Of Note

Christina Curtis, PhD

Curtis, a professor of oncology and of genetics as well as the director of breast cancer translational research, was named a Komen scholar by the Susan G. Komen foundation. Her work in systems biology has defined new biomarkers of aggressive breast cancer and has led to new insights in tumor progression.

Gozde Durmus, PhD

The assistant professor of radiology was named a Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. She will receive $825,000 to investigate drug-resistant bacteria with the goal of rapidly identifying antibiotic resistance and accelerating effective treatment.

Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD

Goldberg, the Blumenkranz Smead Professor and a professor of ophthalmology, received — along with Robert Avery, DO, at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania — a $5.4 million grant from the Gilbert Family Foundation. The goal is to understand how certain optic pathway gliomas lead to vision loss.

Sergiu Pasca, MD

An associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences as well as the Bonnie Uytengsu and Family Director of the Stanford Brain Organogenesis Program, Pasca received the 2022 IBRO-Dargut and Milena Kemali International Prize for Research in basic and clinical sciences. The award, which includes a grant of 25,000 euros, is in recognition of stem cell technology to create human brain organoids and assembloids, which allow researchers to study the cellular mechanisms of human brain development and disease.

Makeda Robinson, MD, PhD

The postdoctoral scholar in infectious diseases won the Robert Wood Johnson Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development award. She will receive $420,000 for her investigation into the immuno-pathogenesis of severe dengue infections with the goal of identifying signatures that can predict disease progression.

John Boothroyd, PhD

Boothroyd, the Burt and Marion Avery Professor in Immunology, won the Alice and C. C. Wang Award in Molecular Parasitology from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology along with an unrestricted research allowance of $35,000. Boothroyd studies the pathogenesis of parasitic infections, particularly Toxoplasma gondii.

Manisha Desai, PhD

The professor of medicine and of biomedical data science won a Sanofi iDEA award. The $250,000 grant supports the development of new ways to generalize randomized clinical trial findings to target populations of most interest to clinicians, particularly when those target populations are reflected by a complex real-world data set.

Jessica Grembi, PhD

A postdoctoral research fellow in infectious diseases, Grembi won a Rosenkranz Prize from the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Stanford Health Policy. She will use the $100,000 award to study the interplay of the gut microbiome with the immune system in undernourished children, with the goal of improving child health and growth in low-income countries.

John Mark Gubatan, MD

The instructor in gastroenterology and hepatology was named a Doris Duke physician scientist fellow. The $220,000 grant will fund his research into vitamin D regulation of gut-specific B cells and gut bacteria in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Adrienne Long, MD, PhD

A postdoctoral scholar in pediatric hematology and oncology, Long was named a Doris Duke physician scientist fellow. The $220,000 grant will fund her research into how thymic selection, designed to prevent auto-immunity, may also inhibit antitumor immunity in children.

Robbie Majzner, MD

The assistant professor of pediatrics received a Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award. The $495,000 grant will partially fund a clinical trial of children and young adults with neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma, evaluating their mechanisms of response and resistance to anti-GD2 and anti-CD47 antibodies.

William Maloney, MD

Maloney, the Boswell Chair of Orthopaedics, was named vice president of the Knee Society, an organization of knee replacement surgeons.

Elsie Ross, MD

An assistant professor of vascular surgery, Ross received a Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award. The $495,000 grant will help her develop artificial intelligence to predict outcomes after vascular surgery, giving clinicians a tool for prescribing the best procedure for each patient.

Heather Wakelee, MD

Wakelee, division chief of medical oncology and deputy director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, won the 2021 Bonnie J. Addario Lectureship Award from the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. For her decades of research into the etiology, detection and treatment of lung cancer, she was recognized by having her photo posted in New York’s Times Square for a day.

Seema Yasmin, MD

Yasmin, director of research and education at the Stanford Health Communication Initiative and a clinical assistant professor of primary care and population health, has been appointed to a new committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Committee members analyze evidence-based methods for addressing inaccurate and misleading information about biological threats to refute scientific misinformation.

Michael-Anne Browne, MD

The clinical associate professor of pediatrics and associate chief medical officer at Stanford Children’s Health has been appointed to the board of the Association of Physician Leadership in Care Management. 

