Awards & Recognitions: November 2023 – January 2024

Honors received by HMS faculty, postdocs, staff, and students

Ross Zafonte, president of Spaulding Rehabilitation and the Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at HMS, was presented with the 2023 Admiral Charles LeMoyne Distinguished Healthcare Professional Award by the Ben Franklin Global Forum at an event in Cambridge, Mass., on Dec. 8, 2023.

Zafonte received the award for his research in understanding the mechanisms of recovery after brain and spinal cord injury and his commitment to directing the brain injury and warrior health & fitness programs at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Red Sox Foundation Home Base Program.

The award nomination recognized Zafonte as “a brilliant researcher and dedicated clinician who is leading the way in the treatment of traumatic brain injury,” and noted that he “epitomizes the very best in medical care, research, and rehabilitation.”

The Ben Franklin Global Forum designs and implements outreach programs that promote the ideals of self-sufficiency, innovation, and excellence in leadership, public service, science and technology, business, and the arts. It established the distinguished health care professional award to acknowledge extraordinary contributions made by frontline health care professionals as the nation emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adapted from a Mass General Brigham news release.

Lisa Wong, HMS assistant professor of pediatrics, part-time, at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate co-director of the Arts and Humanities Initiative at HMS, was chosen as one of six recipients of the inaugural MassArt Common Good Awards. The ceremony took place on Dec. 16, 2023, at the MassArt Design and Media Center in Boston.

The award committee noted Wong’s “deep interest in the intersection between the arts and health.” Among her work in this area, she has served as president of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra for 21 years and designed the orchestra’s Healing Art of Music Program, which is documented in her book Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine. Wong played a key role in the creation of Boston Hope Music, an initiative providing virtual music and music education to patients, staff, and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Common Ground Awards celebrate the integration of arts and culture in civic life; acknowledge those who excel in advocacy, teaching, placemaking, and creation; and highlight the positive influence of the arts on our collective well-being.

Adapted from MassArt press materials.

Kevin Struhl, the David Wesley Gaiser Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS and associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, received the 2023 Arthur Kornberg and Paul Berg Lifetime Achievement Award in Biomedical Sciences from the Stanford Medicine Alumni Association.

The award is given each year to distinguished Stanford University School of Medicine alumni for outstanding lifetime contributions to biomedical science.

The award recognized Struhl’s pioneering work in recombinant DNA technology, yeast molecular biology, and reverse genetic analysis, which led to fundamental insights into eukaryotic gene expression. It also cited Struhl’s discoveries linking inflammation to cancer independent of mutation.

More about Struhl and his work can be found in this video created for the occasion.

Adapted from Stanford University press materials.

Christopher Harvey
Christopher Harvey

Christopher Harvey, professor of neurobiology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS, has been named a recipient of the 2024 Troland Research Awards from the National Academy of Sciences.

Two of these $75,000 awards are given annually to recognize unusual achievement by early-career researchers and to advance empirical research in experimental psychology. This year’s other recipient is Jennifer Trueblood of Indiana University Bloomington.

Harvey is being recognized for research that has changed our understanding of how the brain gives rise to cognition and for breaking conceptual and technical boundaries in neuroscience.

Harvey’s work examines the emergent properties of specialized populations of neurons in the brain that enable mammals to perform complex computations needed for decision-making, spatial reasoning, and short-term memory. He has developed new and powerful approaches to circuit manipulation, computational modeling, and behavioral analysis that have enabled him to make discoveries about how cognitive processes occur in different parts of the brain.

The award will be presented at the 161st NAS Annual Meeting on April 28.

Adapted from an NAS news release.

Margaret Livingstone, the Takeda Professor of Neurobiology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School, has been named the recipient of the 2024 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience by the McGovern Institute at MIT.

The annual award recognizes outstanding achievements in neuroscience.

“Margaret Livingstone’s driven curiosity and original experimental approaches have led to fundamental advances in our understanding of visual perception,” said Robert Desimone, director of the McGovern Institute and chair of the selection committee.

Livingstone is being recognized for her research detailing how the brain learns to detect facial features during development.

Livingstone’s work in non-human primates, which combines single-cell recordings and brain imaging, has explored the organization of face-perception domains in a brain region called the inferotemporal cortex. Her lab has shown that there are many individual neurons in the face-recognition domain that are tuned to a combination of facial features.

Building on this work, her lab discovered that the brain must be exposed to faces early in life to properly form feature-specific domains. Livingstone has also explored the neurobiology of visual perception in art — work that is captured in her book, Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing.

The award will be presented this spring and comes with a $200,000 prize.

Adapted from a McGovern Institute announcement.

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