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

A Note From the Immediate Past-Director

In this issue, I am delighted to announce the finalists for the BRIght Futures Prize. Congratulations to Natalie Artzi, MD, PhD, Mahmoud Nasr, PhD, and Leonardo Riella, MD, PhD!
The BRI works tirelessly to promote resources available to Brigham researchers. Please read below for highlights from Networking for Academics, which provided researchers with guidance on how to network, and the July RC LIVE Lunch which featured an overview of the Office for Research Careers.
We continue to field questions received through our Research Helpline and are compiling the queries into a FAQ for all to use as a reference.
I hope you enjoy our featured BWH Research Paper of the Month. We are so proud of our researchers’ accomplishments and love to highlight their work.
Lastly, I want to remind everyone that the deadline to activate a LabArchives account is fast approaching. This electronic lab notebook platform should help streamline laboratory record keeping and I urge all members of the BWH research community to activate their accounts.


Elizabeth Petri Henske, MD


Congratulations to the BRIght Futures Finalists!

The BRIght Futures Prizes support investigators across BWH as they work to answer provocative questions or solve grand problems. This philanthropically supported fund, and the work it sponsors, advances the mission of the BRI; it catalyzes the kind of innovative translational research that is only possible at an academic medical center where basic researchers and clinicians work side by side. Through a competitive review process, three finalists have been selected to compete for this $100,000 prize; the winner will be determined by public vote and announced at Discover Brigham on November 7th.


Natalie Artzi, PhD

Training an Immuno-army: Exploiting Immune Engineering for the Treatment of Pediatric Gliomas

Mahmoud Nasr, PhD

Engineering a Universal Influenza Vaccine Using Nanodiscs

Leonardo Riella, MD, PhD

Point-of-Care Biomarker Assay for Kidney Transplantation using CRISPR/Cas13 Technology


Networking for Academics: Conquering the Fear Factor

This panel discussion, moderated by Frank S. David, MD, PhD, focused on the “how” and the “why” of networking. The four panelists imparted words of wisdom to the attendees, each adding their own perspective to the conversation.

It is possible to be an introvert and still network successfully

Sandro Santagata, MD, PhD may not consider himself a “networker,” but finds that it is crucial to be open and collaborative in order to create strong relationships.

Join small societies 

Elena Aikawa, MD, PhD emphasized that small societies offer people the chance to interact and make themselves visible. Strong connections are important for future career development, promotions, and job changes.

Networking is unpredictable 

Erin McKenna, MBA pointed out the beauty in this idea; you can never predict what may come from various or planned interactions. It could lead to a promotion, new career path, or partnership.

Branch out and gain exposure

Natalie Artzi, PhD stated that the more you do this, the more opportunity there will be. Remember to expand your network to those outside of your specific interests, fields, and studies. Find people that will help you grow.

Dr. David ended the discussion by encouraging the audience to “be the change that they want to be.” Whether you are introverted, extroverted, struggle to connect to others, or shy away from social media, make the changes that will allow you to create opportunity, build lasting relationships, and develop your career.

Resources for Researchers

This month’s RC LIVE Lunch featured ORC Faculty Director, Laura Fredenburgh, MD, who discussed the many initiatives and opportunities offered by the Office for Research Careers, including resources to support career development, enhance the training experience and foster effective mentoring. Click here to view the PDF of the slides from this lunch.


Research Helpline Update

In early May of 2019, we launched the Research Helpline Inbox as a central resource for the research community to send all of their questions and concerns. We have answered questions related to IT, events, BRI resources, funding and eligibility, external collaborations and more. Click here to see a sampling of the questions received.


Research Paper of the Month

Joshua Gagne, PharmD, ScD
Associate Professor
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School
Dept. of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Gagne’s findings were recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The new study found that ‘access to family members’ drugs may be a strong risk factor for overdose in individuals without their own prescriptions.” As a result of these findings, Gagne underscored the importance in effective communication, education, and increased awareness of opioids and how misuse of the drug can be combated. Read the full article here.

Activate Your LabArchives Account!

The deadline for PIs to activate their accounts ad begin using LabArchives is October 1st, 2019. Please be sure to use your Partners username and password to activate your account. Click here to activate your account today! You can also view the Partners Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) Policy here.