Archive for the ‘Interviews with Scientific Leaders’ Category

Broad@15 – In 2004, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard launched with a mission to improve human health

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


THANK YOU @broadinstitute for following me @AVIVA1950

A unique, collaborative community pioneering a new model of biomedical science


When I launched pharmaceuticalintelligence.com in April 2012, the first 26 categories of research where inspired by browsing the Broad Institute website.

Happy to report on 7/31/2019:


5,667 Posts

687 Categories – Our first 26 were in pursuit at the Broad Institute

10,105 Tags





In 2004, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard launched with a mission to improve human health.

This year marks our 15th anniversary. During that time, biology and medicine have evolved in astonishing ways, and so have we. Our community now includes more than four thousand scientists, software engineers, and more, with collaborations in more than three dozen countries.

We think the amazing pace of scientific progress is a story worth sharing. Beginning in the summer of 2019 and continuing through spring of 2020, we’ll host a series of public talks to trace the evolution of key fields of science and medicine over the last 15 years, and look ahead to how they might continue to evolve in the future.

These engaging discussions will be in place of our regular Midsummer Nights’ Science and Science for All Seasons series, which will return later in 2020. 

We hope you’ll join us in person or online! Sign up here to stay up to date!


Broad@15 Talk Series


The Human Genomic Revolution: Past, Present, and Future

Eric Lander 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Over 15 years ago, the scientific community celebrated the sequencing of the first human genome. It’s time to ask how this monumental effort has transformed biomedical science, from basic research to the understanding and treatment of disease. Eric Lander, Broad Institute president and founding director and one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project, will survey the impact — what we’ve learned, and what lies ahead.

This lecture is presented in memory of Eliana Hechter and is supported by the Eliana Hechter Memorial Fund.


Todd Golub

September 19, 2019

Mental Health

Benjamin Neale and Beth Stevens

October 7, 2019


Anna Greka and Florence Wagner

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Genome Editing

David Liu and Feng Zhang

January 21, 2020

Infectious Disease

Deborah Hung and Pardis Sabeti

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sequencing and Data Sciences

Jonathan Bloom and Stacey Gabriel

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Single-cell Biology

Aviv Regev

May 5, 2020



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2019 Warren Alpert Foundation Award goes to Four Scientists for Seminal Discoveries in OptoGenetics – Illuminating the Human Brain

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN




Optogenetics, a revolutionary technique that uses light and genetic modification to control the activity of cells in the brain.

Each year the recipient(s) of the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize are recognized at a scientific symposium hosted by Harvard Medical School.

OCTOBER 3, 2019 – 1:30PM TO 5:30PM


Optogenetics: Illuminating the Path toward Causal Neuroscience

In honor of Edward Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, Peter Hegemann, Gero Miesenböck

for the development of optogenetics as a way to control the activity of specific circuits in the nervous system, to determine their function and ultimately to control them to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Moderated by 

  • Bernardo Sabatini, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology, HMS

Cells in the brain studied by opto-genetics for treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders

Opening Remarks

  • George Q. Daley, Dean, Harvard Medical School



Featured Speakers Include:

Edward Boyden, PhD – In honor of and Speaker
Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neuro technology
MIT Media Lab and McGovern Institute
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • microbial opsins binding endogenuous all-trans-retinal
  • search locally in genomics space: sensitivity to ArchT
  • In response to yellow light vs red light
  • Map the molecules, wiring and connections


Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD – In honor of and Speaker
D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and Psychiatry
Stanford University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Channelrhodopsins – Inner workings of – light-dated pores
  • Diverse modes of designed photon-spike logic, ion selectivity, color tuning – ANION-conducting ChRs
  • microbial opsin genesMolecular biology on neuroscience
  • neurol codes of behavior
  • Identification of feeding-responsive OFC cells
  • activity-guided optogenetic stimulation: social interaction vs self feeding
  • Time spent licking – all-optical Read/Write across cortical layers: L2/3 through
  • Stimulation: Visual stimuli vs Optogenetic stimuli vs Ensemble-specific stimulation: Tuned vs Random
  • Unstimulated population dynamics – visually-evoked vs stimulated popualtion using Classifier – discrimination behavior
  • Number stimulated neurons: Laminar population recruitment corresponds to behavior
  • neuronal activity during task performance: Thirst-motivated behavior
  • Epigenetics: Optogenetic stimulation restores

