Overview

Welcome to the November 2017 edition of Snapshot of Science. Here's a quick look at some recent publications, press releases and stories about the Mass General research community.

In this issue we highlight:

  • 35 new studies published in high impact journals, along with 28 summaries submitted by the research teams
  • 10 new research-related press releases from the Mass General Public Affairs office
  • 11 posts from the Mass General Research Institute blog

Publications List

*Author-submitted summaries available when indicated

IDENTIFYING CLINICAL IMAGING FACTORS THAT DETERMINE NEXT STEPS FOR TREATMENT OF ISCHEMIC STROKE PATIENTS
Clinical Imaging Factors Associated With Infarct Progression in Patients With Ischemic Stroke During Transfer for Mechanical Thrombectomy
Boulouis G, Lauer A, Siddiqui AK, Charidimou A, Regenhardt RW, Viswanathan A, [et al.] Leslie-Mazwi TM, Schwamm LH
Published in the November 2017 issue of JAMA Neurology | *Summary available


MANIPULATION OF IL2 CELLS TO CREATE NEW TOOL FOR IMMUNE THERAPY
Tethering IL2 to Its Receptor IL2Rβ Enhances Antitumor Activity and Expansion of Natural Killer NK92 Cells
Jounaidi Y, Cotten JF, Miller KW, Forman SA
Published in the November 2017 issue of Cancer Research | *Summary available


COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF A CHILD OBESITY INTERVENTION
Cost-Effectiveness of a Clinical Childhood Obesity Intervention
Sharifi M, Franz C, Horan CM, Giles CM, Long MW, Ward ZJ, Resch SC, Marshall R, Gortmaker SL, Taveras EM
Published in the November 2017 issue of Pediatrics | *Summary available


DEVELOPMENT OF ADVANCED CANCER IMAGING TECHNOLOGY
LesionTracker: Extensible Open-Source Zero-Footprint Web Viewer for Cancer Imaging Research and Clinical Trials
Urban T, Ziegler E, Lewis R, Hafey C, Sadow C, Van den Abbeele AD, Harris GJ
Published in the November 2017 issue of Cancer Research


EVALUATING POTENTIAL BENEFIT OF MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Medical Cannabinoids in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review
Wong SS, Wilens TE
Published in the November 2017 issue of Pediatrics | *Summary available


B CELLS AND AUTOIMMUNITY
B Cells Drive Autoimmunity in Mice with CD28-Deficient Regulatory T Cells
Zhang R, Sage PT, Finn K, Huynh A, Blazar BR, Marangoni F, Mempel TR, Sharpe AH, Turka LA
Published in Journal of Immunology on November 1, 2017


NEW TECHNIQUE FOR BLOOD BIOPSIES
Scalable Whole-Exome Sequencing of Cell-Free DNA Reveals High Concordance with Metastatic Tumors
Adalsteinsson VA, Ha G, Freeman SS, Choudhury AD, Stover DG, Parsons HA, [et al.] Getz G, Love JC, Meyerson M
Published in Nature Communications on November 6, 2017 | See press release


INTERCELLULAR SIGNALING AND X CHROMOSOME INACTIVATION
Genetic Intersection of Tsix and Hedgehog Signaling during the Initiation of X-Chromosome Inactivation
Del Rosario BC, Del Rosario AM, Anselmo A, Wang PI, Sadreyev RI, Lee JT
Published in Developmental Cell on November 6, 2017 | *Summary available


DISCOVERY OF A VIRAL RESPONSE AFTER A HEART ATTACK
IRF3 and Type I Interferons Fuel a Fatal Response to Myocardial Infarction
King KR, Aguirre AD, Ye YX, Sun Y, Roh JD, Ng RP Jr, [et al.] Fitzgerald KA, Mitchison T, Libby P, Nahrendorf M, Weissleder R
Published in Nature Medicine on November 6, 2017 | *Summary available


ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND CONCENTRATIONS OF FREE RADICALS
Oxalate-Curcumin–Based Probe for Micro- and Macroimaging of Reactive Oxygen Species in Alzheimer’s Disease
Yang J, Zhang X, Yuan P, Yang J, Xu Y, Grutzendler J, Shao Y, Moore A, Ran C
Published in PNAS on November 6, 2017 | *Summary available


REACTIONS OF NONENZYMATIC RNA PRIMER EXTENSIONS
A Mechanistic Explanation for the Regioselectivity of Nonenzymatic RNA Primer Extensiones
Giurgiu C, Li L, O'Flaherty DK, Tam CP, Szostak JW
Published in Journal of the American Chemical Society on November 7, 2017 | *Summary available


EXPLORING DRIVING FORCES OF TUMOR HETEROGENEITY
Tumour Heterogeneity and Resistance to Cancer Therapies
Dagogo-Jack I, Shaw AT
Published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology on November 8, 2017 | *Summary available


ATLAS OF THE SMALL INTESTINE
A Single-Cell Survey of the Small Intestinal Epithelium
Haber AL, Biton M, Rogel N, Herbst RH, Shekhar K, Smillie C, [et al.] Xavier RJ, Regev A
Published in Nature on November 8, 2017 | *Summary available | See press release


ANXIETY AND PERCEPTION OF FACIAL THREAT CUES
Observer’s Anxiety Facilitates Magnocellular Processing of Clear Facial Threat Cues, but Impairs Parvocellular Processing of Ambiguous Facial Threat Cues
Im HY, Adams RB Jr, Boshyan J, Ward N, Cushing CA, Kveraga K
Published in Scientific Reports on November 9, 2017 | *Summary available


ASSESSING SUBCORTICAL BRAIN DYNAMICS IN HUMANS
Sparsity Enables Estimation of Both Subcortical and Cortical Activity from MEG and EEG
Krishnaswamy P, Obregon-Henao G, Ahveninen J, Khan S, Babadi B, Iglesias JE, Hämäläinen MS, Purdon PL
Published in PNAS on November 14, 2017 | *Summary available


