ROC Election

BASIC SCIENCE JUNIOR FACULTY

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Martin Hemberg, PhD
Neurology

STATEMENT

I joined the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases and the Department of Neurology in Feb 2021, and I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as the Research Junior Faculty representative on the BRI Research Oversight Committee. Before coming to BWH, I was a group leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK, one of the leading genomics centers in the world. I served as a faculty member of the postdoctoral committee and the IT committee. In addition, I served on the committee for a fellowship to support scientists who had dropped out of their research career for family or other reasons. I was recognized 3 years in a row for Supporting Women in Science, and I was the first male faculty member to take shared parental leave at my previous institution. I have experience of working with international, large scale projects, including the Human Cell Atlas and the single-cell eQTLGen consortia. My scientific expertise is in computational biology and genomics, two areas that are of increasing importance to basic, translational and clinical research. In addition, being at the early stages of my career, I am very much aware of the challenges facing new faculty members, and I will advocate for their interests.

Following my undergraduate degree in engineering physics, I received my PhD from Imperial College London where I studied theoretical systems biology. Subsequently, I was a postdoc at Boston Children’s Hospital where my work was focused on the analysis of high-throughput sequencing data. I then returned to the UK to start my research group before joining BWH. My area of research is computational genomics and I am particularly interested in using high-throughput sequencing data to better understand gene regulation. My group develops novel computational methods, and we also collaborate directly with experimental groups to help them analyze and interpret newly collected datasets.

BASIC SCIENCE SENIOR FACULTY

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Matthew Spite, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Anaesthesia

STATEMENT

I am excited to be nominated as a Basic Science Senior Faculty Representative on the BRI Research Oversight Committee (ROC). I am currently an Associate Professor of Anesthesia in the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury (CETRI), Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine. Prior to joining the faculty at HMS/BWH in 2014 as an Assistant Professor, I was an Assistant Professor of Medicine (2009-2014) in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Indiana University, I earned my Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. I joined the CETRI in the Department of Anesthesia at BWH as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Charles Serhan, where I contributed to the structural elucidation of novel inflammation-resolving lipid mediators.  My independent research program has been continuously funded by the NIH and is focused on understanding the role of pro-resolving mediators in immunity, vascular biology, and tissue repair, and determining how non-resolving inflammation contributes to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

As a member of the ROC, I would be proud to represent the interests of the basic- and clinician-scientist community and facilitate dialog between the research community and the BRI to maximize utilization of available resources, and to identify areas where resources could be optimized or newly implemented.  I will stay abreast of recent developments within the BRI and communicate those to the research community from all BWH departments. I will identify and foster collaborative research efforts between basic science laboratories, as well as potential translational research opportunities amongst basic science and clinical faculty.

I have been a member of the Research Leadership Committee within the Department of Anesthesia since 2017, where I serve as a representative of basic science research faculty within the department.  In this role, I have participated in the implementation and review of intramural funding for research, communicated the needs of research faculty to the departmental leadership, and participated in departmental events designed to enhance the visibility of research and facilitate collaborative research efforts within the department.  With regards to the BRI, I have participated in Discover Brigham, attended Research Faculty meetings, and mentored a postdoctoral fellow that formerly served on the BRI ROC, as well as the Office of Research Careers Advisory Committee. With this experience, I look forward to the potential opportunity to broaden the scope of my advocacy for research within the BRI and greater BWH community.

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Yohannes Tesfaigzi, Ph.D.
Professor, Medicine/Pulmonary

STATEMENT

As the AstraZeneca Professor of Medicine in the Field of Respiratory and Inflammatory, I am interested in COPD and asthma.  I have been in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine since 2019.  I am very excited about the possibility of serving as the Faculty representative on the BRI Research Oversight Committee (ROC).

As your representative I will advocate for the interests of investigators from underrepresented minorities and in support of research involving study participants from underrepresented minorities (URM).  Support from BRI can provide help to focus on research related to URM participants, so that preliminary results for applications of larger grants, such as RO1s, can be competitive by incorporating appropriate preliminary findings.

