Susan A. Slaugenhaupt, PhDDear Mass General Research Community,

Welcome to the June edition of From the Lab Bench!

We have some great new science stories to share with you this month, plus an opportunity for you to present your science to a panel of communication experts during HUBweek this fall.

But first, a few words about one of our most important activities—promoting your research.

The Mass General research community is huge (there are over 8,000 of you), and we have over 1.2 million square feet of research space across Boston, Charlestown and Cambridge.

With so much going on, it’s a challenge for our small communications team to keep up with all of your discoveries, so please be sure to let us know what's going on in your lab.

In an effort to share more of your science stories with the world, we have launched several new communications vehicles:

Our Research Highlights page collects all of the research-related stories generated by Sue McGreevey and her colleagues in the MGH Public Affairs office.

Every month in MGH Hotline, our Research Roundup column provides a layperson-friendly summary of recent MGH research stories. Hotline is widely read by staff members, patients and visitors, and it’s a great way to update the entire hospital community on the latest research happenings.

We've launched a Recent Publications page where you can submit short summaries and links to your latest publications. Plus, our new Study Spotlight page provides a forum to explain your latest studies in greater detail—we’ll send you the questions, you send us your answers.

This summer we also have two interns from Emerson College who will be visiting research labs across MGH to gather new science stories and support our communications efforts. Hopefully you’ll all see Milo and Alyssa poking around your labs asking questions this summer.

As always, if you have a story that you want to share, please email us at We want to hear from you!


Susan A. Slaugenhaupt, PhD
Scientific Director,
Mass General Research Institute


Are you a great science communicator?

How well can you explain your science to a lay audience? This fall during HUBweek, the Mass General Research Institute will host "The Art of Talking Science," an opportunity for researchers in the Boston area to give short presentations on their science and get feedback from a panel of communications experts, including Carl Zimmer, award-winning science writer for the New York Times, National Geographic and STAT.

If you are interested, please fill out our application form and add a link to a one-minute YouTube video introducing yourself and your science. This is going to be fun!


New method for expanding adult stem cells in vivo could revolutionize lung disease research

A new process for growing adult stem cells outside the body may help to unlock the mysteries behind lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma and lung cancer.

This protocol, which was developed in the lab of Jay Rajagopal, MD, at Massachusetts General Hospital, is detailed in the August 2016 issue of Cell Stem Cell. The paper initially appears in an advanced online publication this week.

As detailed in the Cell Stem Cell article, researchers in Rajagopal's lab have identified a way to capture adult stem cells non-invasively from patients, expand them in the lab, and then use these cells to observe the progression of disease and test potential treatments.

In addition to airway cells, the process also appears to work for stem cells from other organs and tissues in the body, including the skin and the esophagus.

“We are very excited about the publication of this paper because we think it is going to change the way we study lung disease, but we also hope it changes the way people study skin and esophageal disease as well,” Dr. Rajagopal said in a recent interview.



Grogg seeks to improve proton beam cancer treatments with the use of PET imaging tools

Kira Grogg, PhD, started her research career working on one of the most ambitious and well-known research projects in the world—the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland

The world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the LHC consists of a 27-kilometer ring of superconducting magnets that are designed to accelerate protons and ions to a rate approaching the speed of light.

At the LHC, Grogg was part of the team that helped discover the Higgs Boson particle—the so-called “God particle” that had been employed in theoretical physics for years, but remained an unproven entity until 2013.

Being part of this highly prominent project was rewarding, but Grogg—who was one of thousands of scientists involved in the study—wanted a more hands-on role in her work.

The solution was to transition from large-scale high-energy physics to a more specialized area of medical physics at Massachusetts General Hospital.


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