TRACKING DEVELOPMENT OF INTUBATION SKILLS IN NOVICE PHYSICIANS
Longitudinal Acquisition of Endotracheal Intubation Skills in Novice Physicians
Takeuchi S, Shiga T, Koyama Y, Nakanishi T, Honma Y, Morita H, Goto T
Published in PLoS One on November 14, 2017 | *Summary available


CONTRIBUTORS TO REGULATION OF GENE TRANSCRIPTION
Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Methylates Elongin A to Regulate Transcription
Ardehali MB, Anselmo A, Cochrane JC, Kundu S, Sadreyev RI, Kingston RE
Published in Molecular Cell on November 15, 2017 | *Summary available


STUDYING BLOOD CIRCULATION IN THE BRAIN
Wavelet Brain Angiography Suggests Arteriovenous Pulse Wave Phase Locking
Butler WE
Published in PLoS One on November 15, 2017 | *Summary available


UNDERSTANDING THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE VENTRICLES OF THE BRAIN
CSF in the Ventricles of the Brain Behaves as a Relay Medium for Arteriovenous Pulse Wave Phase Coupling
Butler WE, Agarwalla PK, Codd P
Published in PLoS One on November 15, 2017 | *Summary available


MEASURING OXYGEN AND BLOOD FLOW IN NEWBORNS' BRAINS
Shedding Light on the Neonatal Brain: Probing Cerebral Hemodynamics by Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Methods
Farzam P, Buckley EM, Lin PY, Hagan K, Grant PE, Inder TE, Carp SA, Franceschini MA
Published in Scientific Reports on November 17, 2017 | *Summary available


CHANGES IN BRAIN FUNCTION AND SUICIDAL IDEATION IN PATIENTS WITH MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
Reduced Orbitofrontal-Thalamic Functional Connectivity Related to Suicidal Ideation in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder
Kim K, Kim SW, Myung W, Han CE, Fava M, Mischoulon D, [et al.] Seong JK, Jeon HJ
Published in Scientific Reports on November 17, 2017 | *Summary available


REGULATING WATER CHANNEL RETENTION IN MEMBRANES
Impaired AQP2 Trafficking in Fxyd1 Knockout Mice: A Role for FXYD1 in Regulated Vesicular Transport
Arystarkhova E, Bouley R, Liu YB, Sweadner KJ
Published in PLoS One on November 20, 2017 | *Summary available


MITOCHONDRIA'S FUNCTION AFTER ACUTE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM INJURY
Extracellular Mitochondria for Therapy and Diagnosis in Acute Central Nervous System Injury
Hayakawa K, Bruzzese M, Chou SH, Ning M, Ji X, Lo EH
Published in JAMA Neurology on November 20, 2017


IDENTIFYING GENES RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARANCE OF HEPATITIS C
Fine-Mapping of Genetic Loci Driving Spontaneous Clearance of Hepatitis C Virus Infection
Huang H, Duggal P, Thio CL, Latanich R, Goedert JJ, Mangia A, [et al.] Chung RT, Kim AY
Published in Scientific Reports on November 20, 2017 | *Summary available


EVALUATING COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF A SECOND HIV DIAGNOSTIC TEST FOR FALSE POSITIVES
The Value of Confirmatory Testing in Early Infant HIV Diagnosis Programmes in South Africa: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
Dunning L, Francke JA, Mallampati D, MacLean RL, Penazzato M, Hou T, [et al.] Ciaranello A
Published in PLoS Medicine on November 21, 2017 | *Summary available


DESIGN OF NATIVE-LIKE MOLECULES TO ADVANCE DEVELOPMENT OF HIV VACCINE
Structure-Based Design of Native-Like HIV-1 Envelope Trimers to Silence Non-Neutralizing Epitopes and Eliminate CD4 Binding
Kulp DW, Steichen JM, Pauthner M, Hu X, Schiffner T, Liguori A, [et al.] Schief WR
Published in Nature Communications on November 21, 2017


CONTROLLING THE FORMATION OF NEW NEURAL CONNECTIONS
Chemogenomic Analysis Reveals Key Role for Lysine Acetylation in Regulating Arc Stability
Lalonde J, Reis SA, Sivakumaran S, Holland CS, Wesseling H, Sauld JF, [et al.] Haggarty SJ
Published in Nature Communications on November 21, 2017 | *Summary available


A NEW FUNCTION OF ATR IN MITOSIS
A Mitosis-Specific and R Loop-Driven ATR Pathway Promotes Faithful Chromosome Segregation
Kabeche L, Nguyen HD, Buisson R, Zou L
Published in Science on November 23, 2017 | *Summary available


NEW METHOD FOR STABILIZING WHOLE BLOOD
Whole Blood Stabilization for the Microfluidic Isolation and Molecular Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells
Wong KHK, Tessier SN, Miyamoto DT, Miller KL, Bookstaver LD, Carey TR, [et al.] Stott SL, Toner M
Published in Nature Communications on November 23, 2017 | *Summary available


BIOMARKERS FOR RAPID EYE MOVEMENT SLEEP BEHAVIOR DISORDER
Idiopathic REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder and Neurodegeneration - An Update
Högl B, Stefani A, Videnovic A
Published in Nature Reviews Neurology on November 24, 2017 | *Summary available


COMPARING INTERPRETATIONS OF CT ANGIOGRAPHY RESULTS
Central Core Laboratory versus Site Interpretation of Coronary CT Angiography: Agreement and Association with Cardiovascular Events in the PROMISE Trial
Lu MT, Meyersohn NM, Mayrhofer T, Bittner DO, Emami H, Puchner SB, [et al.] Hoffmann U
Published in Radiology on November 27, 2017


MEASURING METASTASIS OF CERVICAL AND ENDOMETRIAL CANCER USING PET/CT SCANS
Identification of Distant Metastatic Disease in Uterine Cervical and Endometrial Cancers with FDG PET/CT: Analysis from the ACRIN 6671/GOG 0233 Multicenter Trial
Gee MS, Atri M, Bandos AI, Mannel RS, Gold MA, Lee SI
Published in Radiology on November 29, 2017 | *Summary available


