MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
The lab of MGH Research Scholar Nir Hacohen, PhD, develops new and unbiased strategies to understand basic immune processes and immune-mediated diseases, with an emphasis on the innate immune system and personal medicine.
A Systematic Approach to Dissecting Immune Circuits
The Hacohen lab consists of immunologists, geneticists, biochemists, technologists and computational biologists working together to develop new and unbiased strategies to understand basic immune processes and immune-mediated diseases, with an emphasis on the innate immune system and personalized medicine.
We address three key questions in immunology:
- How are immune responses against cancer initiated, maintained and evaded?
- What are the immune circuits that sense and control pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria?
- How does immunity against the body develop, in particular, in patients with autoimmune lupus?
In addition to discovering and studying specific molecular and cellular mechanisms, we also address how and why the immune response (to tumors, pathogens or self) varies so dramatically across individuals.
Finally, we are adapting our unbiased analytical strategies into real-world therapeutics, having initiated clinical trials (with our collaborator Dr. Catherine Wu) in which patients are vaccinated against their own tumors with a fully personal vaccine that is designed based on a computational analysis of their personal tumor genome.