10th Anniversary Luncheon Celebration and Program present the

Mrs. Jane D. Claflin,
Executive Committee on Research
and the Office for Women’s Careers
present the
10th Anniversary
Luncheon Celebration
and Program
in honor of the
Claflin Distinguished Scholar /
Faculty Development Awards and
Award Recipients
June 21, 2007
11:30 am
Peter L. Slavin, MD
President, Massachusetts General Hospital
Daniel Haber, MD, PhD
Executive Committee on Research
Nancy Tarbell, MD
Director, Office for Women’s Careers
Merit Cudkowicz, MD
Claflin Award Winner in 1998
Jane D. Claflin
Honorary Trustee
The Claflin Distinguished Scholar / Faculty Development Awards were
established by the Women in Medicine (WAM) Committee and Executive
Committee on Research (ECOR) with the goal of increasing opportunities
for women to advance to leadership positions in academic medicine.
Recipients of the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Awards
Aude Henin, PhD
Regina LaRocque, MD, MPH
Antonia Stephen, MD
Lynda Stuart, PhD
Vanessa Wheeler, PhD
Xu Yu, MD, MSc
Marie Classon, PhD
Judy W. Hung, MD
Robyn S. Klein, MD, PhD
Gina R. Kuperberg, MD, PhD
Andrea Reid, MD
Rochelle Paula Walensky, MD, MPH
Sabine Wilhelm, PhD
Emmanuelle diTomaso, PhD
Maria A. Franceschini, PhD
Elizabeth Lamont, MD
Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH
Kathryn J. Moore, PhD
Marielle Scherrer-Crosbie, MD, PhD
Marina Feschenko, MD
P. Ellen Grant, MD
Shyamala Maheswaran, PhD
Corrine K. Welt, MD
Linda R. Duska, MD (one-time
Faculty Development Award)
Christene A. Huang, PhD
Mary McNaughton-Collins, MD, MPH
Wilma M. Wasco, PhD (one-time
Faculty Development Award)
Janet R. Wozniak, MD
Paola Arlotta, PhD
Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc
Camille N. Kotton, MD
Pamela J. McLean, PhD
Lei Xu, MD, PhD
Irene Georgakoudi, PhD
Nelly Pitteloud, MD
Laurence G. Rahme, PhD
Cathryn A. Sundback, ScD
Anne N. Thorndike, MD, MPH
Adele C. Viguera, MD, MPH
Nadia Carlesso, MD, PhD
Karen K. Miller, MD
Joan R. Butterton, MD
Merit E. Cudkowicz, MD
Marylyn M. Addo, MD, PhD
Paola Divieti Pajevic, MD, PhD
Alice Flaherty, PhD
Herminia Diana Rosas, MD
Sanja Sever, PhD
Naomi M. Simon, MD
Sylvie Breton, PhD
Elizabeth Hohmann, MD
Tongwen Wang, PhD
About Jane D. Claflin
Jane Claflin is an extraordinary hospital
benefactor and dedicated volunteer leader.
She has served as trustee, fund-raiser,
friend and cheerleader. She is the force
behind the programs that support women
in their professional careers. She is a
major reason the MGH opened a backup
child care center.
The MGH met Jane Claflin in the late 1950s, soon after she and
her husband, Morton Claflin, and their two sons moved to
Boston. One of Mrs. Claflin’s passions has been to ensure that
the MGH is a welcoming, comfortable, friendly and supportive
place for women.
In 1993, she helped create the Women in Academic Medicine
Committee, serving as its chair. Her work led to the formation in
1997 of the Office for Women’s Careers to support, recruit and
retain women faculty members. Also through the committee,
Mrs. Claflin focused attention on the difficulty women had in
sustaining research productivity during their child-rearing
years, which too often limited career advancement. The MGH’s
Executive Committee on Research responded to the call by
establishing funding for junior women faculty to help them
through this critical period. The awards were named the Claflin
Distinguished Scholar Awards in honor of their greatest champion.
For more than 40 years, Jane Claflin has poured her heart and
love into her hospital. In so many ways, MGH is a vastly richer
place because of the unwavering loyalty and indomitable spirit
of this dedicated volunteer, this tireless crusader – this truly
beautiful woman.
About the Award Recipients
(listed in alphabetical order, winners who are still at MGH)
Marylyn M. Addo, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine/AIDS Research Center
Awarded 2003
I received the Claflin Distinguished Scholar award in
2003 as Instructor in Medicine. The award provided me
with the funds to hire technical laboratory assistance and
helped me to devote more time to design and analysis of data, grant writing and preparation of manuscripts, while at the same time allowing for
more flexibility and time to spend with my family. As a foreign medical
graduate I then pursued licensing and clinical (re-)training in Internal
Medicine and Infectious Disease at MGH. With the technical support provided
through the Claflin award I was able to maintain some research productivity
during part of my clinical training, which resulted in more than 25 publications
in peer-reviewed journals and several contributions to international scientific
meetings. These in turn provided the basis for new NIH grant proposals,
which are now funded and will allow me to resume my research activities
after completion of ID fellowship. I have now almost completed the venture
back into the clinical arena and will resume my junior faculty position and
research projects in HIV immunology with special focus on T cell regulation
in HIV infection in the summer of 2007. However, beyond financial support,
through the years the Claflin award and being part of the “Claflin Family”
was a much appreciated support network, source of inspiration and motivation
and seemed to represent a banner of the MGH commitment to the
advancement of women in academia. Our yearly reunions often provided
the platform for everything from academic exchange and career advice to
plain assistance in finding appropriate childcare or household help. In
brief – to me the Claflin award was a wonderful resource for women
in science, which I treasure dearly.
