Friday, July 15, 2011

Claflin Awards fund innovation

Distinguished scholars: Top row, from left, Sitnikova, Ciaranello, Lawson, Mainero and Rigotti; bottom row, from left, Wargo, Claflin and Oral

Designed to sustain productivity of women scientists at the MGH who are balancing their research careers with the responsibilities of raising a family, the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Awards annually are presented to junior faculty members at the MGH. Since its establishment in 1997, more than 75 women have received two years of funding through the competitive awards program, which is sponsored and administered by the Executive Committee on Research and promoted by the Office for Women’s Careers.

The awards are named for Honorary Trustee Jane D. Claflin, a longtime champion of women at the MGH. The 2011 winners – Andrea Ciaranello, MD, MPH, of the Infectious Disease Unit; Elizabeth A. Lawson, MD, MMSc, of the Neuroendocrine Unit; Caterina Mainero, MD, PhD, of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging; Ebru Oral, PhD, of the Orthopædics Biomechanics and Biomaterials Laboratory; Tatiana Sitnikova, PhD, of Psychiatric Neuroimaging; and Jennifer Wargo, MD, of Surgical Oncology – were celebrated at a June 23 luncheon in the Thier Conference Room. Nancy Rigotti, MD, director of the Office for Women’s Careers, provided opening remarks, and three of the recipients gave presentations about their research. After the presentations, former awardees – a number of whom are now well-funded independent investigators – spoke about how important the awards have been to their careers.

Says Lawson, one of the current recipients, “The Claflin Award comes at a critical time for me as I start a newly funded K23 Award in the area of the neuroendocrine regulation of appetite while raising two small children at home. With the Claflin funding, I can hire a research coordinator to support this research so I will be able to reach my professional goals without compromising my family responsibilities.”

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