The Donna and Tom May Fellowship Fund in Vascular Medicine


ARMAN QAMAR, MD, who will conclude his fellowship this year, attended medical school at the University of Delhi and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received the Frederick F. Samaha Award for research and the Maurice F. Attie senior resident teaching award for his work mentoring junior residents. A gifted teacher, Dr. Qamar was also recognized for his work training BWH House Staff in 2015.

Dr. Qamar’s research interests remain focused on using epidemiological methods, clinical trials, and complex data analysis to investigate peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition in which plaque deposits accumulate in the arteries and compromise the heart’s ability to pump blood to vital organs and limbs. Because PAD is often difficult to diagnose—and because it can lead to complications such as ulcers, tissue damage, and other injuries—it is imperative to develop improved diagnostics and early-intervention treatments for patients.

As a May Fellow, Dr. Qamar has acquired in-depth knowledge of all aspects of vascular medicine, and he has provided care for patients with complex vascular disorders as part of the Vascular Medicine Consult Service and the Vascular Medicine ambulatory practice. Dr. Qamar has also fulfilled the requirements for his Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation Exam and is well trained to run a state-of-the-art vascular imaging laboratory.

Dr. Qamar’s May Fellowship has allowed him to excel in several scholarly pursuits. He was awarded a scholarship to give an oral presentation at the Vascular Interventional Advances (VIVA) conference in Las Vegas. He was also invited to present at a vascular medicine session of the American College of Cardiology scientific conference. As a May Fellow, Dr. Qamar’s research resulted in six poster presentations at national scientific meetings and several manuscripts, including an original research publication in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Qamar also served as an abstract reviewer for the 66th annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology.

Upon completing his May Fellowship in June 2017, Dr. Qamar will begin a TIMI Research Group fellowship in Vascular Medicine at BWH where he will use genetic and proteomic biomarkers—protein structures and functions that present in patients with PAD—to identify early indicators of the disease and potential treatment pathways. By analyzing proteomic biomarkers from large population-based studies, Dr. Qamar aims to develop targeted therapies that will improve preventive treatments and patient outcomes. He is grateful for the impact the May Fellowship is having on his research and clinical career. The excellent opportunity he has received during this fellowship has built a strong foundation to launch a successful career in Vascular Medicine. “Through your support and the training I received in the BWH Vascular Medicine Fellowship program, I have been able to advance my training to accomplish my clinical and scientific goals.”

AARON ADAY, MD, who will also conclude his fellowship this year, received his MD from Yale University School of Medicine, where he graduated with departmental honors in internal medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at BWH and was named chief resident during his rotation at the West Roxbury VA Hospital.

In his research, Dr. Aday focuses on novel serologic and genetic predictors of vascular disease. Thus far, he has studied how cholesterol tests measured by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy can improve upon standard cholesterol tests in predicting an individual’s risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD). In addition, he is performing genetic testing of individuals with rare vascular diseases in order to better understand these disorders. He has presented his research at the American College of Cardiology’s Scientific Sessions, and he has also been named a finalist for the Jay D. Coffman Young Investigator Award at the upcoming Society for Vascular Medicine Scientific Sessions.

Dr. Aday’s fellowship has allowed him to expand his influence and become a resource for colleagues and the wider community. He has served on the host committee of the North American Thrombosis Foundation, where he helped organize the foundation’s 10-year anniversary, as well as on committees for both the Society for Vascular Medicine, American Heart Association, and Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation. He has also presented at several conferences, including the Scientific Sessions for the Society for Vascular Medicine, American Heart Association, and American College of Cardiology. Dr. Aday has written for the American College of Cardiology’s teaching website, authored a book chapter on aortic disease, and published in top medical journals. Building upon his previous completion of the requirements for the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation Exam, he recently also completed the requirements for both the ABIM Cardiovascular Medicine Board and the American Board of Vascular Medicine.

Dr. Aday remains deeply grateful for the impact the May Fellowship has had on his career: “The training and mentorship made possible by the May Fellowship have been essential in allowing me to pursue my interests in both research and patient care. It has been a remarkable gift to learn from so many talented experts in vascular medicine, and I look forward to building upon this foundation here at BWH in the months and years to come.”

