Snapshot of Science for December 2018

Overview

Welcome to the December 2018 edition of Snapshot of Science. Here's a quick look at some recent publications, press releases and stories about the Mass General Research Institute community.

In this issue we highlight:

  • 25 new studies published in high impact journals, along with 13 summaries submitted by the research teams
  • 13 new research-related press releases from the Mass General Public Affairs office
  • 7 posts from the Mass General Research Institute blog

Publications

GENETIC RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE AND PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS
Transancestral GWAS of Alcohol Dependence Reveals Common Genetic Underpinnings With Psychiatric Disorders
Walters RK, Polimanti R, Johnson EC, McClintick JN, Adams MJ [et al.], Agrawal A.
Published in Nature Neuroscience on November 26, 2018


DISCOVERING GENETIC RISK FACTORS FOR ADHD
Discovery of the First Genome-Wide Significant Risk Loci for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Demontis D, Walters RK, Martin J, Mattheisen M, Als TD [et al.], Neale BM.
Published in Nature Genetics on November 26, 2018


EVALUATING ION CHANNELS AND HOW THEY CONTRIBUTE TO NEUROPATHIC PAIN
Ion Channels and Neuropathic Pain
Klein MC, Oaklander AL.
Published in eLife on November 26, 2018 | *Summary available


INSIGHTS INTO INCREASED HIPPOCAMPAL ACTIVITY AND ALHEIMER'S DISEASE
Tau Accumulation in Clinically Normal Older Adults is Associated With Hippocampal Hyperactivity
Huijbers W, Schultz AP, Papp KV, LaPoint MR, Hanseeuw B [et al.], Sperling RA.
Published in Journal of Neuroscience on November 27, 2018


NEW POSSIBLE TREATMENT TO PREVENT ANGIOEDEMA ATTACKS
Effect of Lanadelumab Compared With Placebo on Prevention of Hereditary Angioedema Attacks: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Banerji A, Riedl MA, Bernstein JA, Cicardi M, Longhurst HJ [et al.], Maurer M.
Published in JAMA on November 27, 2018 | *Summary available | See press release


UNDERSTANDING HOW CHROMOSOME STRUCTURE REGULATES GENE EXPRESSION
Megadomains and Superloops Form Dynamically but Are Dispensable for X-chromosome Inactivation and Gene Escape
Froberg JE, Pinter SF, Kriz AJ, Jégu T, Lee JT.
Published in Nature Communications on November 27, 2018


IDENTIFYING T CELL RESPONSES AGAINST HIV-1 ESCAPE MUTATIONS
Dual HLA B*42 and B*81-reactive T Cell Receptors Recognize More Diverse HIV-1 Gag Escape Variants
Ogunshola F, Anmole G, Miller RL, Goering E, Nkosi T [et al.], Ndhlovu ZM.
Published in Nature Communications on November 27, 2018 | *Summary available


COMPARING ADHD DIAGNOSIS AND DATE OF SCHOOL ENROLLMENT
Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder and Month of School Enrollment
Layton TJ, Barnett ML, Hicks TR, Jena AB.
Published in New England Journal of Medicine on November 29, 2018 | See press release


UNCOVERING THE REGULATION OF CHRONIC LYMPHOCYTIC LEUKEMIA
Enhancer Architecture and Essential Core Regulatory Circuitry of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Ott CJ, Federation AJ, Schwartz LS, Kasar S, Klitgaard JL [et al.], Bradner JE.
Published in Cancer Cell on November 29, 2018 | *Summary available


DEVELOPING SOFTWARE FOR ANALYZING CRISPR DATA
CRISPR-SURF: Discovering Regulatory Elements by Deconvolution of CRISPR Tiling Screen Data
Hsu JY, Fulco CP, Cole MA, Canver MC, Pellin D [et al.], Pinello L.
Published in Nature Methods on November 30, 2018 | *Summary available


A DIFFERENT TAKE ON PRIMORDIAL RNA
Inosine, but None of the 8-oxo-purines, Is a Plausible Component of a Primordial Version of RNA
Kim SC, O'Flaherty DK, Zhou L, Lelyveld VS, Szostak JW.
Published in PNAS on December 3, 2018 | *Summary available | See press release


