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Marc Wein, MD, PhD, Natalie Artzi, PhD, and Ara Nazarian, DrSc
Marc Wein, MD, PhD, Natalie Artzi, PhD, and Ara Nazarian, DrSc
2021 Winner:
Marc Wein, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associate Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Principal Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute


Natalie Artzi, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Research Scientist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Principal Research Scientist, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ara Nazarian, DrSc
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Director, Musculoskeletal Translational Innovation Initiative, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


Stimulating fracture healing by blocking salt inducible kinase

Poor fracture healing is a major problem for patients after serious traumatic injuries. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medical therapies to stimulate fracture healing in this setting. Wein’s team recently identified a novel strategy to stimulate bone regeneration and promote fracture healing in mice. Inhibiting salt inducible kinases 2 and 3 (SIK2 and SIK3) stimulates potent bone anabolism and promotes accelerated fracture healing. For the 2021 Stepping Strong Breakthrough Award, a multidisciplinary team involving scientists with expertise in bone cell biology, skeletal biomechanics, orthopaedic surgery, and local drug delivery will further develop and optimize gene therapy strategies to specifically target this bone healing pathway locally at sites of traumatic skeletal injury. These studies will lay the groundwork for new therapies to improve the treatment and recovery of individuals with traumatic injury.


Marc Wein, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Broad Institute. Wein received his BS and MS degrees from Yale University, MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School, and was trained in internal medicine and endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he currently runs his research laboratory and clinical practice. He has received research funding and awards from the NIH, American Society of Clinical Investigation, Harrington Discovery Institute, Endocrine Society, Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation, and American Society of Bone and Mineral Research.

Natalie Artzi, PhD, is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a researcher in the Department of Medicine, Division of Engineering in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is a principal research scientist at MIT and an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Artzi is the recipient of multiple grants and awards, including the inaugural rising star Kabiller award in nanotechnology and nanomedicine, Stepping Strong Innovator Award and Breakthrough Award, Controlled Release Society Young Investigator Award, Bright Futures Prize, and the Massachusetts Life Science Center for Women Entrepreneurs. Currently, Artzi directs multiple research venues aiming to integrate science, engineering, and medicine to rationally design personalized materials to improve human health. She co-founded a startup company, BioDevek, which develops the next-generation biomaterials to improve outcomes following internal surgeries.

Ara Nazarian, DrSc, is an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Musculoskeletal Translational Innovation Initiative at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he serves as the vice chair for research affairs at the Carl J. Shapiro Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He received his master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University, his doctor of regulatory science degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and his master’s degree in clinical medicine degree from Harvard University. Nazarian has been conducting translation research for the past 20 years, focusing on unmet medical needs in musculoskeletal health. He has published over 160 peer reviewed articles and has more than 20 patents and patent applications. A co-founder of four startup companies, Nazarian currently serves as a senior editorial board member for the Journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and served on the board of consulting editors for the Journal of Biomechanics. Throughout his career, he has had the privilege to mentor more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

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