ANALYSIS OF BIOENGINEERED 3D TUMOR MODELS
Comprehensive High-Throughput Image Analysis for Therapeutic Efficacy of Architecturally Complex Heterotypic Organoids
Bulin AL, Broekgaarden M, Hasan T
Published in Scientific Reports on November 30, 2017 | *Summary available


MEASURING THE VOLUME OF BRAIN TISSUE IN PATIENTS WITH ACUTE STROKE
In Patients with Suspected Acute Stroke, CT Perfusion-Based Cerebral Blood Flow Maps Cannot Substitute for DWI in Measuring the Ischemic Core
Copen WA, Yoo AJ, Rost NS, Morais LT, Schaefer PW, González RG, Wu O
Published in PLoS One on November 30, 2017


ATLAS OF INVASIVE HEAD AND NECK TUMOR CELLS
Single-Cell Transcriptomic Analysis of Primary and Metastatic Tumor Ecosystems in Head and Neck Cancer
Puram SV, Tirosh I, Parikh AS, Patel AP, Yizhak K, Gillespie S, [et al.] Lin DT, Aviv Regev A, Bernstein BE
Published in Cell on November 30, 2017 | See press release


Publication Summaries

1. IDENTIFYING CLINICAL IMAGING FACTORS THAT DETERMINE NEXT STEPS FOR TREATMENT OF ISCHEMIC STROKE PATIENTS
Clinical Imaging Factors Associated With Infarct Progression in Patients With Ischemic Stroke During Transfer for Mechanical Thrombectomy
Boulouis G, Lauer A, Siddiqui AK, Charidimou A, Regenhardt RW, Viswanathan A, [et al.] Leslie-Mazwi TM, Schwamm LH
Published in the November 2017 issue of JAMA Neurology

The treatment for stroke from large vessel blockage in the brain is mechanical thrombectomy, a minimally invasive procedure that physically removes the clot to re-establish blood flow. Patients are selected for mechanical thrombectomy using both their clinical examination and advanced imaging. This study* evaluated factors associated with progression of stroke during transfer of these patients from peripheral hospitals to centers that offer mechanical thrombectomy. The variables most predictive of stroke progression were stroke clinical severity and poor collateral blood flow around the blocked vessel as seen on vessel imaging. We anticipate that these results will directly impact legislative decisions and triage protocols, underscoring the importance of rapid transfer and providing criteria for selection for transfer at point of presentation.

(Summary submitted by Thabele M. Leslie-Mazwi, MD, of the Department of Neurology)


2. MANIPULATION OF IL2 CELLS TO CREATE NEW TOOL FOR IMMUNE THERAPY
Tethering IL2 to Its Receptor IL2Rβ Enhances Antitumor Activity and Expansion of Natural Killer NK92 Cells
Jounaidi Y, Cotten JF, Miller KW, Forman SA
Published in the November 2017 issue of Cancer Research

Natural killer (NK) cells are white blood cells with the innate ability to attack malignant and virus-infected cells. IL2 is one of the immunostimulatory proteins that activates NK cells, and therefore supplementing IL2 could enhance immunity in cancer and viral infection. However, tumor cells and their microenvironment often repress NK cells antitumor activity. In this study, we fused IL2 directly to one of its many receptors to create a novel hybrid protein that we introduced in NK cells, which enabled the NK cells to continuously self-activate. We found that these NK cells could kill cancer cells without IL2 and were also more able to resist a powerful immunosuppressive factor found in tumors. Our results show how tethering IL2 to its receptor eliminates the need for other IL2 receptors, offering a new tool to selectively activate and empower immune therapy.

(Summary submitted by Youssef Jounaidi, PhD, of the Department of Anesthesia)


3. COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF A CHILD OBESITY INTERVENTION
Cost-Effectiveness of a Clinical Childhood Obesity Intervention
Sharifi M, Franz C, Horan CM, Giles CM, Long MW, Ward ZJ, Resch SC, Marshall R, Gortmaker SL, Taveras EM
Published in the November 2017 issue of Pediatrics

Our study estimated the cost-effectiveness and population impact of the national implementation of the Study of Technology to Accelerate Research (STAR) intervention for childhood obesity. We used a microsimulation model to estimate cost, impact on obesity prevalence, and cost-effectiveness. Our results demonstrate that taking advantage of electronic health record (EHR) systems may be among the "best value for money" strategies currently tested for pediatric obesity treatment. We conclude that implementing an intervention focused on EHR-based decision support for primary care providers and self-guided behavior change support for parents is likely a more cost-effective approach to treating children with obesity than other clinical interventions.

(Summary submitted by Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, Ofer and Shelly Nemirovsky MGH Research Scholar, Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children)


4. EVALUATING POTENTIAL BENEFIT OF MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Medical Cannabinoids in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review
Wong SS, Wilens TE
Published in the November 2017 issue of Pediatrics

In states where medical cannabis is now legal, children and adolescents can legally access medical cannabis with certification from their doctor and consent from a parent or guardian. This means that doctors and families need to understand what we know and what we don’t yet know about medical cannabis in order to make the best decision for the health of the individual child. In a systematic review of published studies on the use of medical cannabis in children and adolescents, we found a notable lack of studies and a minimal number of the randomized, controlled trials needed to confirm the effectiveness of a treatment. Our review suggests only two pediatric uses of medical cannabis – to relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and to reduce seizures – are supported by existing studies.

(Summary submitted by Shane Shucheng Wong, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry)


5. EXPLORING POTENTIAL BENEFIT OF FIBER FOR PATIENTS WITH COLORECTAL CANCER
Fiber Intake and Survival After Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
Song M, Wu K, Meyerhardt JA, Ogino S, Wang M, Fuchs CS, Giovannucci EL, Chan AT
Published in Nature Chemical Biology on November 2, 2017

Colorectal cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the United States. While consuming a high-fiber diet has been linked to a lower likelihood of getting colorectal cancer, scientific data remains lacking as to whether patients who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer would benefit from high fiber consumption. This study examined patients’ fiber intake after diagnosis of colorectal cancer in relation to long-term survival outcomes in two large observational cohorts. It was found that each 5-g increment in fiber intake per day was associated with 22% lowered risk of dying from colorectal cancer and 14% lowered risk of dying from any cause. Patients who increased their fiber intake after diagnosis from levels before diagnosis had a substantially better survival. This data provides the first line of scientific evidence for a potential benefit of high-fiber diet on colorectal cancer survivorship.

