Mass General Research Awards and Honors: July 2018

Massachusetts General Hospital’s talented and dedicated researchers are working to push the boundaries of science and medicine every day. Continue reading to hear from a few individuals who have recently received awards or honors for their achievements:

elmariah.jpgSarina Elmariah, MD, PhD, of the Dermatology Department, has received a 2018 Young Investigator Award for basic and translational research in skin biology by the American Academy of Dermatology. She received the award for her research on neural contributions to the development of skin disease. The award acknowledges significant research advances in the science and practice of dermatology by those beginning their research careers and who demonstrate the potential to become established, independently-funded investigators in dermatology.

“I am honored and thrilled to receive the 2018 AAD Young Investigator Award for basic and translational research in skin biology for my work characterizing how nerves contribute to the development of allergic inflammation in the skin.

As a physician-scientist, it is incredibly satisfying to translate clinical observations from the bedside to the bench, but the real thrill comes from realizing that the science may some day influence how we treat a common disease.

I look forward to continuing this work and to identifying novel treatments for the management of chronic itch and skin inflammation.” 

garibyan.jpgLilit Garibyan MD, PhD, of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and of the Dermatology Department, has received the 2018 Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship Program for Scholars in Medicine Award. This award is given to early stage clinicians or researchers at Harvard Medical School who have a promising career as an independent investigator. Recipients are selected from a competitive group of applicants, based on accomplishments and research proposal.

“I was deeply touched to be the recipient of the 2018 Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship Program Award from HMS.  As an immigrant coming to this country at age 12 from Armenia, without speaking any English, I have had a lot of obstacles along the way to reach where I am now.  I know that my hard work, passion and perseverance has played a role, but it’s also programs like the Eleanor and Miles Shore that make it possible for people like myself to continue our academic careers.  

This award has empowered and invigorated by relentless pursuit for academic career despite all the family and financial sacrifices associated with being in academia.  We need more awards like this to improve the morale and recognize the hard work of academicians, especially the females, who are still expected to be the primary care giver to children.  Thanks to this award I can now hire the much needed support for laboratory assistance to continue my research on finding better treatments for itch and pain.”

plotkin.jpgScott Plotkin, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Neurofibromatosis Clinic has received the Neuro-Oncology Scientific Award from the American Academy of Neurology, supported by the friends off W.K. Alfred Yung. This award recognizes an individual from any discipline and of any academic rank for a singular scientific achievement that has advanced the field of neuro-oncology.

“It is a great honor to receive the Neuro-Oncology Scientific Award from the AAN.  In reality, this work is the product of a large team of investigators from around the country who work together to offer novel clinical trials for patients with neurofibromatosis (NF). 

Mass General Hospital has been a leader in NF care for over 30 years dating back to pioneering studies led by Drs. Jim Gusella, Robert Martuza, and Mia MacCollin. 

I feel fortunate to be able to build on the work of my colleagues and to offer new treatments for these patients affected by a rare genetic disorder that predisposes them to develop tumors of the nervous system.”

rodriguez.jpgSteven Rodriguez, PhD, of the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Harvard Catalyst/Program for Faculty Development and Diversity Inclusion Faculty Fellowship Program.

Administered by the Harvard Catalyst Program for Faculty Development and Diversity Inclusion, this program is supported by Harvard Catalyst/The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center.

The fellowship is designed to address the need for additional support to conduct clinical and/or translational research and to provide release time to junior faculty from clinical and teaching demands at a key point in their career development.

“I was truly honored to have received this award, especially knowing how successful the previous awardees have been. Reflecting on this award I know how fortunate I am to have great mentors here at Mass General that made this award possible, starting with my advisor Dr. Mark Albers and a supportive chair, Dr. Merit Cudkowicz.

I also feel a great sense of pride and responsibility in representing diversity at Mass General and Harvard.  Most importantly, I believe this award will benefit patients.

I now have the time to focus on preclinical research to test a novel therapeutic approach for treating neurodegenerative diseases, which I hope will ultimately reach the clinic.”

TemelJennifer Temel, MD, director of the Cancer Outcomes Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Hostetter MGH Research Scholar, has been honored with the Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Dr. Temel will accept her award and give the keynote talk at the upcoming Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium. Temel and her research colleagues have reported evidence that palliative care can extend a patient’s life and improve survival.

The work has led to changes in protocols involving the use of palliative care, even leading to a new ASCO policy statement recommending increased use of palliative care for metastatic cancer patients and those with a high symptom burden.

“It is such an incredible honor to receive the Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award.  The palliative and supportive care research community has made huge strides in improving the care and outcomes of patients with cancer. I feel very fortunate to be recognized by this community and look forward to continuing to expand my research efforts to enhance the quality of life and care of patients with cancer and their families.”

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