Massachusetts General Hospital was awarded an R38 grant through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Summer 2020. Residents started the inaugural year in the Mass General Next-Gen StARR program in July 2020. The program is led by Program Director Jay Vyas, MD, PhD (Medicine) in tandem with Program Manager Rebecca Ward, PhD (Medicine) and an Internal Steering Committee including Jennifer Ho, MD (Medicine), Benjamin Medoff, MD (division chief, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine), Jay Rajagopal, MD (Broad Institute), Anthony Rosenzweig, MD (division chief, Cardiology), David Scadden, MD (Medicine), and Melissa Suter, PhD (Medicine).
The Mass General Next-Gen StARR’s mission is to train residents to be productive, independent physician-scientist who can advance medical science in regenerative medicine, cardiac and pulmonary biology from basic science to clinical investigation. The program brings together the Divisions of Cardiology and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine to provide a research mechanism for up to 2 interested residents per year.
Mass General has been at the forefront of medical and scientific innovation. The research budget at Mass General exceeded $1B in 2019, making Mass General home to the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. While this alone affords one a wide array of options, a key feature of the Mass General Next-Gen PSTP program enables those who have not previously had expansive research opportunities previously or would like to learn new techniques/enter a different field to have protected research time. This NIH-funded program will provide protected time for individuals interested in pursuing medical research who may not have had an opportunity to gain necessary skills in the past or are moving into a new area of research. Regenerative medicine, cardiac biology, and pulmonary biology continue to be areas of pivotal importance in healthcare research. This program focuses primarily in 4 research areas:  Stem Cell Biology,  Cardiometabolic Biology,  Pulmonary Inflammation and  Genomics. Participants will conduct research in an NHLBI-funded lab.
Mass General Next-Gen StARR Structure
Mass General Next-Gen StARR is designed to attract, train and retain physicians in biomedical investigation at one of the most critical juncture of their career—residency training. To accomplish this, we provide the opportunity to devote 12 months to research during residency to provide the necessary mentorship and professional development critical to succeed as a physician-scientist.
Residents are expected to put 80% effort toward closely mentored, independent research projects in an NHLBI-funded lab, with 20% effort toward ambulatory clinic to maintain clinical skills. At the beginning of the program, each participant will develop an individual development plan for their time in the program and beyond. Residents will meet weekly with their faculty mentor to discuss their research progress and professional development. In addition, Dr. Vyas and the Internal Steering Committee will meet twice annually with each resident.
Residents can tailor the program to develop research skills and professional development skills. All participants are required to complete Mass General Brigham Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) curriculum and at least one course in biostatistics, grant writing and scientific communication each. Participants will have the opportunity to take courses offered through the Harvard Catalyst, Mass General Office of Research Career Development and Harvard Medical School. Participation in scientific meetings is highly encouraged at the institutional level (e.g. Mass General Annual Resident-Research Day) and international level.
Participants will receive a stipend according to the Mass General Brigham PGY scale for the research year. Additionally, selected residents will have $10,000 to use towards materials and coursework, as well as $1,500 for travel expenses. The program will start on July 1st and last a year, with the option to re-apply for a second year.
Mass General Next Generation StARR Program Resident Profiles
The Department of Medicine’s Next-Gen StARR at Massachusetts General Hospital recruits residents from both departments to dedicate a year to research.
Participating Residents 2020-2021
Mike Kelly, MD
- Project title: Environmental, Allergic and Infectious Triggers of Asthma in a School-Based Cohort
- Mentor: Peggy Lai, MD, MPH (Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at MGH)
- Education: BA from Colgate University; MD from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
- Clinical and Research Interests: Better understanding predictors of asthma in children and adults, better understanding disparities in severity and treatment that exist in pulmonary diseases including asthma and COVID-19
- Future Plans: Pulmonology/Critical Care Fellowship
Julian Haimovich, MD (2020-2021)
- Project title: Prediction of Cardiovascular Disease Using Artificial Intelligence on the Electronic Health Record
- Mentor: Steven Lubitz, MD, MPH (Cardiology at Mass General)
- Education: BS from Columbia University; MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Clinical and Research Interests: leveraging artificial intelligence to model and predict cardiovascular disease
- Future Plans: Cardiology fellowship
Kate Takvorian, MD, MPH (2020-2021)
- Project title: Metabolite Profiles of Incident Cancer in the Framingham Heart Study
- Mentor: Jennifer Ho, MD, (Cardiology at Mass General)
- Education: AB from Harvard University (2008); MD, MPH from Tufts University School of Medicine (2017)
- Clinical and Research Interests: Cardiovascular disease prevention and epidemiology, sex differences in cardiovascular disease, women’s cardiovascular health, heart failure, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, non-invasive cardiovascular imaging
- Future Plans: Cardiology fellowship
Accomplishments of MGH Next-Gen StARR Recipients
- Khurshid S, Weng LC, Al-Alusi MA, Halford JL, Haimovich JS, Benjamin EJ, Trinquart L, Ellinor PT, McManus DD, Lubitz SA. Accelerometer-derived physical activity and risk of atrial fibrillation. Eur Heart J. 2021 Jul 1;42(25):2472-2483. PMID: 34037209.