I am currently co-chairing the Pulmonary Drug Discovery Laboratory that is a collaboration of Bayer Pharmaceuticals with Mass General Brigham to develop new treatments for patients with the pulmonary diseases, COPD and IPF.  This collaboration involves 21 investigators from the MGB side and another 15 scientists from Bayer pharmaceuticals.  Within the PDD Lab, seven scientists and four research assistants perform the actual experiments.  The laboratory draws from the expertise and tools within the MGB in Boston and Bayer laboratories in Wuppertal and Berlin.

I received my PhD in Microbiology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany, in 1989 and completed my postdoctoral training in molecular biology at the University of California, Davis, in 1994.  I served as a Senior Scientist at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute before joining BWH in 2019.  I have consulted numerous pharmaceutical companies on pre-clinical research of COPD and asthma.

My laboratory uses primary airway epithelial cells and transgenic mouse models to understand the role of the airway epithelium in initiating chronic lung diseases in response to exposures to air pollutants such as cigarette and wood smoke.  In addition, we use data from human cohorts of smokers to validate our molecular findings.  Because exposure to cigarette smoke and other air pollutants cause lung diseases in a minority of subjects, we study the mechanisms that constitute the robust protection by epithelial innate immune mechanisms.  We investigate how these protective mechanisms can be exploited to treat patients with COPD and asthma.

CLINICAL RESEARCH JUNIOR FACULTY

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Alexander Lin, PhD
Assistant Professor, Radiology

STATEMENT

The Brigham Research Institute has been a key support for my career as an Assistant Professor of Radiology since 2014 and director of the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy in the Department of Radiology at BWH.  I am very honored and excited to be nominated for the position of clinical junior faculty representative for the BRI Research Oversight Committee (ROC) as it would be an incredible opportunity to give back to an organization that provides so much for researchers at BWH including myself.  As a representative for junior faculty members, I will advocate continuing those events and services that are most helpful for starting faculty and utilize my experience in BRI activities to help them best leverage their involvement in the BRI.  For example, I was one of the finalists for the 2014 Bright Futures Prize competition and although I did not come in first place, I was able to leverage the exposure of the event into an $850k grant from the Department of Defense.  Likewise, I have often participated in the Shark Tank events which have led to highly productive collaborations with different groups in the hospital that might not have otherwise known about my research interests.   Having served as a reviewer for the BRI Director’s Award and Health and Technology Fund, as well as being awarded the BRI Neuroscience Pilot Award, I understand both sides of the process for maximizing opportunities for funding for junior faculty.  It is these types of awards that are critical for jump-starting projects that lead to larger funding sources as I have often reflected in the various panels that I’ve served for BRI (ie Benchtop to Boardroom event at Discover Brigham).  Related to that, I also have served as a co-chair for the Academic-Industry Committee at MassBio to help forge connections between young faculty and the pharma industry based on experience as a co-founder of a startup company spun out with the help of BWH iHub.  I am also a strong proponent of mentoring having received a Young Mentors Award from HMS and have served as a mentor for the Student Jobs Success Program for almost a decade and the past several years for the BRI Summer Research program.

I received my Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in 2009 and arrived at BWH immediately after as an Instructor and became Assistant Professor in 2014 whereby I took on the position as director of the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy.  My experience in growing a lab from a single employee to two post-doctoral fellows, two research assistants, study coordinator, graduate student, and interns will be helpful to understand the needs of young faculty who are also building their research programs.  My research is focused on the translation of magnetic resonance spectroscopy technology to clinical practice across a broad range of diseases.  I am involved in highly multi-disciplinary studies with research that directly involves many of the BRI Centers such as Cancer, Neurosciences, Women’s Health, CVDM, Musculoskeletal, and Infections and Immunological Diseases.  As a result, I feel that I can be of value to junior investigators across the broad spectrum of clinical research that we have at BWH.  I greatly appreciate this opportunity and hope that I can contribute my efforts to this important endeavor.

