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September 12, 2008
Broad Institute Gains Endowment Gift of $400m
Los Angeles-based philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad gave an additional $400 million to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, increasing the total amount of their support for the institute to $600 million. The most recent funding will convert the institute into a permanent biomedical research organization aimed at transforming medicine. The commitment is the largest for biomedical research activity at universities anywhere in the world.
The Broad Institute was launched in 2004 as a new kind of research organization spanning the MIT and Harvard communities, including the Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals. Today, more than 1,200 scientists and professional staff from across Harvard and MIT are affiliated with the institute.
As a result of the Broads’ endowment, the institute will transition to a permanent nonprofit organization, with both universities continuing to help govern it. The mission and collaborative research by scientists from across Harvard and MIT will continue to be at the heart of the Broad.
“To fully realize the benefits of the genomic sciences, scientific research must transcend the boundaries of disciplines, departments, and even institutions,” said Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust, adding that she looked forward to continuing the university’s partnership with the Broad.
Shortly before the announcement of the Broads’ gift, the institute received word of a six-year, $86 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to identify and develop small molecules that can probe the proteins, signaling pathways, and cellular processes that are crucial to human health and disease. The grant designates the Broad Institute as one of four Comprehensive Screening Centers in the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN), where libraries of small molecules will be screened using high-throughput methods to identify compounds with interesting biological functions.
Pediatrics Gets Leg Up with New Chair
Following opening remarks by Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Jules Dienstag, HMS dean for medical education, the former president of Partners HealthCare System, Sam Thier, took the podium at the reception for the R. Alan Ezekowitz Professorship in Pediatrics at MGH. Directing himself to Ezekowitz, Thier said, “This is as close to immortality as you will achieve.” And, above the laughter, he told the incumbent, Howard Weinstein, that the chair is a measure of what his colleagues think of him.
In his remarks, chair namesake Ezekowitz (left), who headed the Department of Pediatrics at MGH for 11 years before leaving in 2006, focused on the importance of pediatrics, explaining that it is often the benchmark by which people judge a society. He praised pediatric practice at the hospital, saying, “Howard Weinstein to me epitomizes all that is special about this place.” The current head of the MGH Department of Pediatrics Ronald Kleinman added that “Howard is internationally recognized for developing chemotherapy protocols for children.”
In his turn at the mike, Weinstein (right) praised his mentors and thanked his patients: “My patients and their families have given me strength to do my work,” he said.
New EUREKA Grants Fund HMS Scientists
Three HMS researchers are among 38 scientists to receive the first EUREKA grants from the NIH, which are part of a new program to fund “exceptionally innovative” research projects.
The three HMS EUREKA grant recipients are James Hogle, Bernardo Sabatini, and Emad Eskander. Hogle, the Edward S. Harkness professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology, received the grant for a project titled “Correlative Cryo-Microscopy: A New Approach for Characterizing the Structure and Function of Intracellular Macromolecular Machines in Situ.” Sabatini, associate professor of neurobiology, will use the funding for a project titled “Regulation of Neuron and Synapse Function by Neuropeptides.” And Eskander, associate professor of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, received a grant for his project, “Striatal Deep Brain Stimulation for Learning Enhancement.”
The EUREKA program, which stands for Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration, will provide approximately $200,000 per year for up to four years to each researcher and was created to help investigators test novel, often unconventional hypotheses or tackle major methodological or technical challenges.
CIMIT Grants Back Medical Tech Development
The Center for Integration of Medicine and Technology (CIMIT), a consortium of Boston-area teaching hospitals and medical schools, will commit $5 million to 28 research teams in fiscal year 2009, including four grants worth $500,000 each. The grants will go to multi-institutional and multidisciplinary teams that are developing innovative early-stage medical devices or clinical systems. Many of the funded programs are led by HMS-affiliated researchers.
The key goal of this CIMIT grant program is to bring together clinicians and engineers, often from different institutions, to accelerate medical innovation so that better care can be delivered to patients more quickly.
