Mass General Research Awards and Honors: August 2018

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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:

band.jpgArunava Bandyopadhaya, PhD, of the Center for Surgery, Bioengineering and Innovation and the Department of Surgery, has been named a recipient of the 2018 Eleanor and Miles Shore Fellowship Program Award for Scholars in Medicine by Harvard Medical School (HMS). The Shore Fellowship Program is designed to help junior faculty at the instructor or assistant professor level at HMS continue their academic pursuits as an early career investigator at the same time they are assuming increased family or other personal responsibilities. Scholars are chosen from a highly-competitive group of applicants, based on their academic accomplishments and the strength of their research proposal.

“I am delighted to have been chosen for 2018 Eleanor and Miles Shore Fellowship Program Award for Scholars in Medicine from HMS. This award will enable me to pursue a new exiting direction focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of innate immune training that may potentiate host tolerance/resilience to chronic/relapsing bacterial infections that remain untreatable. Importantly, this project is not restricted to infection but can be applied to most of the chronic diseases like inflammation and auto-inflammatory disease. I am truly grateful to MGH Department of Surgery, my mentors, colleagues, and collaborators for their support and finally my family!”

dekel.jpgSharon Dekel, PhD, assistant professor of the Department of Psychiatry, has received the 2018 Susan A. Hickman Memorial Research Award from Postpartum Support International (PSI), the largest national organization for maternal mental health. The award is given to one investigation each year for excellence in contribution to research in the field of perinatal mental health that can make a big impact on the field. Dekel received her award for her novel study on the prevention of maternal psychopathology with the use of intranasal oxytocin. The award was named in 1997 in honor of past PSI Board member Susan A. Hickman, following her sudden death. She was a psychotherapist who specialized in perinatal mood disorders in San Diego, CA, along with her husband Dr. Robert Hickman. Susan was an expert witness in infanticide cases and an outspoken advocate for fair and competent treatment for postpartum women.

“It is a true honor to receive the Susan A. Hickman Award from Postpartum Support International (PSI). Postpartum psychopathology is largely under-reported, stigmatized and not fully understood, despite its impact on the lives of many young healthy women across the world.  Although in recent years there is increasing awareness of psychological vulnerability following childbirth, there is still a great need to foster new research paradigms that better characterize postpartum illness trajectories, diagnostic markers, and potential nodes for clinical intervention. My research team has been trying to achieve these goals by exploring a large sample of postpartum women over time. The Hickman Award will specifically help us test a psychopharmacological treatment to boost maternal bonding and improve maternal mood following parturition. I feel very fortunate to be recognized by PSI.”

gomperts.jpgStephen N. Gomperts, MD, PhD, of the MGH Department of Neurology, has received an award from the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) to lead a newly-established LBDA Research Center of Excellence at MGH. An Assistant Professor of Neurology and the Director of the MGH’s Lewy Body Dementia Clinic, Gomperts will lead one of 24 centers to conduct clinical trials in Lewy Body Dementia, provide advanced care, promote community outreach and expand professional continuing medical education. More information of the centers is available here.

“Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is the 2nd most common form of neurodegenerative dementia, and there is a pressing need to improve the care of patients with LBD. As Director of the new LBD Clinic at MGH, I am excited that our Center has been named a Center of the recently established Lewy Body Disease Association (LBDA) Research Centers of Excellence (RCOE) Program. Participation in the LBDA RCOE will accelerate our efforts to develop a better understanding of the molecular underpinnings of the LBD spectrum of diseases and to develop new treatments.”

hafiz.jpgEhab Hafiz, MD, MSc,  research fellow at Center for Engineering in Medicine, Department of Surgery, has received the Feroze Ghadially Award from the Society for Ultrastructural Pathology at the UltraPath XIX meeting for his study “Hepatic organoids co-populated with hepatocytes and cholangiocytes: Towards engineered liver grafts with biliary drainage”. This prestigious award – established in conjunction with the United States/Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) – recognizes the most outstanding presentation based on an ultrastructural study or using electron microscopy to a major extent.

“I’m truly humbled and honored to receive The Feroze Ghadially Award 2018 from the Society for Ultrastructural Pathology. It was such a surprise as I’m deeply inspired by Professor Ghadially’s outstanding biography. It’s also my first international meeting to present my work in front of such a crowd of elegant professors from different parts of the globe.”

levine.jpgRobert A. Levine, MD, senior physician in the Cardiac Ultrasound Laboratory, has received the 2018 Distinguished Scientist award from the American Heart Association (AHA), recognizing his body of work in cardiology. AHA Distinguished Scientists are a prominent group of scientists and clinicians whose work has importantly advanced the understanding of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Levine will receive the award in November at the annual AHA Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago.

“I am thrilled to learn of this award and grateful to all the wonderful people working together in our research network. It gives a great boost to our shared vision of preventing heart valve disease to keep patients healthy. The award provides a good opportunity to get this message out and mobilize support from our many patients who appreciate the need for a new preventive approach. This support will provide the resources we need to build the careers of new researchers who will achieve further breakthroughs and make this vision a reality.”

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