AARON KITHCART, MD, PhD, our continuing May Fellow, received his MD and PhD degrees in immunology from Ohio State University, where his research focused on molecular inhibitors of inflammation. He then completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington and fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Kithcart began his May Fellowship in July 2015.

While at Ohio State, Dr. Kithcart developed a novel inhibitor of inflammation that revealed the process by which immune cells migrate across the blood-brain barrier, a component of the vascular bed in the central nervous system. This discovery led him to pursue additional training in vascular medicine, including ongoing work regarding the role of inflammation in the progression of vascular disease.

Over the last two years, Dr. Kithcart has collaborated with BWH mentors on an innovative interdisciplinary project that fuses immunology, genetics, vascular biology, pathology, and clinical medicine. Through this work, Dr. Kithcart is identifying novel causal pathways of atherogenesis—the formation of plaques in the lining of the arteries. Because this condition involves a complex interplay between the immune system and arterial walls, determining the processes by which atherogenesis occurs could lead to the development of new diagnostic tests and therapies. By studying these pathways in animal models, Dr. Kithcart has shown that the immune system plays a key role in lipid deposition and atherosclerotic plaque formation. Through continued research and analysis of biomarker data, Dr. Kithcart aims to reveal new targets for early-intervention treatments.

At BWH, Dr. Kithcart is an active member of the Division of Vascular Medicine, participating in weekly seminars, reviewing clinical trial results, and analyzing complex case studies. He has presented his work nationally, including an award for vascular clinical medicine at the Vascular Interventional Advances meeting. As a member of the American College of Cardiology’s Health Affairs Committee, Dr. Kithcart has been an advocate for policy changes that benefit patients with vascular disease. This aspect of his training has been particularly rewarding: “The May Fellowship has given me the chance to work with some of the best physicians in the country. Through my advocacy work, I can ensure all patients have access to the same high quality, evidence-based care we’ve come to expect at BWH. Supervised exercise, which is one of the best therapies for peripheral arterial disease, will soon be reimbursed by Medicare because of the work we’ve done in Washington.”

BRETT CARROLL, MD, one of our recent additions to the May Fellowship, attended medical school at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He began his May Fellowship in January after completing his internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and his general cardiology training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

While at MGH, he was involved in early research evaluating outcomes in patients that were managed by the Pulmonary Embolism Response Team. After transitioning to BIDMC, he found there was a lack of coordinated care for patients with pulmonary embolism and established the Massive and Submassive Clot On-call Team, a multi-disciplinary team involving physicians from cardiology, pulmonology, hematology, interventional radiology, and cardiac surgery. The team is activated when an ill patient presents with a pulmonary embolism. A conference call is arranged where all specialties discuss the patient to develop the optimal treatment plan. Dr. Carroll will be presenting data from the first 18 months of the pulmonary embolism team’s experience at the Society of Vascular Medicine Scientific Session. Also while at BIDMC, he analyzed the role of EKG, echocardiography, and computed tomography in evaluation of right ventricular dysfunction in the setting of pulmonary embolism; the findings were recently presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.

Here at BWH, Dr. Carroll continues his research in the area of pulmonary embolism, performing multiple analyses on the utility of catheter-directed, ultrasound-assisted fibrinolysis for patients with pulmonary embolism. His work focuses on evaluating the safety and efficacy of this procedure on a variety of specific populations at risk for pulmonary embolism. He will also present this data at the Society of Vascular Medicine Scientific Session.

Upon completion of his May Fellowship in December 2017, Dr. Carroll plans to return to BIDMC to establish a Vascular Medicine Section within the Cardiovascular Division. He will continue to focus on patients with complex venous thromboembolism, but also develop a multi-disciplinary aortic center and lymphedema clinic. He hopes to improve the care of patients with peripheral arterial disease by optimizing their medical treatment, along with the care received by vascular surgeons. He will also run the cardiology vascular diagnostics laboratory. The knowledge and skills he will continue to acquire during his May Fellowship will allow him to bring this specialized area of health care to a new network of patients. “I am so grateful for the experience the May Fellowship has afforded me – it is a special opportunity to learn from some of the world’s experts in Vascular Medicine. It has been an underserved area of medicine despite its very high prevalence. I am incredibly excited to open this area of care to a whole new population.”