Awards & Recognitions: June 2020

Honors received by HMS faculty, staff and students

Zirui Song, assistant professor of health care policy in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS, won the 2020 National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation’s Research Award, which recognizes evidence-based work that advances and transforms our knowledge of health care.

Song received the award with Katherine Baicker of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the National Bureau of Economic Research, for their work published in JAMA, the “Effect of a Workplace Wellness Program on Employee Health and Economic Outcomes: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Valerie Stone, HMS professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s, was named by the Massachusetts Medical Society as the recipient of the its 2020 LGBTQ Health Award, which recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to LGBTQ health.

Stone serves as the vice chair for diversity, equity and inclusion at Brigham and Women’s and is a nationally recognized expert on HIV/AIDS. Her research focuses on disparities in HIV/AIDS care by race, ethnicity and gender.

Margaret Samuels-Kalow, HMS assistant professor of emergency medicine and of pediatrics at Mass General, was named by the Massachusetts Medical Society as the recipient of its 2020 Reducing Health Disparities Award, which recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to reducing health disparities due to race, socioeconomic status, age, education or sexual orientation.

Samuels-Kalow is a leader in advancing health equity for marginalized populations. Her work focuses on developing interventions to reduce disparities in emergency care and patient outcomes. This has included projects that focus on improving emergency care for patients with limited English proficiency and limited health literacy and developing novel strategies to identify and address adverse social determinants of health in the emergency department.

The late Robert Ackerman, whose work revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of stroke, was honored posthumously by the Massachusetts Medical Society, being named the recipient of its 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ackerman, who died in December of 2018, was honored for lasting contributions to the practice of medicine over a lifetime in health care delivery, patient care, education and administration.

Cigall Kadoch, HMS associate professor of pediatrics at Dana-Farber, was named to receive the 2020 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research, which recognizes an early-career investigator for meritorious achievements in basic cancer research. She is being recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research for her pioneering biochemical and functional characterization of normal and aberrant SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes and her elucidation of the mechanisms by which the disruption of these complexes contributes to over one-fifth of human cancers.

An institute member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Kadoch is world-renowned for her seminal work involving the biology of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes, which are groups of proteins that influence how DNA is packaged, thereby controlling when and how strongly genes are expressed. In a landmark study early in her career, she discovered that more than 20 percent of cancers have mutations in genes encoding proteins that are part of mammalian SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes. Since then, the focus of her research has been on characterizing the role of each of the 29 potential subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes in normal tissue development and defining how mutated forms of these subunits contribute to cancer development. This work laid the foundation for new mechanistic approaches to developing anticancer therapeutics.

Five HMS faculty members were among 19 scientists elected to the 2020 class of Fellows of the AACR Academy. The American Association for Cancer Research recognizes and honors distinguished scientists whose scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. Fellows of the AACR Academy help advance the mission of the AACR to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy and advocacy, and funding for cancer research.

The members of the 2020 class of Fellows of the AACR Academy from HMS are:

Myles Brown, the Emil Frei III Professor of Medicine at HMS and director of the Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics at Dana-Farber

For elucidating the role of steroid hormones and their receptors in promoting the onset and progression of various hormone-dependent malignancies and for the discovery of regulatory complex components such as the p160 class of transcriptional co-activators that facilitate the epigenetic regulation of steroid receptor activity.

Alan D’Andrea, the Alvan T. and Viola D. Fuller American Cancer Society Professor of Radiation Oncology and professor of pediatrics at HMS and director of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers and director of the Center for DNA Damage and Repair at Dana-Farber

For pivotal contributions to the field of DNA damage and repair that have defined the specific defects responsible for the development of Fanconi anemia and for elucidating the role of nuclear protein complexes on chromatin remodeling, cell cycle checkpoints and DNA repair.

Rakesh Jain, the A. Werk Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology) at HMS and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology at Mass General

For landmark studies describing and highlighting the relationship between the tumor microenvironment and surrounding vasculature and for his investigations involving antiangiogenic therapy to induce tumor vascular normalization that have resulted in improved survival rates for a number of solid tumors.

Robert Langer, HMS senior lecturer on surgery, part-time, at Boston Children’s and the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT

For vast contributions and discoveries in the field of drug delivery systems and for spearheading the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, generating synthetic polymer systems capable of facilitating controlled drug release as well as serving as platforms for the engineering of blood vessels, cartilage, and skin.

Kornelia Polyak, HMS professor of medicine at Dana-Farber and a principal faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute

For dissecting the role of intratumor heterogeneity in breast cancer and metastatic disease to develop risk assessment and personalized cancer therapy models and for extensively characterizing the metastatic potential of polyclonal tumors compared to monoclonal tumors.

Joel Habener, HMS professor of medicine and director of the Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital, was named with Daniel Drucker, of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, and Jens Juul Holst, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, to receive the 2020 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize.

The trio of researchers are being recognized for seminal discoveries about the function of key intestinal hormones, their effects on metabolism and the subsequent design of treatments for type 2 diabetes, obesity and short bowel syndrome. Read more about their scientific contributions. This year’s honorees will be recognized at a virtual symposium on Oct. 1 hosted by HMS.

Emily Oken, HMS professor of population medicine at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, and Page Pennell, HMS professor of neurology at Brigham and Women's, were selected as a 2020-2021 fellow in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women, which prepares women for senior leadership roles in schools of medicine, dentistry, public health and pharmacy.

