About Amy Dickey, MD, MSC

Dr. Amy Dickey is a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) with internal medicine and pulmonary and critical care training pursuing a career in clinical and translational porphyria research. Her personal history with porphyria began at age 3, when she started to have painful sunlight sensitivity from erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). However, she was not diagnosed until age 13. During her fellowship, she initially studied basic immunology related to HIV-TB co-infection. Concurrently, however, her personal history with EPP and her increasing involvement with the Porphyrias Consortium and the American Porphyria Foundation convinced her of the great need for researchers studying porphyria. In the years since initiating research in porphyria, she has developed and conducted clinical research projects, completed a research fellowship in healthcare innovation through the MGH Healthcare Transformation Lab, and obtained research funding from the MGH Medicine Innovation Program and the National Institutes of Health. In addition to research, she has also served as a spokeswoman for the porphyria community, speaking to the Food and Drug Administration about porphyria, writing an opinion piece in STAT news, giving lectures to physicians about porphyria, and presenting at porphyria patient support group meetings. She is a Protect the Future Trainee of the American Porphyria Foundation, a program designed to train the next generation of porphyria specialists. She is also co-director of a newly started porphyria clinic within hematology. In addition to her clinical and research pursuits on the topic of porphyria, she continues to see patients with pulmonary disease in the MGH Pulmonary Associates Clinic and continues to take care of patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at MGH.

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Mass General Pulmonary & Critical Care
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Admin: Joyce: 617-726-1721

Mass General Cancer Center: Hematology Oncology
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Admin: Giselle: 617-724-4000

Medical Education

  • MD, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Residency, University of Washington Medical Center
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital

American Board Certifications

  • Critical Care Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Pulmonary Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine

Accepted Insurance Plans

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Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) results from pathogenic variants of the last enzyme of heme biosynthesis causing life-long, painful cutaneous sensitivity to light. In EPP, both the mechanism of pain and the variability in light sensitivity between patients is poorly understood. The identification and validation of potential therapeutic targets has been fraught with difficulty due to a lack of quantitative disease monitoring tools and biomarkers of phototoxic reactions. To address these needs, Dr. Amy Dickey is completing clinical studies of a wearable light dosimeter to quantitatively measure light sensitivity in EPP. She is also seeking to understand the genetic basis for differences in light sensitivity among patients. Her studies could lead to (1) methods to predict and prevent photosensitivity in EPP thus improving quality of life, (2) quantitative endpoints for clinical trials facilitating the approval of new therapies, and (3) a better understanding of the modulators of light sensitivity in EPP, which could lead to novel therapeutics. To better understand all types of porphyria, Dr. Dickey is also completing survey studies and biological sample registry studies of individuals porphyria. In addition, she is analyzing large datasets to understand how genetic changes are associated with disease and disease severity in porphyria.

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