Paola Arlotta, PhD
Department of Neurosurgery
Awarded 2005
I was the recipient of one of the prestigious Claflin
Distinguished Scholar Awards in 2005, when I was an
Instructor in Jeffrey Macklis laboratory at MGH. These
funds directly enabled me to begin developing an independent research
program, which today constitutes the foundation of my own laboratory research
effort. Thanks to the Claflin award, I was able to hire a technician, which
allowed me to both free some precious time to intellectually develop a new
research direction, as well as begin some of the pilot experiments of these
new work. The financial independence guaranteed by this award allowed me
to plan and develop an independent curriculum at a time when I was still
in the process of publishing the main articles of my postdoctoral work, and
while I was also caring for my daughter, Silvia, who was a 2-year old and
needed a lot of attention.
Approximately one year after I was awarded the Claflin award, I had been
able to build enough elements of my independent research direction to
apply for faculty positions and, ultimately, be offered extremely well funded
tenure-track positions at several prestigious Universities both in the US and
in Europe. These were superb positions, which were offered to me together
with very generous and especially competitive “start-up” packages. I very
recently accepted a faculty position at the Assistant Professor level in the
Center for Regenerative Medicine at MGH, and I am in the process of
being promoted to Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical
School. I started my own laboratory on November 1st, 2006.
I am deeply indebted to the generosity and vision of Mrs. Claflin and the
many people that made this award possible.
Sylvie Breton, PhD
Department of Medicine/Renal Unit
Awarded 1997
I was one of the first three recipients of the Claflin
Award. At the time, my two daughters were 2 and
12 years old and I was at a critical phase of my career
development. When I applied for this award, I had just been promoted to
Instructor of Medicine and I was awaiting a funding decision for my first
NIH grant (a project included in a Program Project Grant). My aim was to
set up my own independent group within the Nephrology Division of the
MGH. When I received the award, I had just learned that NIH would fund
my laboratory, but for only two years, which meant that I had to resubmit
my grant after one year of funding. The Claflin Award allowed me to hire a
technician and together we worked very hard to generate enough additional
data to obtain an extra 3 years of funding. The Claflin Award was not only
of great help financially, but also psychologically. As a women and a mother,
it gave me the feeling that I was well accepted within the MGH research
community. Since receiving this award, I obtained two additional RO1
grants and I was recently appointed to Associate Professor of Medicine at
Harvard Medical School. I feel honored to be part of the successful group
of women who received the Claflin Award.
Joan R. Butterton, MD
Department of Medicine/Infectious Disease
Awarded 1998
Update unavailable
Marie Classon, PhD
Department of Medicine/Cancer Center
Awarded 2002
During the past 20 years, our understanding of the
molecular basis of cancer has changed dramatically, in
part through the isolation of oncogenes and tumor
suppressor genes and the recognition that tumor development proceeds
through multiple discrete molecular changes. The retinoblastoma gene (RB)
was the first tumor suppressor to be cloned. In addition to pRB-loss, alterations
in several genes that encode proteins that participate in the regulation of
pRB function (p16, cyclinD, cdk4) are commonly observed in a broad spectrum
of tumor types, suggesting that deregulation of this pathway is a common and
important event in tumorigenesis. In addition to the loss of tumor suppressor
genes, human tumors arise from the accumulation of gain-of-function
mutations in proto-oncogenes. Activating mutations of the Ras family of
proto-oncogenes have been implicated in approximately 30 percent of
human cancers and the encoded Ras proteins function as molecular switches,
transducing signals in response to a variety of extra-cellular stimuli.
RB pathway mutations (p16 loss, cyclin D amplification, or cdk4 mutations)
are commonly found in tumors with activating mutations in the Ras pathway.
However, the vast majority of tumors that harbor Ras mutations retain
high expression of the pRB protein. This puzzling phenomenon may be
explained by our observation that the pRB tumor suppressor is in fact required
for the maintenance of proliferation in these tumor cells. This observation
highlights the context-dependent nature of oncogene and tumor suppressor
function and suggests that there are situations in which the pRB tumor suppressor
has a pro-oncogenic function. Furthermore, our experiments suggest a novel
tumor suppressive role for the RB related protein, p107, in human tumor cells
that harbor an activated Ras pathway. Taken together, our findings suggest
a model in which it is necessary to revisit the role of pRB itself, proteins in
the pRB pathway as well as the pRB family of proteins in tumorigenesis.
Merit E. Cudkowicz, MD
Department of Neurology
Awarded 1998
I received the Claflin award early on in my academic career.
I had two children under the age of 2 and was just starting
my career in experimental therapeutics in amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington’s disease. The award allowed me to
actively continue my research during this busy home time. It is a very unique
award and came at a critical time. The additional funding was instrumental
in supporting my research in the early years. I currently direct a National
ALS clinical trial consortium and have two R01 multicenter grants to test
novel therapies in ALS and Huntington’s Disease. I continue also to conduct
studies to identify diagnostic and surrogate biomarkers for these disorders.