Chris Garcia, PhD

Garcia, a professor of structural biology and the Younger Family Professor, won the 2021 Biolegend William E. Paul Award for Excellence in Cytokine Research. The honor, which comes with a $2,500 prize, is for leading biomedical researchers who have made important contributions to the field.

Serena Hu, MD

Hu, a professor of orthopaedic surgery, is the first female president of the American Orthopaedic Association. She will also be the first female president of the Scoliosis Research Society, beginning September 2022.

Ivana Maric, PhD

Maric, a senior research scientist in pediatrics, won a Rosenkranz Prize from the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Stanford Health Policy. The accompanying $100,000 grant will fund her research in using machine learning to analyze metabolites in the blood of pregnant women in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Bangladesh. Her goal is to develop a simple blood test to predict preeclampsia.

Sergiu Pasca, MD

The associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the Bonnie Uytengsu and Family Director of the Stanford Brain Organogenesis Program, Pasca received the 2021 Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-oriented Clinical Research from the American Philosophical Society, which granted him $50,000. Pasca also received the Joseph Altman Award in Developmental Neuroscience from the Japan Neuroscience Society, which includes $10,000. Pasca was recognized for pioneering human stem-cell-based models of brain development and for insights into the molecular mechanisms leading to disease.

Sergey Stavisky, PhD

Stavisky, a postdoctoral research fellow in neurosurgery, won the Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation, which includes a $50,000 award. He develops brain-computer interfaces to help patients regain speech and movement.

Joyce Teng, MD, PhD

The professor of dermatology won a CureAccelerator Live! for Rare Diseases Award from Cures Within Reach. The $50,000 grant will fund her research on targeted therapy for vascular malformation.

Zach West

West, a U.S. Army veteran who is pursuing a master of science in physician assistant studies, was named a Tillman Scholar, which includes an award of $16,000. The Tillman Foundation recognizes service members and veterans who are dedicated to service, scholarship and humble leadership.

Gita Abhiraman

The MD-PhD student was named a 2021 fellow by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, which provides up to $250,000 funding for five years of graduate research. Abhiraman investigates the molecular signals that drive the human immune response to disease. She hopes to help design new therapies for cancer and infectious diseases.

Caitlin Bell, MD

A fellow in cardiovascular medicine, Bell received a $460,000 Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Scientist Training Award. The grant is for physician-scientists who have novel approaches to fighting cancer. Bell is researching vascular smooth muscle cells and how they interface with and influence cancer.

Shaul Druckmann, PhD

Druckmann, an assistant professor of neurobiology and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, received a McKnight Scholar Award of $225,000. He researches what happens in the brain between stimulus and response, focusing on situations when the response is delayed and short-term memory is involved.

Elizabeth Egan, MD, PhD

The assistant professor of pediatrics was named a 2021 Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The $500,000 award will aid her research, which concerns interactions between the malaria parasite and human bone marrow.

David Gaba, MD

A professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine, Gaba received the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Award for Individual Achievement from the Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum. The award honors his lifetime achievements in education, research, clinical care and institutional leadership. His contributions include developing manikin-based simulation, adapting aviation crew resource management to health care and developing cognitive aids for use in life-threatening situations.

Dennis Lund, MD

Lund, the Elizabeth Wood Dunlevie Professor, a professor of pediatric surgery and chief medical officer of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, was appointed to the board of the W.H. Hendren Foundation for Pediatric Surgery and Urology.

Crystal Mackall, MD

Mackall, the Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor and professor of pediatrics and of medicine, was recognized with the Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for her leadership and her career achievements, notably her research into pediatric immuno-oncology.

Angela Lumba-Brown, MD

A clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, Lumba-Brown was appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. She is the co-director of the Stanford Brain Performance Center, and her research focuses on the care of patients with traumatic brain injury.

Everett Moding, MD, PhD

The assistant professor of radiation oncology won a young investigator award from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. The $150,000 grant will help fund his research into sarcoma evolution during tumor development and radiation therapy.