(Summary submitted by Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, Stuart and Suzanne Steele MGH Research Scholar, of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, and the Division of Gastroenterology)


6. INTERCELLULAR SIGNALING AND X CHROMOSOME INACTIVATION
Genetic Intersection of Tsix and Hedgehog Signaling during the Initiation of X-Chromosome Inactivation
Del Rosario BC, Del Rosario AM, Anselmo A, Wang PI, Sadreyev RI, Lee JT
Published in Developmental Cell on November 6, 2017

Much of the work in the Lee group investigates gene regulation using X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) - a prototypical model process that is developmentally regulated. XCI is essential to balancing X chromosome gene expression differences between males and females. However, a provision to much of the canon of XCI literature is that many of the groundbreaking experiments were performed using cell culture. Our goal was to scrutinize XCI beyond a Petri dish and consider the developing female embryo. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we uniquely identified the Hedgehog-GLI signaling cascade as key to ensuring synchronous XCI via the X-linked gene, Tsix. The impact of our study goes far beyond XCI and further prompts basic medical science research to view results through a lens that also considers an organismal perspective.

(Summary submitted by Brian Del Rosario, PhD, of the Department of Molecular Biology)


7. DISCOVERY OF A VIRAL RESPONSE AFTER A HEART ATTACK
IRF3 and Type I Interferons Fuel a Fatal Response to Myocardial Infarction
King KR, Aguirre AD, Ye YX, Sun Y, Roh JD, Ng RP Jr, [et al.] Fitzgerald KA, Mitchison T, Libby P, Nahrendorf M, Weissleder R
Published in Nature Medicine on November 6, 2017

Hearts attacks result from the occlusion of coronary arteries, which starves heart muscle cells of oxygen-rich blood and causes them to die. Immune cells respond by entering the dead tissue, clearing cell debris, and stabilizing the heart wall via fibrosis and repair. In this report, we describe the surprising finding that dying cell DNA mimics a virus, which causes immune cells to turn on antiviral programs after a heart attack even though there is no viral infection. These findings open new therapeutic options for treating myocardial infarction.

(Summary submitted by Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD, of the Center for Systems Biology)


8. ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND CONCENTRATIONS OF FREE RADICALS
Oxalate-Curcumin–Based Probe for Micro- and Macroimaging of Reactive Oxygen Species in Alzheimer’s Disease
Yang J, Zhang X, Yuan P, Yang J, Xu Y, Grutzendler J, Shao Y, Moore A, Ran C
Published in PNAS One on November 6, 2017

It has long been speculated that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is tightly associated with an imbalance in the brain between high concentrations of free radicals — known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) — and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects. However, comprehensive evidence from living beings is rare. Inspired by the chemistry of glow sticks, we designed fluorescent imaging probes to provide micro- and macro-levels of evidence of high ROS concentrations in AD brains in preclinical animal studies. At the micro-level, our imaging method identified “active” amyloid beta plaques and buildup of amyloid on the walls of the brain’s arteries. At the macro-level, our imaging probe could detect relatively high ROS concentrations from AD mice brains. We believe that our method will be an indispensable tool for investigating ROS in living beings.

(Summary submitted by Chongzhao Ran, PhD, of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging)


9. REACTIONS OF NONENZYMATIC RNA PRIMER EXTENSIONS
A Mechanistic Explanation for the Regioselectivity of Nonenzymatic RNA Primer Extensiones
Giurgiu C, Li L, O'Flaherty DK, Tam CP, Szostak JW
Published in Journal of the American Chemical Society on November 7, 2017

The origin of life on Earth remains one of the most important questions for science to answer. The popular RNA World theory states that life started with ribonucleic acid (RNA), a swiss army knife molecule able to perform most of the tasks assigned to proteins and DNA in modern biology. The copying of RNA forms a medley of natural and modified molecules, which was thought to be a fatal flaw of the theory. Our study suggests that the mixture formed is not as heterogeneous as was believed, and that a small amount of heterogeneity could have helped in the development of life forms.

(Summary submitted by Constantin Giurgiu, MChem, of the Szostak Lab in the Department of Molecular Biology)


10. EXPLORING DRIVING FORCES OF TUMOR HETEROGENEITY
Tumour Heterogeneity and Resistance to Cancer Therapies
Dagogo-Jack I, Shaw AT
Published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology on November 8, 2017

Cancer is a dynamic disease. Over time, new mutations are acquired. Mutations can be unevenly distributed within and across disease sites. There are many emerging technologies for assessing tumor heterogeneity, including analysis of biopsies from multiple tumor sites and analysis of tumor material that is shed into the bloodstream. Mutational heterogeneity poses a challenge for designing personalized therapies. Current understanding of genetic heterogeneity in solid tumors suggests that a combination of treatments may be more effective than a single drug. In this review, we describe the spectrum of heterogeneity in solid tumors and propose potential approaches to combating this heterogeneity.

(Summary submitted by Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack, MD, of the Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology)


11. ATLAS OF THE SMALL INTESTINE
A Single-Cell Survey of the Small Intestinal Epithelium
Haber AL, Biton M, Rogel N, Herbst RH, Shekhar K, Smillie C, [et al.] Xavier RJ, Regev A
Published in Nature on November 8, 2017

The lining or epithelium of the gut is one of the body's most diverse and dynamic tissues. To better understand this complex tissues and its functions — and the diseases that affect it, we created a census of the cells that make up the lining of the small intestine, using gene expression profiles of more than 53,000 individual cells from the mouse gut or gut organoid models. In doing so, we have created a rich reference for understanding the biology of inflammatory bowel disease and food allergies, among other conditions.

