Mass General Research Awards and Honors for April 2018

Massachusetts General Hospital’s talented and dedicated researchers are working to push the boundaries of science and medicine every day. In this series we highlight a few individuals who have recently received awards or honors for their achievements:

Krishna Aragam, MD, MS, clinical and research fellow in Cardiology, and Michael Osborne, MD, clinical and research fellow in Cardiology and Radiology, have each received American College of Cardiology/Merck Research Fellowships in Cardiovascular Disease and Cardiometabolic Disorders.

The awards support the training and development of young cardiovascular investigators for their research in adult cardiology. Aragam was honored for his research, “Genetic Determinants of Physical Activity and Association with Cardiometabolic Disease,” and Osborne for his research, “Chronic Stress and Metabolic Disease: A Multi-System PET/MRI Study.”

Recipients are expected to pursue a full-time project in clinical research during their year of supported training.

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 “It is an honor and privilege to receive the American College of Cardiology/Merck Research Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease and Cardiometabolic Disorders, a well-established research award for young cardiovascular investigators now in its 37th year. 

The award provides valuable support during this key, early-career phase, and enables me to continue my research leveraging human genetic variation for the study of cardiovascular disease and associated risk factors.” – Krishna Aragam

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“It is truly a humbling and special honor to receive the 2018 American College of Cardiology (ACC) Foundation/Merck Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease and Cardiometabolic Disorders.

This award provides invaluable support for me to continue working with Dr. Ahmed Tawakol on our important translational investigation of the physiologic mechanisms that link the neurobiological perception of psychosocial stress to cardiometabolic diseases using advanced multi-system positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

I am immensely grateful to the ACC, Merck, the MGH Division of Cardiology and Department of Radiology, my mentors, colleagues, and collaborators for their unwavering support and this incredible opportunity!” – Michael Osborne


Thaddeus Dryja, MD, attending eye pathologist in the Cogan Eye Pathology Laboratory at Mass Eye and Ear, has been named one of this year’s laureates of the Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research from BrightFocus.

This prestigious annual award is given to an outstanding vision scientist, or group of vision scientists, selected by an awards committee of the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education.

In the early 1990s, the discovery of the retinoblastoma gene by Dryja and his colleagues led to a revolution in the understanding of inherited retinal degenerations, and the ongoing development of targeted gene therapies for this blinding group of eye disorders.

“I am very honored to receive the award because I admire Helen Keller.  I also am an enthusiastic supporter of a local institution (the Perkins School for the Blind) which Helen Keller attended and that she later supported greatly.”


Elena Hawryluk, MD, PhD, of the Dermatology Department, was awarded the Dermatology Foundation’s Pediatric Dermatology Career Development Award.

This honor supports future intellectual leaders, educators, clinical scholars and/or translational investigators in aspects of the specialty that relate to dermatological diseases in infants and children.

Her proposed research is entitled “Atypical Pediatric Pigmented Lesions,” and will be performed under the mentorship of Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD, clinical director of the MGH Melanoma & Pigmented Lesion Center and director of the Melanoma Genetics Program.

“I was delighted to learn that I was selected for Pediatric Dermatology Career Development Award funding from the Dermatology Foundation! 

It is a tremendous honor to be selected by this organization, including many leaders in my field, for this support of my research and development as an early career investigator. 

This research will investigate the natural history and evolution of clinically atypical nevi that lack dangerous features – it is very important to understand the normal and healthy changes in pediatric nevi so we are better able to distinguish these changes from those that are associated with melanoma.”

Sabrina Paganoni

Sabrina Paganoni, MD, PhD, of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, has received the 2018 Early Career Academician Award from the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP).  

The AAP awards are given to individuals have made significant contributions to the specialty of physiatry, the AAP, or the rehabilitation community at large.

“I am incredibly honored to be the recipient of this Early Academician Award. I focused the first five years of my career as a physician scientist on developing expertise in the design of clinical trials for ALS.

My career goals today stay true to that mission as I strive to discover new treatments for ALS and innovate the way in which we care for patients in the clinic.

I would like to thank my research mentor, Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, and my Chair, Dr. Ross Zafonte, who have been leading figures in my career since I was a resident at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

I would also like to extend a special thank you to my colleagues at the MGH Neurological Clinical Research Institute for sharing this important mission and being a source of daily inspiration.”


Jason Roh, MD, MHS, of the Cardiology Division, has received first place for the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Young Investigator Awards in Basic and Translational Science.

The awards encourage and recognize young scientific investigators of promise, upon whom progress in the field of cardiology is dependent.

He was recognized March 12 during the Convocation Ceremony of the ACC’s Annual Scientific Session in Orlando, Florida.

“It was a true honor to receive this year’s ACC Young Investigator Award in Basic and Translational Science for our work on aging biology in heart failure. Aging has long been perceived as a dominant, yet non-modifiable, risk factor for nearly every type of cardiovascular disease.

Our research is beginning to change this perception by identifying age-related pathways that, when intervened upon, can effectively change the trajectory of cardiac dysfunction and functional decline.

This award will allow us to continue this exciting work, and begin the next phase of translational studies aimed at developing novel therapeutics for our heart failure patients.”

About the Mass General Research Institute
Massachusetts General Hospital is home to the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. Our researchers work side-by-side with physicians to develop innovative new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent disease.
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