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.
Ishita Basu, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati Department of Neurosurgery, discusses her research investigating deep brain stimulation as a promising treatment for psychiatric disorders and other conditions.
Ishita Basu, PhD, assistant professor, University of Cincinnati neurosurgery department, is a neural engineer with more than a decade of experience in brain signal analysis and modeling. Her research uses techniques from engineering and computational neuroscience to design innovative treatment paradigms for major neurological and psychiatric disorders. Originally from the east coast of India, Basu received her PhD from the University of Illinois in Chicago. She went on to complete postdoctoral fellowships at Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts General Hospital. Her future vison is to integrate a diverse group of biomedical engineers, neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and medical students to advance the field of neural engineering and neuromodulation in mental disorders.
Subha Ramani, MBBS, MPH, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, discusses her research on how feedback can be used to improve medical education.
Subha Ramani, MBBS, MPH, MMed, PhD, FAMEE, is a general internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and adjunct associate professor at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she serves as director of a program for research, innovations, and scholarship for the Department of Medicine, director of the scholars in medical education pathway for the Internal Medicine Residency program, and lead for global perspectives and community for the Brigham Education Institute.
Dr. Ramani graduated with an MBBS degree from University of Madras, India, and received master’s degrees in medical education from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and in public health from the Boston University School of Public Health. She received her PhD in health professions education from Maastricht University, Netherlands.
“One way to unlock the potential of AI is to enable AI researchers to find the problems where they could have an impact,” says Milind Tambe, PhD, Harvard University. Tambe discusses his work using artificial intelligence (AI) for social good, including his past research using AI to promote HIV prevention among homeless youth.
Milind Tambe, PhD, is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and director of the Center for Research in Computation and Society at Harvard University. He is also director of “AI for Social Good” at Google Research India. Tambe is a fellow at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is a recipient of the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) John McCarthy Award, the Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland Security Award, the ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award from the American Association of Medical Audit Specialist (AAMAS), and AAAI Robert S Engelmore Memorial Lecture Award. Additionally, he has received the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Wagner Prize, and the Rist Prize of the Military Operations Research Society.
Mark Siedner, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases at MGH, discusses his research in Uganda and South Africa working to improve health and quality of life for those living with HIV.
Mark Siedner, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and principal investigator of multiple NIH R01 grants focused on improving HIV care delivery for people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. These projects include clinical trials, implementation science, and translation research designs. He is also engaged in collaborative research programs in Mbarara, Uganda and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Siedner serves as a research mentor to more than a dozen junior scientists on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and has been recognized for this work with the HMS Young Mentor Award.
Senthil Muthuswamy, PhD, director of the Cell Biology Program at the Cancer Center at BIDMC, discusses his use of organoid models to grow 3D cancer tumor cells and his current clinical trial “Harnessing Organoids for Personalized Treatment” (HOPE).
Senthil K. Muthuswamy, PhD, is the director of the Cell Biology Program at the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Muthuswamy was among the first to employ three-dimensional cell culture (referred to as organoids). His laboratory develops and uses organoid models to understand how cell polarity proteins regulate cancer initiation, progression, and therapy resistance. Ongoing work in his group involves using organoids for understanding how cell polarity proteins modulate cancer initiation, therapy resistance, biomarker discovery, and T cell–tumor cell interactions. In addition, his group works closely with clinical teams to investigate the utility of patient-derived tumor organoids for the personalization of treatment for cancer patients. Muthuswamy received his PhD from McMaster University, Canada, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship with Joan Brugge at HMS.
Samirah Musah, PhD, stem cell biologist and bioengineer, discusses her lab’s research and work to create a functional model of the kidney using “organ on a chip” technology.
Samira Musah, PhD, is a stem cell biologist and bioengineer who holds a joint faculty position at Duke University in the biomedical engineering and medicine departments. Musah’s work focuses on the development of novel methods to direct the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells and engineering of microphysiological systems, including organs-on-chips and bioactive materials. She is a Duke MEDx Investigator and an affiliated faculty member of the Regeneration Next Initiative. Her laboratory research focuses on the roles of molecular and biophysical cues in human organ development and how these processes can be harnessed to understand disease mechanisms and develop new therapeutic strategies. Musah is the recipient of numerous awards including the Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research Award.
Ayesha Cammaerts, MBA, Boston Children’s Hospital Office of Community Health, and Hae In Kim, MPH, former intern in our Community Engagement program student practice placement initiative, discuss Kim’s experience as an intern working under the guidance of Cammaerts and what makes student practice placements successful. The program is designed to build sustained, bi-directional collaborations between community organizations and Harvard University, and to develop practical community engagement skills while increasing the capacity of local partners. Rebekka Lee, ScD, our Community Engagement program director, serves as guest host.
Ayesha Cammaerts, MBA, serves as the senior manager of community programs at Boston Children’s Hospital Office of Community Health. There, she leads the Birth to 5 Child Health and Development Initiative, a 10-year, $17 million grant program to support early childhood success across greater Boston. Cammaerts also manages the triennial community health needs assessment and implementation strategy for the hospital. She is a strong advocate for families and racial justice as a member of the Boston Opportunity Agenda 0-8 Leadership team, the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative Steering Committee, and the Boston CHNA-CHIP Collaborative. Previously, Cammaerts worked at Massachusetts Medicaid supporting the implementation of the state healthcare reform. She also has experience as a community health worker, clinical health educator, program manager, and parent and family advocate. She earned her MBA in health care policy and management from the Heller School at Brandeis.
Hae In Kim, MPH, is deputy director of planning and development at the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, where she helps the office plan how to meet the immediate and long-term food needs of Bostonians. Additionally, she works with partners to address food insecurity in Boston. Kim holds a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Rebekka Lee, ScD, is a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has spent over a decade working at the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity, where she uses mixed methods to conduct research and evaluation with partners at the Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and YMCA. Her research focuses on designing and evaluating community-based interventions that translate into real world policy and environmental change, focusing in particular on investigating the contextual factors that impact effective implementation and promote health equity. She also serves as the director for the Community Engagement program at Harvard Catalyst, providing capacity building on mixed methods, implementation science, and community-based participatory research. At the Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity, Lee is co-director of the Administrative Core and leads a pilot on evidence-based cancer prevention through clinical-community partnerships. She teaches courses on program planning and program evaluation and is the co-director of Leaders in Health community training program.
We’re surrounded everyday with the realization that patients and their diseases can teach us something,” says David Sykes, principal investigator of Sykes Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. Sykes discusses a system he’s developed to transfuse neutrophil progenitors for patients and a new disease he discovered called TEMPI.
David Sykes, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor within the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). His research aims to develop new treatments for patients with benign and malignant blood disorders. Sykes completed his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of Alberta and moved to La Jolla, California to begin the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of California San Diego. He then completed his medical internship and residency at MGH and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the combined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and MGH Cancer Center program. Sykes spent a year as chief resident in the Department of Medicine before starting his postdoctoral research at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, where he has since stayed on as a principal investigator.