Catalyst Spring 2024

Catalyst collaborators
VA Innovation Ecosystem
MIT Office of Innovation logo

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 2024 Fellows

    Thomas Beachkofsky

    Thomas Beachkofsky, MD

    • Director, Dermatology Laser Surgery and Cutaneous Rehabilitation Clinic, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital

    Monize Caiado Decarli, PhD

    Monize Caiado Decarli, PhD

    • Group leader, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Netherlands
    Sarah Carbone

    Sarah Carbone

    • Research Health Science Specialist at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio

    Aditya Chandrasekhar, MD, MPH

    Aditya Chandrasekhar, MD, MPH

    • Medical Director, Primary.Health
    • Staff Physician, Fenway Health
    Rinu Daniel

    Rinu Daniel

    • Clinical Rehabilitation Engineer, James A. Haley VA Hospital

    Ariel Furer, MD, MBA

    Ariel Furer, MD, MBA

    • Cardiology fellow, Sheba Medical Center
    Danielle Hallman, DNP, RN, NE-BC

    Danielle Hallman, DNP, RN, NE-BC

    • Assistant Chief Nurse, Mental Health, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
    Xinming "Sherman" Huang, PhD

    Xinming “Sherman” Huang, PhD

    • Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    Amit Kalia, MD

    Amit Kalia, MD

    • Chief of Imaging, Section Chief of Interventional Radiology, Bruce W. Carter Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    David Lawrence, MD, FASAM

    David Lawrence, MD, FASAM

    • Medical Director, Downtown Los Angeles Substance Use Disorder Clinic, VA Greater Los Angeles Health System
    • Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
    Gha Young Lee

    Gha Young Lee

    • MD/PhD Candidate at Harvard Medical School and MIT
    Marta López, MSc

    Marta López, MSc

    • PhD Candidate at University of Barcelona & Visiting researcher at Harvard Medical School
    • Data Scientist Trainee at European Medicines Agency
    Hariharasudan Malaichamee

    Hariharasudan Malaichamee

    • Principal Software Engineer, Symbotic
    Javier Nazario-Larrieu, MD

    Javier Nazario-Larrieu, MD

    • Staff Interventional Radiologist, VA Caribbean Healthcare System
    • Staff Interventional Radiologist, Hospital del Centro Comprensivo de Cáncer de al Universidad de Puerto Rico
    Adrián Noriega de la Colina, MD PhD

    Adrián Noriega de la Colina, MD PhD

    • CIHR-Institute of Aging Fellow, Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital
    • Research Scientist, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
    • Clinical Lead, Perceiv AI
    Michelle A. Petrovic, MD

    Michelle A. Petrovic, MD

    • Director & Chief of Medical Simulation and Attending Anesthesiologist, Orlando VA Healthcare System, Orlando FL
    Spencer B. Shumway, MSE

    Spencer B. Shumway, MSE

    • Cofounder at SkyDance Vascular

    PKG Scholars

    Raymond Bahng

    Raymond Bahng, MIT ’25

    • Material Science and Engineering
    Katie Bell

    Katie Bell, MIT ’24

    • Chemistry and Biology

    Amie Kitjasateanphun

    Amie Kitjasateanphun, MIT ’27

    • Biological Engineering

    Aditya Chandrasekhar, MD, MPH

    Michelle Peng, MIT ’27

    • Biological Engineering and Management
    Daisy Wang

    Daisy Wang, MIT ’27

    • Bioengineering with minor in Women’s & Gender Studies

    VA Nursing Scholars

    Thomas Beachkofsky

    Nichole Arzumanyan, BSN, RN

    • Nursing Scholar, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

    Cheyenne Bolanos

    Cheyenne Bolanos, MSN, RN

    • Nursing Scholar, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

    Madlyn Francis, BSN, RN

    Madlyn Francis, BSN, RN

    • Nursing Scholar, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

    Justin Paalisbo, BSN, RN

    Justin Paalisbo, MSN, RN

    • Nursing Scholar, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

    Spring 2024 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
    Marra Francis

    Marra S. Francis, MD, FACOG

    • Medical Consultant
    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
    • Venture Partner and Mentor, 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
    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
    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
    Prof. dr. Hélder A. Santos

    Prof. dr. Hélder A. Santos

    • Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Head of the Translational Bionanomicro Theragenerative Medicine Lab, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
    • Scientific Director of the Health Technology Research and Innovation Cluster
    • Director and Head of the Nanomedicine and Biomedical Engineering Lab, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Finland
    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

    Occasional faculty

    Akshar Abbott

    Akshar B. Abbott, MD

    • Ophthalmologist, Veterans Affairs VISN 23 Technology-based Eye Care Service program
    Mike Dempsey

    Michael K. Dempsey

    • Entrepreneur in Residence at CIMIT

    Laura Lewis

    Laura D. Lewis

    • Athinoula A. Martinos Associate Professor of IMES and EECS, MIT
    • Associate Faculty, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH
    Freddy T. Nguyen

    Freddy T. Nguyen, MD, PHD

    • Research Fellow & Director of the Catalyst-PKG Scholars IAP Program
    Iván Uray, MD, PhD

    Iván Uray, MD, PhD

    • Senior Research Scientist & Associate Professor, Dept of Oncology, University of Debrecen Hungary
    Pranjul Shah

    Pranjul Shah, PhD

    • Head of the Incubator at the University of Luxembourg
    Suzanne Shirley

    Suzanne Shirley, LCSW

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

    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
    Gina Green OTD, MOT, OTR/L

    Gina Green OTD, MOT, OTR/L

    • Innovation Specialist, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System
    • Occupational Therapist
    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 2024 Independent Advisory Board

    Satish Annadata

    Satish Annadata, MD, MPH, MBA

    • Chief of Staff, VA Finger Lakes Health Care System
    • Former Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealthcare/Optum
    • Triple board certified physician, globetrotter, and hobby vineyard farmer
    Bonnie Charland

    Bonnie Charland, PhD

    • Associate Director of Quality Management, VA Boston Healthcare System
    Leonardo DaSilva

    Leonardo DaSilva

    • Director, VA New England Center for Innovation Excellence (NECIE)
    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
    Anh Hoang

    Anh Hoang

    • Chief Science Officer at Sofregen
    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
    Elizabeth Marshman

    Elizabeth Marshman

    • Head of Mechanical Engineering at Wing
    Daphne Psacharopoulos

    Daphne Psacharopoulos

    • Advisor in Digital Health, Commercialization, and Strategy
    Lindsay Riegler

    Lindsay R. James Riegler, PhD

    • Director of Veterans Health Administration’s Digital & Remote Health Center for Innovation to Impact (DRHCI)
    Smithri Sunil

    Jagesh Shah, PhD

    • Vice President, Gene Therapy Technologies at Sana Biotechnology, Inc.
    Pranjul Shah

    Pranjul Shah, PhD

    • Head of the Incubator at the University of Luxembourg
    Suzanne Shirley, LCSW

    Suzanne Shirley, LCSW

    • Director of Community Engagement & Fellowship with the VHA Office of Healthcare Innovation & Learning
    Andy Shin

    Andy Shin, JD, MPH, MBA

    • Senior Vice President of Strategy at Mass General Brigham
    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
    David Whitaker

    David Whitaker, MD, FACC

    • Deputy Chief Of Staff at Tampa VA Medical Center