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.

November 24, 2021

Translational Innovator: The Science Behind Recurring C. Difficile Infections

The pathogen c.diff recurs in approximately 25% of patients within two months, says Georg Gerber, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In this podcast, Gerber reflects on the impact funding received from Harvard Catalyst has had on his research which focuses on recurring infections.

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Georg Gerber, MD, PhD

Georg Gerber, MD, PhD is an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and associate pathologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Advanced Molecular Diagnostics. His research interests involve building novel computational models and high-throughput experimental systems to understand the role of the microbiota in human diseases, and applying these findings to develop new diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions to improve patient care. He has founded several companies focused on developing and applying 3D graphics technologies to create feature and IMAX® films. Gerber completed a fellowship in infectious disease pathology and molecular microbiology, and a residency in clinical pathology at BWH. He received his MD from HMS, master’s and PhD in computer science from MIT, and a master’s in infectious diseases and BA in pure mathematics from UC Berkeley.

November 10, 2021

Ultrasound Technology at the Bedside

Onyinyechi Eke, MD, director of global ultrasound at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses point-of-care ultrasound technology and education, including her newly funded study to create a tele-ultrasound platform.

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Onyinyechi Eke, MD

Onyinyechi Eke, MD, currently serves as faculty and director of global ultrasound in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Her research interests include the development of point-of-care ultrasound education and training in resource-limited settings, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and the efficient utilization of point-of-care ultrasound to facilitate patient care in the emergency department. She completed her clinical ultrasound fellowship at MGH and her emergency medicine residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Eke received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

October 27, 2021

Translational Innovator: Advancing Research on Heart Valve Disease

Elena Aikawa, MD, PhD, co-director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences, and her collaborator Mark Blaser, PhD, research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, reflect on how the pilot funding they received from Harvard Catalyst has helped them create a 3D-bioprinted model to study calcific aortic valve disease. Hardeep Ranu, PhD, project manager of our Translational Innovator program, serves as host.

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Elena Aikawa, MD, PhD

Elena Aikawa, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, director of the Vascular Biology Program at the Center for Interdisciplinary Sciences, founding director of the Heart Valve Translational Research Program, and associate head of section of Cardiovascular Life Sciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She holds editorial positions at Circulation Research, Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, PLoS ONE, and Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Aikawa’s research focuses on the development of new therapies to prevent, treat, and cure calcific aortic valve stenosis.

October 13, 2021

Trauma Care at the VA

Anna Etchin, PhD, Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders, discusses her research on the impact of trauma on veterans and how trauma-informed care can benefit this population.

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Anna Etchin, PhD

Anna Etchin, PhD, is an advanced nurse fellow in polytrauma/traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation at the Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders within the VA Boston Healthcare system. She is committed to improving the holistic wellbeing of veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life. Her program of research focuses on post-9/11 U.S. veteran resilience and health functioning, particularly within the context of childhood and deployment trauma. Etchin’s clinical background is in geriatric, psychiatric, hospice and palliative, and long-term care nursing with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. She is a baccalaureate-level registered nurse and received her PhD in nursing from Northeastern University.

September 29, 2021

Special ThinkResearch Podcast Series: Translational Innovator

In this upcoming three-episode series, recipients of Harvard Catalyst pilot awards reflect on how the funding they received has impacted their research and careers. This introductory episode features Hardeep Ranu, PhD, project manager of our Translational Innovator program, who discusses the content of this special podcast series.

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Hardeep Ranu, PhD

Hardeep Ranu, PhD, is a project manager for Translational Innovator and is responsible for managing a diverse set of clinical and translational research project teams. Ranu joined Harvard Catalyst from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she managed the TaqMan genotyping core for 13 years. As the genotyping project manager, Ranu worked with faculty of Harvard Medical School, Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School affiliated hospitals, and external institutions to design and develop genotyping projects. Her role as genotyping project manager involved coordinating with two funding entities, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) and Partners Healthcare|Personalized Medicine as well as working with senior management and faculty from DF/HCC to write and prepare reports for DF/HCC submissions and renewals.