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Amanda Lyall, PhD
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

STATEMENT

As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a member of the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, I am very excited to be considered to serve in the role of Junior Faculty Representative on the BRI Research Oversight Committee. As your Junior Board representative, I will advocate for the interests of all early career researchers, such as junior faculty, postdoctoral research fellows (clinical and non-clinical), residents, PhD candidates, and medical students. I will focus specifically on the continued development of a variety of support systems, such as educational sessions or mentoring opportunities, that will encourage early career scientists to foster interdepartmental, and potentially interinstitutional, collaborations within the Mass General Brigham network. My prior experience both as a fellow, and now as the Associate Director, of a NIMH-funded T32 has shown me, first-hand, the impact that effective support systems can have on burgeoning young research scientists from both basic and clinical backgrounds. I received my PhD in Neurobiology from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 2014. I joined the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s later in 2014 on a T32 postdoctoral fellowship in the Stuart T. Hauser Clinical Research Training Program under the mentorship of Dr. Marek Kubicki. Currently, my work focuses on the use of multi-modal brain imaging techniques to study severe mental illness, with a focus on understanding the neurobiological constructs underlying the emergence of psychotic disorders. More recently, I have shifted focus to the study of neurodevelopmental trajectories in individuals with restrictive eating disorders, as well. I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve the Brigham community as a member of the BRI Research Oversight Committee and look forward to contributing in whatever way I can to the success of research here at the Brigham.

Pamela Mahon

Pamela Belmonte Mahon, PhD
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

STATEMENT

I am honored to have received this nomination and if selected will be dedicated in my service as the Clinical Research Junior Faculty representative on the BRI Research Oversight Committee (ROC). I have been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at BWH since 2017 and am a current member of the Connors-BRI Center for Research on Women’s Health and Sex/Gender Medicine. As your representative, I will advocate for the interests and career advancement of young investigators including opportunities for research funding, career development, and research collaboration. I believe supporting young researchers is particularly important at this time given the direct and indirect effects that COVID-19 has had in delaying many career trajectories.

 

At BWH, I co-Direct the Research Track in the BWH/HMS Psychiatry Residency and am Associate Vice Chair for Research in Psychiatry. I received my PhD in psychiatric epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in psychiatric genetics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. As junior faculty I sought out advanced training in neuroimaging, stress neuroendocrinology, and sex/gender medicine. My own clinical research is aimed at understanding neurobiological factors underlying course of illness and outcomes of mood and stress-related disorders utilizing innovative interdisciplinary approaches, with the ultimate goal of improving clinical outcomes.

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Primavera Spagnolo, MD, PhD
Instructor, Psychiatry

STATEMENT

Since 2020, I have been an Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and I also serve as the Scientific Director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and as a Research Scientist in the  Department of Psychiatry at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I am extremely excited about the possibility of serving as your Clinical Research Junior Faculty representative on the Brigham Research Institute Research Oversight Committee (BRI ROC).

 

My goals as your representative would be to advocate for the needs and interests of young investigators, with a specific focus on funding opportunities, access to research infrastructures and administrative support, and ability to leverage collaborations with both internal and external collaborators. As young investigators navigating a novel environment, we need to have a comprehensive view and streamlined access to the multiple resources available to be truly capable of conducting our research. We also need to have an immediate overview of potential research collaborators sharing our research interests and complementing our skillsets.  We further need support in identifying opportunities to collaborate with industry and other external entities. I will make sure that the interests I will represent truly include the diverse needs and perspectives of all of you.

In my role as Scientific Director of Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, I constantly work on providing research support to early career investigators, on ensuring inclusivity in science and on developing collaborations and partnership across academia and external entities.

My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which exposure to drugs and stress impact on brain mechanisms implicated in stress and emotion processing. By combining multiple approaches, including neuroimaging, neuromodulation (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and genetics, my goal is to identify novel therapeutic mechanisms that can be targeted across addictive disorders and stress-related psychiatric disorders, with a focus on the endocannabinoid system.

I received my MD in 2006 and my PhD in Pharmacology from La Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. I did my Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine training at Umberto I Hospital in Rome, Italy, and completed my research training at the National Institute of Health as a post-doctoral fellow and subsequently as a research fellow. I was then promoted as a full-time employee holding the appointment of Research Scientist and in 2020, I moved to BWH.

POPULATION SCIENCE JUNIOR FACULTY

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Jennifer Stuart, ScD
Instructor, Medicine/Women’s Health

STATEMENT

As an Associate Epidemiologist and Instructor of Medicine in the Division of Women’s Health since 2018, I am eager to serve the broader community of researchers at the Brigham and hope to do so as your next Population Science Junior Faculty representative on the BRI Research Oversight Committee (ROC). As your representative, I will advocate for the interests of young investigators, epidemiologists, and other population health scientists, dedicating particular attention to helping researchers: 1) secure funding necessary to launch and sustain their early careers, 2) foster interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaborations, and 3) leverage access to clinical data for research.