(Summary submitted by Ramnik Xavier, MD, PhD, Chief of Gastroenterology)


12. ANXIETY AND PERCEPTION OF FACIAL THREAT CUES
Observer’s Anxiety Facilitates Magnocellular Processing of Clear Facial Threat Cues, but Impairs Parvocellular Processing of Ambiguous Facial Threat Cues
Im HY, Adams RB Jr, Boshyan J, Ward N, Cushing CA, Kveraga K
Published in Scientific Reports on November 9, 2017

Abnormal emotional reactions to threat cues are a hallmark of anxiety disorders but the underlying neural processes are poorly understood. While a fear expression with averted gaze clearly points to the source of threat, direct-gaze fear renders the source of threat ambiguous. Our previous work suggests that the magnocellular (M) pathway processes clear threat, and the parvocellular (P) pathway processes ambiguous threat. To examine how observer’s anxiety interacts with threat processing in the brain, we performed an fMRI study in 108 participants. Our findings suggest that trait anxiety differentially affects perception of clear (averted-gaze fear) and ambiguous (direct-gaze fear) facial threat cues via selective engagement of M and P pathways and lateralized amygdala reactivity.

(Summary submitted by Hee Yeon Im, PhD, of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging)


13. ASSESSING SUBCORTICAL BRAIN DYNAMICS IN HUMANS
Sparsity Enables Estimation of Both Subcortical and Cortical Activity from MEG and EEG
Krishnaswamy P, Obregon-Henao G, Ahveninen J, Khan S, Babadi B, Iglesias JE, Hämäläinen MS, Purdon PL
Published in PNAS on November 14, 2017

Subcortical structures govern many important brain functions, including sensory perception, memory, emotion and consciousness. Studying brain activity in these structures in humans is challenging, particularly identifying both where and when activity is happening. Technologies such as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) can record brain activity, but determining where the signals generated by subcortical structures are coming from is difficult because they are small and cannot be distinguished from cortical activity. In this paper, we show that cortical and subcortical signals can be distinguished if the cortical sources are “sparse” or confined to some subset of the cerebral cortex. We then describe an algorithm that uses sparsity in a hierarchical fashion to jointly localize cortical and subcortical sources. Our work opens up new possibilities for studying subcortical activity in humans.

(Summary submitted by Patrick Purdon, PhD, of the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine)


14. TRACKING DEVELOPMENT OF INTUBATION SKILLS IN NOVICE PHYSICIANS
Longitudinal Acquisition of Endotracheal Intubation Skills in Novice Physicians
Takeuchi S, Shiga T, Koyama Y, Nakanishi T, Honma Y, Morita H, Goto T
Published in PLoS One on November 14, 2017

While emergency tracheal intubation is a life-saving procedure, a half of intubation procedures are performed by junior residents in the emergency department. Although better intubation skills may reduce the risk of intubation-related complications, little is known about whether the residency program and clinical training improve their intubation skills. In our study, we found that the force applied to the oral structures (i.e., teeth and tongue) during intubation were decreased after the completion of one-year clinical training. Because successful intubation with less force could reduce the risk of intubation-related complications, our study suggests that the assessment of procedural competency is recommended for all novice physicians to improve the quality of emergency care.

(Summary submitted by Tadahiro Goto, MD, of the Department of Emergency Medicine)


15. CONTRIBUTORS TO REGULATION OF GENE TRANSCRIPTION
Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Methylates Elongin A to Regulate Transcription
Ardehali MB, Anselmo A, Cochrane JC, Kundu S, Sadreyev RI, Kingston RE
Published in Molecular Cell on November 15, 2017

For the body to develop properly, each cell in the body must have the correct identity. For instance, muscle cells must be different than skin cells. A collection of regulatory proteins called PRC2 is essential for proper cell differentiation. PRC2 was previously shown to add methyl groups to the histone H3 protein. This methylation regulates packaging of the genome's DNA in a manner that is required for differentiation and that is defective in many cancers. This new study shows that PRC2 also adds a methyl group to Elongin A, a protein involved in transcription, or deciphering the DNA code. Loss of Elongin A methylation alters gene expression and interferes with differentiation. Thus PRC2 regulates differentiation by methylating proteins involved in both packaging the genome and transcribing the genome.

(Summary submitted by Robert Kingston, PhD, Chief of Molecular Biology)


16. STUDYING BLOOD CIRCULATION IN THE BRAIN
Wavelet Brain Angiography Suggests Arteriovenous Pulse Wave Phase Locking
Butler WE
Published in PLoS One on November 15, 2017

Every heartbeat pumps 17 cc of blood to the brain, but a brain hemorrhage with a rapid release of 10 cc of free blood has a significant mortality. How do we survive every heartbeat? The phenomena in question takes place during a time frame that is not easily accessible to MRI and CT. To study the question, Dr. Butler has introduced a new mathematical image reconstruction technique called wavelet angiography and has used it to study the pulse wave travel of individual heartbeats in both humans and animals. The new imaging method finds evidence that the brain maintains carefully coordinated arterial and venous pulse waves. This might open new avenues of investigation into conditions with elevated intracranial pressure such as a stroke and head trauma.

(Summary submitted by William Butler, MD, of the Department of Neurosurgery)


17. UNDERSTANDING THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE VENTRICLES OF THE BRAIN
CSF in the Ventricles of the Brain Behaves as a Relay Medium for Arteriovenous Pulse Wave Phase Coupling
Butler WE, Agarwalla PK, Codd P
Published in PLoS One on November 15, 2017

The ventricles of the brain remain the largest anatomic structure in the body without an established primary function. This hinders our understanding of several brain conditions, including hydrocephalus, a debilitating and potentially fatal buildup of too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain that occurs in about 1 in 500 live births yet can happen at any age. In a separate paper, Dr. Butler hypothesized that the ventricles serve to accommodate the arrival of blood from the heart and introduced a mathematical imaging method for imaging the travel of individual pulse waves in the brain. In this paper, we compare the travel of pulse waves on the ventricle surfaces with the travel of brain ventricle wall motions and spinal fluid variations in humans, and find a correspondence. This is consistent with a role for the ventricles in vascular pulse wave accommodation, and potentially opens a pathway to better understand how to manage hydrocephalus and other similar conditions.

