Harvard Medical School

HST students, both current and alum, as well as faculty and staff, gathered for a scientific keynote, and to celebrate the end of a fruitful school year

Mindy Blodgett | HST

The annual traditions of the HST Community Awards, and the HST Spring Dinner, including the annual scientific keynote, took place on April 30, at the Inn at Longwood in Boston.

Some 150 attendees—including current HST students, HST faculty, staff and alumni—gathered to honor the award recipients, and to hear a talk by Edward K. Rodriguez, HST MD ‘97 , currently Chief of Orthopedics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

A portion of the night was devoted to the yearly practice of HST students conferring annual awards to recognize faculty and other members of the community for exemplary teaching, mentoring, and service. 

HST 2024 Spring Dinner

The HST Dinner Seminar series was launched in 1974 with a generous grant from the Kieckhefer Foundation. Past speakers have included Ai-Ris Yonekura Collier, Assistant Professor in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS); Francois Jacob, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology; Mary Ellen Avery, Thomas Rotch Morgan Professor of Pediatrics; and Susan Hockfield, professor of neuroscience and President Emerita of MIT.

Prior to his current role, Rodriguez was Chief of Orthopedic Trauma at BIDMC from 2004-2020. He trained as a mechanical and bioengineer and completed his PhD at the University of California, San Diego, before earning his MD at HST. He completed his orthopedic residency at the Harvard Combined Program in Orthopedic Surgery in 2003, followed by fellowship training in orthopedic Trauma at the University of Maryland’s R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

Edward K. Rodriguez

Edward K. Rodriguez, HST MD '97, Chief of Orthopedics at BIDMC, gave the annual scientific keynote.

Rodriguez’s research interests include trauma outcomes, non-union, arthrofibrosis, periprosthetic fractures, and hip fracture prevention. 

Rodriguez has become known as a strong advocate for promoting diversity in orthopedics, and for the development of Orthopedic Global Health programs to promote access to quality orthopedic trauma care worldwide.

During his talk, Rodriguez discussed the prevalence of orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries and issues, and how innovations in such areas as knee replacement, are transforming important treatments, and are leading to improved recovery rates. “The big problems (of such conditions as arthrofibrosis, the buildup of scar tissue around a joint, often after a traumatic injury or surgical procedure) equal big business,” Rodriguez said, pointing out that the cause of the damaging scarring is currently poorly understood.

“There is a huge problem in treating musculoskeletal disorders, as current treatments are very limited,” Rodriguez said. “There is a serious, unmet, clinical need.”

He said that one treatment showing promise is by using the natural protein hormone relaxin for such disorders as shoulder arthrofibrosis (frozen shoulder), which is a debilitating condition often suffered by middle-aged women. Rodriguez said that investigations have been conducted into whether relaxin’s joint-loosening properties could be applied to alleviate symptoms. Research has shown that multiple injections of human relaxin directly into the afflicted joint have restored range of motion, and improved tissue health, in an animal model of frozen shoulder.

The 2024 HST Awards Committee (including the following HST students: Kim Lamberti, Xining Gao, Diana Grass, Miranda Wong and Mingyu Yang), organized the awards nomination process. Collin M. Stultz, MD, Nina T. and Robert H. Rubin Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; Co-director, HST, and Associate Director, MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), was the emcee for the awards part of the evening. IMES is HST’s home at MIT.

Wolfram Goessling, MD, Co-director of HST, Robert H. Ebert Professor of Medicine, Health Sciences and Technology, HMS, and Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), introduced Rodriguez, touting the history of the HST Dinner Seminar Series.

Here are the awards and the recipients, and presenters:

  • HST Outstanding Teaching Award – Student: Nicole Gilette, for her outstanding work as the teaching assistant for HT.146 Biochemistry and Metabolism.

Presenters:  Keegan Mendez and Audrey Phan 

Given annually to a current HST student who has made noteworthy contributions to one or more classes in the HST curriculum through remarkable efforts as a teaching assistant.

Nicole Gillette

L to R; Audrey Phan, Nicole Gillette, Keegan Mendez


  • Irving M. London Teaching—Faculty: Rohit Sharma, MD, PhD, instructor in medicine at MGH, and course director of the HT.146 Biochemistry course.

Presenter:  Nicole Gilette 

Awarded annually to recognize teaching faculty who have made exemplary contributions to the teaching of HST students.


Rohit Sharma

L to R; Nicole Gillette, Rohit Sharma


  • Seidman Prize for MD Research Mentorship: Abhiram Bhashyam, MD, PhD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery hand and upper extremity surgeon at MGH.

Presenter: Catherine Hua 

Established in 1999, this award is presented annually to the person who, through the warmth of their personality, inspires and nurtures HST students in their scientific and personal growth, and through honest advice and generosity to all students and colleagues sets and admirable example of excellence and mentoring.

Abhiram Bhashyam

L to R; Catherine Hua, Abhiram Bhashyam


  • Roger G. Mark Outstanding Service Award (Student): Xining Gao, HST Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) student. Gao is also co-chair of HST’s Joint Council.

Presenter: Mustafa Nasir-Moin 

Presented annually to a member of the student body whose excellence in action and deed embodies HST community values and ideals.

Xining Gao

L to R; Mustafa Nasin-Moin, Xining Gao


  • Roger G. Mark Outstanding Service Award (Faculty/Staff): Laurie Ward, HST Graduate Administrator. According to the citation: Ward "has been a valued member of the HST community for more than 16 years and has contributed immensely to the inner workings of the Harvard-MIT partnership”.

Presenters: Sayo Eweje and Rory Mather 

Presented annually to a staff or faculty member whose excellence in action and deed embodies HST community values and ideals.

Laurie Ward

L to R; Rory Mather, Laurie Ward, Sayo Eweje


  • Thomas A. McMahon Mentoring Award: Michael Ballin, MD, anesthesiologist at Baystate Medical Center. Ballin could not attend the dinner and awards, but his mentee, HST MD/PhD student Adam Berger, accepted the award on Ballin’s behalf.

Presenter: Adam Berger 

Given annually to recognize teaching faculty who have made exemplary contribution to the teaching of HST students.


Adam Berge

Adam Berger accepts award on Michael Ballin's behalf.


  • IMES Prince Prize: Maria Carmen Martin Alonso, HST MEMP PhD candidate. Martin Alonso has developed and filed a provisional patent for liquid biopsy “priming agents.” By inducing a transient DNA buildup, these priming agents constitute a novel method for recovering DNA molecules from a blood draw and could transform the delivery of cancer care.

Presenter: Collin M. Stultz 

HST alumnus Dr. Martin Prince established this prize, which awards one current HST MEMP PhD student a $5,000 cash prize for work resulting in a patentable invention. The work must have been been performed while enrolled in HST.

Maria Carmen Martin Alonso

L to R; Maria Carmen Martin Alonso, Collin M. Stultz


More information about the HST student awards can be found here.