Awards & Recognitions: May 2020

Honors received by HMS faculty, staff and students

David S. Friedman, HMS professor of medicine and director of the Glaucoma Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, was selected by his peers to present the 2021 American Glaucoma Society Clinician-Scientist Lecture next March. Considered one of the highest honors in the field of glaucoma, the clinician-scientist lecture celebrates an individual who demonstrates excellence in patient care and basic research.

The following four HMS trainees at Mass. Eye and Ear were among 22 individuals awarded 2020-21 Heed Fellowships, which honors ophthalmology trainees who are pursuing academic careers in ophthalmic patient care, education and research:

Grayson Armstrong, HMS instructor in ophthalmology

Dan Ang Gong, HMS clinical fellow in ophthalmology

Wen Fan Hu, HMS clinical fellow in ophthalmology

Edith Reshef, HMS clinical fellow in ophthalmology

Additionally, the following incoming fellows to Mass. Eye and Ear received the award: Inas Aboobakar, Faith Birnbaum, Michelle Falcone, Cassie Ludwig and Frances Wu.

Alen Juginovic, research fellow in neurobiology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS, was awarded a Think Global Award 2020 in the Community category for his involvement in organizing Nobel Days and the annual international congress Practical Knowledge for Students, both of which have global meaning by motivating and inspiring students and faculty scientists. Juginovic’s research interest is neuroscience, in particular sleep medicine, learning and memory. 

Two HMS scientists were among the first class of Damon Runyon Quantitative Biology Fellowship awardees, who have launched their research in novel directions that may lead to the next breakthroughs in cancer research. They will receive three-years of independent funding to train under the mentorship of computational scientists and cancer biologists.

The 2020 Class of Quantitative Biology Fellows at HMS are:

Denis Schapiro, research fellow in therapeutic science, with mentors and Peter K. Sorger, head of the program in therapeutic science at HMS, and Aviv Regev, core institute member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Schapiro is developing methods to uncover patient-specific biomarkers that can guide therapeutic decisions for melanoma. He will collect data using miniaturized devicesthat enable complex measurements of tumors before and after they are exposed to drugs. Using new computational algorithms, he hopes to discover the cellular and molecular features associated with drug responsiveness and resistance to guide treatment options in patients.

Shou-Wen Wang, research fellow in systems biology, with mentor Allon Klein, associate professor in systems biology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS

Many blood cancers, including leukemia and multiple myeloma, arise when early blood-forming cells do not develop properly. These aberrant cell fate choices cause abnormal blood cells to grow and divide uncontrollably. By combining lineage tracing, single-cell RNA sequencing (scSeq), and computational analysis, Wang aims to first develop a theoretical foundation and then build computational pipelines that reliably infer the order of events in cellular differentiation from these datasets. The results of this research may empower other biologists to systematically map out cell fate choice in their preferred systems. Applying the tools developed here to study perturbed blood formation (hematopoiesis) may also accelerate progress in understanding blood cancers.

Graduating medical student Jeffrey Herrala has received the 2020 National Outstanding Medical Student Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association. He will be honored at the ACEP annual meeting in October.

Herrala is being recognized for his dedication to training and commitment to compassionate patient care, professionalism and community service. He will joining Alameda Health Systems-Highland Hospital for a residency in emergency medicine.

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