The four major grants will extend over a two-year period. Donald Ingber, the Judah Folkman professor of vascular biology in the Department of Pathology at HMS and Children’s Hospital Boston, will lead a team in the development of a microfluidic blood-cleansing device for sepsis therapy that will function as an “artificial spleen.” Other HMS researchers on this project are Mark Puder, associate professor of surgery; Jay Wilson, associate professor of surgery; and Chon Wing Yung, research fellow in surgery, all at Children’s Hospital Boston. Utkan Demirci, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will lead a study on the development of a disposable filter-based microchip for HIV CD4-monitoring in resourced-limited areas such as medical facilities in developing countries. Demirci will be joined on the project by Ali Khademhosseini, assistant professor of medicine, and Daniel Kuritzkes, professor of medicine, both at BWH. Another major award will go to Mehmet Toner, professor of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, to develop a label-free detection microchip that can be used to rapidly test for viruses like HIV and influenza. William Rodriguez, assistant professor of medicine at MGH, will also be part of this study. The fourth major grant goes to Yolonda Colson, associate professor of surgery at BWH, to develop a new nanoparticle technology for tumor-targeted drug delivery to prevent lymph node metastases in breast cancer.
Smaller awards, ranging from $40,000 to $135,000, went to HMS faculty members Fiona Fennessy, assistant professor of radiology at BWH; Felipe Fregni, assistant professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Michael Hamblin, associate professor of dermatology at MGH; Nobuhiko Hata, assistant professor of radiology at BWH; Judy Hung, assistant professor of medicine at MGH; Robert Levine, professor of medicine at MGH; Chun Lim, instructor in neurology at BID; Charles Lin, associate professor of dermatology at MGH; Dieter Manstein, instructor in dermatology at MGH; Alvaro Pascual-Leone, professor of medicine at BID; Gottfried Schlaug, associate professor of neurology at BID; Robert Sheridan, associate professor of surgery at MGH; Cathryn Sundback, instructor in surgery at MGH; Gary Tearney, associate professor of pathology at MGH; Tang “Ted” Teng, associate professor of surgery at Children’s; and Seok Yun, assistant professor of dermatology at MGH.
Two grants were given under the heading of Clinical Systems Innovation to support research improvements in systems operated in clinics or medical centers. One went to Ronald Dixon, instructor in medicine at MGH, and one to Ronald Newbower, associate professor of anesthesia (biomedical engineering) at MGH.
Honors and Advances
Jeffrey Karp, HMS instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a faculty member at the Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, was named a 2007 Young Innovator by MIT’s Technology Review magazine. Each year the magazine recognizes individuals under the age of 35 who are leading novel or innovative projects in science and technology. Karp was recognized for his work in developing a biodegradable and biocompatible “gecko-inspired” tissue adhesive that sticks in wet environments, such as those found in wounds and surgical procedures.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has named 29 new clinical scholars, including one researcher from HMS. Jeffrey Kullgren, a clinical fellow in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will begin his fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in July 2009. Clinical scholars are chosen from applicants enrolled in medical and surgical residencies and study the impact and organization of health care in preparation to become leaders in American medicine.
The American Heart Association (AHA) presented the Paul Dudley White Award to Joseph Loscalzo, the Hersey professor of the theory and practice of physic at HMS and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, at the Boston Heart Ball on May 10. The award, named after a founder of the AHA, recognizes medical professionals who have made a distinguished contribution to the reduction of disability and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Danesh Moazed, Howard Hughes investigator and HMS professor of cell biology, was recently named a Stohlman scholar by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Stohlman scholars are scientists who have demonstrated an ability to conduct high-quality original research bearing on leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma and are in the final year of a five-year research grant from the society. Moazed studies cellular memory in yeast cells. Failure of cellular memory can result in cancer and other diseases, and the Moazed lab’s studies may lead to a better understanding of how the memory process fails in yeast as well as in human leukemias and lymphomas.
Stuart Hauser, HMS professor of psychiatry at Judge Baker Children’s Center, died on August 5, succumbing to a fast-moving infection after surgery for esophageal cancer. He was 70 years old.
Hauser received a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College in 1960, a master’s degree in social anthropology from Harvard University in 1965, a medical degree from Yale University in 1966, a doctorate in psychology from Harvard University in 1977, and a diploma from Boston Psychoanalytic Institute in 1978.
