Antibodies serve as biomarkers of infection, but if sustained can confer long-term immunity. Yet, for most clinically approved vaccines, binding antibody titers only serve as a surrogate of protection. Instead, the ability of vaccine induced antibodies to neutralize or mediate Fc-effector functions is mechanistically linked to protection. While evidence has begun to point to persisting antibody responses among SARS-CoV-2 infected…
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Early on in the pandemic, Lee Makowski read an article about the condition of people’s bodies after dying of COVID-19, and he was shocked by what he learned—there was something very wrong with the patients’ blood. The autopsy reports revealed COVID-19 patients were suffering from huge amounts of thick, coagulated blood, and dysfunctional blood vessels were tearing through body tissue instead of…
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2021 Toffler Scholars in Neuroscience Announced

The Toffler Scholar Program was established by the Karen Toffler Charitable Trust to support promising young medical researchers, physicians and scientists working on early-stage, future-focused brain science with funding and a vital, relevant network through an internal competition at BUSM. Their research is focused on building artificial intelligence models to identify brain regions that suggest Alzheimer’s disease risk and seek…
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Scientists say they have discovered a potential new target for immunotherapy of malignant brain tumors, which so far have resisted the ground-breaking cancer treatment based on harnessing the body’s immune system. The discovery, reported in the journal CELL, emerged from laboratory experiments and has no immediate implications for treating patients. Scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Broad Institute…
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MCB and OEB faculty Cassandra Extavour, MCO Assistant Director Fanuel Muindi, and 998 other Black scientists were recently highlighted in a blog post titled “1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” on Cell Mentor, a career development resource hosted by Cell Press. The post was compiled by an organization called The Community of Scholars, which is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity,…
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How often a person takes daytime naps, if at all, is partly regulated by their genes, according to new research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in Nature Communications. In this study, the largest of its kind ever conducted, the MGH team collaborated with colleagues at the University of Murcia in Spain and several other institutions to…
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Over the past decades, scientists have largely learned how to control HIV infection, which affects 38 million people around the globe. But how to actually cure a person of HIV has remained an elusive holy grail, only documented so far in a tiny handful of cases as the byproduct of a bone marrow transplant. In 2020, researchers moved one tantalizing step…
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Superspreading events have distinguished the COVID-19 pandemic from the early outbreak of the disease. Now, research from Harvard University, Tulane University, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital finds that a critical factor in these and other transmission events is the propensity of certain individuals to exhale large numbers of small respiratory droplets. The researchers found that age, obesity and COVID-19 infection…
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Exposure to radiation can wreak indiscriminate havoc on cells, tissues, and organs. Curiously, however, some tissues are more vulnerable to radiation damage than others. Scientists have known these differences involve the protein p53, a well-studied tumor-suppressor protein that initiates a cell’s auto-destruct programs. Yet, levels of this sentinel protein are often similar in tissues with vastly different sensitivities to radiation,…
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The Japan Prize Foundation has named MIT Professor Robert Weinberg as one of the recipients of its 2021 awards in the category of Medical Science and Medicinal Science, citing Weinberg’s contributions to the development of a multi-step model of how cancer begins and progresses, and the application of that model to improve cancer treatments and outcomes. Weinberg, along with co-recipient…
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