ESTIMATING OUTCOMES AND POTENTIAL TREATMENTS FOR MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY
Non-invasive Monitoring of Alternative Splicing Outcomes to Identify Candidate Therapies for Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1
Hu N, Antoury L, Baran TM, Mitra S, Bennett CF [et al.], Wheeler TM.
Published in Nature Communications on December 7, 2018 | See press release


MARTINOSTAT TRACER REVEALS EPIGENETIC DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAINS OF PATIENTS WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA
PET Neuroimaging Reveals Histone Deacetylase Dysregulation in Schizophrenia
Gilbert TM, Zürcher NR, Wu CJ, Bhanot A, Hightower BG [et al.], Hooker JM.
Published in Journal of Clinical Investigation on December 10, 2018 | *Summary available | See press release


nAb TITERS CORRELATE WITH PROTECTION FROM SHIV
Vaccine-induced Protection from Homologous Tier 2 SHIV Challenge in Nonhuman Primates Depends on Serum-neutralizing Antibody Titers
Pauthner MG, Nkolola JP, Havenar-Daughton C, Murrell B, Reiss SM [et al.], Burton DR.
Published in Immunity on December 11, 2018


STUDY FINDS ASSOCIATION BETWEEN LOSS-OF-FUNCTION MUTATIONS AND EARLY-ONSET ATRIAL FIBRILLATION
Association Between Titin Loss-of-Function Variants and Early-onset Atrial Fibrillation
Choi SH, Weng LC, Roselli C, Lin H, Haggerty CM [et al.], Ellinor PT.
Published in JAMA on December 11, 2018


COMBINATION THERAPY FOR MELANOMA SHOWS PROMISE
MEK Inhibition Enhances Oncolytic Virus Immunotherapy Through Increased Tumor Cell Killing and T Cell Activation
Bommareddy PK, Aspromonte S, Zloza A, Rabkin SD, Kaufman HL.
Published in Science Translational Medicine on December 12, 2018 | *Summary available | See press release


IDENTIFYING TARGETS FOR HIDRADENITIS SUPPURATIVA TREATMENTS
Analysis of Hidradenitis Suppurativa-linked Mutations in Four Genes and the Effects of PSEN1-P242LfsX11 on Cytokine and Chemokine Expression in Macrophages
Li A, Peng Y, Taiclet LM, Tanzi RE.
Published in Human Molecular Genetics on December 13, 2018 | *Summary available


USING TRANSLATIONAL NANOMEDICINE TO TREAT TUMORS
Modular Nanoparticulate Prodrug Design Enables Efficient Treatment of Solid Tumors Using Bioorthogonal Activation
Miller MA, Mikula H, Luthria G, Li R, Kronister S [et al.], Weissleder R.
Published in ACS Nano on December 14, 2018


INSIGHTS INTO TAU AND AMYLOID-β INTERACTIONS
Tau Impairs Neural Circuits, Dominating Amyloid-β Effects, in Alzheimer Models In Vivo
Busche MA, Wegmann S, Dujardin S, Commins C, Schiantarelli J [et al.], Hyman BT.
Published in Nature Neuroscience on December 17, 2018 | See press release


INVESTIGATING ACTIVATION OF ANTITUMOR T CELLS
Successful Anti-PD-1 Cancer Immunotherapy Requires T Cell-Dendritic Cell Crosstalk Involving the Cytokines IFN-γ and IL-12
Garris CS, Arlauckas SP, Kohler RH, Trefny MP, Garren S [et al.], Pittet MJ.
Published in Immunity on December 18, 2018 | *Summary available


IDENTIFYING ZPET AS A POTENTIAL DNA DAMAGE RESPONSE PROTEIN
Localized Protein Biotinylation at DNA Damage Sites Identifies ZPET, a Repressor of Homologous Recombination
Moquin DM, Genois MM, Zhang JM, Ouyang J, Yadav T [et al.], Zou L.
Published in Genes & Development on December 19, 2018


