About 1.6 million people in the U.S.  have an incurable inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and 70,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. IBD patients suffer from pain, extreme discomfort, and numerous other symptoms caused by continuously relapsing and remitting inflammatory lesions in the layer of cells that lines the intestinal lumen (mucosa). The exact causes…
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Sometimes, unexpected research results are simply due to experimental error. Other times, it’s the opposite — the scientists have uncovered a new phenomenon that reveals an even more accurate portrayal of our bodies and our universe, overturning well-established assumptions. Indeed, many great biological discoveries are made when results defy expectation. A few years ago, researchers in the Burge lab were comparing the…
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Read the Publication This week we profile a recent publication in Nature Protocols from Dr. Pierpaolo Peruzzi (pictured, third from left) with his lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus? We are interested in exploring the yet untapped features of non-coding RNA biology and harness them to develop a…
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) senior neurologist Louis R. Caplan, MD, has received the American Heart Association’s Eugene Braunwald Academic Mentorship Award. The award recognizes individuals whose academic careers have included a long-term record of successful mentoring of promising young academicians. Caplan received the award at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 in Philadelphia. The Association’s Scientific Sessions is…
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Protecting against HIV by Tricking the Immune System

In making an HIV vaccine, a major goal is to stimulate production of broadly neutralizing antibodies that can fight multiple strains of the frequently changing virus. To date, experimental HIV vaccines haven’t been able to induce these kinds of antibodies. In fact, the immune system actively stops their production, seeing them as a threat. Another challenge is that broadly neutralizing…
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Matcheri Keshavan, MD, psychiatrist and Academic Chair of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) received the 2019 Scientific Research Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The award is given in recognition of individuals whose research advances the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses. One focus of Keshavan’s research is to understand the neurobiological basis of…
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After signing two back-to-back deals with Novartis this year, small Boston-based startup IFM Therapeutics is ramping up its business development with a new incubator. IFM Therapeutics has raised $55.5 million from Omega Funds, Atlas Venture and London-based investment firm Abingworth LLP. That money will go toward a new incubator called IFM Discovery, as well as a new subsidiary, IFM Quattro. Atlas Venture…
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Stopping Pain

In an effort to address the critical public health need for new, safer and more effective medicines to treat pain, a consortium based at the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology (LSP) at Harvard Medical School has launched an ambitious project titled STOP PAIN (Safe Therapeutic Options for Pain and Inflammation). By combining a wide range of experimental and artificial intelligence-driven approaches, the consortium…
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To make appropriate decisions, animals need to accumulate sensory evidence. Simple integrator models can explain many aspects of such behavior, but how the underlying computations are mechanistically implemented in the brain remains poorly understood. Here we approach this problem by adapting the random-dot motion discrimination paradigm, classically used in primate studies, to larval zebrafish. Using their innate optomotor response as…
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We have a mutualistic but complicated relationship with the collection of microbes in our gut, known as the intestinal microbiome. This complex community of bacteria breaks down different food components, and releases nutrients such as vitamins and a plethora of other factors that control functions in tissues way beyond the intestinal tract. However, the sheer numbers of microbes also present…
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