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The Spring Bookshelf

Recent books by Harvard Medical School faculty

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

Penguin Random House

David Reich, HMS professor of genetics, tells the story of how the study of ancient DNA has profoundly changed our understanding of human prehistory, while resolving many long-standing controversies, such as whether early humans interbred with Neanderthals. Reich argues that human genomes contain not just all the information that a fertilized human egg needs to develop, but also contains within it the history of our species. He makes the case that modern analysis of ancient genomes is as important a means of understanding human history as archeology and linguistics, and, through an exploration of the genomic revolution and technological innovations, presents how scientists—including Reich himself—have been able to make this great leap forward into our distant past.


First in Fly: Drosophila Research and Biological Discovery
Harvard University Press

Stephanie Elizabeth Mohr, HMS lecturer on genetics, chronicles the signal contributions of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to scientific discovery. A fruit fly scientist herself, Mohr explores how these humble insects have helped countless investigators over the past century to uncover fundamental biological concepts and expand our understanding of human health and disease. Research into Drosophila has resulted in at least five Nobel Prizes, and continues to provide answers to some of the most challenging questions in biology and biomedicine, from how to sequence and interpret genomes to how can we develop effective treatments for cancer and aging.


Vanishing Bone: Conquering a Stealth Disease Caused by Total Hip Replacements

Oxford University Press

William H. Harris, the HMS Alan Gerry Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery Emeritus at Massachusetts General Hospital, details his decades-long journey working to unravel the mystery of periprosthetic osteolysis—a disease that causes the destruction of bone in individuals with total hip replacements. He traces the disease from its discovery on a single X-ray to identifying its cause and to its elimination via the creation of a new material for hip implants—all of which arose through Harris’ efforts. The story, which involved many patients, collaborators and at least one lab explosion, reveals the unique challenges faced by clinician-scientists who provide both patient care and conduct medical research.


The Healing Self: A Revolutionary New Plan to Supercharge Your Immunity and Stay Well for Life

Penguin Random House

Rudolph E. Tanzi, the HMS Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Child Neurology and Mental Retardation at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Deepak Chopra, famed author and integrative medicine advocate, collaborate to discuss the supreme importance of our immune systems to our health. In this book, their third as co-authors, Tanzi and Chopra present the newest research on the mind-body, mind-gene and mind-immunity connections, as well as our growing understanding of the role of stress and inflammation in a host of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. The pair aim to help readers make the best lifestyle choices by offering a seven-day action plan that allows readers to develop their own personalized path to self-healing and lifelong wellness.


The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It

St. Martin’s Press

Jonathan D. Quick, HMS instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, aims to answer one of the most urgent questions of our time: How do we prevent the next global pandemic? He describes the looming threat posed by yet-undetected viruses, which may have the potential to wipe out millions of lives over a matter of weeks or months. Quick deconstructs the history and science of major infectious disease outbreaks, including smallpox, influenza, AIDS, SARS and Ebola. Analyzing local and global efforts to contain these diseases, and citing firsthand accounts of failure and success, Quick proposes a new set of actions to end epidemics before they can begin.


Book Reviews
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