Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year Award

The Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year Award is targeted to junior investigators (Assistant Professor/Instructor or equivalent) who are in the career development stages of their research work, with a faculty appointment of at least three but no more than seven years and a demonstrated focus on aging/geriatrics research. The ideal candidate is an individual who has been awarded a career development award, pilot grant, or institutional grant (but not an R01). Applicants must demonstrate a record of accomplishments in aging/geriatrics research, such as (a) first-authorship on original aging/geriatrics research publications (not review articles); (b) poster/oral presentations of aging research at national meetings; and/or (c) submission of at least one research grant as principal investigator. Applicants must also demonstrate evidence of a career plan related to aging research.

2024 Recipients:

  • Melissa Loh, MD
  • Ashwin Kotwal, MD, MS

The Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year Award this year honors Melissa Loh, MD, Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York and one of the few geriatric hematologists and oncologists in the country. Dr. Loh is board certified in internal medicine, geriatrics, hematology, and oncology and specializes in caring for older adults with myeloid malignancies. Her research focuses on developing, adapting, and testing behavioral and supportive care interventions to improve outcomes for older adults with hematologic malignancies. Guiding her work is a patient and caregiver stakeholder group that Dr. Loh created herself and she has received grants from the NCI (K99/R00), NIA (GEMSSTAR R03), American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Cancer Society, and others to pursue it. She has published over 160 peer-reviewed articles and presented over 150 oral and poster presentations, the majority of which are in geriatric hematology; received over 30 research and travel awards; and delivered over 20 national and international talks. Dr. Loh’s contributions are a testament to her expertise and dedication in the field of geriatrics and geriatric hematology. An active member of the AGS since 2012, Dr. Loh has served on multiple committees and subcommittees including the Research Committee, National Institute of Aging Subcommittee, and Research Methods Subcommittee as well as the President of the Residents’ Section from 2013-2015.  In 2021, she was awarded the Health in Aging Foundation New Investigator Award from the AGS and in 2020 she was the Arti Hurria Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Subspecialties of Internal Medicine recipient as well as a Tideswell Emerging Leaders in Aging Program Scholar

The Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year award this year honors Ashwin Kotwal, MD, MS who is dually board-certified in geriatrics and palliative care and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSF. Deeply interested in the social well-being of older adults, Dr. Kotwal’s research focuses on understanding and addressing loneliness and social isolation among this population, including persons with serious illness or dementia. He has received extensive funding, including an NIA K23, GEMSSTAR, Pepper Multi-Site Pilot, the National Palliative Care Research Center, multiple foundations, and the California Department of Public Health. He has published 27 first- or senior-authored research papers, 9 commentaries, given over 50 local, national, or international presentations and was recently named to the Scientific Advisory Council for the Foundation for Social Connection. His research on loneliness and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic garnered national media attention from NPR, the New York Times and received the JAGS 2020 Editors’ Choice Award. He has received awards for mentorship and is the Associate Director of UCSF’s T32 Aging Research Fellowship. He first attended the AGS Annual Meeting in 2011 as an MSTAR student, having since presented 25 posters, 4 oral presentations, 2 symposia, and is now serving on the JAGS Editorial Board.


Past Recipients of the Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year Award

2023       Halima Amjad, MD, PhD, MPH 
                Tim Anderson, MD, MA, MAS
2022       Ariel Green, MD, MPH, PhD
2021       Lauren Ferrante, MD, MHS
2020       Andrew Cohen, MD, DPhil
2019       Nancy Schoenborn, MD, MHS
2018      John Newman, MD, PhD
2017      Dae Kim, MD, MPH, ScD
2016      Rebecca Brown, MD, MPH
              S. Ryan Greysen, MD, MHS, MA, FHM
2015      Micah Drummond, MD
2014      Sarah D. Berry, MD
2013      Amy Kelley, MD, MSHS
              Heather Whitson, MD, MSHS

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