(Summary submitted by William Butler, MD, of the Department of Neurosurgery)


18. MEASURING OXYGEN AND BLOOD FLOW IN NEWBORN BRAINS
Shedding Light on the Neonatal Brain: Probing Cerebral Hemodynamics by Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Methods
Farzam P, Buckley EM, Lin PY, Hagan K, Grant PE, Inder TE, Carp SA, Franceschini MA
Published in Scientific Reports on November 17, 2017

Perinatal brain injuries can lead to neurological disabilities causing lifelong challenges for the affected children and their families. Males are at a higher risk of mortality due to brain injury compared to females. To understand pathological mechanisms of perinatal brain injury, we investigated healthy brain development and identified differences between male and female brains. Our study reveals a significant sexual dimorphism in brain physiology that we measured with noninvasive optical techniques. Our results indicate that in healthy neonates, girls tend to have lower oxygen saturation and higher blood flow, which signifies higher metabolism than boys. These findings help us to better understand neonatal brain injuries and to explain why newborn males are more vulnerable to brain injuries.

(Summary submitted by Parisa Farzam, PhD, of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging)


19. CHANGES IN BRAIN FUNCTION AND SUICIDAL IDEATION IN PATIENTS WITH MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
Reduced Orbitofrontal-Thalamic Functional Connectivity Related to Suicidal Ideation in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder
Kim K, Kim SW, Myung W, Han CE, Fava M, Mischoulon D, [et al.] Seong JK, Jeon HJ
Published in Scientific Reports on November 17, 2017

Despite recent developments in neuroimaging, alterations of brain functional connectivity in major depressive disorder (MDD) patients with suicidal ideation are poorly understood. This study investigated specific changes of suicidal ideation in functional connectivity of MDD patients. We used resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) to compare MDD patients with and without suicidal ideation to healthy controls. In MDD patients with suicidal ideation, we found reduced functional connectivity in regions responsible for decision-making and information integration. The reduced functional connectivity was inversely proportional to the severity of suicidality independent from depression severity, suggesting independent pathology related to suicidality in depression.

(Summary submitted by Hong Jin Jeon, MD, PhD, formerly of the Depression Clinical and Research Program; currently with the Department of Psychiatry, Depression Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea)


20. REGULATING WATER CHANNEL RETENTION IN MEMBRANES
Impaired AQP2 Trafficking in Fxyd1 Knockout Mice: A Role for FXYD1 in Regulated Vesicular Transport
Arystarkhova E, Bouley R, Liu YB, Sweadner KJ
Published in PLoS One on November 20, 2017

Until now, a membrane protein called FXYD1 has been known mainly for its ability to regulate sodium transport through the membranes of cardiac cells, and thus modulate the strength of heart contraction. While studying mice missing this protein, we found unexpectedly that they produced diluted urine. The final adjustment of urine volume is mediated by recruiting the water channel aquaporin 2 (AQP2) to a membrane in the kidney so that water is reabsorbed. The water channel is regulated by shuttling it in and out of the membrane. We discovered that FXYD1 is needed for retention of AQP2 in the membrane and that it is regulated by the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin. This is an entirely novel role for FXYD1, and provides insight into the control of urine formation.

(Summary submitted by Kathleen Sweadner, PhD, of the Department of Neurology)


21. IDENTIFYING GENES RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARANCE OF HEPATITIS C
Fine-Mapping of Genetic Loci Driving Spontaneous Clearance of Hepatitis C Virus Infection
Huang H, Duggal P, Thio CL, Latanich R, Goedert JJ, Mangia A, [et al.] Chung RT, Kim AY
Published in Scientific Reports on November 20, 2017

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects millions worldwide and is a leading cause of liver disease, with at least 30,000 new cases annually in the U.S. While we have treatments that can cure the virus, they are expensive. Ideally, we would develop ways to prevent chronic infections and promote clearance of the virus. Our study examined people who cleared HCV on their own and compared their genes with those who didn’t. Previous studies had implicated a region of our genes; our study zeroes in even further; hopefully further studies will figure out how genes govern the immune system to clear HCV.

(Summary submitted by Arthur Kim, MD, of the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases)


22. EVALUATING COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF A SECOND HIV DIAGNOSTIC TEST FOR FALSE POSITIVES
The Value of Confirmatory Testing in Early Infant HIV Diagnosis Programmes in South Africa: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
Dunning L, Francke JA, Mallampati D, MacLean RL, Penazzato M, Hou T, [et al.] Ciaranello A
Published in PLoS Medicine on November 21, 2017

Diagnosing infant HIV infection requires expensive nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs). To rule out a false-positive NAAT result, WHO recommends infants undergo a second NAAT to confirm true HIV infection. However, this confirmatory testing is rarely done. International guidelines also recommend that infants with a positive NAAT result immediately begin antiretroviral therapy (ART) to reduce HIV-related mortality. In this study, we used a computer microsimulation of infant HIV disease to demonstrate that undergoing a second NAAT can dramatically reduce the number of infants who are incorrectly diagnosed with HIV and initiated on long-term ART. The costs of long-term HIV treatment avoided by confirmatory testing far outweighed the cost of the second NAAT, making the confirmatory testing strategy cost-saving. The study also confirmed current WHO guidance that ART should be initiated immediately after a first positive NAAT.

(Summary submitted by Andrea Ciaranello, MD, MPH, of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Medical Practice Evaluation Center)


23. CONTROLLING THE FORMATION OF NEW NEURAL CONNECTIONS
Chemogenomic Analysis Reveals Key Role for Lysine Acetylation in Regulating Arc Stability
Lalonde J, Reis SA, Sivakumaran S, Holland CS, Wesseling H, Sauld JF, [et al.] Haggarty SJ
Published in Nature Communications on November 21, 2017

Cognitive deficits are a characteristic feature of a myriad of brain disorders ranging from schizophrenia to Alzheimer’s disease. In order to identify novel targets and leads for therapeutic development for cognitive disorders, we developed an innovative, high-throughput, automated microscopy-based assay that enables the quantitative analysis of thousands of cultured neuron images. Screening a collection of diverse drug-like small molecules with this assay led to the discovery of novel mechanisms for controlling the expression of Arc, a key molecule for controlling synaptic plasticity and memory consolidation. These finding provide new insights into the molecular and cellular mechanism of neuroplasticity that can possibly be harnessed for clinical applications.

