The CDI and the Physician-Scientist Development Award have played a key role in helping me become an NIH independent investigator. I am truly grateful to them for helping advance my career.

Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju, MD
2011 Physician-Scientist Development Award Winner


Sawalla Guseh, MD
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division 
MGH Cardiovascular Research Center
Clinical and Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Guseh is a clinical and research fellow in the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cardiology Division and is a post-doctoral fellow in the Rosenzweig laboratory within the MGH Center for Cardiovascular Research (CVRC). Dr. Guseh received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University (Cambridge) and completed his medical degree (M.D.) at Harvard Medical School (Boston). He completed residency training in internal medicine at MGH where he also served as Medical Chief Resident from 2016 - 2017. As a cardiovascular medicine fellow at MGH he has pursued additional training in sports cardiology within the Cardiovascular Performance Program. His research utilizes physiological models and sequencing-based tools to investigate the biology of cardiac remodeling. He is a recipient of the Roman DeSanctis Clinical Scholar Award, the Mort Swartz Humanism Award, and the John S. LaDue Memorial Fellowship for Cardiovascular Research at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Guseh will transition to staff as an attending cardiologist in the summer of 2019.

Abstract: Evaluation of functional microRNA regulators of cardiac regression and atrophy

Six million Americans suffer from heart failure and the prevalence is expected to increase 46% by 2030. Increased heart size (cardiac hypertrophy) commonly precedes heart failure. Indeed, clinical studies show that even partial regression of hypertrophy improves major clinical outcomes. We understand little about how to mechanistically promote beneficial cardiac size normalization (or regression) and hypothesize is that there are adaptive and maladaptive regression states that conceptually parallel the adaptive physiological and maladaptive pathological growth states of cardiac hypertrophy. In the Burmese python, the heart undergoes repeated regression episodes after feeding. We anticipate that identification of pathways promoting beneficial regression rather than maladaptive atrophy will provide new biological insights as well as novel therapeutic targets against heart failure. We will identify transcriptional signatures of regression using multiple models that include the Burmese Python and mammalian models. We focus on a class of molecules known as microRNA because they are known key regulators of cardiac development and pathology; have been largely unexplored in this context; are highly conserved across species; and are amenable to therapeutic targeting. We will systematically investigate candidate miRs for functional effects associated with cardiac regression employing well-established in vitro cardiomyocyte models to prioritize for in vivo functional assessment.


Camille E. Powe MD
Department of Medicine, Endocrine Division, Diabetes Unit
Co-Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes in Pregnancy Program 
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Powe is a physician-investigator in the Diabetes Unit. She received a bachelor’s degree cum laude in Anthropology from Harvard College and an MD degree magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Powe trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she also served as Chief Medical Resident. She then completed an Endocrinology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her clinical practice focuses on diabetes, thyroid disease, and other endocrine problems during pregnancy; she is the Co-Director of the MGH Diabetes in Pregnancy Program. Her research focuses on the genetics and physiology of glucose metabolism in pregnancy. As such, she is the PI the Study of Pregnancy Regulation of Insulin and Glucose (SPRING), a longitudinal investigation gestational glycemic physiology. She is also the current PI of the MGH Obstetrical Maternal Study (MOMS), a large clinical and sample biobank being used to study medical disorders in pregnancy and the effects of pregnancy complications on women's health. In addition to the Massachusetts General Hospital Physician-Scientist Development Award, Dr. Powe’s research is funded by the NIH/NIDDK and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program.

Abstract: A Precision Approach to Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Characterizing Genetic and Physiologic Subtypes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), the most common metabolic complication of pregnancy, is associated with an increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes and future maternal type 2 diabetes (T2D). Randomized trials demonstrate that GDM treatment reduces the risk of complications, yet standard GDM treatment is burdensome and crude, relying on frequent blood glucose self-monitoring and trial-and-error (as glycemic responses to both diet and pharmacotherapy, prescribed when dietary treatment fails, vary greatly between individuals). GDM, until now, has been treated as one disease, but we recently demonstrated that all GDM is not the same: genetics and pregnancy outcomes differ according to the predominant late pregnancy physiologic defect leading to hyperglycemia. The goal of this project is to define and characterize GDM subtypes using physiology and genetics to develop novel personalized approaches for this increasingly common condition. We will link samples from women with prior GDM in the MGH Obstetrical Maternal Study and the Partners Biobank to clinical data from their GDM-affected pregnancies. We will test whether GDM subtypes, defined based on physiology or genetics differ in their risk for adverse perinatal outcomes, dietary treatment failure, and future maternal T2D. Our work will set the stage for novel precision approaches to the treatment of hyperglycemia and prevention of T2D in women with GDM.

Prior Year Winners


Aaron Aguirre, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division 
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division Center for Systems Biology
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School 

Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA
Obesity Medicine Physician for Adults, Adolescents, and Children at the MGH Weight Center 
Affiliated Faculty, MGH Mongan Institute of Health Policy
Associate, Disparities Solution Center
Executive Committee, Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard (NORCH)
Leadership Team, MGH Midlife Women’s Health Center
Instructor in Medicine and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School


Nwamaka Eneanya,MD, MPH
Department of Medicine, Nephrology Division
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

David Perez, MD, MMSc
Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry
Director, Functional Neurological Disorders Clinic & Research Group 
Assistant Professor in Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Yakeel Quiroz, PhD
Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology 
Director, Familial Dementia Neuroimaging Lab
Co-Director, Multicultural Neuropsychology Program 
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School


Martin Aryee, PhD
Department of Pathology
Assistant Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Secondary Affiliations:
Associate Member, Broad Institute
Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Opeyemi Olabisi, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine, Nephrology Division 
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Aimalohi Ahonkhai MD, MPH
Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Tariro Makadzange, MD, PhD
Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School


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

Cesar M. Castro, MD, MMSc
Department of Medicine, Medical Gynecology Oncology 
Director, Cancer Program, MGH Center for Systems Biology
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Rhonda Bentley-Lewis, MD, MPH, MMSc
Department of Medicine, Diabetes Unit
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju, MD, MMSc
Assistant in Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine 
Associate Professor of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School


Richelle Charles, MD
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
Assistant Professor o

Abner Louissaint, Jr, MD, PhD
Department of Pathology
Assistant Professor of Pathology

Award Recipients 2005-2009


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


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


Miguel Rivera, MD
Department of Pathology
Assistant Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Jose Florez, MD
Department of Medicine, Diabetes Unit 
Chief, Diabetes Unit
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School 
Institute Member, Broad Institute

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


William Curry, MD
Assistant in Neurosurgery
Professor of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School


Sherri-Ann M. Burnett-Bowie, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associate Director, Mass General Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Director, Multicultural Affairs, Department of Medicine, Mass General
Faculty Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Harvard Medical School 
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School