A warm thanks to Mrs. Claflin and the Office of Women’s Careers at MGH!
Emmanuelle di Tomaso, PhD
Department of Radiation Oncology
Awarded 2006
After obtaining a Claflin Award, my main achievement
has been my promotion to Assistant Professor in the
Department of Radiation Oncology. Also, I have been
developing a project on angiogenesis in neurofibromatosis-related tumors,
which was recently submitted to the Department of Defense for funding.
The preliminary work was accepted for presentation at ASCO 2007 and the
Neurofibromatosis conference. Finally, one of our collaborative clinical
studies was published in Cancer Cell earlier this year.
Paola Divieti Pajevic, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine/Endocrine
Awarded 2003
My research focuses on the actions of the parathyroid
hormone (PTH) on bone cells, particularly osteocytes.
Osteocytes are the most abundant cells in bone and yet
their properties and functions remain elusive. We have gathered compelling
evidence that osteocytes express two different classes of receptors for PTH:
the type 1 PTH receptor, or PPR, and the carboxyl-terminal PTH receptor
(CPTHR). The PPR is a G-protein coupled receptor, and it is responsible for
the classical action of the hormone (calcium and phosphate homeostasis).
The CPTHR has yet to be cloned and appears to be involved in cell survival
and cell-to-cell communication.
We have recently established transgenic mice in which the expression of
Cre recombinase is under the control of the promoter for dentin matrix
protein-1 (DMP1), a protein expressed exclusively in osteocytes. My main
goal is to specifically ablate PPR in osteocytes by mating these mice with
mice in which the PPR gene is flanked by lox-P sites. Use of this model
promises to greatly enhance understanding of PTH action in osteocytes
and possibly lead to the development of novel therapeutic agents for
osteoporosis or other osteopenic diseases.
My first RO1 describing this project will be re-submitted in the fall.
Meanwhile I was awarded a grant from the MGH ECOR Interim Fund
to further expand this project.
Linda R. Duska, MD
Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology Service
Awarded 2000
I am a Gynecologic Oncologist practicing at the
Massachusetts General Hospital. I have a special interest
in taking care of young women with cancer who wish
to preserve fertility, as well as a focus on endometrial cancer. In addition to
my clinical practice, I am the Principal Investigator on several clinical trials,
ranging from investigator-initiated trials to trials run nationally. My
research spans clinical trials, translational research, and basic bench
research. I was awarded a Gynecologic Cancer Foundation Grant to support
the study of the effect of progesterone on endometrial cancer in the mouse
model, and continue the work begun several years prior with the assistance
of the Claflin Award. Much of this work has been presented at regional and
national cancer meetings. I am the Principal Investigator on several clinical
trials related to endometrial cancer that encompass my basic science interest.
One of these trials, self-initiated and published, has changed the standard
of care treatment of high-risk endometrial cancer at DFPCC. In addition,
I am one of the Co-PI’s on a national ovarian cancer trial of a novel
compound that reverses chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer cells.
In addition to all of the above, teaching remains a passion, and I make it
my purpose to guide the residents and fellows in their clinical training as
well as mentoring them with research projects and career guidance.
Alice Flaherty, PhD
Department of Neurology Service
Awarded 2003
Alice Flaherty has become the chief neurologist in the
Deep Brain Stimulator unit, which this year began electrode
treatment of depression as well as of movement disorders.
She continues research on the neurology of idea generation and artistic
creativity, her original Claflin project. Her work has received public as well
as scientific attention: she has been featured on documentaries from the
BBC, CBC, PBS, Japan, Germany, 10 other TV appearances, and numerous
NPR interviews. She is finishing work on a new book project, on the brain’s
control of illness behavior. For this she received an interdisciplinary
year-long writing fellowship at the Bunting Institute.
Maria Angela Franceschini, PhD
Department of Radiology
Awarded 2006
Thanks to the Claflin award I am able to continue my
research using Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to
monitor infants’ cerebral health and brain development.
In the past year we made substantial progress. In particular, thanks to the
Claflin support, I have been able to collect additional data which the
reviewers of my NIH grant application asked for. A paper with the results
is in preparation.
P. Ellen Grant, MD
Department of Radiology
Awarded 2001
Update unavailable
Aude Henin, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Awarded 2007
Update unavailable
Elizabeth L. Hohmann, MD
Department of Medicine/Endocrine
Awarded 1997
The Claflin Award was instrumental in helping me
obtain my initial R01 grant from NIH at a time when
I had three young children at home, and a husband
working an equally demanding job. It was also an important institutional
recognition of my work and support of it, in various venues – my division,
department and with other investigators. Since that time I have received
multiple additional R01 grants and taken on a major leadership role at the
institutions as physician director of the institutional review boards at MGH
and BWH.
