The Metabolism Unit, with 12 faculty members, fellowship trainees and a staff of over 20, is located in 2,800 square feet of office space in Charles River Park, adjacent to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Faculty members and collaborators have a broad array of expertise ranging from neuroendocrinology, pediatric endocrinology, nutrition, infectious diseases, immunology and advanced non-invasive radiographic imaging. This team utilizes state-of-the-art techniques including insulin clamp, positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance spectroscopy and novel imaging techniques to determine metabolic function and substrate flux.

Our Faculty

Steven K. Grinspoon, MDSteven K. Grinspoon, MD
Unit Chief, Metabolism Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Director, Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard


Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Steven Grinspoon, chief of the Metabolism Unit, is a professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital endowed chair in neuroendocrinology and metabolism. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He received the 2014 Edward H. Ahrens Jr. Award for Patient Oriented Research from the Association for Clinical and Translational Science as well as the 2016 Gerald Aurbach Laureate Award from the Endocrine Society for Translational Research.

Dr. Grinspoon is a recognized expert in the nutritional regulation of pituitary function. His work encompasses a broad focus including the mechanism by which neuroendocrine function regulates adipose tissue distribution, the mechanisms of insulin resistance in fat redistribution and acquired lipodystrophy and the role of altered nutrient trafficking to ectopic adipose depots in association with visceral obesity. His efforts investigating GHRH1-44, to selectively reduce visceral fat. His efforts led to the FDA approval in November 2010 of GHRH as the first therapy to reduce visceral fat in HIV lipodystrophy and a recent effort to leverage the potent effect of this drug to reduce fat and prevent fibrosis in NAFLD. He has co-chaired the Research Affairs Committee for the Endocrine Society and directed the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Investigators Workshop. In addition, he has served as the Pfizer Visiting Professor at University of California at Davis.

Dr. Grinspoon has chaired the AHA State of the Science Conference on Cardiovascular Disease in HIV. In this regard, he directs a large multicenter NIH-funded trial, REPRIEVE, to investigate strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease in HIV, stemming in part from his work demonstrating a unique atherosclerotic phenotype related to immune activation in HIV. REPRIEVE includes a large sub-study investigating the inflammatory mechanisms of cardiovascular disease in HIV using CT angiography and flow cytometric analyses. He is also investigating the effects of mineralocorticoid receptor blockade to improve insulin resistance and inflammation in HIV-infected patients.

Current Research Studies:

Recent Grants & Awards:

  • University of Virginia, School of Medicine – Michael O. Thorner Distinguished Lectureship in Endocrinology
  • REPRIEVE COVID Supplement to study predictors, inflammatory sequelae and targeted treatment strategies of COVID19 in HIV globally
  • Executive Committee, NIDDK Initiative to Advance the Careers of URM’s in Academia through the NORC Network

Contact: SGRINSPOON@partners.org

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Chika Anekwe, MD, MPHChika Anekwe, MD, MPH
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Endocrinologist, Massachusetts General Hospital


 

Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Anekwe, MD, MPH is an obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Dr. Anekwe received her Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, her MD from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and her MPH from Columbia University. She was a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar for both her undergraduate and graduate studies, and 2006-2007 Princeton Project 55 Public Interest Fellow. Dr. Anekwe completed her internship in Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital, and went on to complete her residency in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health at SUNY Stony Brook University Medical Center. Before joining MGH/HMS in August 2018, Dr. Anekwe was a staff physician at Long Island Weight Loss Institute, the largest private obesity medicine practice in Long Island, NY. Dr. Anekwe’s professional interests are in the areas of clinical nutrition, obesity, non-surgical weight management, health policy and community health outreach, with a special interest in underserved communities. In fall 2021, Dr. Anekwe will be joining Newton-Wellesley Hospital, an affiliate of Mass General Brigham, as medical director of the Center for Weight Loss Surgery. She is looking forward to building the medical management component of obesity treatment in the community hospital setting, in addition to continuing to engage in clinical, research and teaching endeavors at MGH/HMS.

Contact: CANEKWE@mgh.harvard.edu

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Sarah Chu, MSN, ANP-BCSarah Chu, MSN, ANP-BC
Adult Nurse Practitioner, Massachusetts General Hospital


 

Bio and Research Interests

Ms. Chu is an adult nurse practitioner engaged in clinical research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research interests include the mechanisms by which systemic immune activation and inflammation influence cardiovascular health amongst special populations, particularly women with HIV. Ms. Chu is helping to lead an NIH-R01 funded study on this theme and is also helping to conduct other research studies on related themes–including a study on whether statin therapy helps preserve diastolic function among people with HIV. In addition to conducting clinical research, she serves as a member of the Mass General Steering Clinical Research Nurse Committee and as the COVID Safety Officer of the Mass General Metabolism Unit.

