Examples of Projects

Kayty Himmelstein

Kayty Himmelstein

Class of 2023
MD: University of Pennsylvania
Mentor: Alex Tsai

Kayty Himmelstein is interested primarily in the intersections of racial and economic justice and health. She previously worked as a high school math teacher in New York City and Chicago, and received an M.S.Ed. in Adolescent Mathematics Education from St. John’s University. She received her MD from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed Internal Medicine-Primary Care residence at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her prior research has examined disproportionate punishment of LGBTQ youth by schools, police, and courts; the projected impact on women healthcare workers of raising the minimum wage to $15/hour; and financial underinvestment in hospitals serving patient of color. In her fellowship, she is working with Dr. Alex Tsai of psychiatry to examine access to surgical care for people of color living with HIV and HCV. 

Sam Schnittman

Sam Schnittman

Class of 2023
MD: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Mentor: Steven Grinspoon, MD

Sam Schnittman completed his BA in Art History at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by his MD at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco, where he worked under the research mentorship of Peter Hunt, MD, on the mechanisms underlying and ramifications of persistent immune activation and inflammation in treated HIV. His current research, under the mentorship of Steven Grinspoon, MD, will expand on this prior work, leveraging the ongoing REPRIEVE trial as well as serum biomarkers, flow cytometry, multi-omics platforms, and novel imaging modalities to understand the pathways of immune activation and dysregulation that lead to non-AIDS-related comorbidities in people with treated HIV. With the goal of targeting therapeutic interventions to reduce inflammation-related cardiometabolic outcomes, he will also work with Dr. Grinspoon and the Metabolism Unit to learn how to design and implement clinical trials.

Alison Castle

Class of 2022
MD: Stony Brook University School of Medicine
Mentors: Drs. Mark Siedner, Ingrid Bassett, Emily Wong

Dr. Castle completed her Internal Medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, during which she had the opportunity to work clinically in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. After joining the Partners Infectious Disease Fellowship Program in 2019, her research interests evolved to focus on the interplay between tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases. As a Fogarty Global Health Fellow, Dr. Castle will spend the second year of her training at the African Health Research Institute in South Africa where she will examine the co-epidemics of tuberculosis and diabetes in an HIV endemic, population-based cohort. In the summer following her subspecialty clinical year, she will also partake in the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to build the requisite analytical skills necessary for completion of her research project and a career path as a clinical epidemiologist. Her future research will expand the cross-sectional population data into a longitudinal cohort to further explore the relationship between tuberculosis and chronic metabolic diseases.

Jodian Pinkney, MD

Class of 2022
MBBS and DM: University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica 
Mentors: Emily Hyle, MD MSc, and Bisola Ojikutu MD MPH

Jodi completed her MBBS and DM at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, after which she was recruited to serve as the clinical coordinator for the Center for HIV/AIDS, Research and Education Services (an urban specialized clinic serving the third largest cohort of PLHIV in Jamaica). She subsequently did her Internal Medicine residency at the University of South Carolina prior to joining the MGH/BWH Infectious Diseases fellowship program in 2020. She is broadly interested in the cost effectiveness of interventions that address COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy, HIV prevention and HIV treatment in the US Black population. She has a particular focus on non-U.S. born immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and women of reproductive age. During her fellowship she completed the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to further bolster her research skills. She will be co-mentored by Drs. Emily Hyle and Bisola Ojikutu while conducting qualitative, quantitative, and modeling studies in her area of interest.

Alexander Tatara

Class of 2022
MD/PhD: Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University
Mentors: Dr. David Mooney, Harvard Bioengineering and the Wyss Institute

Prior to joining the MGH/BWH Infectious Diseases fellowship program, Alex matriculated to the Baylor College of Medicine MD/PhD Program where he performed his thesis work in the Rice University Department of Bioengineering followed by Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. For his graduate work, he synthesized and characterized novel biomaterials for the treatment of infected tissue defects in the laboratory of Dr. Antonios Mikos. For his research during fellowship, he has joined the laboratory of Dr. David Mooney at the Wyss Institute where he plans to study pathogen mechanobiology. Clinically, he is interested in device-related infection and the host/pathogen/device interface.