Mira Moufarrej

Moufarrej, a graduate student in bioengineering, received a Lemelson-MIT Student Prize and $15,000. She won the prize, awarded to student inventors, for developing blood tests that more accurately predict a pregnant woman’s due date, her risk of delivering early and her risk of developing preeclampsia.

Noah Rosenberg, PhD, and Donna Zulman, MD

Rosenberg, a professor of biology, and Zulman, an assistant professor of primary care and population health, won the 2021 James V. Burgess Methods Article-of-the-Year from the journal Health Services Research for “Measures of care fragmentation: Mathematical insights from population genetics.”

Tait Shanafelt, MD, and Mickey Trockel, MD

Shanafelt, a professor of hematology and the Jeanie and Stew Ritchie Professor, and Trockel, a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, won a John A. Benson Jr., MD Professionalism Article Prize from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. They won in the commentary category for their article “Understanding and Addressing Sources of Anxiety Among Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which ran in 2020 in JAMA Network.

Donna Zulman, MD

The assistant professor of primary care and population health won a John A. Benson, MD, Professionalism Article Prize from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. The winning article, “Practices to Foster Physician Presence and Connection With Patients in the Clinical Encounter,” was published in 2020 in JAMA.

Christopher Chen, MD

An assistant professor of oncology, Chen received the Andrea Lynn Scott Memorial Research Fellowship from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. The $50,000 award will go toward research into the clonal origins of metastatic bile duct cancer.

Mark Davis, PhD

Davis, a professor of microbiology and immunology, won a Szent-Györgyi Prize from the National Foundation for Cancer Research. The $30,000 award, shared with Tak Mak, PhD, at the University of Toronto, is for discoveries about the genetic basis of T cell recognition. Those discoveries have led to treatments for blood cancers and other diseases.

Leah Guthrie, PhD

A postdoctoral scholar in microbiology and immunology, Guthrie was named a Hanna Gray fellow by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The $1.4 million award will allow Guthrie to study hydroxycinnamic acids, which are common in food but accumulate at high levels in people with failing kidneys.

Aida Habtezion, MD

The associate professor of gastroenterology and hepatology received an award from the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group and was named a 2020 Allen Distinguished Investigator. She and her colleagues at the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of British Columbia will use the $1.5 million grant to determine how host immune responses, metabolism, microbiota and intestinal environment lead to variable presentations and outcomes of inflammatory bowel disease.

Paul Khavari, MD, PhD

The Carl J. Herzog Professor in Dermatology received the Stephen Rothman Memorial Award from the Society for Investigative Dermatology. The award is given to dermatologists who have made outstanding contributions to the field in research as well as teaching.

Thomas Koehnke, MD

Koehnke, a postdoctoral scholar, received an ASH Research Restart Award from the American Society of Hematology. The $50,000 grant is for his work on ASXL1 mutations, frequently found in patients with myeloid leukemia and other pre-malignant conditions such as clonal hematopoiesis.

Grace Lee, MD

The professor of pediatrics was named a 2021 Asia Game Changer West Honoree by the Asia Society for her work as a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and as chair of the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Subgroup.

Yvonne Maldonado, MD

Maldonado, the Taube Professor in Global Health and Infectious Diseases and a professor of pediatrics and of epidemiology and population health, received the National Medical Foundation’s Champions of Health Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award. The foundation provides scholarships to students who are underrepresented in the medical field. The award is for making a lasting impact on health care and diversity.

Daniel Mason, MD

An assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Mason received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his fiction writing. The author of four fiction books, he is currently working on a novel that examines the influence of history, both human and ecological, on characters who are living in a period of environmental change.

Tirin Moore, PhD

Moore received the 2021 Pradel Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences. The prize, which comes with a $50,000 research grant, recognizes mid-career neuroscientists whose work is making major contributions to the understanding of the nervous system. Moore’s research demonstrates how neural activity in motor regions of the brain influences visual representation in other regions. His work has established a deeper understanding of brain mechanisms underlying spatial attention and is relevant to our understanding of attention disorders.

Minhee Park, PhD

The postdoctoral scholar in developmental biology received the Damon Runyon Fellowship Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The $231,000 award is for her research into the way chromatin folds inside the nucleus and the role it plays in epigenetic regulation.