Current Research Studies:

Contact: SCHU4@mgh.harvard.edu



Kathleen Fitch, MSN, FNPKathleen Fitch, MSN, FNP
Principal Associate in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Family Nurse Practitioner, Massachusetts General Hospital



Bio and Research Interests

Ms. Fitch is a family nurse practitioner and a principal associate in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Ms. Fitch’s research examines the manner in which diet and nutrition can influence cardiometabolic health and disease in special populations, including living with HIV. Ms. Fitch serves as project manager for the REPRIEVE trial—a randomized placebo-controlled trial testing a heart disease prevention strategy among individuals with HIV. She has published important work demonstrating effects of exercise and metformin to improve cardiometabolic health in special populations. Her work has been published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, AIDS, JAIDS, and the Journal of Nutrition. She has received the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. In addition to her research activities, Ms. Fitch served as a National Health Service Corps Scholar and is a volunteer community educator at several AIDS service organizations throughout Massachusetts.

Current Research Studies:

Contact: KFITCH@mgh.harvard.edu



Lindsay Fourman, MDLindsay Fourman, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Endocrinologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

 

Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Fourman is an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fourman’s research explores mechanisms of ectopic fat accumulation and downstream pathology in the liver and in the heart. She has published on the manner by which redressing ectopic fat deposition through administration of a hypothalamic hormone analogue may improve end-organ function in special populations. Her latest research interests include mechanisms by which epigenetic imprinting may predispose HIV-exposed but uninfected infants to metabolic complications later in life. Her work has been published in Lancet HIV, Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight and Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. She has received a K23 Career Development Award, a KL2 MeRIT grant from the Harvard Catalyst, the John Potts Pilot Award from Mass General's Endocrinology Division, and a Pilot Translational Research Grant from Mass General’s Department of Medicine. Clinically, Dr. Fourman manages patients with complex metabolic and neuroendocrine diseases, and directs the Metabolic Disorders Conference.

Current Research Studies:

Recent Grants & Awards:

K23 Career Development Award – In Utero HIV Exposure and Metabolic Disease Risk in HIV-Uninfected Young Adults

Nutrition Obesity Research Pilot and Feasibility Award – Metabolic Sequelae of in Utero HIV Exposure: A Pilot Study

MGH DOM Pilot Translational Research Award – A Novel Mechanism and Therapeutic Strategy to Address Premature Aging in HIV

John T. Potts, Jr. Pilot Award Program of the Mass General Endocrine Division

Contact: LFOURMAN@partners.org

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Janet Lo, MD, MS Janet Lo, MD, MS 
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Endocrinologist, Massachusetts General Hospital



Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Lo is an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Lo’s research aims to elucidate mechanisms contributing to increased metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk among people with HIV. She is principal investigator of three NIH R01-funded projects on these themes. Dr. Lo has published research demonstrating increased subclinical atherosclerotic plaque burden among men with HIV treated with antiretroviral therapy and revealing effects of statin therapy to reduce such plaque. Dr. Lo’s work has been published in JAMA, Lancet HIV, AIDS, JAIDS, Journal of Infectious Diseases and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. She has been recognized with the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Committee on Research and with the Gilbert Daniels Teaching Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Endocrine Division. Dr. Lo also serves as associate program director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Current Research Studies:

Recent Grants & Awards:

Reducing Arterial Inflammation and Improving Metabolic Health by Dual CCR2 and CCR5 Antagonism in People Living with HIV, NIH, R01HL149516

Contact:  JLO@mgh.harvard.edu

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Sara Looby, PhD, ANP-BC, FAANSara Looby, PhD, ANP-BC, FAAN
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Clinical Investigator, Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research, Massachusetts General Hospital


Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Looby is a clinical investigator in the Metabolism Unit and at the Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Looby’s research focuses on cardiometabolic indices in individuals with HIV with a focus on women and women’s health, including evaluations of menopause, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD) during menopause. She was the first to report reduced bone density associated with high bone-turnover among women living with HIV and increased cardiometabolic risk related to abdominal fat accumulation and associated inflammation in this population.

Dr. Looby completed a NIH-funded investigation of metabolic, psychological and vasomotor symptoms among perimenopausal women with HIV. Moreover, she is a principal investigator of an NIH R01-funded project investigating the intersection of reproductive aging and cardiovascular disease risk among women living with HIV. Her work has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Menopause, the Journal of Infectious Diseases, AIDS, JAIDS and the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. Dr. Looby received the Claflin Distinguished Scholar award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Committee on Research, and also funding from the Harvard Center for AIDS Research, the Nutrition and Obesity Research Center at Harvard, and the William F. Connell family.

