Awards & Recognitions: November 2019

Honors received by HMS faculty, staff and students

Five researchers in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School and its affiliated hospitals are among 443 individuals elected by their peers as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The new AAAS Fellows from HMS, listed below, were all elected as part of the medical sciences section.

Darren Higgins, professor of microbiology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS, for distinguished contributions to the fields of microbial pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions and the development of novel vaccine strategies for cellular immunity to intracellular pathogens.

Marsha Moses, the HMS Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor of Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, for distinguished contributions to the fields of biomarker medicine and targeted nontoxic nanomedicine for the treatment of human disease, particularly cancer

Kornelia Polyak, HMS professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, for pioneering studies on clinical and functional relevance of intratumoral heterogeneity and demonstrating the role of the microenvironment in breast tumor progression.

Joan Reede, HMS dean for diversity and community partnership and professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, for distinguished contributions to the fields of workforce, mentoring and leadership development in biomedical sciences and health policy.

Samuel Thier, HMS professor of medicine and of health care policy, emeritus, at Massachusetts General Hospital, for distinguished contributions to the fields of internal medicine and kidney disease, as well as for his leadership and expertise in the areas of national health policy, medical education and biomedical research.

Two HMS faculty members received awards at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2019.

Peter Libby, the HMS Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine and a cardiovascular specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, received the Research Achievement Award, which recognizes a lifetime of extraordinary contributions to cardiovascular research. Among Libby’s pioneering discoveries in understanding cardiovascular disease are the first large-scale, randomized clinical trial establishing inflammation as a therapeutic target and the finding that vascular wall cells can produce, as well as respond to, pro-inflammatory cytokines (especially Interleukin-1)—small proteins that are important in cell signaling.

Louis Caplan, HMS professor of neurology and a senior neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, received the Eugene Braunwald Academic Mentorship Award. Caplan was recognized for his passion and commitment to training outstanding leaders in the field of stroke neurology. Regarded highly as a clinician-educator, Caplan mentored 78 cerebrovascular fellows, 30 of them outside the United States, many who have become leaders in the field. He is known for valuing personalized care for stroke patients and cultivating that ethic in his mentees.

Candace Feldman, HMS assistant professor of medicine and an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, received the Lupus Foundation of America’s Mary Betty Stevens, MD, Young Investigator Prize, which recognizes remarkable accomplishments of an investigator in the early stages of their lupus career.

Feldman is committed to studying lupus disparities and improving health care access and outcomes for people with lupus as a social epidemiology researcher. She has conducted many seminal studies on incidence, risk factors, infections, renal disease, medication adherence and lupus care with a focus on vulnerable populations.

Three following HMS researchers were named to receive awards by the American College of Physicians for excellence and distinguished contributions to internal medicine:

Thomas Delbanco, the Johns F. Keane & Family Professor of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
John Phillips Memorial Award for Outstanding Work in Clinical Medicine

Delbanco created one of the first primary care practice and teaching programs at an academic health center. In 1979, he developed and led the HMS Faculty Development and Fellowship program that prepared more than 300 general internists for academic careers.

Valerie Stone, HMS professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
W. Lester Henry Award for Diversity and Access to Care

Stone’s research focuses on disparities in HIV/AIDS care by race, ethnicity and gender, and strategies for optimizing the care of diverse patients.

Michael Barry, HMS professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
James D. Bruce Memorial Award for Distinguished Contributions in Preventative Medicine

Barry’s research includes defining the outcomes of different strategies for the evaluation and treatment of prostate diseases, decision analysis, health status measurement and clinical quality improvement.

Samir Parikh, HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was one of five individuals recognized by the American Society of Nephrology to honor leaders in the fight against kidney disease. Parikh received the Donald W. Seldin Young Investigator Award.

Recognized for his research on the discovery and translation of molecular mechanisms underlying acute kidney injury and sepsis, Parikh is currently examining mechanistic links between acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and aging and how NAD+ metabolism impacts injury in other organs.

Douglas Ross, HMS professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, received the 2019 Paul Starr Award and delivered the award’s lecture titled “Low-Risk Thyroid Cancer. Evidence, Expert Opinion and Common Sense” at American Thyroid Association’s annual meeting. Ross was honored for his three decades of dedication to thyroidology and for improving the care of patients worldwide. 