RESEARCH FINDS SIMILAR GENETIC STRUCTURE FOR ALL DIAGNOSIS CRITERIA OF PCOS
Large-scale Genome-wide Meta-analysis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Suggests Shared Genetic Architecture for Different Diagnosis Criteria
Day F, Karaderi T, Jones MR, Meun C, He C [et al.], Welt CK.
Published in PLOS Genetics on December 19, 2018


DISCOVERING PATTERNS OF BRAIN ACTIVITY BASED ON PREDICTED WORD ASSOCIATION
Specific Lexico-semantic Predictions Are Associated With Unique Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Neural Activity
Wang L, Kuperberg G, Jensen O.
Published in eLife on December 21, 2018 | *Summary available


EXAMINING HBV-SPECIFIC T CELL RESPONSES
Phenotype and Function of HBV-specific T Cells is Determined By the Targeted Epitope in Addition to the Stage of Infection
Hoogeveen RC, Robidoux MP, Schwarz T, Heydmann L, Cheney JA [et al.], Lauer GM.
Published in Gut on December 22, 2018 | *Summary available


INCREASES IN GALECTIN-3 PREDICT WORSE CARDIOVASCULAR OUTCOMES
Longitudinal Change in Galectin-3 and Incident Cardiovascular Outcomes
Ghorbani A, Bhambhani V, Christenson RH, Meijers WC, deBoer RA [et al.], Ho JE.
Published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology on December 25, 2018 | *Summary available

Publication Summaries

EVALUATING ION CHANNELS AND HOW THEY CONTRIBUTE TO NEUROPATHIC PAIN
Ion Channels and Neuropathic Pain
Klein MC, Oaklander AL.
Published in eLife on November 26, 2018

Fabry is a rare lysosomal-storage disorder where mutations in α-galactosidase cause fatty Gb3 to accumulate within small-fiber peripheral neurons that signal pain. No one knows why Fabry children develop disabling pain. This editorial discusses Üçeyler’s eLife study comparing young and old Fabry knock-out mice to show that accumulating Gb3 disrupts the Nav1.7 and HCN2 ion channels expressed in small fibers and blood vessels. Fabry-affected small fibers developed uncontrolled firing and ultimately degenerated. They also used RNA interference to mimic Fabry in a cell model and showed that the current enzyme-replacement treatment reduced Gb3 storage. Perhaps Gb3-regulating drugs might not only help Fabry but more common chronic pain conditions as well.

(Summary submitted by Madeleine C. Klein, BS, Department of Neurology, and Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, Departments of Neurology and Pathology)


NEW POSSIBLE TREATMENT TO PREVENT ANGIOEDEMA ATTACKS
Effect of Lanadelumab Compared With Placebo on Prevention of Hereditary Angioedema Attacks: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Banerji A, Riedl MA, Bernstein JA, Cicardi M, Longhurst HJ [et al.], Maurer M.
Published in JAMA on November 27, 2018

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a genetic condition characterized by elevated levels of bradykinin, a protein that induces leakage of fluids from the blood into tissues. Lanadelumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody, interferes with bradykinin generation by inhibiting the action of active plasma kallikrein, an enzyme that induces the protein’s release. In this study, researchers tested three lanadelumab treatment dosages and all three performed better than the placebo. The lanadelumab treatment groups averaged from 0.26 to 0.53 attacks over 26 weeks, compared with an average of 1.97 attacks among the placebo group. This offers a very promising new therapeutic agent in the prevention of attacks for patients with HAE.