In addition to her research activities, Dr. Looby is a dedicated volunteer health educator at local HIV community service organizations and has received honors for her community work and compassionate care of individuals living with HIV.

Current Research Studies:

Contact: SLOOBY@mgh.harvard.edu

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Suman Srinivasa, MD, MSSuman Srinivasa, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Endocrinologist, Massachusetts General Hospital



Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Srinivasa is an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research concentrates on exploring mechanisms and treatment strategies for inflammation and cardiometabolic disease in HIV. She has led work exploring how activation of the renin-aldosterone-angiotensin system (RAAS) may contribute to adipose tissue dysfunction, systemic/arterial inflammation and end-organ cardiovascular disease. Further, she serves as principal investigator of an NIH K23 award and an NIH R01 project-award exploring effects of RAAS blockade to ameliorate cardiometabolic risk in special populations. Another focus of Dr. Srinivasa’s research to is to explore whether reduced adipose-specific Dicer expression in HIV contributes to the development of metabolic and lipodystrophy-related complications in HIV. Her work has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Journal of Infectious Diseases, AIDS and JAIDS. She has been recognized with the Endocrine Society Early Investigator Award also the recipient of a Gilead Research Scholar Award.

Current Research Studies:

Recent Grants & Awards:

Gilead Sciences Research Scholars Program in HIV - Critical Effects of Dicer on Adipose Tissue in HIV Lipodystrophy

Contact: SSRINIVASA@mgh.harvard.edu

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Takara Stanley, MDTakara Stanley, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Pediatric Endocrinologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

 

Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Stanley is a pediatric endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Stanley’s research centers on better understanding hormonal, metabolic and body composition abnormalities in obesity and HIV-infection, as well as metabolic and hormonal underpinnings of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).  She also has a strong interest in characterizing the endocrine and metabolic characteristics of individuals with Williams Syndrome. She has published important work on effects of growth hormone releasing analogue to reduce ectopic fat deposition in the visceral adipose depot and in the liver. She is principal investigator of an NIH R01-funded project further exploring this theme. Her work has been published in JAMA, Lancet HIV, Clinical Infectious Diseases, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Obesity and Clinical Endocrinology. Dr. Stanley serves as program director of Mass General's Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship. Additionally, through the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard, Dr. Stanley serves as director of the Pilot and Feasibility Program, co-director of the Diversity Scholars Program and a member of the Executive Committee.

Current Research Studies:

Contact: TSTANLEY@mgh.harvard.edu

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Mabel Toribio, MDMabel Toribio, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Endocrinologist, Massachusetts General Hospital



Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Toribio is an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Toribio’s research focuses on cardiometabolic disease risk in diverse patient populations. She has published on novel techniques to quantify arterial macrophage infiltration as well as on effects of statins on markers of immune activation and on the proteome among people with HIV. She has also published on the effects of newly initiated antiretroviral therapy on arterial inflammation and cholesterol efflux in this population. Her latest research investigates cardiometabolic effects of gender-affirming hormonal therapy among transgender individuals. Her work has been published in JAMA Cardiology, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Journal of Infectious Diseases. She has been awarded an individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health, a KL2 MeRIT grant from the Harvard Catalyst, a research development award from the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research, the Sanchez and Ferguson Research Faculty Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine, an NIH K23 Mentored Patient Oriented Career Development Award and an American Heart Association-Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In addition to her research endeavors, Dr. Toribio also is deeply invested in teaching, mentoring and recruiting trainees from under-represented backgrounds in medicine/science.

Current Research Projects:

Recent Grants & Awards:

NIH/NHLBI – K23HL147799–Cardiometabolic Effects of Gender-Affirming Hormonal Therapy among Transgender Women with HIV

Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Medicine – The Sanchez and Ferguson Research Faculty Award

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – American-Heart Association-Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award

Harvard University Center for AIDS Research Development Core Grant

Contact: MPTORIBIO@mgh.harvard.edu  

Harvard Catalyst Profile



Allie Walpert, FNPAllie Walpert, FNP
Family Nurse Practitioner, Massachusetts General Hospital


 

Bio and Research Interests

Ms. Walpert is a family nurse practitioner who is engaged in clinical research within the Metabolism Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research interests include treatment strategies for inflammation and cardiovascular disease in HIV. She serves as co-investigator on the NIH-R01 funded MIRACLE HIV and ENCHANTMENT HIV studies—both randomized, placebo-controlled trials examining the effects of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system related pharmacologic interventions on the cardiovascular health of those living with HIV.

