Catalyst Fellowship Spring 2023

Catalyst partners
VA Innovation Ecosystem

Catalyst advantages


Focused on real-world medical innovation opportunities


Collaboration across medicine, technology, and business


linQ Innovation Method accelerates impact

Experience highlights


New project discovery with high potential to achieve health impact and without the constraints of a single lab or organization.


Process driven by you in a multi-disciplinary team based environment. Past teams have established new lines of research, launched start-ups, and embarked on new career trajectories.


Mentored by a unique network of leading experts in their field from academic research and industry that shortens the time to realize meaningful healthcare outcomes.


A proven MIT linQ Innovation Method that focuses on real-world medical innovation opportunities and accelerates impact.

The first six months


Proof of Need

Proof of Need: Identify and evaluate relevant unmet medical needs by visiting laboratories, talking with clinicians, and exploring the literature.


Proof of Opportunity

Proof of Opportunity: Identify and evaluate a set of possible solutions. Meet with key stakeholders to assess their potential of solving the unmet need.


Project Proposal

Project Proposal: Develop a research project plan  with milestones over a 12-18 month time frame.



Outcome: Portfolio of validated research projects for ongoing mentorship, with real opportunity to transition to the project execution phase, project execution—exploration of funding and commercialization opportunities. Learn more about the Catalyst process

Program details

Participation requirements

January 2023–early July 2023:

  • January 4, 2023: First session
  • Availability to meet during program schedule
    • Weekly sessions: Wednesdays 10:00am – 1:00pm ET
    • Weekly discussion groups: Mondays 10:00am – 11:00am ET
    • Three 3-day working sessions, which may involve travel: January 17-19, February 14-16, and May 9-11. Locations TBA.
  • July 5, 2023: Final session
  • Compatibility with current job, training or activity
  • As appropriate, approval of your supervisor
  • See FAQs for more details

After July 2023: 

While the initial commitment is for 6 months, given that the objective is for you and other Fellows to nucleate a new research/innovation project, candidates should consider the feasibility of working beyond the initial 6 months. Practically speaking, the time required will continue to be at least 10-15 hours per week, but many Fellows have found ways to devote more time than that to accelerate their progress. Again, no a priori commitment is expected, but if you are certain that it would be impossible to go beyond the 6 month period, consider holding off your application until there is some possibility of continuing. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your situation.

Catalyst Community Values

The Catalyst Program is aligned with MIT's Values Statement in our commitment to making our community a humane and welcoming place where people from a diverse range of backgrounds can grow and thrive. Because learning is nourished by a diversity of views, we cherish free expression, debate, and dialogue in pursuit of truth – and we commit to using these tools with respect for each other and our community.

Catalyst aims to address equity and intersectionality in biomedical research and innovation in healthcare. Race, ethnicity, age, and sex can impact how different people respond to the same intervention. Diversity of thought and perspectives through the lens of a participant’s background contributes to an enhanced learning experience, improved research and development, and overall better medical interventions.

Our community challenges ourselves to face difficult facts, speak plainly about failings in our systems, and work to overcome them. Valuing potential over pedigree, we know that talent and good ideas can come from anywhere – and we value one another’s contributions in every role.


    Want to learn more? We have detailed answers to frequently asked questions.

    Read the FAQs

    Want to know more about the VA–MIT partnership in Catalyst and what it means for VA providers?

    Learn more about the VA–MIT partnership

    Still more questions? Email us at

    Apply to join

    The Catalyst application process is designed to help prospective participants get to know the program, and vice versa, in stages.

    1. Expression of Interest

    If you think this experience could be for you and would like to speak with Fellows or Alumni of the program, please complete the expression of interest form.

    • The form will collect contact information and your resume or CV. It will ask you to tell us why you are interested in the program.
    • Once submitted, we will offer you the opportunity to talk with a current Fellow or alumnus of the program who can discuss your interests, what it means to participate in the program, and answer initial questions.

    2. Full Application

    Although the cycle 1 deadline is has elapsed, we will invite you to complete our full application.

    • Details about the application and the timeline are below.
    • You will have the opportunity to update your CV or resume and provide letters of recommendation.
    • There are 6 long form questions designed to help our admissions committee get to know you.
    • Applications received by 8/1/22 (Cycle 1) are guaranteed a full review and are prioritized by the admissions committee.
    • For Cycle 2, complete, submitted applications will be considered on a rolling basis. As we have a limited number of slots available for the 2023 cohort, candidates are encouraged to complete their application in as soon as possible.

    3. Interview

    • Invitations to interview are extended to individuals who have demonstrated the greatest potential to meaningfully contribute to the cohort.
    • Interviewees will be required to submit letters of recommendation and contact information for references by August 31 to complete their applicant file.
    • A full day of virtual activities and interviews is planned for September 9. Please reserve 10am – 4pm ET to attend.