Christene A. Huang, PhD
Transplantation Biology Research Center
Awarded 2000
Update unavailable
Judy Wei Ming Hung, MD
Department of Medical Services/Cardiology
Awarded 2002
Update unavailable
Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc
Department of Psychiatry
Awarded 2002
Dr. Joffe is the Director of Endocrine Studies in the
Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research
Program at MGH and an Assistant Professor of
Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Joffe is an experienced clinician
and researcher in women’s mental health. Her work focuses on the biologic
mechanisms involved in menopausal symptoms of hot flushes, depression,
sleep disturbance, and cognitive difficulties. She also studies the impact of
hormones on mood in women with premenstrual mood disturbance and
the reproductive consequences of psychotropic medications.
In ongoing work, Dr. Joffe examines the impact of hot flushes on sleep and
well-being in women with and without mood disturbance and the mechanisms
involved in the etiology of hot flushes. Dr. Joffe also conducts studies that
focus on the hormonal and central nervous system mechanisms that are
responsible for the development of hot flushes related to menopause and
breast-cancer therapies. In other work, Dr. Joffe has examined the role of
hormonal contraceptives on premenstrual depression and determined the
impact of valproate on reproductive function and the polycystic ovarian
syndrome in women.
Camille N. Kotton, MD
Department of Medicine/Infectious Diseases
Awarded 2005
In the past year, under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth
Hohmann, I successfully completed a human trial of our
Salmonella typhimurium-HIV hybrid vaccine, which was
performed in the MGH GCRC and published in Vaccine. We included a
substudy to look at the efficacy of rectal swabs versus stool culture for
detection of Salmonella, which was recently published in Diagnostic
Microbiology and Infectious Disease. We plan to start a multi-dosing human
study soon. I have recently taken a new position where 70 percent of my
time is dedicated towards clinical infectious diseases in the setting of solid
organ and bone marrow transplant, and 30 percent of my time is spent doing
research. As part of this position, I started an exciting and very successful
new outpatient clinic dedicated to the care of transplant patients with infectious
diseases. Last year I performed a clinical study to look at the efficacy of influenza
vaccine in renal transplant patients on different immunosuppressive regimens,
which has been submitted for publication. We had an interesting case of
coccidioidal meningitis after liver transplantation, which was recently published
in Transplantation, and another case of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
infection after solid organ transplant that was described in the New England
Journal of Medicine. As a result of the latter case, I have had an increasing interest
in zoonoses and had several cards on this topics appear in the latest version
of UpToDate®, had a review in Clinical Infectious Diseases on “Zoonoses in
solid-organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients” and have
completed a chapter with Dr. Arnold Weinberg on zoonotic pneumonias that
will appear in Fishman’s Pulmonary Diseases and Disorders textbook. I also
had an editorial on the risk of shingles in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I have
spoken at the American Transplant Congress in San Francisco, served as
the invited speaker for Maine Transplant Day, and given Grand Rounds in
Infectious Diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The
support provided by the Claflin Award has helped significantly.
Gina Kuperberg, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry/Neuroscience
Awarded 2002
I remain truly thankful for the opportunity given to me by
the Claflin Award at a crucial stage in my career – the
transition to becoming an Independent Investigator at a
stage when my twins, Annalise and Alon, were just born. Annalise and Alon
are now six years old. They have blossomed – as has my career. I now have a
joined lab across the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (Mass. General
Hospital) and Tufts University, Department of Psychology. Our questions
focus on the cognitive neuroscience of thought and language in psychiatric
disorders (particularly schizophrenia) and in healthy individuals. We use
multimodal neuroimaging techniques to address these questions (particularly
fMRI and event-related potentials, ERPs) and our work is supported by my
RO1 grant from NIMH. My lab currently consists of two post-doctoral fellows,
three graduate students, and two research assistants. I also mentor a K23
award recipient and have close collaborators throughout the Boston area.
We have published in a wide range of journals in cognitive neuroscience
(Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Brain Research, Psychophysiology),
psychology (Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Medicine, Language
and Cognitive Processes), psychiatry (Archives of General Psychiatry, Schizophrenia
Research) and neuroimaging (NeuroImage, Human Brain Mapping). For more
information, see http://kuperberglab.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/.
Also, for a recent description of our work, featured in Focus, see
Elizabeth Lamont, MD
Department of Medicine/Hematology-Oncology
Awarded 2006
Elizabeth Lamont, MD, MS is a medical oncologist whose
main academic endeavor is clinical epidemiology and
health outcomes research in cancer. The Claflin Award
she received in 2006 has allowed her to begin study the extent to which
institutional factors may impact the clinical trial outcomes experienced by
trial participants. Specifically, she is studying survival and toxicity outcomes
of lung cancer patients treated on National Cancer Institute- sponsored Cancer
and Leukemia Group B cooperative group trials. The evaluation of the
possibility of “treatment center” factors impacting “patient” trial outcomes
is itself a novel contribution to both health services research and clinical
trial research. Early analyses are currently underway.