Oken and Pennell will be among 66 fellows in the program that is dedicated to developing the professional and personal skills required to lead and manage in today's complex health care environment, with special attention to the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions. The ELAM program at Drexel University College of Medicine has been specially developed for senior women faculty at the associate or full professor level who demonstrate the greatest potential for assuming executive leadership positions at academic health centers within the next five years.

Three HMS scientists were among 22 early-career researchers selected by the Pew Charitable Trusts to join the 2020 Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences. The scholars will receive four years of funding to invest in foundational research to pursue scientific breakthroughs and advance human health.

The members of the 2020 Pew Scholars program in Biomedical Sciences from HMS are:

Michael Baym, assistant professor of biomedical informatics in the Blavantnik Insitute at HMS, will study how bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics.

Evan Macosko, HMS assistant professor of psychiatry at Mass General, will develop genomic technologies to discover pathological mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric diseases, such as Alheimer’s.

Lauren Orefice, HMS assistant professor of genetics at Mass General, will explore how changes in the sensory input from the skin and gastrointestinal tract can influence brain development in people with autism spectrum disorders.

Two HMS research fellows are among 10 postdoctoral fellows from seven Latin American countries chosen as members of the 2020 Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences, bringing a global perspective to advancing biomedical discovery. They will receive two years of funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts to conduct research in laboratories under the mentorship of biomedical scientists.

The members of the 2020 Pew Latin American Scholars program in Biomedical Sciences from HMS are:

Gabriel Lozano Betancourt, HMS research fellow in pediatrics at Boston Children’s, will explore the mechanisms that allow an animal host to monitor the quality of its diet and the function of it microbiome. Betancourt’s mentor will be Seth Rakoff-Nahoum, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s.

Luciana Pádua Tavares, HMS research fellow in medicine at Brigham and Women’s, will probe how infection with the influenza virus can increase susceptibility to secondary bacterial pneumonia. Tavares’ mentor will be Bruce Levy, the Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at HMS and Brigham and Women’s.

Four faculty members and one staffer for their sustained commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion at the School and its affiliated hospitals at the annual HMS 2020 Diversity Awards ceremony.

S. Jean Emans, the Mary Ellen Avery Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, received the Diversity Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Boston Children’s and HMS for more than 50 years. She was one of 12 women in the HMS Class of 1970 to sign a student petition urging then Dean Robert Higgins Ebert to increase enrollment of black students at the School. Emans has been instrumental in recruiting diverse faculty and facilitating ground-breaking research within her division on LGBTQ issues, including gender identity and expression, and on racial and ethnic health disparities in HIV, asthma and other chronic illnesses. In addition, she inspired the creation of the Office of Faculty Development and the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion at Boston Children’s.

Denise Brown, staff assistant for the Program in Medical Education­–Student Affairs at HMS, received the Sharon P. Clayborne Staff Diversity Award. She was recognized for fostering a sense of equity and fairness in the Longwood Medical Area over the last 18 years and creating a safe space for faculty and students to discuss and come to understand cultural and social differences at HMS.

Three faculty members received the Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award:

Hermioni Lokko Amonoo, HMS assistant professor of psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, serves as the inaugural chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s and initiated the Diversity Dilemma Dialogues, which provide a safe forum for faculty to navigate the diversity issues they encounter in their clinical services or work environments. Additionally, Amonoo modified the screening process for residency applicants to ensure that at least 25 percent of all interviewed applicants are from underrepresented populations. 

Allison Bryant Mantha, HMS associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and 
reproductive biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, was recognized for creating an equity dashboard of clinical care, which has had a significant impact on patient care and the recruitment and development of faculty and staff.

Corey Harwell, assistant professor of neurobiology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS, received the award for establishing a model of inclusion, mentorship and diverse hiring practices in his lab.

John Zupancic, HMS associate professor of pediatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess, received Massachusetts Medical Society’s 2020 Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award for Excellence in Public Health, which is awarded to a Massachusetts physician who demonstrates creativity, commendable citizenship, initiative, innovation and leadership in the public health and advocacy fields.

Zupancic is acknowledged as a public health leader and has played a central role in mentoring a generation of epidemiology-focused neonatologists in the Harvard Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program. He was recognized for improving the efficiency with which scarce resources are used in improving the health of children and newborns.

Zirui Song, assistant professor of health care policy in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS and an internal medicine physician at Mass General, received the 2020 Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine. The award provides national recognition to SGIM junior investigator members whose academic ranks do not exceed assistant professor and whose early career achievements and overall bodies of work to date have had national impact on generalist research.

Song’s research focuses on payment policies that address the growth of health care spending and the quality of care, prices of care in the Medicare and commercially insured populations, and issues surrounding Medicare Advantage and employer efforts to control health care costs.

Three HMS scientists were among 17 researchers selected to receive funding through the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). The AGA Research Foundation Awards program supports outstanding investigators working on projects that will enhance our understanding of gastrointestinal and liver conditions and ultimately lead to better treatment options for patients with digestive disorders.

Long Nguyen, HMS research fellow in medicine at Mass General, received the AGA Research Scholar Award

Samuel Klempner, member of the faculty of medicine at HMS and Mass General received the AGA-Gastric Cancer Foundation Ben Feinstein Memorial Research Scholar Award in Gastric Cancer

José Ordovas-Montañes, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston Children's received the AGA-Takeda Pharmaceuticals Research Scholar Award in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

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