    ASAP: Completed applications will be considered on a rolling basis and should be completed as soon as possible. Please be in touch with Catalyst Program Manager Melissa Parrillo to provide updates about your submission.

    9/9: Interviews will be held virtually, 10am-4pm ET
    10/14: Deadline to respond to admissions for program admittance

    About the application

    Documents and information you will need to submit in the Application Form include:

    1. Curriculum Vitae (required)
    2. Reference letters (required prior to interview)
    3. Reference contacts (required prior to interview)
    4. Application questions (previewed below)

    Application questions

    The objective of these questions is to know more about you and your experiences. Remember that Catalyst will guide and train you to identify and validate unmet needs, define solutions and design new research projects with high translational potential during the program. You are not applying with an existing project to the Catalyst program; you are applying as a talented and passionate individual with valuable skills to make an impact in healthcare.

    Please list your core competencies, including domains of expertise and experience (75 word max)

    Help us understand your CV in context. Tell us about one or two of your non-classroom, professional or research experiences—describe your role in understanding challenges, applying learnings, and influencing outcomes. (150 word max)

    Logical reasoning skills are foundational to the Catalyst process. Please tell us about a past research or professional experience where the application of logical reasoning skills were critical.

    Please tell us why you are interested in being a Fellow in the Catalyst Program (75 word max).

    What else should we know about you? (Optional)

    Catalyst projects

    Catalyst projects involve Fellows and their international teams of collaborators. They focus on identifying unmet medical needs that can be addressed by new biomedical technologies. Successful Catalyst projects demonstrate a real potential for healthcare impact.

    Spring 2023 Fellows

    Halimat Afolabi

    Halimat Afolabi, MBBS

    • Applied Medical Artificial Intelligence Researcher, University California San Francisco
    Paul Albear

    Paul Albear, MD, MBA

    • Chief Plastic Surgery, James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Tampa FL
    Katya Arquilla

    Katya Arquilla

    • Boeing Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
    Laura Bajor

    Laura Bajor, DO

    • Staff Psychiatrist, James A. Haley VA, Tampa, FL
    Javier Cubas

    Javier Cubas, PhD

    • Associate Professor, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
    • Fellow, Rafael del Pino-MIT Fellowship on Deep-tech entrepreneurship
    Emily DeFraites, MD, MPH

    Emily DeFraites, MD, MPH

    • Section Chief, Intensive Community Mental Health Recovery Services, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System

    Elisa Gomez de Lope

    Elisa Gomez de Lope, MSc

    • Doctoral candidate at University of Luxembourg & Visiting researcher at University of Cambridge.
    Enrique Gutiérrez, PhD

    Enrique Gutiérrez, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain
    Danielle J. Harper

    Danielle J. Harper, PhD

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
    Nathali Lizerbram

    Nathali R. Lizerbram

    • Manager, Strategy and Consulting at Accenture
    Amar D. Mandavia, MA, PhD

    Amar D. Mandavia, MA, PhD

    • Medical Informatics Fellow at Boston VA
    Tom Rust, PhD

    Tom Rust, PhD

    • Systems Scientist, Office of Healthcare Transformation, Department of Veterans Affairs
    Vimig Socrates

    Vimig Socrates

    • Medical Informatics Fellow at Boston VA
    Keiran Warner

    Keir Warner, MD

    • Clinical Informatics Fellow and Emergency Department Attending Physician, VA Boston Healthcare System
    Lina Williamson

    Lina Williamson, DVM, PhD

    • Head of Entrepreneurship, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona

    Spring 2023 Faculty

    Pamela Bellino

    Pamela Bellino, MA, OTR/L

    • Director of Patient Safety VA Boston Healthcare System
    • Lean Healthcare Black Belt
    • Faculty of the Medicine/Surgery/Psychiatry VA Chief Resident in Quality and Safety (CRQ&S) training program at VA Boston Healthcare System
    • Faculty of the Ambulatory Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (QI) rotation BMC Medicine Resident Program at VA Boston Healthcare System
    Zack Buono

    Eric Bruns, MBA

    • Director, EES SimLEARN Division, VHA Employee Education System
    Leonardo DaSilva

    Leonardo DaSilva

    • Director, VA New England Center for Innovation Excellence (NECIE)
    Stephan Gaehde

    Stephan Gaehde, MD, MPH

    • Boston VA Medical Informatics Fellowship Program Director
    • Boston VA Chief of Emergency Services
    Dimitra Georganopoulou

    Dimitra Georganopoulou, PhD

    • General Partner, Qral Ventures
    • Chief Business Officer, Ikaika Therapeutics
    • Chief Business Officer, MyGenomeRx
    • Venture Partner and Mentor, Keiretsu Forum and Aim-Hi Accelerator
    • Director, Women in Bio
    • Formerly with Baxter International
    Roshni Ghosh