Pierre Ankomah

Class of 2021
MD/PhD: Emory University School of Medicine
Mentors: Dr. Roby Bhattacharyya/ Dr. Nir Hacohen, MGH and the Broad Institute

Pierre completed his MD/PhD at Emory University School of Medicine, went on to Internal Medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, then joined the MGH/BWH Infectious Diseases fellowship program. He is broadly interested in the quantitative intersection between antibiotic therapy, host immune responses and microbial physiological states and how these affect clearance of infections and resistance evolution. For his graduate research work, he developed mathematical models of bacterial population and evolutionary dynamics within hosts during acute and chronic infections. He utilized antibiotic pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic experiments as well as in vitro analyses of bacterial mutation, selection and fitness to complement and parameterize these models. His clinical training prompted an enhanced interest in the impact of host immune responses on infection dynamics, and as a result, he is working under the mentorship of Drs. Roby Bhattacharyya and Nir Hacohen at the Broad Institute to acquire new expertise in qualitative and quantitative immunological profiling during infectious syndromes. Specifically, he is exploring the immunopathogenesis of sepsis by characterizing the relative abundance, transcriptional states and kinetics of immune cells at diagnosis and during the clinical course of patients with sepsis.

John Chiosi

Class of 2021
MD: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Mentors: Mentors: Andrea Ciaranello, MD, MPH and Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD at MGH

John is interested in public health and outcomes research through methods of comparative and cost-effectiveness for improving health outcomes in vulnerable populations and decreasing health disparities. During his fellowship, he is working with Dr. Andrea Ciaranello at the Medical Practice Evaluation Center (MPEC) and Dr. Jagpreet Chhatwal at the Institute for Technology Assessment to develop a computer-based simulation model of infectious morbidity and mortality among people with opioid use disorder in order to project the clinical and economic impact of the opioid use epidemic in the US. His academic interests stem from his prior research in HIV microsimulation modeling at MPEC. He received his MD at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency at Tulane University in New Orleans, he also completed an applied epidemiology fellowship at the CDC researching the global impact of anti-smoking messaging and health warning labels on knowledge of the harms of tobacco.

Akash Gupta

Class of 2021
MD: Yale School of Medicine
Mentor: Dr. Ingrid Bassett, MGH

Akash’s academic interests are at the intersection of infectious disease, global health, and substance use. He completed his MD at Yale School of Medicine, where his research focused on active case finding for pulmonary tuberculosis among people who inject drugs enrolled in methadone treatment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Between his clinical years of medical school, he completed an epidemiology fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. His projects at CDC included evaluation of STD practices among community health centers in New York City, gonorrhea outbreak investigation among the Native American population in Arizona, syphilis outbreak investigation in Oregon, and drug-resistant gonorrhea in Kenya. He then completed residency in Medicine/Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, where his research included evaluating hepatitis C screening, prevalence, and engagement in care among adolescents entering a youth-focused addiction program in Boston. Through medical school and residency, he completed clinical electives in South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, and Shiprock New Mexico. During his fellowship, he is working with mentor Dr. Ingrid Bassett to examine the prevalence of substance use among patients with tuberculosis and HIV who are lost to follow-up and visited by a community health worker in Cape Town, South Africa. Subsequently, we plan to examine the impact of substance use on re-engagement in care, as well as treatment outcomes.

Yijia Li

Class of 2021
MD: Peking Union Medical College
Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Li, MD, BWH

Growing up in a not-so-prosperous suburban area in east China near construction sites and a power plant, playing in mud and catching grasshoppers every day, Yijia never thought he would practice medicine in another country thousands of miles away. In medical school his research focused on HIV-Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) co-infection, specifically on the association between antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens and HBV-related virological and immunological outcomes. During residency he continued his research on HIV-related non-AIDS comorbidities including analyzing HIV-related pulmonary complications and neurological issuess related to efavirenz use. Mentored by Dr. Jonathan Li, he plans to continue research in fellowship on HIV reservoir and persistence, specifically focusing on a special group of people with HIV, who sustains viral suppression even after interrupting ART, namely post-treatment controllers (PTC). His research will focus on HIV proviral sequences in different T cell subsets prior to and after analytical treatment interruption in PTCs, in addition to HIV integration landscape in different T cell compartment. Since the COVID19 pandemic, he is also undertaking COVID-19 related projects on COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 related diagnostic methods and outcome analysis.

Sam Vidal

Class of 2021
MD/PhD: Columbia University
Mentors: Dr. Dan Barouch at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research

Sam completed his MD/PhD training at Columbia University. His graduate research investigated the molecular mechanisms of taxane resistance in metastatic carcinomas with the goal of identifying novel combination therapies in preclinical models. He completed internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian-Columbia in the ABIM research track. During residency he became interested in vulnerable populations and infectious diseases before moving to Boston for fellowship. After clinical training he joined the laboratory of Dan Barouch at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research (CVVR). At the CVVR his research interests include preclinical development of novel antimicrobial therapeutics, vaccine development, and clinical immunology primarily in HIV and tuberculosis.