The 2021 application cycle is now open. Deadline: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 5:00 pm.

These awards increase opportunities for underrepresented faculty who are committed to diversity, inclusion and equity, to advance to senior positions in academic medicine and leadership.

The two awards categories are the Physician/Scientist Development Award (PSDA) and the Clinician/Teacher Development Award (CTDA). Each award provides funding over three or four years and is designed for Mass General-appointed faculty pursuing different career goals.

The Clinician-Teacher Development Award (CTDA) provides funding support for a clinical, educational or community project to a faculty member (junior and mid-career), fellow, or graduating resident pursuing an academic career as a clinician, teacher, administrative or community leader at Mass General. This award offers a total of $120,000 in grant and loan repayment support plus 15% indirect costs to be spent over a four-year period. Two awards will be funded by the MGPO. Download the 2021 CTDA application.

The Physician/Scientist Development Award (PSDA) provides transitional grant funding which will aid the applicant (fellow or junior faculty) in becoming an independent investigator at MGH.  NOTE: The total funding amount has increased from last year. Up to $180,000 plus 15% indirect costs will be awarded to be spent over a three or four-year period, with a maximum of $60,000 plus indirect costs per year for three-year awards and a maximum of $45,000 plus indirect costs per year for four-year awards. As approved by the MGH Chiefs of Service, four awards will be funded via a 50% cost share between ECOR and the applicant's department. Cost sharing exceptions will be considered if departmental resources are an issue. Submit a PSDA application.

The CDI Faculty Development Award Consultation Service is designed to help applicants develop a strong application for the Physician-Scientist and Clinician-Teacher Development Awards. Through this service, you can speak with a previous award winner for advice on your application, including your research plan, personal statement, and letters. To request a consultation, please complete this survey.

For answers to frequently asked questions, please view PSDA FAQs and CTDA FAQs.

2020 Clinician-Teacher Development Award Recipient

Katia M. CanenguezKatia M. Canenguez, PhD, EdM
Department of Psychiatry
Pediatric/Congenital Cardiology and Raising Healthy Heart Program
Partners Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis
Harvard / Massachusetts General Hospital Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities, Mongan Institute Health Policy Center
Instructor, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Canenguez is a Pediatric Psychologist in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/MassGeneral for Children and an Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS). She is also a Clinical Researcher at the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities. Dr. Canenguez earned her BA from Boston College, EdM from Harvard University, and her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She completed her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at MGH/HMS.

Dr. Canenguez is interested in the intersection of health, mental health and education with a focus on equity and developing and delivering culturally sensitive evidence-based prevention and interventions. Her clinical expertise is in pediatric behavioral medicine. She provides treatment for patients of diverse backgrounds managing anxiety, depression, trauma, and adjustment issues, often with comorbid medical conditions. Her research interests include behavioral health disparities, resilience, acculturation, spirituality, community mental health, global health, evidence-based interventions to promote well-being, and research for policy change.

Dr. Canenguez is passionate about mentorship, youth empowerment and community service. Her awards include the Greater Boston YMCA’s Achiever Award for outstanding professional accomplishments and commitment to community service, and the Greater Boston YMCA’s Career Cluster Leadership Award in recognition of her collaboration in developing the Health and Medical Sciences career cluster curriculum. She has also been a recipient of the MGH Ernesto Gonzales award for outstanding service to the Latino/a community.

Abstract: Development and Evaluation of a Resiliency Curriculum: Racial Identity, Racial Justice and Youth Equity

Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) can experience high and prolonged levels of stress due to issues of racism and discrimination. Despite studies documenting the negative associations between microaggressions and discriminatory behaviors with health, mental health, and educational outcomes, there remains a lack of programing to ameliorate the potential negative impact of these experiences. 

Research suggests that resiliency strategies based on racial identity development principles can enhance coping strategies to manage stress and promote positive well-being of BIPOC youth, with the potential for enhancing school success.  Our study will evaluate the Racial Identity/Racial Justice Youth Equity and Resiliency Curriculum developed by Drs. Katia Canenguez and Jonathan Jenkins.

