2024 Brigham President’s Scholar Award Announcement


The Brigham President’s Scholar Awards support the careers of assistant or associate professors at the hospital who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen field of research and who have exceptional potential.

Through an annual competitive process, up to three investigators will be selected to receive President’s Scholar Awards in the amount of $100,000 per year for three years. Awards are determined based on a holistic review of the candidate’s demonstrated scholarly and/or entrepreneurial accomplishments.

We are excited to announce this year’s three Brigham President’s Scholars:

Po-Ru Loh, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
John Hanna, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology
Mandy Belfort, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics

About the Scholars

Po-Ru Loh, PhD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and leads a statistical genetics research group in the Brigham Division of Genetics. His lab develops and applies efficient computational tools for analyzing genetic variation within biobank cohorts for effects on human health and disease. Originally trained as a mathematician, he developed an interest in human genetics as well as in algorithm design during his graduate studies. He and his lab have made contributions in genome-wide association analysis, haplotype phasing, and the study of inherited and somatic genomic structural variants and their influences on human health.

John Hanna, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology. His lab studies the basic mechanisms of the proteasome, which is the intracellular molecular machine that destroys proteins. Defects in proteasome function are associated with many diseases, including most neurodegenerative diseases. Conversely, inhibitors of the proteasome are FDA-approved anticancer agents. Dr. Hanna’s lab studies 3 main topics: the chaperone-mediated pathway of proteasome assembly, the regulation of the proteasome by endogenous inhibitors, and the stress responses that control proteasome abundance.

Dr. Hanna is also a practicing pathologist and has a separate investigative program focused on the molecular pathogenesis of skin and soft tissue tumors.

Mandy Brown Belfort, MD MPH is a practicing neonatologist and Associate Chief of Research in the Department of Pediatrics at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She leads an NIH-funded research program focused on the influence of early-life diet on health outcomes in preterm-born children, with an emphasis on the NICU hospitalization as a critical window of opportunity for effective interventions. She conducts observational and interventional studies and uses innovative measures of nutritional status including neuroimaging-based indicators of brain development. She has also led collaborative epidemiological research indicating long-lasting neurodevelopmental benefits of maternal milk-based diets in very preterm-born children. Dr. Belfort’s work has been published widely in peer-reviewed journals and informs public health recommendations and policies related to breastfeeding and clinical nutritional approaches within neonatal intensive care. 

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