Since joining the faculty in the Division of Women’s Health, I have regularly attended BRI workshops and Research Faculty forums for Instructors and presented my research at Discover Brigham as well as this year’s Connors-BRI Center for Research on Women’s Health & Gender Biology Symposium. Within the Division of Women’s Health, I facilitate biweekly “Work in Progress” meetings, including quarterly goal setting and reflection workshops for our faculty and fellows. Outside of the Brigham, my past and current leadership roles have included serving as President of the Society for Epidemiologic Research’s Student & Postdoc Committee (2014-2017) and as a member of the American Heart Association’s EPI Early Career Committee (2019-present). 

I completed my MSc (2011), ScD (2017), and postdoctoral training (2017-2018) through the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As a reproductive and cardiovascular epidemiologist, my research is focused on female-specific and female-predominant cardiovascular disease risk factors across the life course. Current work seeks to understand the interrelationships between adverse pregnancy outcomes, trauma/mental health, and cardiovascular risk in women. I look forward to the possibility of serving as your Population Science Junior Faculty representative on the BRI ROC this coming year.

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Naoko Sasamoto MD, MPH
Instructor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

STATEMENT

As an Instructor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center working at the Brigham since 2017, I am excited about the possibility of serving as the Population Science Junior Faculty representative on the Brigham Research Institute Research Oversight Committee (BRI ROC).

As your representative, I will advocate for the interests of young investigators, paying particular attention to various challenges that are unique at our career stage. I worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Brigham and submitted several career development awards including NIH K award, and recently received a 4-year career development award from the Department of Defense. Given my experience, I will advocate for institutional programs that will support junior faculty help navigate through this critical time in their career, including access to various Core services across the Longwood Medical Area, grant writing support, and pilot funding to generate preliminary data.

I have been a leader in our division’s tissue biorepository sample collection, coordinating with pathologists, research assistants, data managers, and labs. Furthermore, I serve as a member of the departmental grant review committee as well as a member of the Research Task force at our department and have contributed to the development of a departmental survey to assess research interests and needs in our department.

I am a gynecologist and epidemiologist with a research focus on improving clinical outcomes of endometriosis and ovarian cancer by integrating omics biomarker data and clinical data. I received my MD in 2006 in Japan and MPH from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2017 where I studied the basis of epidemiology. I started my postdoctoral research training at BWH in 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Kathryn Terry, where I gained epidemiologic research training in cancer epidemiology and biomarker studies.

Currently, I am leading interdisciplinary research collaborating with labs across the Longwood Medical Area, generating high-dimensional ‘omics’ data (e.g. metabolomics, proteomics, transcriptomics) from blood and tissue samples to identify novel early detection biomarkers for ovarian cancer and endometriosis.

POPULATION SCIENCE SENIOR FACULTY

Alexander Turchin

Alexander Turchin MD, MS
Associate Professor, Medicine/Endocrinology

STATEMENT

I am running to be your representative on the Brigham Research Institute Research Oversight Committee. I am asking for your vote so I can represent your needs and concerns and advocate for stronger support of our investigators.

As a faculty member in the Division of Endocrinology since 2005, I am looking to give back to the Brigham community. I will actively solicit your ideas for ways BRI can support you and your colleagues in the ever more competitive academic landscape. As your representative, I will work to improve investigator access to shared institutional resources; expand availability and affordability of research infrastructure, including core facilities, Research Computing and Center for Clinical Investigation; increase internal funding for innovative pilot studies; and develop new channels for BWH researchers to disseminate their findings.

As an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Division of Endocrinology, I have a diverse population science research portfolio that includes epidemiology, treatment and outcomes of chronic cardiometabolic conditions; artificial intelligence; and digital health. Over the course of my career I have also worked in basic science and clinical research; at the BRI I will advocate for broader opportunities for networking and collaboration between Brigham investigators of all disciplines. I will also draw on my institutional experience as a member of BWH Research IT Advisory Board, Director of Quality at the Division of Endocrinology and a long-standing member of Mass General Brigham IRB to support my colleagues, their research and their careers. I will be honored to be able to represent Brigham faculty at the BRI with a strong voice and thoughtful leadership.

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