The curriculum is designed to support youth affirm their racial and ethnic identities with pride, to have confidence in their intellect and build resiliency. The program also emphasizes empowering youth as positive assets for society, not only as individuals but also as potential agents of positive social change.

As part of this study, MGH Youth Scholars will participate in qualitative interviews to share their views on issues of race and ethnicity and to provide feedback on the curriculum. MGH Youth Scholars will also complete pre- and post- surveys to evaluate the impact of the manualized curriculum on physical and mental health, as well as educational outcomes. Findings from the study will inform the final manualized curriculum, which will be disseminated widely to various stakeholder groups, including schools and youth-focused community organizations.

See list of prior CTDA recipients

2020 Physician/Scientist Development Award Recipients

David A. AlagpulinsaDavid A. Alagpulinsa, PhD
Department of Medicine, Mass General Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center
Research Fellow in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Alagpulinsa is a Research Fellow in Medicine at the Mass General Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center and Harvard Medical School. He earned a PhD in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. His research at the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Centers involves regenerative medicine in the context of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Alagpulinsa is an awardee of the Mass General ECOR Tosteson & Fund for Medical Discovery Postdoctoral Fellowship and was the Mass General 2019 institutional nominee for the American Diabetes Association Pathway to Stop Diabetes Initiator Award.

Abstract: Redirecting and recruiting endogenous stem/progenitor cells and immunoregulatory cells for in situ islet regeneration in type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreatic islets, resulting in insulin deficiency and hyperglycemia. The incidence of this incurable disease is on a global rise, affecting 64, 000 Americans annually and causing an annual loss in income and healthcare expenditure of $14.4 billion to the country. Even the strictest blood glucose monitoring and insulin injection regimen, which is the current gold standard of care, does not achieve tight physiological glucose control in the majority of patients. Consequently, most patients ultimately succumb to T1D-related complications. The human bone marrow (BM) is endowed with stem and progenitor cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs) that have the capacity to abrogate the autoimmune response against beta cells, while supporting their regeneration. Unfortunately, the BM is also “sick” in T1D, causing impaired function and peripheral mobilization, which promotes inflammation and insulitis. The overall goal of this research project is to understand how T1D impacts the BM environment using single-cell RNA sequencing analysis and to design pharmacological tools to efficiently mobilize BM stem and progenitor cells and Tregs into the blood circulation and islet-targeting nanoparticles loaded with chemokines to recruit these cells specifically into the islets to dampen the autoimmune response and elicit beta cell regeneration to treat T1D.

Ibiayi Dagogo-JackIbiayi Dagogo-Jack, MD
Department of Medicine, Cancer Center
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She trained in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Following residency, she completed hematology/oncology fellowship in the combined Massachusetts General Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute program. She is a medical oncologist in the Massachusetts General Cancer Center where she specializes in thoracic cancers and conducts clinical and translational research. Her research focuses on understanding mechanisms underlying response and resistance to novel targeted therapies, investigating the role of non-invasive assays in molecular surveillance and detection of lung cancer, and developing clinical trials of novel drug combinations in lung cancer and mesothelioma. In addition to the CDI PDSA, her work is currently supported by a K12 award and industry grants. She is a past recipient of ASCO Merit and Young Investigator Awards, pilot grants from the American Cancer Society and MGH Center for Innovation in Early Cancer Detection, and the CDI Sanchez-Ferguson Award.