Regina LaRocque, MD, MPH
Department of Medicine/Infectious Disease
Awarded 2007
The title of my research project is “Identification of Human
Genetic Variants Associated with Cholera and Other
Diarrheal Diseases.” My research to date has been directed
at the development of an improved cholera vaccine, using high-throughput
techniques to identify virulence factors of Vibrio cholerae that are expressed
during human infection and that are immunogenic. With the support of the
Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award, I will begin two pilot studies aimed at
understanding the role of human genetic variation in susceptibility to
cholera and other diarrheal diseases. This work is based on an ongoing field
study of cholera patients and their family members taking place at the
International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
One study will evaluate the association between variations in candidate
human genes and susceptibility to V. cholerae infection. The second study will
use a genome-wide scanning approach to characterize genetic diversity in the
Bangladeshi study population and to search for evidence of positive natural
selection. This work may shed light on the biology of diarrheal diseases or
identify novel targets for the treatment or prevention of cholera. The support of
the Claflin Award will enable me to expand my research interests in this
fashion while also caring for my twin sons born in September 2006.
Shyamala Maheswaran, PhD
Department of Pediatric Surgery
Awarded 2001
The Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award helped protect
my time to write grant proposals and papers. Since
receiving this award, I have published 14 original
articles and received several grants including a NIH R01.The award came
at a crucial time when it was difficult for me to spend much time at the
bench. It provided me with the opportunity to complete ongoing research
with extra technical assistance and publish our findings. I believe that it
was an important criterion in obtaining my R01 from the NIH/NCI. In
addition, it also enabled me to spend some time at home with my two
daughters. I am sure that the Claflin award will enable many more women
scientists like me to achieve their goals.
Pamela J. McLean, PhD
Department of Neurology/Alzheimer Research Unit
Awarded 2005
My research interests continue to be focused on the role
of alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease and related
neurodegenerative diseases. I have recently received
further grant support from the American Parkinson’s Disease foundation
and have an R21 pending. In February 2007, I was promoted to Assistant
Professor in Neurology.
Mary McNaughton-Collins, MD, MPH
Department of Medicine/MPEC
Awarded 2000
Dr. McNaughton Collins is the Principal Investigator
(U-01) of the Harvard Clinical Center, which is one of
11 clinical centers across North America involved in a
series of treatment trials as part of the NIH/NIDDK-funded Chronic Prostatitis
Collaborative Research Network (CPCRN). She is also the Principal
Investigator of a multi-center NIH/NIDDK-funded outcomes project
“Chronic Urologic Pelvic Pain and Primary Care” where the goal is to
understand the management of chronic urologic pelvic pain conditions,
such as chronic prostatitis and interstitial cystitis, from the perspective of
primary care providers, since most of what is known about these conditions
has come solely from urology practices and tertiary care referral centers.
Dr. McNaughton Collins also maintains an active clinical practice at the
MGH Internal Medicine Associates where she sees a diverse population
of primary care patients 2 half days per week. She was recently promoted
to Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Karen K. Miller, MD
Department of Medicine/Neuroendocrine
Awarded 1999
The Claflin Award was instrumental in enabling Karen
K. Miller, MD, to build an academic career by providing
support for a research assistant at a time of high family
demands in her early career. At that time, Dr. Miller had received a K23
NIH grant, which provided 5-years of salary support for the investigator
and a small amount of funds for research supplies but none for additional
personnel. The Claflin Award enabled Dr. Miller to continue to be productive
despite two complicated pregnancies and the raising of two small children,
which was absolutely necessary for continued academic success. During and
subsequent to winning the Claflin Award, Dr. Miller has published numerous
manuscripts in high-quality peer-reviewed journals in the broad area of
women’s health research. Her areas of research include the effects of androgen
deficiency and replacement in women, undernutrition on neuroendocrine
axes, and growth hormone on body composition and bone density. She is
the Chair of the Mentoring Committee of Women in Endocrinology, and
has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and
Metabolism. Her research has received several awards, including, most
recently, the Endocrine Society and Pfizer, Inc. International Award for
Excellent in Published Clinical Research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology
and Metabolism in 2006. In addition, she has received independent grant
support from the NIH, including R03 and R01 awards.
Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH
Department of Pediatrics
Awarded 2006
Dr. Misra is currently Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
at Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Pediatrics,
MassGeneral Hospital for Children, and Assistant in
Biology, Neuroendocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital. She is
primarily a clinical investigator with about 75 percent of her time spent
on clinical research. Her research interests lie in unraveling the complex
neuroendocrine and bone metabolism alterations that underlie conditions
of under- and over nutrition, and psychiatric disorders such as anorexia
nervosa and major depression. Anorexia nervosa, which is prevalent in
adolescent girls, is associated with markedly low bone density with deleterious
effects on peak bone mass. Major depressive disorders are associated with
the risk of low bone density in adults, but their association with bone
metabolism has not been investigated in teenagers. Because peak bone
mass is an important predictor of fracture risk, poor bone mass accrual in
the teenage years likely predisposes to increased risk of fractures in later life.
Dr. Misra is actively involved in studies examining the pathophysiology of
low bone density in adolescent girls with anorexia nervosa and in adolescent
boys and girls with major depressive disorders. Her interests also extend to
understanding neuroendocrine alterations in obesity, the other end of the
weight spectrum, and the role of appetite signals in modulating increased
caloric intake associated with obesity. Dr. Misra is a pediatric endocrinologist
at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, and in addition to her clinical
work, co-mentors fellows, graduate and undergraduate students.