(Summary submitted by Aleena Banerji, MD, Departments of Allergy & Immunology and Medicine)


IDENTIFYING T CELL RESPONSES AGAINST HIV-1 ESCAPE MUTATIONS
Dual HLA B*42 and B*81-reactive T Cell Receptors Recognize More Diverse HIV-1 Gag Escape Variants
Ogunshola F, Anmole G, Miller RL, Goering E, Nkosi T [et al.], Ndhlovu ZM.
Published in Nature Communications on November 27, 2018

Researchers identified an unexpected population of T cells that responded to the HIV Gag epitope called TL9 when presented by host proteins called B*81 and B*42, even in individuals who lacked one of the alleles. They termed this novel cell subset “dual-HLA reactive CD8 T cells.” This dual-HLA reactive response was associated with lower HIV-1 plasma viral loads, indicating that it contributes to control of infection. They also identified viral peptide variants that selectively stimulated dual-reactive CD8 T cells, suggesting that vaccination with these alternative HIV-1 peptide antigens might elicit a more effective, cross-reactive anti-HIV CD8 T cell response.

(Summary submitted by Zaza M. Ndhlovu, PhD, Ragon Institute)


UNCOVERING THE REGULATION OF CHRONIC LYMPHOCYTIC LEUKEMIA
Enhancer Architecture and Essential Core Regulatory Circuitry of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Ott CJ, Federation AJ, Schwartz LS, Kasar S, Klitgaard JL [et al.], Bradner JE.
Published in Cancer Cell on November 29, 2018

Cancer genome sequencing has uncovered many of the malfunctioning cellular pathways that allow tumors to form and proliferate. However, gene sequencing alone cannot fully characterize the dysregulation of gene expression observed in the 'epigenome' of cancer cells. In this study, our group has utilized sophisticated epigenomics techniques to map gene regulatory enhancers, the 'on' switches of a cancer genome, in a large cohort of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patient samples. Using this enhancer mapping approach, we were able to construct the gene regulatory circuitry of the disease and identify an essential transcription factor—PAX5—that dominates the cancer cells’ circuitry.

(Summary submitted by Christopher Ott, PhD, Mass General Cancer Center)


DEVELOPING SOFTWARE FOR ANALYZING CRISPR DATA
CRISPR-SURF: Discovering Regulatory Elements by Deconvolution of CRISPR Tiling Screen Data
Hsu JY, Fulco CP, Cole MA, Canver MC, Pellin D [et al.], Pinello L.
Published in Nature Methods on November 30, 2018

CRISPR genome editing uncovers functional regions of the genome by genetic or epigenetic perturbations. Some of those regions are important to diseases and could potentially be used to develop novel therapeutics. We have derived a methodology to model and analyze the data coming from these experiments and implemented it in a software and an interactive website called CRISPR-SURF, available at crisprsurf.pinellolab.org.

(Summary submitted by Luca Pinello, PhD, Mass General Cancer Center and Department of Pathology)


A DIFFERENT TAKE ON PRIMORDIAL RNA
Inosine, but None of the 8-oxo-purines, Is a Plausible Component of a Primordial Version of RNA
Kim SC, O'Flaherty DK, Zhou L, Lelyveld VS, Szostak JW.
Published in PNAS on December 3, 2018

The nature of the primordial genetic material is one of the many fascinating puzzles concerning the origin of life. There are good reasons to think that the first carrier of heredity was similar to modern RNA, but perhaps with some important chemical differences. Modern RNA uses guanosine as one of its four building blocks, but what Kim et al. found is that inosine works essentially as well as guanosine in terms of the rate and accuracy of RNA copying in chemical replication experiments. Inosine is closely related to guanosine, but easier to make by prebiotic chemistry. The fact that inosine both works well in RNA replication and is easier to make suggests that the first versions of RNA may have used inosine instead of guanosine.

(Summary submitted by Jack Szostak, PhD, Department of Molecular Biology)


MARTINOSTAT TRACER REVEALS EPIGENETIC DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAINS OF PATIENTS WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA
PET Neuroimaging Reveals Histone Deacetylase Dysregulation in Schizophrenia
Gilbert TM, Zürcher NR, Wu CJ, Bhanot A, Hightower BG [et al.], Hooker JM.
Published in Journal of Clinical Investigation on December 10, 2018

Patients with schizophrenia experience chronic cognitive deficits. This study measured the amount and location of a protein family, histone deacetylase (HDAC), that regulates cognitive circuitry using Martinostat PET neuroimaging. We found that patients with schizophrenia had different HDAC expression patterns than healthy participants. In particular, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) HDAC expression correlated with cognitive performance scores, suggesting that altered HDAC levels may impact cognitive function in humans.