September 8, 2021

Making Archives Accessible with Deep Learning

Melissa Dell, PhD, professor of economics at Harvard University, discusses developing technology that can detect complex text layouts using deep learning to create a database of newspaper data that is accessible to the visually impaired.

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Melissa Dell, PhD

Melissa Dell, PhD, is the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University. She is also a senior scholar at the Harvard Academy for Area and International Studies and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research focuses on economic growth and political economy. She has examined the factors leading to the persistence of poverty and prosperity in the long run, the effects of trade-induced job loss on crime, the impacts of U.S. foreign intervention, and the effects of weather on economic growth. She has also developed deep learning powered methods for curating social science data at scale, released in the open-source package Layout Parser. This work supports many of her current projects, which rely on digitizing historical sources too large for manual digitization. She received an AB in economics from Harvard, an MPhil in economics from Oxford University, and a PhD in economics from MIT.


August 25, 2021

The MIND Project

“The mission of The MIND Project is to tackle the challenges of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders,” says Walid Yassine, DMSc, MMSc, founder of the project and fellow at McLean Hospital. As part of the Harvard Brain Science Initiative (HBI), this working group of postdocs collaborate across Harvard University and its affiliated academic healthcare centers.

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Walid Yassine, DMSc, MMSc

Walid Yassine, DMSc, MMSc, is a research fellow at the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroimaging at McLean Hospital and a research fellow in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on several neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Yassine uses different approaches including imaging, behavioral assessment, and artificial intelligence to better understand the brain. His ultimate goal is to be able to assess risk factors, discover objective biomarkers, elucidate disorder spectrum and symptom overlap, and provide targeted therapeutic interventions in various disorders of the mind. Currently, he is focusing on better understanding the different effects of drugs on the brain.

August 11, 2021

Making an Impact on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

This special podcast will focus on a partnership to successfully deliver community testing and vaccination for marginalized communities in Massachusetts most impacted by COVID-19. Guests: Gina Kruse, MD, program faculty for our Community Engagement program, speaks with Eddie Taborda, MS, senior clinical research coordinator at Mass General Hospital, Rosa Torres, patient service coordinator at Mass General Hospital – Everett, and Daniel Cortez, community engagement specialist for the Chelsea Police Department.

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Gina Kruse, MD, MPH

Gina Rae Kruse, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the Division of General Internal Medicine and director of the Implementation Lab in Harvard’s Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity. She is also an implementation director for a Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics in Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) NIH supplement. Through community partnerships, RADx-UP studies the expansion of SARS-CoV-2 testing in underserved populations in Massachusetts. Kruse earned her MD from Baylor College of Medicine and completed her residency in internal medicine and primary care at MGH. She completed a general medicine fellowship at Harvard Medical School and a postdoc fellowship in cancer prevention from the Department of Social and Behavioral Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Eddie Taborda, MS

Eddie Taborda, MS, is a senior clinical research coordinator for the Kraft Center’s Implementation Laboratory (I-Lab) within the Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity. He is also the operations manager for Massachusetts General Hospital mobile efforts focused on the initiative Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics in Underserved Populations (RADx-UP), and COVID-19 vaccine coordinator for Mass General Brigham mobile vaccine operations. Taborda graduated from Northeastern University with a MS in exercise science.

Rosa Torres

Rosa Torres is a patient care coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Everett Family Care. She has a lifelong passion for community service, and during the pandemic was able to work in community outreach and expand into leadership roles.

Daniel Cortez

Daniel Cortez is the community engagement specialist for the Chelsea Police Department in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He works closely with residents, community leaders, elected officials, business owners, and community-based organizations, along with police to create meaningful relationships and partnerships aimed at improving the safety and wellbeing of the community. Previously, Cortez worked as manager of community-based initiatives on substance use disorders for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Chelsea Health Center, where he guided a group of community leaders in a comprehensive, city-wide plan aimed at reducing substance use disorders. These efforts led to increased awareness of the issue and improved access to care in Chelsea.