Sergiu Pasca, MD

Pasca, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the Bonnie Uytengsu and Family Director of the Stanford Brain Organogenesis Program, received the Basic Research Award from the Schizophrenia International Research Society. Pasca was recognized for pioneering methods of assembling patient-derived neural cells into three-dimensional organoids and using them to uncover the molecular mechanisms of genetic forms of neuropsychiatric disease. 

Philip Pizzo, MD

Pizzo, the David and Susan Heckerman Professor and professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, received the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Immunocompromised Host Society. The society recognized him for his pioneering work in pediatric HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases in cancer patients, antifungal therapy and other achievements.

Ansuman Satpathy, MD, PhD

The assistant professor of pathology was named a 2021 Pew-Stewart Scholar. The accompanying $300,000 award will allow him to better understand the molecular regulators of T cell exhaustion in cancer.

William Talbot, PhD

Talbot, a professor of developmental biology and former senior associate dean for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, won a 2020 Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for Contributions to Stanford University. He was recognized for his support of postdoctoral candidates from underrepresented groups and his pursuit of racial justice in the biosciences.

Amin Aalipour

Aalipour was named a 2020 STAT Wunderkind. The MD-PhD student has engineered cells to find solid cancer tumors. He is also developing viruses that kill cancer cells.

Jason Batten, MD

The anesthesia resident received the 2020 Jeremy Sugarman Award from Johns Hopkins University. The award is for achievement in bioethics research. He was recognized for his paper “Variation in the design of Do-Not-Resuscitate orders and other code status options: a multi-institutional qualitative study,” which was published in BMJ Quality and Safety.

Achintya Bhowmik, PhD

An adjunct professor of otolaryngology, Bhowmik was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for his work in developing devices that incorporate sensors and artificial intelligence to mimic human perception and cognition. They include multisensory hearing aids and computer vision systems that assist in navigation. 

Charles K. F. Chan, PhD

An assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery, Chan has been appointed an investigator of the Heritage Medical Research Institute. The institute will support Chan’s study of skeletal stem cells’ ability to regenerate cartilage damaged by injury or disease.

Wah Chiu, PhD, and Serena Yeung, PhD

Chiu, the Wallenberg-Bienenstock Professor and a professor of bioengineering and of microbiology and immunology, and Yeung, assistant professor of biomedical data science, received a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Neurodegeneration Challenge Network award. They will use the $150,000 grant to study neurons using cryo-electron tomograms and a computer vision method with the goal of learning about the cellular structure and pathology of Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Agnieszka Czechowicz, MD, PhD

An assistant professor of pediatrics, Czechowicz has received an award from the National Blood Foundation. She will use the $75,000 grant to study genetic factors in Fanconi anemia that may lead to bone marrow failure and leukemia. 

Neir Eshel, MD, PhD

An instructor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Eshel has received a 2020 SFARI Bridge to Independence Award from the Simons Foundation. The foundation provides the awardees with $495,000 to start autism research once they begin a tenure-track position. Eshel studies the neural mechanisms behind aggressive behavior in people with a range of psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders.

Dean Felsher, MD, PhD

The professor of medicine and of pathology received a 2020 Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute. The $7 million grant will be used to target oncogene pathways that could be blocked as a treatment for cancer.

Michael Fredericson, MD

A professor of orthopaedic surgery, Fredericson has received an award from the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Grant Program. The $10,000 grant will allow him to implement a program to improve bone health and reduce bone stress injuries in long-distance runners who compete for Pacific-12 Conference colleges. 

Robert Harrington, MD

Harrington, the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor in Medicine, won the Distinguished National Leadership Award from the American Heart Association. He is the immediate past president of the association. 

Paul Heidenreich, MD

A professor of cardiovascular medicine, Heidenreich won the Award of Meritorious Achievement from the American Heart Association for his work on improving care for patients with heart disease while lowering costs. 

Tina Hernandez-Boussard, PhD, and Dennis Wall, PhD

Hernandez-Boussard, associate professor of biomedical informatics and of biomedical data science, and Wall, associate professor of pediatrics (systems medicine) and of biomedical data science, have been elected to the American College of Medical Informatics. Fellowship in the college is granted to those who have demonstrated sustained and significant contributions to biomedical informatics. 