Five HMS researchers were among 22 scientists in the 2019 class of STAT Wunderkinds, which recognizes doctors and researchers who are just beginning their careers but have shown promise as they attempt to answer some of the biggest questions in science and medicine.

The HMS researchers are:

Yamicia Doyasi Connor, HMS clinical fellow in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Connor studied metastatic breast cancer cells and modeled mathematically how their projections into cells that line blood vessels might affect cancer’s spread and treatments to thwart it. She is now focusing on small cell ovarian cancer, a rare tumor that affects young women.

Di Feng, HMS instructor in medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Feng’s research led to the discovery of a genetic mutation that modifies proteins in a way that stiffens the cytoskeleton, or the “bones,” of podocytes in the kidneys. Now, she is studying podocytes derived from patients’ stem cells and is using organ-on-a-chip technology to better simulate the mechanical stresses that podocytes experience, in rare and common diseases. 

Junaid Nabi, HMS research associate in surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Nabi’s research focuses on answering the question: How can we make the delivery of health care more equitable? He hopes to integrate technology, bioethics and health policy to ensure patients get the best care.

Sudhakar Nuti, HMS clinical fellow in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital

Nuti uses research to inform better health policies and programs to pursue health equity and improve population health. In 2016, Nuti’s team found the Veterans Affairs health system’s care for non-VA patients and veterans was of equitable quality—playing a role in the debate over privatizing the VA health care system.

Victoria Nicole Poole, HMS instructor in medicine at Hebrew SeniorLife

Poole used functional MRI to see how altered cerebral blood flow, neurodegeneration, brain pathology and impaired cognition were all related to brain function and structure. Pool studies how the brain can compensate for different physical and cognitive limitations that come with age by examining the neural mechanisms shared by mobility and cognition.

Nathanael Gray, the Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in the Field of Medical Oncology at HMS and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, was one of three investigators named as recipients of the 2019 Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research by Memorial Sloan Kettering. The award recognizes promising scientists for their efforts in advancing cancer research.

Gray, who also leads the Dana-Farber chemical biology program, focuses his research on drug development and medicinal chemistry related to targeted therapies for cancer. Most traditional targeted therapies block the activity of cancer-causing proteins. His lab is taking a different approach: finding ways to degrade these proteins.

Nancy Oriol, associate dean for community engagement in medical education at HMS, was named to receive the 2019 Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. She will receive the award at a presentation and reception at HMS on Nov. 20.

Oriol is being honored for her deep commitment to providing high quality health care to patients who are underserved and marginalized and for inspiring a generation of medical students and residents. Recognized as a renowned anesthesiologist, innovator, educator and pioneer in mobile medicine, Oriol created the Family Van and is co-creator of the HMS MedScience program. She is also HMS associate professor of anaesthesia at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and lecturer on global health and social medicine in the HMS Blavatnik Institute.

Lloyd Paul Aiello, HMS professor of ophthalmology and director of the William P. Beetham Eye Institute at Joslin Diabetes Center, was one of 12 individuals inducted into the Retina Hall of Fame for his contributions to the research and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

The Retina Hall of Fame honors lifetime achievements and contributions of physicians, educators, scientists and health care administrators in a variety of clinical disciplines and other areas of research, education and treatment.

Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju, HMS associate professor of anaesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital, received the James E. Cottrell Presidential Scholar Award by the American Society of Anesthesiologists in recognition of his dedication to the study of neuroscience and anesthesia.

Johnson-Akeju’s research is leading to the development of innovative approaches to identify patients at-risk for postoperative neurocognitive dysfunction and to develop treatments for the condition.

Eric P. Winer, HMS professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, was presented with the Jill Rose Award for scientific excellence by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation during its annual symposium and awards luncheon.

The award recognizes Winer’s excellence and leadership in clinical research, his contributions in education and mentorship of young physicians, and his devotion to applying advances from clinical trials into daily practice to improve patient care and quality of life.

Sabrina Paganoni, HMS assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital, received the 2019 American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine Scientific Impact Award.

Paganoni was honored with the award for her work in a Phase 2a trial testing fingolimod as a potential oral treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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