BIOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM M. WITT, PhD ABD
William started very early in life with an interest in math and science, building a working digital computer (in 1978) with the aid of a “how-to” book and his (now-deceased) uncle. This, at 12, began his 40 years of working with computers. He used this prize as a springboard from St. Lucy’s School to an early-admission summer enrichment program of a prestigious prep school, Fordham Preparatory School. He was subsequently accepted to the Bronx High School of Science, but decided to remain at the Prep, mainly because of his desire to continue to be exposed to the Catholic faith, but also because it offered German, a language traditionally important to the scientist. He earned numerous distinctions there, particularly in mathematics and the natural sciences, and graduated with the coveted Award for General Excellence and Scholarship. He entered Queens College at age 16 and continued at NYU at that age. With the death of his father to Alzheimer’s, he entered the work force full-time, which boosted the family income. In 1984, he returned to Fordham, where he took up a premedical program, majoring in General Science (Chemistry), but including the physics sequence for physics majors and pre-engineering students, in which he ranked first in the class. He took all the courses required of chemistry majors save one in physical chemistry. He placed on the Dean’s List for High Scholastic Achievement, graduating in the uppermost quintile of his college class. Pursuing his interest in health and medicine, he earned an M.P.H. in General Public Health (Biostatistics) from the New York Medical College Graduate School of Health Sciences with a 3.9 GPA. He from there was searching for practical application of scholarly endeavor in the health sciences. He was attracted to podiatry because it offered to help people a great deal by doing relatively simple things. While at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, he earned some laurels (including the Langer Biomechanics Award of Excellence, the Distinguished Podiatric Writing Award, and Honors in Medical Ethics), but was struck by a life-altering medical diagnosis which hit directly home: multiple sclerosis (MS), perhaps the worst disease against mobility. While he has many excellent grades, his disability did adversely affect his grade-point average in podiatry and graduate school. Fortunately, his medical condition became stabilized (with only slow progression) with new medication. After much reflection, he decided to put all his efforts into fighting MS. Having achieved only a disappointing B and a C+ the first time he took organic chemistry, he repeated the courses, ranking first in the class on this attempt. He earned A’s in all of the premedical sciences–biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics… a 4.0 GPA at Lehman College. Towards these ends of fighting MS, he first returned to New York Medical College for an M.S. in Health Policy and Management. Subsequently, he studied molecular, cellular, and neurobiology at St. John’s University, including research on demyelization in a rodent model. Specifically, he studied the neurotoxicology of Acetyl Ethyl Tetramethyl Tetralin (AETT) in experimental encephalomyelitis (EAE) in a murine model, dosing rats with AETT. (EAE is an animal model of MS.) He also conducted sickle cell research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine which resulted in a publication in the flagship peer-reviewed medical journal Blood (2001;98(11):750a), the journal of the American Hematological Society. He is also published in Current Opinion in Hematology (2003;10(2):99-107). He then concluded his career of four years as a Senior Scientist at a computer services company, after which he founded another company; he next concentrated all his energies on completing his dissertation for the Ph.D. in Public Health (Community Health) from Walden University. His doctoral dissertation examines the lived experiences of multiple sclerosis patients. Originally an allopathic premedical student, he achieved Harvard-grade MCAT scores, 13 in Physical Sciences (top 96th%-tile), 11 in Verbal Reasoning (top 90th%-tile), and 11 (top 86th%-tile) in Biological Sciences. His ultimate goal is to become a tenured professor at an institution of higher learning, advancing multiple sclerosis research, patient care, and advocacy.