Kathryn J. Moore, PhD
Department of Medicine/Lipid Metabolism
Awarded 2006
I am very honored to be a Claflin awardee. This award
came at a crucial time in my career – I was applying for
the first competing renewal of my R01 grant and I had
just had my first child. The Claflin Award provided much needed support,
both financial and motivational, at this difficult time for me. One year later,
I am happy to report that my R01 has been renewed and my research
continues to flourish. I am using the funds from the Claflin Award to support
a new project in my lab. We are studying how netrin-1, traditionally
considered an axonal guidance molecule, may regulate immune cell migration.
These studies may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of
macrophage persistence in inflammatory conditions.
Nelly Pitteloud, MD
Department of Medicine/Reproductive Endocrine
Awarded 2004
Update unavailable
Laurence G. Rahme, PhD
Department of Surgery
Awarded 2004
My Claflin proposal title was ‘Study Of The
Virulence-Associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Transcriptional Regulator MvfR’. Since 2004 I have
published seventeen original articles and I have received and direct four
research grants. Two of these have been based on preliminary findings
obtained during the Claflin Award received in 2004: a five-year NIH R01
research grant that began April 2006 and a Shriners Hospital independent
research grant that began January 2005. In addition, I am co-investigator on
four other grants.
Andrea Reid, MD
Department of Medical Services/GI Unit
Awarded 2002
I am an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School,
continuing to do research in the treatment of hepatitis C
and the impact of race on access to liver transplantation
in the United States. I am also the program director for the Gastroenterology
fellowship program at MGH. I am doing less research than I thought I would
do at this stage of my career, but I am doing more administrative work and
teaching which I enjoy most of the time. I am integrally involved in the
Partners GME2015 strategic planning project, working initially as co-chair
of a 20 member task force that developed a vision for graduate medical
education at Partners in 2015. We received a Partners in Excellence Award
this year for this work. I am now a member of a working group that is
focused on new initiatives that will enhance the education and life-work
balance of the trainees, and also serve as a member of the GME2015 Steering
Committee. This work is stimulating and will surely have a significant impact
on the future of graduate medical education at Partners. I am very grateful
to Mrs. Claflin and the Claflin program for their support of my career.
Herminia Diana Rosas, MD
Department of Neurology Service
Awarded 2003
Update unavailable
Marielle Scherrer-Crosbie, MD, PhD
Department of Cardiology
Awarded 2006
The Claflin award has allowed a unique opportunity
for me to broaden my research, from a basic science
environment to the clinical arena by initiating a real
translational research project. It has permitted me to better understand the
processes involved in clinical research, and forge new and exciting
collaborations with large cancer and cardiology centers. During this year,
we have gotten approval for our project at MGH, have started patient
recruitment, have gathered enthusiastic support at the Jewish Hospital
(McGill University) in Montreal and MD Anderson in Houston. Having
the Claflin Award has makes this project possible by supporting its
personnel and supplies needs.
Sanja Sever, PhD
Department of Medicine/Renal
Awarded 2003
Update unavailable
Naomi M. Simon, MD
Department of Psychiatry Service
Awarded 2003
I remain active in clinical research in the Department of
Psychiatry at MGH as Associate Director of the Center for
Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders and recently also
as Director of the Complicated Grief Program where I oversee numerous
ongoing research studies. My major clinical and research interests include the
phenomenology of and treatment approaches for anxiety disorders, refractory
anxiety disorders, anxiety comorbid with mood disorders, and complicated
grief. I have also been working on an exciting project examining the impact of
chronic stress related to mood and anxiety disorders on measures of aging, such
as telomere shortening, and have received funding from NARSAD and an
R01 from NIMH to further pursue this work in bipolar disorder and in
major depressive disorder, respectively.
As a direct result of my Claflin Award examining the impact of anxiety
comorbidity on suicidality and other clinical features in 120 individuals with
bipolar disorder, I have published 4 manuscripts, and have received investigator
initiated industry funding to study a pharmacotherapy intervention for
anxiety comorbid with bipolar disorder.
Antonia Stephen, MD
Department of Surgical Oncology
Awarded 2007
Update unavailable
Cathryn A. Sundback, ScD
Department of Surgery
Awarded 2004
I joined the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and
Organ Fabrication as an Instructor in 2000, with significant
corporate engineering experience and with a PhD in
Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At
the time, my twins were babies and I was struggling to continue my research
studies, publish manuscripts and successfully compete for additional funding
to support my research involving peripheral nerve regeneration. In 2004,
I received the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award from the Massachusetts
General Hospital to pursue studies involving the role of physical and cellular
cues in an in vitro peripheral nerve regeneration model. The funds from
the Claflin Award enabled me to employ a full-time technician during a
time when I had significant time constraints attempting to balance work
and family. With this additional technical assistance, I was able to remain
productive and publish several manuscripts, which ultimately helped me
to obtain additional funding. In 2005, I became Associate Director of the
Laboratory of Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication. In 2004, I received
a CIMIT grant to engineer a biodegradable elastomeric scaffold for soft
tissue engineering applications, such as peripheral nerve. In 2006, I
received a larger CIMIT grant, as co-principal investigator, to expand my
peripheral nerve regeneration work to tissue engineer innervated skeletal
muscle and a Ester B. Kahn charitable foundation grant to incorporate
vascularization into the innervated skeletal muscle model. This work is
now a critical technical building block for a large multi-institutional Army
grant proposal for limb replacement and facial reconstruction. I am most
grateful for the support that I received from the Claflin Award.
