Mass General Research Awards and Honors: November 2018

Massachusetts General Hospital’s talented and dedicated researchers are working to push the boundaries of science and medicine every day. Continue reading to hear from a few individuals who have recently received awards or honors for their achievements:


Xandra Breakefield, PhD, has received the Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The award provides funding to investigators with exceptional records of productivity in cancer research to continue or embark upon new projects of unusual potential in cancer research over an extended period of seven years.

Award recipients are cancer researchers, nominated by their institutions, who have served as a principal investigator on an NCI grant for the last five years and have demonstrated outstanding productivity.

“I am honored and inspired by this NCI Outstanding Investigator Award. It provides the opportunity for innovative research in understanding the role and possible therapeutic applications of extracellular vesicles in deadly glioblastoma.

It is a tribute to the pioneering work our team has carried out–including Drs. Joseph El Khoury, Suzanne Hickman, Casey Maguire and Thorsten Mempel in different departments at Mass General, and Dr. Marike Broekman in the Netherlands.”

Xandra Breakefield, PhD

Miriam Bredella, MD, vice chair of Faculty Affairs in the Department of Radiology, has been accepted into the Inaugural 2018 Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments (SCARD)-GE Lead, Empower and Disrupt Program.

The program accepted 10 women across the nation who have been identified as future leaders in Radiology and who have demonstrated excellence in their current position, a passion for leadership and commitment to personal and professional development.

“Being part of the SCARD-GE LEAD program is a great opportunity to meet other female leaders in academic medicine and industry, learn from them and use the skills to become a better mentor and leader.”

Miriam Bredella, MD

Shekinah Elmore, MD, MPH, Radiation Oncology resident; and Jennifer Manne-Goehler, MD, Infectious Disease Unit research fellow; have been named STAT 2018 Wunderkinds.

The honor recognizes the most impressive doctors and researchers who are on the cusp of launching their careers but are not yet fully independent.

Most include postdocs, fellows and biopharma employees working with more senior scientists to blaze new trails as they attempt to answer some of the biggest questions in science and medicine.

“Being named a STAT Wunderkind is such an unexpected and amazing honor. I’m committed to dedicating my career to seeking equity and empathy in cancer care for patients around the globe, and I’m humbled at the recognition of this commitment.

I owe so much to those who have been my mentors and partners in this work throughout the years. And, a special thanks to Drs. Daphne Haas-Kogan and Paul Nguyen for the nomination.”

Shekinah Elmore, MD

“I’m deeply honored to be named a STAT Wunderkind. I am very hopeful that my global health research will ultimately advance the health of people living with HIV and other chronic diseases in resource-limited settings.”

Jennifer Manne-Goehler, MD, DSc, MSc

Rachel M. Huckfeldt, MD, PhD, ophthalmologist in the Inherited Retinal Disorders Service at Mass Eye and Ear, has received a 2018 Career Development Award from Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Huckfeldt is a retina specialist with expertise in rare, hereditary retinal disorders, such as retinitis pigmentosa. The award recognizes two junior clinical investigators who are studying retinal degenerative diseases.

“Even as sophisticated gene-specific therapies are being developed for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and other inherited retinal disorders, managing the cystoid macular edema that can be found in up to 25% of individuals with RP remains challenging. I am grateful for the Foundation Fighting Blindness’s support of my research to better understand and treat this problem.”

Rachel Huckfeldt, MD, PhD

Vicki Jackson, MD, MPH, chief of Palliative Care, has been recognized as the inaugural incumbent of the Blum Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Care.

The newly established chair–made possible through the generosity of Betty Ann and Marjorie Blum, on behalf of their late parents Maxwell V. and Eleanor S. Blum–is the first endowed chair with a focus on palliative care. The chair will advance research, care and education in palliative care.

“I am deeply honored to be named the Blum Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Care. The Blum Family gift will forever change how we are able to advance research and education in the Division to improve the care of seriously ill patients.”

Vicki Jackson, MD, MPH

Robert E. Kingston, PhD, chief of Molecular Biology; Keith Lillemoe, MD, chief of Surgery; and Janey L. Wiggs, MD, PhD, associate chief of Ophthalmology Clinical Research and associate director of the Howe Laboratory at Mass Eye and Ear, have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). 

Members are elected to the NAM by their peers for their accomplishments and contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences,health care and public health.

Membership is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service.

“I have been very fortunate my entire career to be a member of a number of great teams. I believe election to the NAM is a reflection of all of the outstanding people that I have had a chance to work with through the years.”

Keith Lillemoe, MD

David K. Tso, MD, a clinical fellow in Emergency Radiology, has received the Summa Cum Laude Best Paper Award from the American Society of Emergency Radiology for his presentation on gated cardiac CTA for aortic root assessment.

Tso has also received a Travel Grant from the Radiological Society of North American to present at this year’s annual meeting in Chicago, for his project, “Do shortcuts lead to failure or success?

Analysis of the diagnostic accuracy of an abbreviated MRCP protocol in the emergency department.”

“It was an honor to win. Aortic dissection is a life threatening condition which can potentially be misdiagnosed given the heart is constantly moving during a CT scan, causing motion artifacts.

With new CT technologies and ECG gating, we are able to freeze cardiac motion which can allow for better evaluation of the aorta, helping radiologists make the correct diagnosis.

Our presentation reviews cases from Mass General where we highlight these advances.  Special thanks to my co-authors Vinit Baliyan, MD, Sandeep Hedgire, MD, Michael Lev, MD, and project mentor Anand Prabhakar, MD.”


David K. Tso, MD

About the Mass General Research Institute
Massachusetts General Hospital is home to the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. Research at Mass General takes place in over 30 departments, centers and institutes and is supported by federal and state funding, foundations, industry partners and philanthropic donations. Support our research.

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