(Summary submitted by Stephen Haggarty, PhD, Stuart and Suzanne Steele MGH Research Scholar, of the Center for Genomic Medicine and the Center for Experimental Drugs and Diagnostics)


24. A NEW FUNCTION OF ATR IN MITOSIS
A Mitosis-Specific and R Loop-Driven ATR Pathway Promotes Faithful Chromosome Segregation
Kabeche L, Nguyen HD, Buisson R, Zou L
Published in Science on November 23, 2017

ATR is a master regulator of cellular responses to DNA damage and genomic instability. Because the genomes of cancer cells are unstable during proliferation, they are reliant on ATR for survival. ATR inhibitors are being tested in clinical trials for several cancer types. In this paper, we discovered a surprising function of ATR in mitosis. Upon ATR loss, cells cannot segregate their genomes properly when they divide. Thus, the cancer cells defective for chromosome segregation may be particularly susceptible to ATR inhibition and provide a new opportunity for cancer therapy.

(Summary submitted by Lee Zou, PhD, Jim and Ann Orr MGH Research Scholar, of the Cancer Center)


25. NEW METHOD FOR STABILIZING WHOLE BLOOD
Whole Blood Stabilization for the Microfluidic Isolation and Molecular Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells
Wong KHK, Tessier SN, Miyamoto DT, Miller KL, Bookstaver LD, Carey TR, [et al.] Stott SL, Toner M
Published in Nature Communications on November 23, 2017

No methods exist that can stabilize blood for more than a day for the isolation and transcriptomic analysis of rare cells, such as circulating tumor cells. This represents a major bottleneck in the development and translation of liquid biopsy technologies. In this paper, we developed a method to preserve whole blood in its native state for up to 72 hours and thereby enable the detection of cancer-specific transcripts from prostate tumor cells in clinical blood samples. Of note, we were able to detect the androgen-receptor splice variant 7 (AR-V7) mRNA with 100% concordance using our stabilized blood. This biomarker is clinically relevant and may inform treatment decisions on the use of antiandrogen therapy versus taxane chemotherapy. Our method in blood stabilization can be extended to a wide range of live cell-based assays and diagnostics.

(Summary submitted by Keith Wong, PhD, of the Department of Surgery and the Center for Engineering in Medicine)


26. BIOMARKERS FOR RAPID EYE MOVEMENT SLEEP BEHAVIOUR DISORDER
Idiopathic REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder and Neurodegeneration - An Update
Högl B, Stefani A, Videnovic A
Published in Nature Reviews Neurology on November 24, 2017

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a condition in which patients “act out their dreams”, which may lead to significant injuries to patients and their bedpartners. Individuals with RBD are also at increased risk for developing neurodegenerative disorders, specifically Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Over 80% of individuals with RBD progress to Parkinson’s or dementia. In this article, we discuss markers of neurodegenerative process in individuals with RBD, identify gaps in the current knowledge and outline directions for further scientific discovery. Better understanding of RBD is a much-needed step in our fight against these common and incurable neurodegenerative disorders.

(Summary submitted by Aleksandar Videnovic, MD, of the Department of Neurology)


27. MEASURING METASTASIS OF CERVICAL AND ENDOMETRIAL CANCER USING PET/CT SCANS
Identification of Distant Metastatic Disease in Uterine Cervical and Endometrial Cancers with FDG PET/CT: Analysis from the ACRIN 6671/GOG 0233 Multicenter Trial
Gee MS, Atri M, Bandos AI, Mannel RS, Gold MA, Lee SI
Published in Radiology on November 29, 2017

At the time of cancer diagnosis, when surgeons and oncologists are formulating treatment strategy for patients, a single FDG-PET/CT imaging study provides important information regarding cancer spread to regional lymph nodes as well as more distant sites in the body. We found that greater than 10% of patients have distant metastatic disease at the time of cancer diagnosis that is detectable by PET-CT. These results suggest that PET/CT imaging can accurately detect distant metastatic disease in women with cervical and endometrial cancer and should be an important part of the initial management of cervical and endometrial cancer patients.

(Summary submitted by Michael Gee, MD, PhD, of the Department of Radiology)


28. ANALYSIS OF BIOENGINEERED 3D TUMOR MODELS
Comprehensive High-Throughput Image Analysis for Therapeutic Efficacy of Architecturally Complex Heterotypic Organoids
Bulin AL, Broekgaarden M, Hasan T
Published in Scientific Reports on November 30, 2017

Bioengineered three-dimensional (3D) tumor models are gaining interest as they recapitulate key features of the tumor’s complex biology and could serve as an initial testing platform for potential therapies. However, there is a need for quantitative analysis methods because current 3D model analyses do not always provide accurate assessments of treatment outcomes. This paper describes the development of bioengineered tumor arrays in a dish and mathematical analysis to assess treatment efficacy by a fluorescence imaging-based method, CALYPSO (comprehensive image analysis procedure‚Ä®for structurally complex organotypic cultures). CALYPSO allows us to efficiently and quantitatively distinguish between effective and ineffective therapies. CALYPSO has the potential for widespread implementation and could guide the design and translation of novel cancer therapies.

(Summary submitted by Tayyaba Hasan, PhD, of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine)


Press Releases

Almost Half of Those Who Report Resolving a Problem with Drugs or Alcohol Do So Without Assistance
Featuring John Kelly, PhD

A study from the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital has estimated for the first time the number of Americans who have overcome serious problems with the use of alcohol or other drugs. More than 9 percent of respondents to a national survey indicate overcoming a problem, but only 46 percent of them consider themselves "in recovery."


New Techniques Give Blood Biopsies Greater Promise
Featuring Gad Getz, PhD

Researchers have developed an accurate, scalable approach for monitoring cancer DNA from blood samples. The team demonstrated that nearly 90 percent of a tumor’s genetic features can be detected in blood samples using whole-exome sequencing, and that the method can be effectively applied in up to 49 percent of patients with advanced cancer.


