Natalie Feldman, MD PGY-1
I studied Psychology at Harvard College, where I worked as a research assistant in Professor Schacter’s Memory Lab. As a research associate for Dr. Trisha Suppes at the VA Palo Alto Bipolar and Mood Disorder Clinic, I worked on multiple clinical trials at every stage from design and grant-writing through publication, and published a paper as first author in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. I was also involved in writing the DSM 5 entry on Depressive Disorders with Short-Duration Hypomania. In medical school, I pursued independent research which was later used in revising the GME training for internal medicine residents at the University of Chicago; I presented that research as a poster at multiple conferences. My proposal for an app for post-partum depression screening was selected as a winner by the University of Chicago App Challenge. My interests include research in women’s mental health and technology in psychiatry.
Heather Burrell Ward, MD PGY-2
I am thrilled to be a part of the inaugural class of the Brigham & Women’s Residency Program and the Research Track. I first developed an interest in research at the Harvard/MGH Center for Addiction Medicine, where I conducted smoking cessation clinical research studies for individuals with severe mental illness. While attending Duke for medical school, I conducted research on the role of tobacco in the development of first episode psychosis. I also studied neurostimulation and nonpharmacologic interventions for pain in the emergency department. In residency, I have continued to conduct research in neurostimulation (ECT, TMS) and emergency psychiatry. In my first year of residency, I developed a protocol for the delivery of ECT in pregnancy. Now, in my second year, I am developing an independent research project using TMS for addiction. I am also interested in pioneering and implementing novel treatments in interventional psychiatry, including ketamine.
The research track has been a catalyst for my research by providing me with dedicated time and mentorship to develop an independent research project. The entire residency program has been exceptionally supportive of my research endeavors, from the program directors to my research mentors to the chair of the department!
Samir Awasthi, MD PGY-4
I grew up in a small farming city in Central California. I had an early interest in physics and medicine and decided to pursue both while in college. I studied Physics and Biomedical Engineering at MIT and participated in research in biomedical optics; our focus was on the development of diagnostic tools that utilize nonlinear optics. After college, I joined the MD-PhD program at UC Davis. I conducted my doctoral research at the NSF Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology, where I developed microscopy and cell sorting methods that were motivated by specific challenges in molecular and regenerative cardiology.
Following the PhD, I approached the clinical years of medical school with an open mind. I searched for resonance amongst my interests, and I found it in Psychiatry. For many reasons – personal interest, the fascinating/complex/challenging social and economic factors surrounding the field, exciting opportunities in research (understatement), the field’s rich history and connection to a wide range of subjects (humanities, law, science, engineering…) – I decided to pursue Psychiatry.
I was thrilled to match into the research track of the Harvard Longwood program. The program appealed to me because of its training breadth, depth, and research opportunity. After getting here and exploring labs a bit, I joined the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory at BWH. Presently, I am studying the role of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in human PTSD while also applying novel methods rooted in multivariate statistics and graph theory to better understand the neurocircuitry of the disorder. My long-term interests lie in using these methods in conjunction with various treatment modalities to better understand the architecture of the brain and to guide treatment decisions, conscious of the transdiagnostic nature of our patients’ illnesses.
Daniel Talmasov, MD PGY-4
I grew up in Jamaica, Queens in New York City, where I could routinely hear at least half a dozen different languages being spoken, on my walk home from school alone. As I got older, I became a big fan of theater, music, and exploring different galleries around town. Around the time I went to college at the Stony Brook University, I began to find my direction in science, but I wasn’t sure if I should choose biology or physics; volunteering at the university hospital at Stony Brook helped me discover my calling and decide I wanted to work with people directly as a physician. In medical school, I also fell in love with research, and started my own project. After many nights and weekends in the lab over a couple if years, I published work demonstrating a protective role of the transcription factor, Krüppel-like factor 4, against gamma radiation induced intestinal injury.
During my clinical rotations in medical school, I found great satisfaction in working with patients suffering from complex behavioral syndromes in psychiatry; I also developed a love for the exacting and empiric nature of neurology. I was elated to come train at Longwood because of its diverse strengths and academic rigor. As I rotated through the neurology consult service towards the beginning of my intern year, it dawned on me that I would choose to pursue neurology in addition to psychiatry, and ultimately become a dual-specialist, working at the interface of these two closely related fields. I am grateful to have been fortunate to enjoy the support of my program, peers, and faculty in pursuing this goal.
I’ve maintained an active interest in research, and have developed a particular interest in situations where neurologic lesions lead to the emergence of psychiatric syndromes. My current research is in lesion-induced (“secondary”) mania. I hope that working to understand neurologic causes of psychiatric symptoms will also lead to insights pertinent to better understanding primary psychiatric disorders.