He completed his residency in psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) in 1970, followed by research training in adolescent development and adolescent psychopathology at the National Institutes of Health from 1970 to 1972. He returned to the HMS community in 1972 and went on to serve in a variety of roles for nearly three decades, including as director of the Youth Development Project at the Diabetes Research and Treatment Center of the Joslin Diabetes Foundation, director of Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC) from 1993 to 1996, and president of JBCC from 1997 to 2004.
He returned to a full-time career of research, training, and teaching when he stepped down as president and set about building support for expanded training and research at the JBCC. In 2008, his clinical research training program received renewed funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, extending the program into its third decade.
Hauser leaves his wife, Barbara; two sons, Joshua and wife Juliet, and Ethan and wife Megan; grandson Jonathan and granddaughter Emily.
A memorial service will be organized by the family in the fall. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Stuart T. Hauser, MD, PhD, Fund, HMS Office of Resource Development, 401 Park Dr. Suite 22 West, Boston, MA 02215.
Charles McCabe, professor of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, died on July 7 from complications of melanoma. He was 60 years old.
McCabe received his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University in 1970 and his medical degree from New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry in 1974. He joined MGH as an intern in general surgery that same year.
When McCabe was in his final year of training, he received a life-changing diagnosis: multiple sclerosis. He took the news in stride and started down a new career path in emergency medicine. For more than three decades, he served as clerkship director of the MGH surgical clerkship, and since 1986, he was the associate chief of emergency services at the hospital.
From 1983 to 1992, McCabe was the state medical director for the Office of Emergency Medical Services, a division of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He also was on the editorial boards of numerous journals, holding posts as the editor of Emergency Care Quarterly and the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
He was the recipient of many honors, including the Harvard Faculty Teaching Award in 1987, 1994, and 1997, and the HMS Special Faculty Prize for Sustained Excellence in Teaching in 2006.
McCabe leaves his wife, Rose, and his daughter, Krista.
In lieu of flowers, his family requests that gifts be made to either of the two funds that have been established in his name at MGH and HMS: Charles J. McCabe Jr., MD, Endowed Lectureship in Surgical Education at the MGH, MGH Development Office, 165 Cambridge Street Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114 or The Charles J. McCabe MD Prize Fund at Harvard Medical School, Office of Resource Development, 401 Park Drive Suite 22 West, Boston MA 02215.
Linda Jean Metzger, HMS assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, died on Feb. 9. She was 44.
Metzger received her BS from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985 and both her MA and PhD in psychology from the University of New Hampshire in 1988 and 1991, respectively. She joined the HMS community in 1992, serving as research fellow from 1992 to 1995, research associate from 1995 to 2003, and clinical instructor in psychiatry from 2000 to 2008. She had been recently promoted to assistant clinical professor of psychiatry.
Metzger was a research psychologist, psychophysiologist, and electrophysiologist. She used electroencephalographic (EEG) and brain event-related potential (ERP) methodologies to study the nature and source of emotional and cognitive abnormalities in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
As an HMS research associate, she worked as a co-investigator with Roger Pitman and Scott Orr on a nationwide twin study of biological abnormalities in PTSD and on a nationwide study of psychophysiological abnormalities in female Vietnam nurse veterans with PTSD. She assumed primary responsibility for the electrophysiological portion of these large-scale studies. She most recently served as a principal investigator on her own VA-funded research, focusing on EEG regional brain activation and concurrent autonomic responses to traumatic memories and threat in individuals with PTSD.
Metzger also provided electrophysiological training and consultation to HMS investigators and students. She was a nationally recognized figure in electrophysiological research and consulted nationwide on this topic. She published 21 original articles on her research, including five as first author, and authored the first textbook chapter on electrophysiological abnormalities in PTSD. She regularly served as an ad hoc reviewer for top-tier psychiatry and psychology journals.
Metzger is survived by her husband, Jeffrey; daughter, Meriah; son, Dietrich; parents, Rodney and Lorelie (Perriguey) Pertsch of Angola, N.Y.; maternal grandmother, Virginia Galbraith of San Juan Capistrano, CA; sisters, Laural Glover, Carol Vallo, and Kristin Pogue of Pennsylvania, and Constance Govenettio of New York; and many nieces and nephews.