Abstract: Strategies to Detect and Overcome Bypass Track Activation in ALK+ Lung Cancer

Lung cancers with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements depend on ALK signaling and are initially markedly sensitive to ALK targeted therapies. However, the majority of these tumors will eventually develop refractoriness to ALK targeted therapy due to adaptations that promote dependence on other growth signals. In current practice, "ALK-independent" growth signals are most often identified through direct analysis of biopsies obtained through invasive procedures or laboratory studies of cell lines derived from these biopsies. Through this grant, we will explore whether less invasive plasma analysis can identify genetic and proteomic alterations that are critical to survival of resistant ALK-positive lung cancers. Furthermore, as we have shown that aberrant activation of the MET receptor contributes to 20% of relapses on ALK therapy and demonstrated that inhibiting both ALK and MET overcomes this type of resistance in preclinical models, we will conduct a clinical trial to evaluate the activity of the combination in patients with ALK-positive lung cancer with acquired MET signaling. As there are no approved therapies for ALK-independent resistance and understanding of the molecular drivers of this important form of resistance is limited, these analyses have the potential to immediately impact patient care and inform future therapeutic strategies.

Christian Lacks Lino CardenasChristian Lacks Lino Cardenas, PharmD, MSc, PhD
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division
MGH Cardiovascular Research Center
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Lino Cardenas is an investigator in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiology Division and is an Instructor in Medicine in the Lindsay laboratory within the Mass General Center for Cardiovascular Research (CVRC). Dr. Lino Cardenas received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree with honors from the University of Saint Mary (Arequipa-Peru). He pursuit his education with a Master of Sciences in the field of Microbiology and Genetics and a PhD in Molecular biology and Genetics from the University of Lille2 (France). He completed his post-doctoral training in the division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at UPMC (2013) and Cardiovascular Research Center at Mass General (2017). Dr. Lino Cardenas’s investigations have led to the discovery of a novel pathologic epigenetic complex (HDAC9-MALAT1-BRG1) triggered by multiple vascular smooth muscle cell-related diseases. In addition, his research focus on the understanding of molecular mechanisms that effect the homeostasis of vascular tissue for the design of therapeutic interventions for the treatment of patients with CVDs.

Abstract: HDAC9 is a novel negative regulator of autophagy pathway in Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

Aortic aneurysm is a common human condition, accounting for greater than 17,000 deaths annually in the United States. Aortic aneurysm places individuals at risk for aortic dissection (AoD), a life-threatening complication of aortic dilation, a malady with mortality rates measured at 1-2% per hour. During aortic aneurysm progression, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) undergo dramatic changes in cellular phenotype. Large scale rearrangements in cellular metabolism, impaired autophagy signaling, loss of cellular contractile elements and expansion of synthetic capacity. Our previous work has found that HDAC9 mediates the epigenetic downregulation of VSMC contractile genes via recruitment of the methyltransferase EZH2, the catalytic subunit of the PolyComb Repressive complex 2 (PRC2). Interestingly EZH2 is a negative regulator of autophagy activity with detrimental effects on VSMC survival. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved, tightly regulated process through which cells deliver unnecessary or potentially dangerous cellular materials in double-membrane vesicles for degradation via fusion with lysosomal compartments. Our preliminary data indicates that in TAA models, HDAC9 binds to chromatin regions at autophagy-related gene-loci which associates with the accumulation of autophagy vesicle and cytotoxic materials (matrix proteases), indicating abnormal autophagy flux. We expect that this study will lead to an in-depth mechanistic understanding of the regulation and function of autophagy in normal vascular tissue and aneurysm disease and will provide insights into precise targeting of autophagy for aortic aneurysm treatment.

Nneka N. UfereNneka N. Ufere, MD
Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology Division, Liver Unit
Clinical and Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ufere is currently a Transplant Hepatology fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology within the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She completed an A.B. in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Psychology at Harvard College in 2008. She attended Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine where she completed her medical degree in 2012 and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she also served as a Chief Medical Resident during the 2016-2017 academic year. She is currently in her postdoctoral research fellowship and is pursuing a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology degree at the at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She will complete her advanced fellowship in Transplant Hepatology in 2021.

She is a member of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Outcomes Research Program and the Mass General Liver Unit, and her research interests center around palliative and supportive care and informed decision-making with the goal of developing interventions aimed at improving the quality of life and end-of-life care for patients with advanced liver disease and their caregivers.

Abstract: A Randomized Study of Inpatient Palliative Care for Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease

See list of prior PSDA recipients