(Summary submitted by Tonya Gilbert, PhD, previously of the Department of Radiology and Martinos Center)


COMBINATION THERAPY FOR MELANOMA SHOWS PROMISE
MEK Inhibition Enhances Oncolytic Virus Immunotherapy Through Increased Tumor Cell Killing and T Cell Activation
Bommareddy PK, Aspromonte S, Zloza A, Rabkin SD, Kaufman HL.
Published in Science Translational Medicine on December 12, 2018

Advances in melanoma treatment have been made with several new classes of drugs, including targeted therapy, immunotherapy and oncolytic viruses. However, some patients do not respond and there has been interest in combination therapy using two drugs within the same class. We reasoned that responses might be improved by combining agents across drug classes. In a mouse melanoma model, MEK inhibitors significantly improved melanoma treatment when combined with an oncolytic virus. Additional benefit was seen when immunotherapy was added even at low doses without added toxicity. Since all three drugs used are approved as single agents for melanoma therapy, further development in clinical trials is supported.

(Summary submitted by Howard L. Kaufman, MD, Department of Surgery and Division of Surgical Oncology)


IDENTIFYING TARGETS FOR HIDRADENITIS SUPPURATIVA TREATMENTS
Analysis of Hidradenitis Suppurativa-linked Mutations in Four Genes and the Effects of PSEN1-P242LfsX11 on Cytokine and Chemokine Expression in Macrophages
Li A, Peng Y, Taiclet LM, Tanzi RE.
Published in Human Moelcular Genetics on December 13, 2018

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by severe acne. We performed a functional in silico analysis of all 34 reported HS-linked mutations including those which we found to disrupt the γ-secretase complex. These were located in the genes: NCSTN, PSEN1, and PSENEN. In addition, we showed that a HS-linked PSEN1 loss-of-function mutation mediates cytokine and chemokine expression, specifically increasing and prolonging production of pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) in human THP-1 cells and PMA-differentiated macrophages. These findings suggest that HS patients with PSEN1 mutations may benefit from drugs or antibodies capable of inhibiting TNFα.

(Summary submitted by Airong Li, MD, PhD, Genetics and Aging Research Unit and MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease)


INVESTIGATING ACTIVATION OF ANTITUMOR T CELLS
Successful Anti-PD-1 Cancer Immunotherapy Requires T Cell-Dendritic Cell Crosstalk Involving the Cytokines IFN-γ and IL-12
Garris CS, Arlauckas SP, Kohler RH, Trefny MP, Garren S [et al.], Pittet MJ.
Published in Immunity on December 18, 2018

Anti-PD-1 therapies are a mainstay of cancer treatment. They enable anti-tumor immunity by “removing the brakes” on the immune system, by activating anti-tumor T cells. However, most patients don’t respond to this treatment. The Pittet laboratory at Mass General wanted to understand what makes an anti-PD-1 therapy “successful”. They discovered that a population of immune cells called dendritic cells (DCs) is required for T cells to eliminate cancer. Also, they found that activating these DCs can dramatically enhance the efficacy of anti-PD-1 therapies, suggesting that combination treatment strategies that target both DCs and T cells could increase the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies.

(Summary submitted by Christopher Garris, PhD, Center for Systems Biology)


DISCOVERING PATTERNS OF BRAIN ACTIVITY BASED ON PREDICTED WORD ASSOCIATION
Specific Lexico-semantic Predictions Are Associated With Unique Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Neural Activity
Wang L, Kuperberg G, Jensen O.
Published in eLife on December 21, 2018

After reading or hearing the sentence context, “In the crib there is a sleeping…,” we can easily predict the word “baby.” We used magnetoencephalography to record brain activity associated with the predicted word. We found that both the spatial and temporal pattern of brain activity was more similar following the context that predicts the same word (“In the hospital, there is a newborn …”) than following the context that predicts a different word (“On Valentine’s day, he sent his girlfriend a bouquet of red …”). For the first time, we provide evidence of a unique neural “fingerprint” corresponding to specific predicted words (e.g. “baby”) before the predicted word is presented.