Peter Hegemann, PhD – In honor of and Speaker

Hertie Professor for Neuroscience and Head of Experimental Biophysics
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • Optogrnetic excitation
  • channel-rhodopsin (ChR) during MD calculation, intracellulat and extracellular sideCentral gate Inner gate
  • all-trans
  • elements of light switch
  • Improved Na+ over H+ sensitivity
  • outer pore constriction – K-channels hyper polarization n neuroscience
  • PAC-K silencing of vertical cardiocytes
  • Optogenetic Actuators


Gero Miesenböck, FRS – In honor of and Speaker
Waynflete Professor of Physiology and Founding Director of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behavior
University of Oxford

  • Asleep vs Awake electrically active vs silent signals
  • Dopamine and arousal – OFF/ON of the dopaminergic system
  • operating the sleep switch
  • mechanisms: Sleep-Control Neurons current vs membrane potential
  • What is the biologic process of switch in sleep? it is: A voltage-controlled oxidoreductase OR a
  • redux-controlled ion channel
  • Mitochondrial Electron Transport in the matrix membrane: NADPH – The missing link: NADH>NAD+, O2>O2- O2>H2O ADP>ATPm- mitoTimer
  • redox changes accompany changes in sleep pressure: Sleep-deprived vs Rested
  • Perturbing the Redox Chemistry of dFB – AOX = PUFAs – 4-OXO~2~nonenal
  • Flipping the Redox Switch Promotes Sleep
  • Redox sensing by Hyperkinetics regulates the activity of dFB Neurons

Invited Speakers Include:

Charlotte Arlt, PhD, Speaker
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Neurobiology
Harvard Medical School

  • Virtual reality in decision making: Left or right
  • GABAergic neuron ChR2+Photostimulation vs no photostimulation
  • identical decisions in different context
  • The brain persists using same areas weeks after trained in simple context
  • Flexible environments
  • simple context: Brain areas used in flexible decisions


Kimberly Reinhold, PhD, Speaker
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Neurobiology
Harvard Medical School

  • Trial and erroe learning – impaired in Parkinsosn’s
  • episodic learning: Amnesia impaired
  • Pathwat in Basal ganglia: Cortex-Striatum optogenetic cue to achieve motor output
  • Action potential recorded neural activity to disengage the striatum: Output neuron – inhibitory neuronspatially and temporality loss function – mice perform cued reaches despite
  • striatum does not trigger cues – needed during learning
  • measuring learning for reinforced learning – non cues reached within a day
  • inhibiting the Striatum impede learning it is not needed after learning
  • Behavior space: healhty learning VS Parkinson’s, PTSD and other

Closing Remarks

George Q. Daley, Dean, Harvard Medical School




Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, New Research Building
Harvard Medical School
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston




Optogenetic manipulation of degenerating or aberrant neural circuits in the human brain carries the promise to

  • restore vision loss,
  • Alterations in Gait i.e., Parkinson’s Disease
  • preserve movement following spinal cord injury, or
  • dampen down circuits that fuel anxiety, depression and other psychiatric conditions (i.e., addictions).

“The 2019 Warren Alpert Prize for medical research recognizes one of the transformative technical advances of the past decade. The ability to selectively turn on neuronal signals with light exposure has made achievable a more refined analysis of neural connections underlying behavior,” said Joseph Martin, director and chairman of the board of the Warren Alpert Foundation and former dean of Harvard Medical School.


The Warren Alpert Foundation in association with Harvard Medical School

Each year the Warren Alpert Foundation receives between 30 and 50 nominations from scientific leaders worldwide. Prize recipients are selected by the foundation’s scientific advisory board, which is composed of distinguished biomedical scientists and chaired by the dean of Harvard Medical School.

