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2022 IGNITE Awardees

Grace Huang, MD
Casey Toolin McAuliffe Memorial IGNITE Awardee
Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology
“Effects of Testosterone Replacement on Metabolic and Inflammatory Markers in Women with Chronic Pain and Opioid-Induced Androgen Deficiency (OPIAD)“

Dr. Huang will conduct a study to investigate the effect of testosterone replacement therapy on pain perception and tolerance in postmenopausal women with chronic pain who are taking opioids and have low testosterone levels.

Marie Billaud, PhD
Specialized Cardiac & Vascular IGNITE Awardee

Department of Surgery, Division of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery
“Understanding the Influence of Sex Hormones in the Pathophysiology of Ascending Aortic Disease”

Dr. Billaud is studying the biology of ascending aortic disease (aneurysms, dissections). Women and men are equally predisposed to ascending aortic disease, but women have more serious complications and are more likely to die of the disease than are men. Dr. Billaud is investigating sex differences in the biology of ascending aortic disease that influence the clinical presentation of this disease in women and men.

Nita Amornsiripanitch, MD
Gayle Brinkenhoff IGNITE Awardee

Department of Radiology

“Improving Inequity in Timely Follow-up among Underserved Women Utilizing Mobile Mammography Van”

Dr. Amornsiripanitch is leveraging Quality Improvement methodology to understand the root causes of follow-up delay among women screened for breast cancer by the DFCI mobile mammography van, with the ultimate goal of improving breast cancer screening processes.

2021 IGNITE Awardees

Vesela Kovacheva, MD, PhD
Traditional IGNITE Awardee

Division of OB Anesthesiology
“Development of Novel Algorithm for Prognostication and Therapeutic Decision Support in Pregnant Patients with Severe Hypertension “

Dr. Kovacheva is developing a novel algorithm to provide decision support to aid physicians in selecting the best drug in the optimal dose and predict the treatment response for pregnant patients with severe hypertension.

Vera Spagnolo, MD, PhD
Traditional IGNITE Awardee

Associate Director, Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology
Scientific Director,® Precision Medicine Platform
“Investigating Demographic Knowledge, Attitudinal, and Accessibility Factors Influencing Health Experiences and Behaviors and Clinical Trial Participation in US women”

Dr. Spagnolo is conducting a survey study to assess knowledge, attitudinal and accessibility factors that influence health behaviors, medication use and participation in clinical research in US women as identified by women themselves.

Behnood Bikdeli, MD, MS
Specialized Cardiac & Vascular IGNITE Awardee

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
“Sex Differences in Presentation and Disparities in Treatment Strategies and Outcomes of Elderly Patients with Pulmonary Embolism”

Dr. Bikdeli is assessing sex differences in pulmonary embolism, a common blood clot disorder, to determine differences in disease presentation, treatment patterns, and outcomes for older adults, with the eventual goal of informing patient and policy interventions to improve clinical outcomes.

2020 IGNITE Awardees

Katherine Burdick, PhD
Traditional IGNITE Awardee
Department of Psychiatry
“Role of Neurosteroids and Inflammation in Depression and Cognition among Older Women and Men”

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with hippocampal volume loss and cognitive decline, particularly in older adults; however, the biological mechanisms underlying these disabling brain changes are unknown. This study will evaluate biomarkers of neuroinflammation and hippocampal neurogenesis to inform the development of novel treatment approaches targeting neurocognitive decline in aging adults.

Dawn DeMeo, MD, MPH
Traditional IGNITE Awardee

Department of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care
“Network Medicine Approaches to Sex Differences in Lung Disease for the Identification of Novel Therapeutics”

Cigarette smoke exposure has sexually divergent impacts that may be evidenced at birth and through early childhood, and manifest in adult-life, in the context of sex differences in smoking-related chronic diseases. Research in sex differences in obstructive lung disease has lagged despite the reality that more women than men die from COPD. The goal of this project is to use network medicine approaches, and to screen these differences for targetable pathways which can be used to hone sex-specific therapeutics and preventative strategies.

Laura Huang, PhD
Traditional IGNITE Awardee

Harvard Business School
“The Impact of Language and Communication in the Engagement and Treatment of Female Patients”

Gender disparities in healthcare outcomes exist across a wide range of settings, and one explanation for these discouraging trends centers on the different interpersonal treatment that patients receive from providers. There is a continued need for research that examines the interpersonal processes and the micro-level factors that impact these outcomes, and in this study, we seek to understand the challenges patients face specifically due to communication differences. We investigate the role of language and communication in healthcare settings, and how differences in style of communication might impact engagement with patients.

Jessica Lipschitz, PhD
Traditional IGNITE Awardee

Department of Psychiatry
“A technology-based, biobehavioral approach to inform precision medicine for women with migrane”

Migraine disproportionately impacts women, and current treatments are not sufficient in mitigating disability. This study seeks to improve understanding of migraine in women by collecting passive sensor data and ecological momentary assessments over 3 months and applying machine learning and clustering techniques to improve prediction of migraine onset and to better individualize treatment.

2019 IGNITE Awardees

Nicole LeBoeuf, MD, MPH
Traditional IGNITE Awardee

Department of Dermatology, Cutaneous Oncology
“Sex Differences in Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Induced Adverse Events”

Morteza Mahmoudi, PhD
Traditional IGNITE Awardee

Department of Anesthesiology
“Mechanistic Understanding of Structural and Molecular Differences in Female and Male Cardiac Cells and Their Effects on Therapeutic Benefits of Clinically Relevant Nanoparticles”

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