Karen Hirsch, MD

An associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences, Hirsch received an award from the National Institutes of Health. The $7.7 million grant, to be distributed over five years, will cover research into injury of the brain and other organs after cardiac arrest. Hirsch and her team will study biomarkers in cardiac arrest patients to predict their response to treatment and long-term recovery. 

Yang Hu, MD, PhD, and Stanley Qi, PhD

Hu, assistant professor of ophthalmology, and Qi, assistant professor of bioengineering and of chemical and systems biology, received a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Neurodegeneration Challenge Network Award. The $150,000 grant will fund their research into screening tools and intervention techniques for glaucoma in mice using CRISPR gene-editing techniques. 

James Longoria, MD

Longoria, clinical associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery, was named, for the fifth year in a row, a top doctor in cardiac surgery by Sacramento Magazine.  

Yvonne Maldonado, MD

Maldonado, professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases and of epidemiology and population health, received an award from the National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations Program. The $3.3 million grant will help Northern Plains tribes address the COVID-19 pandemic through testing, health consultations and data management. 

Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, and Sergiu Pasca, MD

Monje, associate professor of neurology, and Pasca, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, were winners in the life sciences category of the  2020 Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs competition. Monje was recognized for her discovery that certain brain cancers interact with normal neurons to help the malignant tumor grow, uncovering potential therapeutic strategies for lethal brain cancers. Pasca was recognized for developing 3D brain spheroids from pluripotent stem cells from patients, allowing the study of human neural circuits.

Suzanne Pfeffer, PhD, and Monther Abu-Remaileh, PhD

Pfeffer, the Emma Pfeiffer Merner Professor in Medical Sciences and professor of biochemistry, and Abu-Remaileh, assistant professor of chemical engineering, received an award from the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s initiative. The $9 million grant, given in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Dundee in Scotland, is for further understanding Parkinson’s disease and the developing of therapies for it. 

Thomas Rando, MD, PhD

Rando, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, received an award from the National Institutes of Health’s Alliance for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research. The $1 million grant is to improve physical functioning of people with disabilities by building connections between rehabilitation science and regenerative medicine. 

Ansuman Satpathy, MD, PhD

Satpathy, assistant professor of pathology, received an award from the National Institutes of Health. The $2.6 million, five-year grant is to develop genome sequencing technologies that will improve the durability of immunotherapy for patients with cancer. 

Stefanie Sebok-Syer, PhD

Sebok-Syer, instructor of emergency medicine, received a 2020 Stemmler Fund grant from the National Board of Medical Examiners. The $149,999 award is for research on assessing  physician performance in collaborative, team-based clinical settings. 

Lucy Shapiro, PhD

Shapiro, the D. K. Ludwig Professor and a professor of developmental biology, was awarded the Dickson Prize in Science from Carnegie Mellon University. The prize is for her work in understanding how a one-dimensional genetic code generates three-dimensional cellular architecture. She established that the cell is an integrated network operating in time and space, with implications for computer science networks and systems biology. Her research has informed the development of medications to fight infectious diseases.


The SPARK program received an award from the Booz Allen Foundation. The $100,000 grant will be used to complete safety studies related to a trial of nose drops inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection. SPARK also won the 2020 National Xconomy award for ecosystem development. 

Gary Steinberg, MD

Steinberg, the Bernard and Ronni Lacroute-William Randoph Hearst Professor in Neurosurgery and Neurosciences, received the 2020 Ralph G. Dacey, Jr. Medal for Outstanding Cerebrovascular Research from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The award, which includes a $1,000 cash prize, recognizes neurological surgeons who have made many contributions to understanding and treating cerebrovascular disease.

Nolan Williams, MD, and Alexander Urban, PhD

Williams and Urban, both assistant professors of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, received a One Mind Bipolar Research Award. The $20,000 grant is to advance understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder. 

Of Note Archive

2021 ISSUE 2

Unlocking the secrets of the brain

COVID-19 Updates

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