Lynda Stuart, MBBS, PhD
Department of Pediatrics
Awarded 2007
Lynda Stuart is a physician-scientist and received her
medical degrees from Universities of Cambridge and
London and PhD from University of Edinburgh, UK. She
currently is an instructor in Pediatrics at MGH/Harvard Medical School.
She has just had her first child and received a Claflin Distinguished Scholar
award for a project entitled “Dissecting the Mechanism and Consequences of
Apoptotic Cell Phagocytosis Using a Systems Biology Approach in the
Model Organism, Drosophila Melanogaster.” Her interest is developing
and utilizing systems based approaches to understand the cell biology of
phagocytosis and its role both in tissue remodeling and host defense.
Anne N. Thorndike, MD, MPH
Department of Medicine/General Medicine Unit
Awarded 2004
Over the past year, I have begun to focus my research on
lifestyle modification for weight loss and prevention of
chronic disease. I am currently the medical director of the
MGH Be Fit employee wellness program, and I will be analyzing the
program to determine the effectiveness of the program in modifying risk factors
and preventing chronic disease. We are currently designing a trial for a Be Fit
maintenance program using a web-based intervention as well as personal contact.
I continue my primary care practice in Women’s Health Associates, and I have also
begun working in the Metabolic Syndrome Clinic at the Cardiac Prevention Center.
Adele C. Viguera, MD, MPH
Department of Psychiatry
Awarded 2004
Update unavailable
Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH
Department of Medicine/Infectious Disease
Awarded 2002
Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of
Medicine, is Associate Director of the Program in
Epidemiology and Outcomes Research at the Harvard
Center for AIDS Research. Her research interests include the promotion of
routine HIV counseling, testing and referral and the economic evaluation
of alternative HIV testing and treatment policies. Dr. Walensky has
published work on enumerating the years of life saved from AIDS therapies
(nominated as one of the “Top 10” papers of 2006 at NIAID), on the clinical
and cost-effectiveness of HIV testing strategies (used to motivate changes
in CDC HIV testing guidelines) and is currently evaluating the impact of
alternative antiretroviral roll-out programs in South Africa.
As I reflect on the past year, I am especially appreciative of Mrs. Jane
Claflin, the Claflin Award, and the Office of Women’s Careers for early
support in my research – support that came at a vulnerable period in my
career when I had two children under 3 years old and no other independent
grant funding. The OWC saw potential in my work and the Claflin Award
provided me with both the emotional and financial backing to allow for
pursuit of a successful NIH Award. I am deeply appreciative.
Wilma M. Wasco, PhD
Department of Neurology
Awarded 2000
Wilma Wasco, PhD is an Associate Professor of Neurology
who received an award in 2000 for her project entitled
“Functional significance of post-translational modifications
of calsenilin, a novel calcium-binding protein that interacts with the Alzheimer’s
associated presenilin proteins.” Today, Dr. Wasco’s laboratory continues to
focus on calsenilin and has expanded these studies to include an evaluation
of the roles that this interestign protein plays in transcriptional regulation in
the nucleus as well as in the function of potassium channels in the cytoplasm.
Most recently, Dr. Wasco and her lab have taken an interest in understanding
the role that calsenilin plays in synaptic transmission. In addition to her
research activities, Dr. Wasco is an active member of the Harvard
Medical/Dental School Joint Committee on the Status of Women and is
excited about the the opportunity this affords her to contribute to enhancing
and improving the opportunities for the contribution of women at the
medical school as well as at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Corrine K. Welt, MD
Department of Medicine/Reproductive Endocrine
Awarded 2001
Dr. Welt received funding from the Claflin award in 2001
to study “Prolactin: Effects on Lactation, Reproduction
and Bone Turnover.” These studies have produced very
interesting results. In women with regular menstrual cycles, recombinant
human prolactin (r-hPRL) was demonstrated to have a suppressive effect
on GnRH secretion after 7 days, as marked by decreased LH pulse frequency
measured in the serum. In contrast, prolactin had no effect on TSH secretion.
Taken together with evidence that prolactin exerts its effect on TSH via a
dopamine feedback loop, these findings suggest that the effect of prolactin
on GnRH neurons is direct and not mediated by dopamine, as previously
suggested.[1] In additional studies, r-hPRL did not appear to have a
detrimental effect on bone turnover during short-term, 7 day administration.
However, r-hPRL did cause galactorrhea in non-postpartum women, proving
its biological activity for use in lactating women.
The lactation studies using r-hPRL are now ongoing with funding from the
FDA and March of Dimes. The goal of the study is to examine the safety
and efficacy of r-hPRL for mothers of premature infants with insufficient
breast milk production. The study is a randomized, placebo-controlled
phase 2 trial. Preliminary data from the study suggests that r-hPRL will be
effective in increasing breast milk volume for mothers of premature infants.
These studies will be important for premature infants who derive the
greatest benefit from breast milk through the decreased rate of infection,
necrotizing enterocolitis, improved feeding and other advantages it
Reference List
1. Page-Wilson G, Smith PC, Welt CK: Prolactin Suppresses GnRH but Not
TSH Secretion. Horm Res 2006, 65: 31-38.
