Explore this Lab


The Brand lab’s research activities are focused on using novel computational approaches and cloud computing to better understand how genetic variation contributes to complex developmental disorders. Specifically, we utilize whole genome sequencing (WGS) to provide a high-resolution assessment of genetic variation across a spectrum of diseases. We have particular expertise in the development of novel methods for the detection of structural variation (SV) from WGS. Recently, we have begun to explore the potential diagnostic utility of WGS and other novel sequencing-based techniques in prenatal and maternal health settings through close collaborations involving investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).

Research Projects

  1. Characterizing the genetic etiology of structural birth defects (SBD) and neurodevelopment disorders (NDD)

- Aggregate large cohorts of genomic data    across various SBD and NDD cohorts

- Perform gene discovery within and across    phenotypes in these datasets

  1. Development of novel SV detection methods in WGS

- We are active members in the Broad                                  Institute’s Structural Variation group charged with designing new methods for SV detection                    in Illumina and long read data

            - We are among the primary architects of the ensemble SV caller - GATK-SV

  1. Assessment of the contribution of SV to broader human diseases  

            - Investigate the impact of SV on numerous diseases and traits

            - Develop novel methods for SV association studies 

  1. Genomic Diagnostics

            - Compare the feasibility and utility of WGS as a diagnostic tool

            - Improve functional annotation for SV in clinical settings 

  1. Generation of SV population references

            - Generation of SVs across diverse populations including gnomAD and 1000 genomes 

            - Public release of SV callsets for benchmarking, population genetic studies, clinical screening,                and genetic association analyses


Michael Talkowski – Center for Genomic Medicine, MGH 

Elizabeth Leslie – Department of Human Genetics, Emory University

Center for Craniofacial Genetic at the University of Pittsburgh 

Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories at MGH 

Reproductive Endocrine Unit (REU) at MGH 

Research Positions

We have multiple pre and post-doctoral positions available in the area of computational genomics. Please contact hbrand1@mgh.harvard.edu for more information.