    Roshni Ghosh, MD, MPH

    • Executive Director, Center for Care and Payment Innovation, Veterans Health Administration
    Martha Gray

    Martha Gray, PhD

    • J. W. Kieckhefer Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Director, MIT linQ
    Anh Hoang

    Anh Hoang

    • Chief Science Officer at Sofregen
    Jacob Hooker

    Jacob Hooker, PhD

    • Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport MGH Research Scholar
    • Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
    • Director of Radiochemistry, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
    Daniel Hurtado, PhD

    Daniel Hurtado, PhD

    • Visiting professor, MIT
    • Associate professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
    • Founder and CSO, IC Innovations
    Angela James portrait

    Angela James, PhD

    • Vice President, Head of Clinical Pharmacology, MacroGenics Inc
    Mahnaz Maddah

    Mahnaz Maddah, PhD

    • Director of Machine Learning for Health at the Broad Institute
    Tim Padera

    Timothy Padera, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
    • Rullo Family MGH Research Scholar
    Anne Quaadgras

    Anne Quaadgras, PhD

    • Director of the MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative
    • Senior Lecturer at the Sloan School of Management
    Ravi Rasalingam

    Ravi Rasalingam, MBChB

    • Catalyst Alumnus ’19
    • Staff Cardiologist, Medicine/Cardiology, Boston VA Healthsystem
    • Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School
    Pranjul Shah

    Pranjul Shah, PhD

    • Head of the Incubator at the University of Luxembourg
    Andy Shin

    Andy Shin, JD, MPH, MBA

    • Senior Vice President of Strategy at Mass General Brigham
    Suzanne Shirley

    Suzanne Shirley, LCSW

    • Director of Community Engagement & Fellowship with the VHA Office of Healthcare Innovation & Learning
    Nancy Steele

    Nancy R. Steele

    • Vice President, Strategy & Innovation at Pfizer, retired & Mentor, Entrepreneurship for All
    Ben Vakoc

    Benjamin Vakoc, PhD

    • Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
    • Massachusetts General Hospital Wellman Center for Photomedicine

    Catalyst-VHA Innovation Advisors

    Mike Catania, MBA

    Mike Catania, MBA

    • Director of Innovation at the VA Greater Los Angeles
    • Lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles
    Indra Sandal

    Indra Sandal, PhD, MBA

    • Chief of Innovation, Tampa VA Hospital, FL
    • Innovation Senior advisor, VHA Innovation Ecosystem
    • National Lead, VHA Uber Health Connect Initiative
    Samantha Sissel

    Samantha Sissel

    • Innovation Specialist, VA Boston Healthcare System

    Spring 2023 Independent Advisory Board

    Satish Annadata

    Satish Annadata, MD, MPH, MBA

    • Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health, UnitedHealthcare Health Plan of Nevada
    • Triple board certified physician in Brain Injury Medicine, Psychiatry, and Addiction Medicine
    Bonnie Charland

    Bonnie Charland, PhD

    • Associate Director of Quality Management, VA Boston Healthcare System
    Heather Davidson

    Heather Davidson, MD

    • Deputy Chief of Staff, VA Boston HCS; Hospitalist
    • Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Medicine
    Melinda Decker

    Melinda Decker

    • Digital Health Advisor and Fractional Chief Commercial Officer
    Samuel “Mooly” Dinnar

    Samuel “Mooly” Dinnar

    • Founder of Meedance
    • Instructor at Harvard and MIT
    • Author of "Entrepreneurial Negotiation"
    Will Febbo

    Will Febbo

    • CEO of OptimizeRx
    Christiana Iyasare

    Christiana Iyasare, MD

    • Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine Innovation Program
    • Co-Founder, Dyrnamix, Inc.
    Mukta Joshi

    Mukta Joshi

    • Data & Innovation Program Leader at Philips
    Terry Keane

    Terry Keane, PhD

    • Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at VA Boston Healthcare System
    • Director of the National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder’s Behavioral Science Division
    Jochen Klucken

    Jochen Klucken, MD

    • Chair of Digital Medicine, University Luxembourg, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Central Hospital Luxembourg
    Daphne Psacharopoulos

    Daphne Psacharopoulos

    • Advisor in Digital Health, Commercialization, and Strategy
    Smithri Sunil

    Jagesh Shah, PhD

    • Vice President, Gene Therapy Technologies at Sana Biotechnology, Inc.
    Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith, MD, PhD

    • Chief Scientific Officer, BD 
    Tonya Smoot, PhD

    Tonya Smoot, PhD

    • Senior Director of Biostatistics for Therapeutics, Inc.
    Barry Stein

    Barry Stein, MD, MBA, FSIR, FACR, RPVI

    • Chief Clinical Innovation Officer at Hartford HealthCare
    Frances Toneguzzo

    Frances Toneguzzo, PhD

    • Intellectual Property and Business Strategy Consultant