Co-Director of the Scientific Advisory Board of Australian Cancer Technology (now Avantogen, Ltd), and has helped this biotech drug-development company assemble a strong portfolio of vaccine, adjuvant, and chemotherapeutic agents. Dr. Felten currently serves as Chairman of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Boards of The Medingen Group (identifies and develops biotech and biomedical IP), Medingen Services (carries out scientific and medical due diligence for investment groups, Universities, etc), and Clerisy Corporation (distributes and licenses over-the- counter biomedical and biotech products). He enjoys bringing new scientific innovations into the practical realm of product development.