About This Program


The Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU) at Massahusetts General Hospital is a multidisciplinary clinical research facility co-located with the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. The mission of the CTRU is to dramatically transform clinical research to accelerate progress in the prevention, management and cure of complex brain disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, mood and anxiety disorders.

Our research focus on the “Big Data & Digital Health Hub” includes a) a high-end computing system for integration of diverse data (clinical, multi-omic, neuroimaging, physiological and electronic health records); b) a data visualization room with a hyperwall and virtual reality capability; c) advanced multi-sensor clinical exam rooms; d) wearable and remote digital devices for home and ecological monitoring and e) dedicated mass spectrometry for large-scale measurement of biofluid proteomes.

The CTRU Big Data & Digital Health Hub will be used by over 40 independent investigators in the Mass General research and clinical communities in Neurology, Psychiatry and the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging to grow our already extensive collaborations with academic and commercial biotechnology and pharmaceutical interests. It will be a site for academic–industry partnerships, biomedical STEM education/workforce development and contractual research.

The CTRU Big Data & Digital Health Hub will enable the unprecedented integration of individualized precision medicine data on brain health with large-scale disease and normative sample data to discover new biomarkers of diagnosis, staging, tracking and mechanism of disease, and use these to develop new therapies.

Major Disease Interests

  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and others

Major Activities

  • Novel approaches to diagnosis, staging, tracking, therapeutic target engagement, and therapeutic outcomes
  • Proof-of-Concept and Phase 1b -> Phase 4, biomarker-intensive clinical treatment trials

CTRU Resources

  • Fully equipped exam rooms
  • Video-, audio-, and other sensor-equipped rooms
  • Lab equipment (centrifuges, labware, dry ice, fridge, freezer, CLIA-waived POC tests)
  • Physiology technologies (ECG, EEG, fNIRS)
  • Virtual reality cave
  • Advanced Data Visualization Room (149-10, Hyperwall, VR cave, 3D holography)

CTRU Services

  • Biomarkers assays
  • Phlebotomy and lumbar puncture
  • Digital Neurological Exam
  • IBC Core Neurobehavioral Assessment
  • Psychometrics
  • Nurse Practitioners and nurses
  • IV Infusion
  • Medical assistant and lab tech
  • Web, data, and IT management
  • Centralized scheduling and equipment maintenance

Executive Committee

Steven Arnold, MD
Director, Clinical and Translational Research Unit
Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Jessica Gerber, DAc
Director of Operations, Clinical and Translational Research Unit

John Chen, MD
Co-Director, Institute for Innovation in Imaging
Director, Imaging Clinical Trials, Division of Neuroradiology
Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Peter Caravan, MD
Co-Director, Institute for Innovation in Imaging
Director, The Caravan Lab