(Summary submitted by Lin Wang, PhD, Department of Psychiatry)


EXAMINING HBV-SPECIFIC T CELL RESPONSES
Phenotype and Function of HBV-specific T Cells is Determined By the Targeted Epitope in Addition to the Stage of Infection
Hoogeveen RC, Robidoux MP, Schwarz T, Heydmann L, Cheney JA [et al.], Lauer GM.
Published in Gut on December 22, 2018

In this study the phenotype and function of hepatitis B virus (HBV) specific T cells was studied using fluorochrome-labeled multimers targeting different HBV proteins in individuals with either an acute self-limiting or chronic HBV infection. The findings indicate that expression of the T cell inhibitory receptor programmed death-1, as well as T cell differentiation, T cell function and T cell regulation differed by stages and outcomes of infection. Moreover, these features differed significantly between T cells targeting different HBV specificities. These results have direct implications for the design of immunological studies in HBV infection and are potentially relevant for informing immunotherapeutic approaches to induce functional cure.

(Summary submitted by Ruben Hoogeveen, MSc, Department of Medicine)


INCREASES IN GALECTIN-3 PREDICT WORSE CARDIOVASCULAR OUTCOMES
Longitudinal Change in Galectin-3 and Incident Cardiovascular Outcomes
Ghorbani A, Bhambhani V, Christenson RH, Meijers WC, deBoer RA [et al.], Ho JE.
Published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology on December 25, 2018

Galectin-3 has been shown to mediate cardiac fibrosis in animal models. We have previously shown that plasma galectin-3 levels are associated with the future development of heart failure among community-dwelling adults. In this current study, we show that traditional cardiovascular risk factors are associated with a rise in galectin-3 levels over a 10-year follow-up period. Further, longitudinal increases in galectin-3 levels predicted worse cardiovascular outcomes. This study highlights the importance of longitudinal changes in galectin-3 on the development of cardiovascular disease.

(Summary submitted by Jennifer E. Ho, MD, Department of Cardiology)

Press Releases

Life Has a New Ingredient
Featuring Jack Szostak, PhD

A new study led by Jack W. Szostak of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital suggests that RNA could have started with a different set of nucleotide bases. In place of guanine, RNA could have relied on a surrogate—inosine.


CEASE Program Increases Smoking Cessation Assistance Provided to Breastfeeding Mothers
Featuring Jeremy Drehmer, MPH, CPH

A study led by MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) researchers demonstrates that an MGHfC-developed program designed to help the parents of pediatric patients quit smoking can increase the provision of such assistance to breastfeeding mothers.


NINDS Announces Early Study Closure of SURE-PD3 Trial

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has stopped SURE-PD3, the Study of Urate Elevation in Parkinson’s disease (PD), after an interim analysis showed it would be unlikely to demonstrate benefit of long-term treatment with inosine in people with PD.


Ezogabine Treatment Shown to Reduce Motor Neuron Excitability in ALS Patients
Featuring Brian Wainger, MD, PhD

Brian Wainger, MD, PhD, of the Healey Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital presented initial results of a recently completed phase 2 clinical trial of ezogabine at the Motor Neurone Disease Association annual meeting. The trial met its primary goal of measuring a reduction in motor neuron excitability in people with ALS.


New Mouse Model May Speed Identification of Promising Muscular Dystrophy Therapies
Featuring Thurman Wheeler, MD

A Massachusetts General Hospital research team has created a new mouse model of a common form of muscular dystrophy with the potential of rapidly distinguishing promising therapeutic drugs from those unlikely to be successful.


Combining Three Treatment Strategies May Significantly Improve Melanoma Treatment
Featuring Howard Kaufman, MD

A study by a team led by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator finds evidence that combining three advanced treatment strategies for malignant melanoma – molecular targeted therapy, immune checkpoint blockade and the use of tumor-targeting viruses – may markedly improve outcomes.