Previously, Ms. Walpert worked in both psychiatric and medical settings, providing inpatient and outpatient care as a nurse practitioner. Thematically related to her current work, she helped conduct a trial assessing cardiovascular risk with antipsychotic medication use. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her academic pursuits, including the William F. Connell School of Nursing Merit Scholarship, McLean Hospital Nursing Scholarship, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Nursing Diversity Award. In addition, she was designated a Commonwealth Honors College Scholar for her honors research project entitled, Nurses’ Perception of Cultural Competence of their Workplace Environment.

Current Research Studies:

  • MIneralocorticoid Receptor Antagonism for CardiovascuLar hEalth in HIV (The MIRACLE HIV Study)
  • ENding subClinical Heart failure using an Aldosterone and Natriuretic peptide Targeted treatMENT in HIV (The ENCHANTMENT HIV study)

Contact: AWALPERT@PARTNERS.ORG



Markella V. Zanni, MD
Markella V. Zanni, MD
Endocrinologist, Associate Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School



Bio and Research Interests

Dr. Zanni is an associate physician in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine (Endocrinology) and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Zanni’s research centers on elucidating hormonal and immune mechanisms of cardiometabolic risk in special populations. She is principal investigator of three NIH R01-funded projects focused on myocardial infarction and heart failure risk among individuals with HIV, particularly women. Dr. Zanni also serves as vice chair of the largest international randomized placebo-controlled trial testing a heart disease prevention strategy among individuals aging with HIV–the REPRIEVE Trial. Her work has been published in JAMA Cardiology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, AIDS, JAIDS, Journal of Infectious Diseases and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. She has been recognized with the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Committee on Research. Dr. Zanni sustains a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring. She serves as the director of the Harvard Medical School Clinical Elective in Endocrinology and the founding co-director of the Endocrine Division Faculty Mentoring Initiative, both at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Current Research Studies:

Recent Grants & Awards:

Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award, MGH Executive Committee on Research

Award for Excellence in Research Mentoring, MGH Department of Medicine Residency Program

Contact: MZANNI@mgh.harvard.edu

Harvard Catalyst Profile


Administrative/Core Contacts

REPRIEVE Contacts

REPRIEVE Senior Coordinator: Assistant Program Manager

Evelynne Fulda, BAEvelynne Fulda, BA – Ms. Fulda received her BA in integrative biology from Harvard College. She is responsible for managing the REPRIEVE Site Selection and Performance Committee, in collaboration with Carl Fichtenbaum, MD. Ms. Fulda oversees site performance and is responsible for evaluating every clinical site to ensure that each is meeting prespecified performance metrics. She works closely with Kathleen Fitch, REPRIEVE CCC project manager, in overseeing trial operations, including organizing the REPRIEVE Community Advisory Board, and she serves as a primary liaison for site investigators and coordinators.

Contact: efulda@mgh.harvard.edu


The REPRIEVE Finance Team

The REPRIEVE Finance TeamThe REPRIEVE Finance Team includes Ewelinka “Nika” Grzejka (MS, administrative manager, left), Jackie Cannarozzi (BS, financial analyst, right) and Claire Benjamin (BA, project coordinator, center). This team handles all REPRIEVE finance-related matters from the Mass General Clinical Coordinating Center (CCC) and is responsible for calculating and submitting domestic and international site payments, yielding financial questions and preparing budgetary projections. In addition, the group oversees all operations related to REPRIEVE expenses, subcontracts, site contracts and participant events.

Contact: egrzejka@mgh.harvard.eduJCANNAROZZI@mgh.harvard.eduCBENJAMIN@mgh.harvard.edu


NORCH Program Contact

Research Coordinator: NORCH Program Manager

Iman Sigman, BAIman Sigman, BA – Ms. Sigman received her BA in chemistry and a certificate in molecular biophysics from Wesleyan University. She coordinates all internal and external projects, programs, events and outreach efforts for the center.

Contact: ISIGMAN@mgh.harvard.edu


Metabolism Unit Contact

Administrative Coordinator

Anna Carlson, BAAnna Carlson, BA – Ms. Carlson received her BA in biology, with a minor in museum studies and anthrozoology from Earlham College. She serves as the staff assistant for the Metabolism Unit, where she manages and assists in all aspects pertaining to the coordination of the entire staff.

Contact: arcarlson@mgh.harvard.edu or call 617-724-9109