Researchers Produce the First Draft Cell Atlas of the Small Intestine
Featuring Ramnik Xavier, MD, PhD

To better understand the lining of the gut — and the diseases that affect it — a multicenter team has released a census of the cells that make up the lining of the small intestine. The results were found using gene expression profiles of more than 53,000 individual cells from the mouse gut or gut organoid models.


Autoimmunity May Underlie Newly Discovered Painful Nerve-Damage Disorder
Featuring Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD

An analysis of the medical records of patients treated at Massachusetts General Hospital for an often-mysterious condition involving damage to small nerve fibers supports the hypothesis that some of these cases are caused by autoimmune disease. The study also identifies the first effective treatment option.


Massachusetts Panel Reviews Adverse Events in Cataract Surgery, Makes Recommendations for Prevention
Featuring Karen Nanji, MD, MPH

A team of specialists in anesthesiology, ophthalmology and patient safety convened in response to a series of injuries to patients receiving cataract surgery. They reported their findings regarding factors contributing to those and other adverse events and strategies for preventing patient harm in such procedures.


Molecular Pathway Offers Treatment Targets for Pulmonary Fibrosis, Related Conditions
Featuring David Lagares, PhD

Investigators have identified a molecular pathway that appears critical to the development of fibrosis – the build up of scarring and excessive tissue deposits that result from abnormal healing responses and can compromise the function of vital organs.


Manganese-Based MRI Contrast Agent May Be Safer Alternative to Gadolinium-Based Agents
Featuring Peter Caravan, PhD, and Eric Gale, PhD

A manganese-based MRI contrast agent developed by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers may be a safer alternative to gadolinium-based contrast agents.


Invasive Cells in Head and Neck Tumors Predict Cancer Spread
Featuring Bradley E. Bernstein, MD, PhD

Head and neck tumors that contain cells undergoing a partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition — which transforms them from neatly organized blocks into irregular structures that extrude into the surrounding environment — are more likely to invade and spread to other parts of the body, according to a new study.


Clinical Efficacy Trial of Ragon Institute-Supported HIV Vaccine Underway in Southern Africa
Featuring Bruce Walker, MD, and Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD

A phase 2b clinical trial of a novel preventive HIV vaccine regimen developed by researchers at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has begun in southern Africa.


Communication Between Lung Tumors and Bones Contributes to Tumor Progression
Featuring Mikael Pittet, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have found that "crosstalk" between lung tumors and bone marrow contributes to tumor progression.


Blog Posts

Kamryn Eddy Finds Hope for Patients with Eating Disorders
Featuring Kamryn Eddy, PhD

Recent research from Kamryn Eddy, PhD, co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, has found that two-thirds of women eventually recovered from their eating disorder over the course of two decades. These results provide new hope for the millions of men and women nationwide who have been on a long and winding road to recovery for years.


Could the Microbiome be the Key to Ending Chemotherapy-Induced Pain?
Featuring Shiqian Shen, MD, and Jianren Mao, MD, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers Shiqian Shen, MD, clinical investigator in the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Translational Pain Research, and Jianren Mao, MD, PhD, chief of the Mass General Pain Management Center and vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, are exploring why patients undergoing chemotherapy develop a painful pins and needles sensation known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Their research has uncovered a new connection between this type of pain and the balance of microorganisms in the gut.


Pocket-Sized Device Provides Food Allergy Sufferers with Life-Saving Tableside Lab Results
Featuring Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD, and Hakho Lee, PhD

A team from Massachusetts General Hospital has created a new pocket-sized device costing only $40 that gives food allergy sufferers the ability to accurately test their food for allergens in less than 10 minutes.


Researchers Use Machine Learning to Improve Breast Cancer Screening Techniques
Featuring Manisha Bahl, MD, and Constance Lehman, MD, PhD

A change in the standard of care for breast cancer screening could be on the horizon thanks to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT who have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a more precise and less invasive method for separating harmful breast lesions from benign ones.


World Diabetes Day 2017
Featuring research from Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, Ruxandra Sîrbulescu, PhD, Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, John Higgins, MD, and David Nathan, MD

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day – a time to raise awareness of the growing diabetes epidemic and the need for a cure as well as improved prevention and treatment. Learn about a few Massachusetts General Hospital researchers who are working to advance diabetes research and care.


A Snapshot of Science: A New Approach to Targeted Cancer Treatments, Identifying Genes that Help Protect the Gut and Much More!
Featuring Rachel Buckley, PhD, Rebecca Amariglio, PhD, Conor L. Evans, PhD, and Nir Hacohen, PhD

In this issue of "Snapshot of Science," we share recent research from Massachusetts General Hospital about a new approach to targeted cancer treatments, the identification of genes that help protect the gut, and much more!


Investigators Add New Insights to Lyme Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
Featuring John Branda, MD, and Allen Steere, MD

With the number of reported Lyme disease infections expected to reach a record high in 2017, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers are helping to meet the need for new diagnostic tools and treatments.


Celebrity Patients Bring Lupus into the Headlines, but Much Remains Unknown
Featuring April Jorge, MD

Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans and over 5 million people worldwide, yet much is still unknown about the autoimmune disease. Learn how Massachusetts General Hospital researcher and clinician April Jorge, MD, is investigating the symptoms, causes and treatment options for lupus.


Study Identifies New Targets for Huntington’s Disease Research
Featuring Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, PhD, is uncovering new clues that may advance treatment for Huntington's disease.


New Screening Technique Makes Waves in the Quest for Earlier Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
Featuring Patrick Purdon, PhD

How could studying patients under anesthesia lead to a new way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease? Mass General Hospital's Patrick Purdon is investigating whether studying brainwaves could potentially detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.


Research Awards and Honors: November 2017
Featuring Charumathi Baskaran, MBBS, Laura Dichtel, MD, Vibha Singhal, MBBS, Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc. Mark Daly, PhD, and Melissa Walker, MD, PhD

Please join us in congratulating these Massachusetts General Hospital researchers who received awards or were honored for their scientific contributions this month.


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