The Robots Are Coming. Will Artificial Intelligence Soon Work Alongside Us?
Featuring Ozanan Meireles, MD, and Daniel Hashimoto, MD, MS

In an interview for PBS NewsHour’s Future of Work series, Massachusetts General Hospital Surgeon Ozanan Meireles, MD, and General Surgery Resident Daniel Hashimoto, MD, MS, discuss their work in developing software that is smart enough to offer sound advice in the midst of surgery.


Levels of Gene-expression-regulating Enzyme Are Altered in the Brains of People With Schizophrenia
Featuring Jacob Hooker, PhD

A study using a PET scan tracer developed at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital has identified, for the first time, epigenetic differences between the brains of individuals with schizophrenia and those of unaffected study participants.


Research Roundup December 2018

Research at Mass General is interwoven throughout more than 30 departments, centers and units and is conducted with the support and guidance of the Mass General Research Institute. The Research Roundup is a monthly series highlighting studies, news and events.


New ALS Center Aims to Change the Field
Featuring Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc

Mass General is spearheading a revolutionary new approach to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research and care with the opening of a new center, thanks to a $40 million donation – the third largest gift in the hospital’s history.


Tau Protein Suppresses Neural Activity in Mouse Models of Alzheimer's Disease
Featuring Bradley Hyman, MD, PhD

A study from Massachusetts General Hospital investigators sheds new light on how the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease – amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles containing the protein tau – produce their damaging effects in the brain.


Studies Examine Pediatric Services in U.S. Emergency Departments
Featuring Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH

Three papers from research teams led by a Massachusetts General Hospital physician examine the current readiness of U.S. emergency departments (EDs) to care for children and describe an initiative that led to the appointment of a Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinator – a step considered the single best intervention to improve pediatric emergency care – in all Massachusetts EDs.


Artificial Intelligence System Learns to Diagnose, Classify Intracranial Hemorrhage
Featuring Synho Do, PhD

A team of investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiology has developed a system using artificial intelligence to quickly diagnose and classify brain hemorrhages and to provide the basis of its decisions from relatively small image datasets.


Blog Posts

World AIDS Day 2018

In recognition of World AIDS Day, we are sharing some recent work from the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, which was established in 2009 with a dual mission to contribute to the accelerated discovery of an HIV/AIDS vaccine and to serve as a world leader in the collaborative study of immunology.


Mass General Researchers Identify Pattern of Brain Inflammation in Fibromyalgia Patients
Featuring Marco Loggia, PhD

A team of researchers at Mass General, in collaboration with a team form the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, recently identified a pattern of brain inflammation in the brains of fibromyalgia patients that could be the key to diagnosing this elusive disorder.


Mass General Researchers Detail How Artificial Intelligence Could Make Surgery Safer
Featuring Daniel Hashimoto, MD, MS, and Ozanan Meireles, MD

In an recent article in Annals of Surgery, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT details the ways in which artificial intelligence could revolutionize the practice and teaching of surgery—and how patients will benefit with safer surgeries and better outcomes.


Research Suggests Thirdhand Smoke May Be the New Thing for Parents to Watch Out for
Featuring Jeremy Drehmer, MPH, CPH

Many people have heard about secondhand smoke or have experienced it being near a smoking bystander. But what about thirdhand smoke? It is the tobacco smoke residue remaining after a cigarette has been smoked.


SurgiBox: Mass General Trauma Surgeon Helps Bring Safer Surgery to the Field
Featuring David King, MD

SurgiBox is an inflatable, sterile surgical environment that fits in a backpack and allows for safe surgery anywhere.


New Research Finds ADHD Diagnoses are More Common Among Younger Children in the Classroom
Featuring Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD

A recent study by investigators from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that children with August birthdays in school systems that have a September 1st grade cutoff are up to 30% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.


Over 30 Mass General Researchers Are Named Highly Cited Researchers of 2018

Clarivate Analytics’ annual Highly Cited Researchers Report was released earlier this month, and we are pleased to announce that 37 investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital made the list.


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