Endowed MGH Research Institute Chairs provide flexible and sustainable long-term support for forward-thinking scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Philanthropy plays a game-changing role in supporting research at Massachusetts General Hospital by providing scientists with unrestricted funding to pursue promising new areas of investigation.
These research initiatives may be too progressive or unconventional to qualify for funding from governmental sources such as the National Institutes of Health, but many of the biggest scientific breakthroughs start with out-of-the-box ideas that private funding can launch.
Endowed MGH Research Institute Chairs provide flexible and sustainable long-term support that our researchers can use to follow their science wherever it leads. Because of visionary donors who recognize the power of science to transform medicine, there have been four Endowed MGH Research Institute Chairs established since 2015.
"These chairs enable us to recognize great scientists, regardless of what discipline they are focused on," says Mass General President Peter Slavin, MD. "Great science, regardless of the field, is important to the future of medicine because you can never predict where the next breakthroughs are going to come from."
The Bernard and Mildred Kayden Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair
The first incumbent of the Bernard and Mildred Kayden Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair is Bradley Bernstein, MD, PhD. The chair was established by The Kayden Family Foundation in 2015.
Dr. Bernstein's research group in the Department of Pathology leads projects in genomics, technology development, chromatin, and stem cell and cancer biology.
His work has illuminated how cancers are not made up of just one kind of cell, but instead contain many different types of cells that play specialized roles in tumors. A seemingly effective drug may work on some of these cells, but not on others.
"My lifelong work is to give doctors better tools to fight and treat disease," Dr. Bernstein says. "I get up every morning with one goal in mind: To take our work in epigenetics and change the way we diagnose and treat cancer. Thanks to the Kayden Foundation, I will be able to do just that."
The Remondi Family Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair
The inaugural incumbent of the Remondi Family Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair is Guillermo (Gary) Tearney, MD, PhD, of the Department of Pathology and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine.
Dr. Tearney's research is focused on developing groundbreaking new ways to take images of living cells inside the human body. His lab has developed a pill-sized device attached to a tether that can be swallowed by patients to capture high quality images of the gastrointestinal tract. Once the imaging is complete, the capsule can be removed using the tether.
The device, known as tethered capsule endoscopy, could significantly reduce the need for expensive and invasive surgical biopsies, and greatly improve the accuracy of diagnoses for Barrett's Esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer. Dr. Tearney is now working to translate the device into clinical practice.
"The award means a tremendous amount to me and is a highlight of my career. It is a great honor to have the Remondi Family name associated with the chair and to hold one of the first Endowed MGH Research Institute Chairs," Dr. Tearney says.
"This endowment will allow us to continually conduct high risk/high reward research that could not be supported by other funding mechanisms."