Petri Dishes: From the Immediate Past-Director: February 2019 Issue

A Note From the Immediate Past-Director

The outstanding work of the Brigham research community is what drives us forward towards our goal of a healthier world through scientific discovery. Being a part of the BRI leadership has given me broader exposure to our passionate and talented research community; I have been both inspired by what I’ve seen and honored to continue to serve in this capacity.

In this issue, I am pleased to report on some outcomes for the BRIght Futures Prize finalists. Through this mechanism, we’ve distributed >$700,000 to support innovative BWH research projects. See below for some data on the return on this investment. Click here for the 2019 Request for Applications for the BRIght Futures Prize!


Elizabeth Petri Henske, MD


BRIght Futures Prize: A Rewarding Experience for All


Previous BRIght Futures finalists, as well as the awardees pictured above, have experienced many positive benefits as show in the table below. We are excited to be able to continue this amazing funding opportunity. Click here for the 2019 Request for Applications for the BRIght Futures Prize!  


Research Made Possible Because of FSRE Funding from the BRI


“For patients at the end of life, palliative care can prolong survival and improve the quality of life for patients with a life-threatening illness and for their families. But studies have found that racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive end-of-life palliative care than their counterparts. A new study conducted by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital set out to understand why and has revealed that site of care may be a key contributing factor to this difference among patients with advanced, metastatic cancer. Their results are published in JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding author: Quoc Dien-Trinh, MD, Physician, Division of Urological Surgery and the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH), BWH.




First author: Alexander P. Cole, MD, Division of Urological Surgery and the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH), BWH




Two Brigham projects have been nominated for STAT Madness


Voting Opens March 4! 
Two Brigham teams are among the 64 contenders that will compete in Stat Madness 2019 — a bracketed competition from Stat News to find the most innovative research in the country. The first of six rounds of popular voting in the single-elimination contest begins Monday March 4 at 12:01 a.m. Sign up now:


Yuhan Lee, PhD for his project,
“Surgery in a Pill”
Yuhan Lee and colleagues are developing an oral treatment to reverse type 2 diabetes. They’ve created a pill to deliver a substance that can temporarily coat the intestine to prevent nutrient contact with the lining in the proximal bowel and avoid post-meal spikes in blood sugar. They want to find a less invasive treatment that can offer the same benefits as surgery but with wider appeal and application.


Khalid Shah, MS, PhD for his project,

Khalid Shah and colleagues are leveraging the power of gene editing to take a critical step toward re-engineering cancer cells to kill cancer. Their approach capitalizes on cancer cells’ self-homing ability. Harnessing this power could overcome drug delivery challenges, helping get therapeutics to tumor sites that may otherwise be difficult to reach and allowing us to treat primary, recurrent and metastatic cancer.


BWH Paper of the Month


“While additional study is needed, the SOMA represents a platform with the potential to deliver a multitude of drugs. Our results are encouraging and justify further evaluation of this technique for the oral delivery of insulin and other drugs,” said co-corresponding author C. Giovanni Traverso. MB, BChir, PhD, a gastroenterologist in the Division of Gastroenterology at BWH. He is referring to the recently published paper on the “Milli-Needle Pill Developed to Deliver Insulin.” Read the press release here. Full results are published in Science. 




DEADLINE EXTENDED: Want to Showcase Your Research at Discover Brigham Next Year?


Inspired to participate in Discover Brigham after this year’s event took place? Now is your chance! Click here to view the Open Call for Sessions, Demos or Ideas for Discover Brigham 2019! BWH researchers, clinicians and staff are invited to submit ideas for sessions focused on research and/or clinical innovation topics and/or demos at this annual research showcase or, if you have an idea about how we should celebrate and elevate research at BWH, submit that as well. Come up with your best idea(s) for session, demos or even the whole event and the BRI will provide the logistical support necessary to execute your vision for Discover Brigham! Submissions are due March 15th, 2019. Click hereto view the information for this exciting opportunity!