Paul Anderson (center) prepares to remove a Jenga piece from a large- scale version of the game, one of several festivities at the event.

Paul Anderson (center) prepares to remove a Jenga piece from a large- scale version of the game, one of several festivities at the event.

On a late Wednesday afternoon, Brigham researchers put aside their data and microscopes to pick up refreshments and bingo cards during the 2019 Research Appreciation Celebration — an event dedicated to recognizing the extraordinary contributions of the Brigham’s research community.

As faculty and staff gathered, research assistants mingled with principal investigators, and adventurers tried their hand at a giant Jenga game. When Ursula Kaiser, MD, co-director of the Brigham Research Institute (BRI) and Laura Fredenburgh, MD, faculty director of the Office for Research Careers, took the stage, the crowd joined them in applauding all members of the community who help advance discovery and research careers at the Brigham.

“We want to dedicate this gathering to you, Brigham researchers and research staff, who work to find solutions to complex problems and generate a culture of innovation,” said Kaiser.

Brigham Health President Betsy Nabel, MD, announced the recipients of the inaugural President’s Scholars Awards, annual prizes that will honor assistant or associate professors who have made noteworthy contributions in their field of research and who have exceptional potential. Each scholar will receive $100,000 per year for three years.

“I am so pleased to announce our Scholars, who are truly an outstanding group of individuals,” said Nabel, who added that an extra award was given out this year due to the strength of the nominee pool.

Nabel personally congratulated winners Ana Anderson, PhD, of the Department of Neurology; Georg Gerber, MD, PhD, MPH, of the Department of Pathology; Jessica Lasky-Su, ScD, of the Department of Medicine; and Tracy Young-Pearse, PhD, of the Department of Neurology. (Learn more about the winners.)

In addition to the President’s Scholars, several faculty review committee volunteers, recipients of Partners in Excellence Awards and Office of Research Careers awardees were lauded. Richard (Rick) Blumberg, MD, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, received the BRI Director Service Award for serving on the BRI executive committee from 2013 to 2018.

Paul Anderson, MD, PhD, chief academic officer and senior vice president of Research and Education, announced a new sundry-fund program to benefit junior and mid-career faculty who rely on grant funding for their research activities.

“This program is a way of saying ‘thank you’ for your tremendous efforts,” said Anderson. “It will serve as one more pillar in the strong institutional support structure we have here. I am very proud of the research done at the Brigham and grateful for your collective dedication.”