Physician/Scientist Development Award Recipients by Year (2013 – 2004)


Javier Irazoqui, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School  
Associate Immunologist, Department of Medicine 

Dr. Javier Irazoqui earned his bachelor's degree at Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina. He attended graduate school atJavier Irazoqui Duke University Medical Center, where he obtained hid PhD in Cell Biology in 2003 for his work on molecular mechanisms of cytoskeletal regulation. He joined the MGH the same year as a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow and later a Charles King Trust Fellow, in the laboratory of Dr. Fred Ausubel in the Department of Molecular Biology. In Dr. Ausubel's laboratory, Dr. Irazoqui investigated fundamental mechanisms of innate immunity and of MRSA virulence using C. elegans genetics and genomics. In 2009, Dr. Irazoqui joined the Faculty of MassGeneral Hospital for Children as Associate Immunologist, and in 2010 the Department of Pediatrics of Harvard Medical School as Assistant Professor. In 2014 he joined the Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dr. Irazoqui's research focuses on fundamental mechanisms of host defense against infection and on host-microbiota interactions, with the ultimate goal to develop better diagnostics and treatments for bacterial infections, chronic inflammation, and metabolic syndrome.      



Cesar M. Castro, MD, MMSc
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School  
Attending Physician in Medical Gynecology Oncology 

Cesar M. Castro, MD, MMSc, is an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Attending Physician in MeCesar Castro dical GynecologyOncology and Adult Oncology at the MGH Canter Center. Dr. Castro is a translational oncologist with experience leveraging nanotechnology and molecular imaging for solid tumor detection and serial profiling. He has served as chair of the In Vitro Diagnostics Working Group  within the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. He currently directs the Cancer Program within the MGH Center for Systems Biology.  Dr. Castro graduated from the Unversity of California, Berkeley where he received both a BA in Psychology and MSc in Health and Medical Sciences. He received his medical degree from USCF School of Medicine where he also completed his Internal Medicine residency training. Dr. Castro completed an adult oncology fellowship from the Dana-Farber/Partners Center Care program. During this period, he also received a MMSc from Harvard Medical School.


Rhonda Bentley-Lewis

Rhonda Bentley-Lewis, MD, MPH, MMSc
Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Rhonda Bentley-Lewis earned her Bachelor’s degree at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges. She went on to the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Doctorate in Medicine at the School of Medicine and a Master’s in Business Administration at the Wharton School in healthcare management. She completed both her Internal Medicine residency and Endocrinology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. During this time, she earned a Master’s in Medical Science from Harvard Medical School focusing on clinical investigation. She joined the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2010 in order to focus her clinical practice and clinical research on diabetes in pregnancy and adverse maternal outcomes subsequent to pregnancy. She is currently an Assistant in Medicine in the Diabetes Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.



Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju, MD

Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju, MD, MMScDepartment of Anesthesia Critical Critical Care and Pain MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju is a neuro-anesthesiologist and an instructor in anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. He received his B.S in biology from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and his M.D. from the New Jersey Medical School. During medical school he spent a year at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as an Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar. He completed his residency in anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by post doctoral research training in regenerative biology at Harvard University. Dr. Johnson-Akeju also holds an M.M.Sc. degree in clinical investigation from Harvard Medical School. His research interests are focused on using systems neuroscience to study the mechanisms of anesthesia.


Richelle Charles

Richelle Charles, MD
Assistant Physician in Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
Instructor of Medicine, Harvard medical School

Dr. Richelle Charles received her BS degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and her MD degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2006, and in 2009 completed the clinical infectious disease fellowship in the Infectious Disease Fallowship Training Program of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Brigham and Women's Hospital. During fellowship, Dr. Charles entered an extended period of basic and translational research training under the dual mentorship of D. Edward Ryan and Dr. Stephen Calderwood. Her research has focused on evaluating host-pathogen interactions during human infection by V. cholerae (the cause of cholera) and Slamonella enterica serovar Typhi (the cause of typhoid fever) using high throughput proteomic and genomic thecnologies. She is currently an instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and on faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases, MGH.



Abner Louissaint Jr

Abner Louissaint, Jr, MD, PhD
Assistant in Pathology
Instructor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Louissaint completed his residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at MGH in 2009, followed by his fellowship in Hematopathology at MGH in 2010. While training at MGH, Dr. Louissaint served as chief resident in Anatomic Pathology, and received a number of awards, including the 2008 AMA Foundation Seed Grant Research Award for work on infectious mononucleosis. Following completion of residency and fellowship, Dr. Louissaint joined the Pathology staff at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2010. His clinical and research interests focus on hematopathology and on efforts to identify molecular mechanisms and markers that may help characterize and define hematological malignancies.

Dr. Louissaint was born in New York and studied Biology and English literature as an undergraduate at the John B. Ervin Scholarship, a four-year full tuition undergraduate scholarship based on academic achievement, leadership and community service. he graduated in 2005 with an MD and PhD from Weill Medical College of Cornell University (Tri-Institutinal MD-PhD Program).

He received the PSDA for his research project entitled: Identification of Prognostically Significant Biomarkers in Follicular Lymphoma.