Vanessa Wheeler, PhD
Department of Neurology/Center for
Human Genetic Research
Awarded 2007
Having received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry
from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in
Molecular Genetics from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and
Medicine, University of London, I developed an interest in neurodegenerative
disease and decided to carry out my postdoctoral training in the Huntington’s
disease field in the laboratory of Dr. Marcy MacDonald at the Massachusetts
General Hospital. Huntington’s disease grabbed my attention and I am
currently Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Center for Human
Genetic Research directing a research program that uses genetic approaches
to understand the molecular basis of this disease. I am delighted to be the
recipient of a Claflin Award at this early stage in my career as I try to strike
a balance between my research and spending time with my son.
Sabine Wilhelm, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Awarded 2002
Update unavailable
Janet R. Wozniak, MD
Department of Psychiatry
Awarded 2000
Since receiving the Claflin Award in 2001, I applied for
and was awarded an R01 research grant from the NIMH
to continue research into the longitudinal course of
pediatric-onset bipolar disorder. I have been recognized with a Leadership
Award for this research by the STEP Up for Kids parent advocacy group
and am sought out as a national expert on the topic for clinical evaluations
and research presentations. Since receiving the Claflin award, I have
authored or co-authored over 20 additional scientific papers on the topic
and have presented research findings at national meetings yearly. The
Claflin Award was instrumental in keeping me in my research career during
a vulnerable time in my career when I had 3 young children under the age
of 6 years and was facing the end of the financial support associated with a
career development award. I am extremely grateful for the support of the
Claflin Award which allowed me needed support at a time when leaving
research was a very real option. I will apply soon for the next level of
promotion to the Associate Professor rank and have plans to publish a
book for parents on pediatric bipolar disorder.
Lei Xu, MD, PhD
Department of Radiation Oncology
Awarded 2005
The Claflin Award allowed me to hire a research technician,
which enabled me to spend less time on laboratory
routine tasks, and more time on my research. During
the first award year, I published 1 paper in Cancer Research (65:5711-9,
2005). I presented my work in ‘Anti-Angiogenesis and Drug Delivery to
Tumor: Bench to Bedside’ conference and the ‘Cancer Protease and
Metastasis’ conferences in 2005. Because of this award, I can spend more
time acquiring independent research funding. I have submitted two
research proposals earlier this year, and currently, I am preparing another
one. The Claflin Award will enable my career to progress as I work
towards advancing our understanding of tumor biology.
Xu Yu, MD, MSc
Department of Medicine
Awarded 2007
Dr. Yu has been at the AIDS Research Center of MGH
for the last seven years, where she is currently leading
a research group that focuses on the investigation of
HIV-specific immune responses. She has made major contributions to the
analysis of how the immune system is able to respond to HIV infection,
and on how strategies for the manipulation of HIV-specific immune
responses by vaccines and immunogens can be designed. Dr. Yu is the
mother of her 9 month old daughter Sophia, and the support from the
Claflin Foundation will give her the opportunity to continue her scientific
work during the exciting time of raising her daughter.
“This program was a bold initiative to support
women faculty, and its success speaks volumes
about the MGH’s leadership in this critical issue”
– Nancy J. Tarbell, MD
“Beyond financial support, through the years the
Claflin award and being part of the ‘Claflin Family’
was a much appreciated support network, source of
inspiration and motivation and seemed to represent
a banner of the MGH commitment to the advancement
of women in academia.”
– Marylyn M. Addo, MD, PhD
“I am deeply indebted to the generosity and vision of
Mrs. Claflin and the many people that made this
award possible.”
– Paola Arlotta, PhD
“The Claflin has made an enormous difference:
It not only paid for staff to help on my research, it
gave me the positive feedback you need when
you’re overworked and exhausted to kind of
keep in the game.”
– P. Ellen Grant, MD
Articles about the Claflin Awards
Claflin Award Helps Women Establish Scientific Careers.
MGH Hotline 2007 March 16. http://www.massgeneral.org/pubaffairs/
Issues2007/ 031607claflin.htm
Barrier breakers. Mass. General grants to women scientists help
plug ‘leaky pipeline’ between grad school and tenure.
The Boston Globe 2007 March 5. By Carey Goldberg, Globe Staff
http://www.boston.com/ news/science/articles/2007/03/05/
Brief Report: A Targeted Intervention for the Career Development
of Women in Academic Medicine. Archives of Internal Medicine
2007 Feb 26; 167:343-345. By Reshma Jagsi, Joan R. Butterton,
Rebecca Starr, Nancy J. Tarbell.
Claflin Awards Support Women’s Developing Research Careers.
MGH Hotline 2000 May 19. http://www.massgeneral.org/pubaffairs/
Issues/ 051900claflin.htm
Special Thanks
Executive Committee on Research (ECOR)
Women in Academic Medicine Committee (WAM)
and to the following individuals:
Lynn A. Dale
Director, Bicentennial Planning,
Programming & Special Events
Arch MacInnes
Publications Director
Public Affairs
Edie Sinagra
Staff Assistant
Office of Women’s Careers
Brenda I. Vega
Administrative Coordinator,
Office for Women’s Careers