We all are impacted by, and reap the benefits of, medical research discoveries. From over-the-counter drugs, to healthcare policies and educational interventions, many of these advancements are a result of incredible feats, decades of work, and sometimes serendipitous events. Join us as we sit down with Harvard researchers to discuss these captivating behind-the-scenes stories of research.
Ben Freedman, PhD, Wyss Institute at Harvard University, discusses his research on the design and synthesis of adhesive biomaterials for applications in orthopedic and cardiovascular surgery, as well as neurosurgery.
Ben Freedman, PhD, is a research associate with Dave Mooney’s lab at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Freedman’s research focuses on the design and synthesis of adhesive biomaterials for applications in orthopedic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, and neurosurgery. He and his team are currently working to translate the materials they have developed to improve tissue healing inside and outside of the body. Freedman has received several competitive NIH and NSF grants, including a K99, iCorps, F32, and GRFP. He has additionally co-authored more than37 manuscripts. Freedman received his PhD in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania andhisBS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Rochester.
Elliott Antman, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, reflects on his career in cardiovascular medicine and discusses his work with our Education program to train and support the next generation of the biomedical workforce.
Elliott Antman, MD, is director of Postgraduate Education in Clinical and Translational Science for Harvard Catalyst. He is a senior physician specializing in cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), as well as professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Antman’s clinical interests include acute coronary syndromes, atrial fibrillation, and myocardial infarction. His research focuses on the clinical pharmacology of cardiovascular agents and evaluation in randomized control trials. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, completed an internal medicine residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (now New York-Presbyterian Hospital), and a cardiology fellowship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
“Diagnostics is an art. It’s a science independent of the rest of biotech or medicine,” says Mara Aspinall, MBA, president and CEO of Health Catalysts. In this podcast, Aspinall discusses the importance of the field of diagnostics, especially during the pandemic.
Mara Aspinall, MBA, is a biotech industry executive and healthcare pioneer. She is president and CEO of Health Catalysts, a firm dedicated to the growth of new healthcare companies, and executive chairman of GenePeeks, a computational genomics company. Aspinall co-founded the International School of Biomedical Diagnostics at Arizona State University, the first school dedicated entirely to diagnostics as an independent discipline. She is also co-founder of EPEMED, the European Personalized Medicine Association. Previously, Aspinall was president of Genzyme Genetics and Genzyme Pharmaceuticals, as well as president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems division of Roche, which specialized in the development and commercialization of tissue-based cancer diagnostics.
Erica Shenoy, MD, PhD, associate chief of the Infection Control Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses her work to create the software tool COvid Risk cALculator (CORAL), which helps clinicians assess patients who develop COVID-19 symptoms.
Erica S. Shenoy, MD, PhD, is an associate physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and associate chief of the Infection Control Unit. She is also associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, a trained health economist, and medical director of the Regional Emerging Special Pathogens Treatment Center at MGH. Her research evaluates the clinical, operational, and economic impact of competing infection control strategies for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). Previously, she served as the infectious diseases and infection control advisor to MGH and MassGeneral Brigham for the COVID-19 response. She has published and lectured nationally and internationally on infection prevention and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, on approaches for SARS-CoV-2, the role of universal masking in healthcare settings and in the community, evaluation and management of healthcare workers infected with COVID-19, and on optimizing evaluation and isolation of patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 in healthcare settings.
Keith Romano, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and engineers Jim Richards and Tyler Dailey discuss their collaboration to create a low-cost ventilator during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keith Romano, MD, PhD, is a pulmonologist and critical care intensivist in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Romano aspires to become a physician-scientist in pulmonary and critical care medicine, dedicated to research at the interface of chest medicine and respiratory infectious diseases. His research focuses on antibiotic development in an era fraught with multi-drug resistant respiratory pathogens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his research shifted toward improving healthcare outcomes in resource-limited settings, where the demand for ventilators outstrips supply. His belief is that a simple, affordable, and rapidly scalable assist-mode ventilator would fill a major gap in the collective response to combat the current pandemic, as well as future pandemics. Impassioned by this mission, he has collaborated with a nonprofit engineering group to help design and test a simple ventilator, called the AeroBreath. Since its conception, it has accumulated growing support from leaders within the BWH Pulmonary Division and potential global partners on the ground in Africa and Haiti.
Anna Young, PhD, Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discusses her team’s research investigating hormone-disrupting chemicals found in offices and their effect on human health. Young is part of a team who received pilot funding in 2021 for projects focused on environmental toxins.
Anna Young, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research focuses on healthier materials and products in buildings as a strategy to reduce our exposures to toxic chemicals. She recently earned her PhD in the department, where she conducted dissertation research about global exposures to chemicals in office buildings, the hormonal activities of building dust in cell assays due to chemicals, and the benefits of healthier materials interventions to reduce toxic chemical loads in buildings. She has sought to advance several exposure assessment methods, including the uses of cell assays on dust to assess “building health”, silicone wristbands to sample people’s chemical exposures in buildings, and portable instruments to non-destructively scan products for chemical indicators. Young holds an MS in environmental health from the Harvard Chan School and a BA in computer science and environmental studies from Yale University.
Kate Jeffrey, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, shares how the grant she received from Harvard Catalyst furthered her work in immunology, allowing her to study the human virome.
Kate L. Jeffrey, PhD, is assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, assistant in immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), faculty of Harvard Immunology, faculty of Harvard Virology, and an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard. She started her independent laboratory at MGH/Harvard in 2012. Previously, she worked as an immunology editor with Nature Medicine in New York before performing her postdoctoral research with professor Sasha Tarakhovsky at The Rockefeller University in New York focusing on epigenomic regulation of innate immunity and inflammation. Additionally, she is co-founder of the New York Imagine Science Film Festival in New York City. Jeffrey grew up in Australia and received her undergraduate studies (BSc, (Honors)) at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and completed her PhD in immunology with professor Charles Mackay at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.
Sudeshna Fisch, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, describes the path that led her to become associate director of the Cardiovascular Physiology Core at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Sudeshna Fisch, PhD, is the associate director of a busy and prolific preclinical core in Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Fisch’s research focuses on preclinical therapeutic studies using mouse, rat, and zebrafish models which include surgical and non-surgical techniques, including advanced cardiac imaging and data analytics. Her prior work includes intellectual property and research commercialization and grant-funding strategies, with stints at the Broad Institute, Nanobiosym, Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, Partners Office for Research Ventures and Licensing, and Fish & Richardson, LLP. She was born in Calcutta, India, and earned her BS and MS degrees in zoology and genetics from Calcutta University, where she received a National Merit Scholarship. Fisch received her PhD in biological sciences on a full scholarship from Bowling Green State University in Ohio before moving to Harvard Medical School for postdoctoral work.