Patricia Sylla

Patricia Sylla, MD
Assistant in Surgery, Massachusetts
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Patricis Sylla was raised in Cote d'Ivoire. She came to the United States for college and received her MD degree from Weill Medical College of Cornell University in 2000. She completed her residency in General Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in 2006 during which time she was awarded a Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons Grant (SAGES) in 2004 for her project in the laboratory entitled "Micorarray analysis of the different effects of open and laparoscopic surgery on immune function: Applications to tumorigenesis and cancer progression", and the Blakemore Prize for best body of research by graduating chief resident. She subsequently completed a fellowship in colorectal surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in 2007, before coming to MGH to complete an advanced laparoscopic surgery fellowship. While completing her fellowship training, Dr. Sylla initiated her NOTES (Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery) research project under Dr. David Rattner, who remains her supportive mentor. She was awarded a SAGES IRCAD travel fellowship award (Institut de Recherche Cotre les Cancers as I'Appareil Digestif) and a Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research (NOSCAR) research grant for her work on NOTES colorectal resection. She joined the surgical staff at MGH in July 2008 where her clinical experience includes colorectal surgery and her research interests focus on the development of minimally invasive approaches to colorectal resection. In 2011, she was also awarded a Harvard Catalyst Program for Faculty Development and Diversity Faculty Fellowship Award in support of the conduct of a clinical trial to evaluate transanal endoscopic rectosigmoid resection with laparoscopic assistance for rectal cancer. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.


Lenny Lopez

Lenny Lopez, MD, MPH, MDiv
Assistant in Health Policy, Mongan Institute for Health Policy
Assistant Professor ofMedicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Lopez received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. He is an internist trained at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), who completed the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Aetna/Disparities Solutions Center HealthCare Disparities Fellowship at MGH and a hospital medicine fellowship at BWH, where he currently serves as a hospitalist. Dr. Lopez joined the Institute for Health Policy in 2008 after his fellowship in general internal medicice at MGH. In addition, he completed a Master of Divinity degree at Harvard focusing on medical ethics and the moral development of physicians. His research interests extend across a range of issues relating to racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare including language barriers and patient safety, quality improvement in hospital care and the impact of health information technology on disparity reduction in chronic disease management in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.


Miguel Rivera

Miguel Rivera, MD
Instructor in Pathology
Massachusetts General Hospital

Miguel N. Rivera, received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University in 1996 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 2001. He completed his Anatomic Pathology residency and a fellowship in Molecular Diagnostics at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Rivera is now Instructor in Pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and is the recipient of a Hood Foundation Postdoctoral Award and a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists. His research focuses on the connections between cancer and developmental pathways in Wilms tumor, a pediatric kidney cancer that is derived from kidney stem cells. He has recently identified a new tumor suppressor, WTX, that is frequently inactivated in this disease.


Jose Florez

Jose Florez, MD
Instructor in Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital

Jose C. Florez, MD, PhD graduated from the combined BA/MS Honors Program at Northwestern University in 1988 and then entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at Northwestern University . After obtaining MD/PhD degrees, Dr. Florez moved to Boston in 1997 where he had matched as a preliminary medical intern at the Massachusetts General Hospital. After one year in the combined Partners Neurology program, he returned to the internal medicine residency at MGH and completed fellowship training in endocrinology. From 2002 to 2007 he was a post-doctoral fellow with David Altshuler working on the genetics of type 2 diabetes, with particular attention to genes that encode hypoglycemic drug targets. Currently, Dr. Florez holds a staff position in the Center for Human Genetic Resarch at MGH, he is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and an Assistant in the Diabetes Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the recipient of a Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award.


Aaron Styer

Aaron Styer, MD
Instructor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology
Massachusetts General Hospital

Aaron Styer, MD, received his MD degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1998. He completed his internship and residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital Integrated Program in 2002. Among numerous honors and awards, Dr. Styer received in 2004 the Lalor Foundation Trainee Research Award in the 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, and the 2005 Best Abstract Award-Trainee, sponsored by the Massachusetts General Hospital Women's Health Research Program. Dr. Styer currently holds a faculty appointment as Instructor in the Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology Department.



William Curry

William Curry, MD
Instructor in Surgery (Neurosurgery)
Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. William T. Curry, Jr. who completed his residency at MGH in 2004, has won an NREF Young Clincian's Award for 2005. The award was created by the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation of the AANS in 1985 to support rising clinician-investigators by funding pilot studies. Following completion of residency, Dr. William Curry joined the neurosurgical staff at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a member of the Pappas Center for Neuro-oncology, he specializes in the surgical treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors, both malignant and benign. His academic interests center around brain tumor immunology, and he is developing a translational research program around clinical immunotherapy trials for patients with malignant gliomas. Dr. Curry was born in New York, NY and studied as an undergraduate at Harvard University. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College in 1997, after which he began neurosurgery residency at Massachusetts General.


Sherri Ann Burnett Bowie

Sherri-Ann M. Burnett-Bowie, MD, MPH
Instructor in Medicine, Endocrine Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital

Sherri-Ann M. Burnett-Bowie received her A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College in 1993, M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1997 and M.P.H. degree from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2005. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Burnett-Bowie holds a faculty appointment as Instructor in Medicine at MGH. In 2005, Dr. Burnett-Bowie was awarded the MGH Physician-Scientist Development Award. Her research focuses on phosphate and Vitamin D biology, and clinical trials for osteoporosis. Dr. Burnett-Bowie was recently awarded a K23 NIH grant for ongoing research on the dietary and hormonal regulation of FGF-23 in humans.

For more information, please contact:

Elena Olson, J.D.
Executive Director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street, BUL 123
Boston, MA 02114
Phone (617) 724-3831

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