- Lau ES, Paniagua SM, Liu E, Jovani M, Li SX, Takvorian K, Suthahar N, Cheng S, Splansky GL, Januzzi JL Jr, Wang TJ, Vasan RS, Kreger B, Larson MG, Levy D, de Boer RA, Ho JE. Cardiovascular risk factors are associated with future cancer. JACC CardioOncol. 2021 Mar;3(1):48-58. PMID: 33870217.
- Takvorian K, Wang D, Larson M, Corchesne P, Levy D, Ho JE. The association of protein biomarkers with incident HFpEF versus HFrEF. Poster session presented at: American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session & Expo; May 16, 2021.
- Haimovich J. Machine learning to improve prediction of mortality following acute myocardial infarction (“how much juice can ML squeeze”). Broad Institute; April 23, 2021
Applications are due December 9th. Selected residents will be notified by February 1st. Per NIH requirements, applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident. Residents in the Department of Medicine are eligible for the program between their PGY1 and PGY2 years or PGY2 and PGY3 year. We will consider proposals from applicants who wish to do this at the end of their PGY3 year.
- Please answer the following (250-word limit each)
- What motivates you to engage in research?
- What do you want to get out of the Mass General Next-Gen StARR program?
- If you know, with whom are you interested in working during your time in the program?
- Applicant CV
For more information, please see our FAQ below or contact Dr. Rebecca Ward via email
Mass General Next-Gen StARR Frequently Asked Questions
Who should consider this pathway?
The Mass General Next-Gen StARR is designed for internal medicine residents who are interested in pursuing research during residency in regenerative medicine, cardiometabolic diseases and pulmonary biology.
What type of research can be supported?
The program spans the biomedical continuum to support residents pursuing basic science, pre-clinical research, pharmacokinetics, clinical or outcomes research.
I am interested in research, but do not know if I want to make it the focus of my future career. Is Mass General Next-Gen StARR right for me?
One of the goals of this program is to provide the opportunity for residents interested in research to assess whether a career in academic medicine is right for them. Candidates should have interest to devote a full year to research-related activities.
What if I am interested in researching diseases outside of regenerative medicine, cardiac or pulmonary biology?
This R38 program is funded through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Thus, Mass General Next-Gen StARR residents must identify at least one research project during their research year relevant to their mission (e.g. cardiac, vascular, pulmonary or hematologic health). It should be noted that this program is not restricted to residents planning on becoming cardiology, pulmonology or hematology subspecialists.
What is the time commitment?
The program allows for 12 months of dedicated research time, during which time you will still be considered a resident. Starting July 1st, resident-investigators will commit 90% effort towards their research project with the remaining 10% towards continuity clinic to preserve clinical skills. This program extends the overall time in residency by one year.
Is the program ABIM-approved?
Yes, we have received ABIM approval of the Mass General Next-Gen StARR.
How does the R38 differ from the ABIM short-track clinical investigator pathway (CIP)?
Short-tracking is an ABIM-approved mechanism in which two years of clinical residency in internal medicine is followed by a clinical year of subspecialty fellowship to enable more dedicated research time as a fellow. These individuals typically have MD, PhD degrees or an MD with substantial research experience prior to residency. This Mass General Next-Gen StARR program is designed for residents who want to engage in research that may not have expansive prior experiment. This program is open to both MD alone as well as MD, PhD candidates.
Will my salary change during the program?
No, the R38 salary is based on the Mass General Brigham PGY scale.
What are the other advantages to the Mass General Next-Gen StARR program?
The NIH announce a new K38 program to support research during fellowships. This funding opportunity will only be open to trainees who have been appointed to an R38 grant. Thus, appointment to the R38 will likely increase your chances of obtaining your own NIH funding in the future.
How do I apply?
Look for a formal call for applications in October. Applications will be available through REDCap. The deadline for applications will be December 1st.
I am a Mass General resident from another department. Can I apply to be a resident-investigator through the Mass General Next-Gen StARR program?
While residents from other departments may be considered, we will need to ensure the resident’s programs/departments can provide the required support and confirm eligibility with their respective boards in their discipline.
I am interested in obtaining an MPH or other master’s degree relevant to medical research. Can I use this program to pursue this?
Per NIH guidelines, R38 funds cannot be used towards tuition for degree programs. However, R38 funds may be used to pursue structured training programs that provide a strong foundation to conduct research (e.g. courses in grant writing, methodologies, scientific communication, leadership workshops, etc.).
Am I eligible for extra shifts in the clinic?
Participating residents are still part of the residency program and thus, are eligible to work extra shift if desired.
Who should I contact if I still have questions?
Please send any additional questions regarding the Mass General Next-Gen StARR pathway to the Program Manager, Rebecca Ward, PhD.
Our Faculty and Staff
Jay Vyas, Program Director
Rebecca Ward, Program Manager
We have 51 mentors (PDF) who have agreed to participate in the Mass General Next-Gen StARR program. Our mentors span the Mass General Departments of Medicine Anesthesia, Radiology and Regenerative Medicine, as well as the Broad Institute. If there is a faculty research mentor with relevant research interests that is not listed, you may propose the individual to program leadership.