Research Awards and Honors: May 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:

Dr. Arnaout PhotoM. Amin Arnaout, MD, chief emeritus of the Division of Nephrology and director of the Leukocyte Biology and Inflammation Program, has received the 2018 Homer W. Smith Award from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). This is the top international award presented by the ASN to an individual who has made outstanding contributions which fundamentally affect the science of nephrology. In the 54-year history of this award, this is only the second time it has been awarded to an MGHer, the first was in 1981 to Alex Leaf, MD, a former physician-in-chief of the MGH Department of Medicine.

“It is a great honor, especially for a cell biologist, to receive the 2018 Homer W. Smith Award from the American Society of Nephrology. It is very satisfying to see that the impact of our work on present understanding of normal and abnormal renal function is being recognized through this prestigious award. I am immensely grateful to my laboratory colleagues and my collaborators for their invaluable contributions over the years and for continuing to be a source of daily inspiration. I will continue working to transform our basic science discoveries into effective and safer medicines targeting inflammation, fibrosis and thrombosis.”

babitt bastepe.jpgJodie Babitt, MD, of the Nephrology Department, and Murat Bastepe, MD, PhD, of the Endocrine Unit, were inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in an April 20 ceremony. Established in 1908, the ASCI is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected medical honor societies, comprised of physician-scientists elected at age 50 or younger for their outstanding records of scholarly achievement in biomedical research.

Babitt: “I’m incredibly honored and inspired to become a part of ASCI, an amazing group of physician-scientists who are dedicated to translating scientific discoveries to improving patient care. I look forward to continuing our work understanding the molecular basis of hemochromatosis, anemia of chronic kidney disease, and other iron disorders, and using this knowledge to guide new drug development.” 

Bastepe: “My research focuses on diseases caused by disrupted G protein signaling, including a variety of tumors and certain skeletal dysplasias, with the ultimate goal of advancing patient care.  I am truly honored to be elected into the ASCI, whose members have made many significant contributions to medical knowledge and improved clinical practice.”

eichler.jpgFlorian Eichler, MD, director of the MGH Center for Rare Neurological Diseases, has received the Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award from the Clinical Research (CR) Forum, a non-profit membership association of top clinical research experts and thought leaders from the nation’s leading academic health centers. Named in honor of Herbert Pardes, MD, CR Forum Board vice chair, for his profound impact on clinical research and academic medicine, the award recognizes the research study that best shows a high degree of innovation and creativity, advances science and has an impact upon human disease. Eichler was honored for his study “Gene Therapy Halts Progression of Cerebral ALD.” Pictured, from left, E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, CR Forum board member; Pardes; Eichler; and Harry Selker, MD, CR Forum chair

“I was delighted and surprised [to receive this award]. It is a big win for rare diseases and testimony to MGH and its long history of supporting rare disease research. With gene therapy we are experiencing a transformative moment impacting patients lives.”

essien.jpgUtibe Essien, MD, research and primary care fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine, received the Mack Lipkin Sr. Award at the 2018 Society of General Internal Medicine National Meeting. He was recognized for his abstract “Race, Ethnicity, and Use of Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Anticoagulants in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation.” Three Mack Lipkin Sr. awards are given to trainees, who are first authors, whose research abstracts are judged highest.

“I am incredibly honored to have received the Mack Lipkin Sr. Award at the 2018 Society of General Internal Medicine national meeting, particularly at my medical society home, in front of many of my friends and colleagues. The award shows SGIM’s commitment to disparities research and the improved health of underserved and vulnerable populations. I hope this research, in particular, will lead to the development of innovative approaches to better understand the role that adoption/diffusion of novel technologies and treatments might play in widening health disparities in cardiovascular and chronic disease.”

motamedi.jpgMo Motamedi, PhD, of the MGH Cancer Center, has received an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award. This award is given to investigators who are in the first six years of their independent faculty appointment and supports investigator-initiated projects across the cancer research continuum.

“I am elated and thrilled to receive the American Cancer Society (ACS) Scholar Award. As a scientist in basic biology, my lab explores the underlying mechanisms that govern critical biological pathways required for life. These discoveries often lead to meaningful benefits to society several years after their divulgence. This award, therefore, is not only a testament to the ACS’ vision in valuing basic biology, but also underscores my fortune to work with talented scientists, postdoctoral fellows, students and technicians that work passionately to make these discoveries in my laboratory. I am truly humbled to be included as an ACS Scholar Fellow, providing my group with the much needed financial resources in this critical time for funding for basic biology.”

rutledge.jpgStephanie Rutledge, MD, resident in the Department of Medicine, has received the 2018 Massachusetts Medical Society’s Information Technology Award, thanks to an app designed to improve clinical skills. The honor recognizes the development of an information technology tool to help physicians practice medicine, teach medicine or pursue clinical research. Rutledge created the ‘NeuroCog’ app to promote the focus on excellent clinical skills in medical schools and hospitals. Rutledge’s current research projects include evaluating the app’s effect on the acquisition of clinical skills by medical students, the use of inertial sensors to predict hospital readmission rates, novel therapeutics in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the safety of direct-acting antivirals in hepatitis C.

“It was an honor to receive the Resident Information Technology Award from the Massachusetts Medical Society for my smartphone App ‘NeuroCog’. I was thrilled to have the App recognized as an innovative piece of technology which advances patient care. I created the ‘NeuroCog’ App to provide a library of high-quality peer-reviewed videos of neurological examination maneuvers being performed correctly. The idea behind the App is to revive the art of physical examination which has been eroded by the easily-accessible advanced diagnostics of 21st century medicine. The App is currently being studied in use by Harvard medical students on neurology clerkship.”

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