Warren Alpert (1920-2007), a native of Chelsea, Mass., established the prize in 1987 after reading about the development of a vaccine for hepatitis B. The inaugural recipient of the award was Kenneth Murray of the University of Edinburgh, who designed the hepatitis B vaccine. To award subsequent prizes, Alpert asked Daniel Tosteson (1925-2009), then dean of Harvard Medical School, to convene a panel of experts to identify scientists from around the world whose research had a direct impact on the treatment of disease.

Past winners

Last year’s award went to five scientists for transformative discoveries in the fields of genetics, physiology, pulmonology and pharmacology that led to the development of life-altering precision-targeted treatments for the devastating multiorgan disease cystic fibrosis. They were Francis Collins, Paul Negulescu, Bonnie Ramsey, Lap-Chee Tsui, Michael Welsh.

Other past recipients of the Warren Alpert award include:

• James Allison, Lieping Chen, Gordon Freeman, Tasuku Honjo and Arlene Sharpe for discoveries into cancer’s ability to evade immune surveillance that led to the development of a class of cancer immunotherapies.

• Rodolphe Barrangou, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna, Philippe Horvath and Virginijus Siksnys for CRISPR-related discoveries.

• Tu Youyou, who went on to receive the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two others, and Ruth and Victor for their pioneering discoveries in the chemistry and parasitology of malaria and the translation of that work into the development of drug therapies and an antimalarial vaccine.

• Oleh Hornykiewicz, Roger Nicol, and Solomon Snyder for research into neurotransmission and neurodegeneration.

• Alain Carpentier for innovations in bioengineering.

• Harald zur Hausen and Lutz Gissmann for work on the human papillomavirus (HPV) and its role in cervical cancer. Zur Hausen and others were honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008.


The honorees will share a $500,000 prize and will be recognized at a daylong symposium on Oct. 3 at Harvard Medical School.

The 2019 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize recipients are:

Edward Boyden, the Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT, associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab and an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, for his insight in leveraging natural biomolecules for the manipulation and understanding of neuronal and brain function, which established and deployed the tools needed for optogenetics.

Karl Deisseroth, the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, for establishing the modern field of optogenetics, for rendering the technique an invaluable tool for biological discovery, and for discovering along with Peter Hegemann the key principles of light-sensitive channel structure and function.

Peter Hegemann, the Hertie professor of Neuroscience at Humboldt University of Berlin, for his study of light-sensitive molecular channels in single-cell organisms—the key proteins that make optogenetic manipulation possible—and discovering along with Karl Deisseroth the key principles of light-sensitive channel structure and function.

Gero Miesenböck, the Waynflete Professor of Physiology and director of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, for the first demonstrations of optogenetic control of neural activity and animal behavior and for discoveries proving the utility of optogenetics for neurobiological research

“The discoveries made by this year’s four honorees have fundamentally changed the landscape of neuroscience,” said George Q. Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School. “Their work has enabled scientists to see, understand and manipulate neurons, providing the foundation for understanding the ultimate enigma—the human brain.”

The Warren Alpert Foundation Prize recognizes the work of scientists throughout the world. To date, the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize has awarded nearly $5 million to 69 scientists. Since the award’s inception in 1987, 10 honorees have gone on to receive a Nobel Prize.





Ed Boyden receives 2019 Warren Alpert Prize – MIT McGovern Institute


Ed Boyden holds the titles of

  • Investigator, McGovern Institute;
  • Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT;
  • Leader, Synthetic Neurobiology Group, Media Lab;
  • Associate Professor, Biological Engineering, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Media Lab;
  • Co-Director, MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering;
  • Member, MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences,
  • Member Computational and Systems Biology Initiative, and Koch Institute.

“It is truly an honor to be included among the extremely distinguished list of winners of the Alpert Award,” says Boyden, the Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at the McGovern Institute, MIT. “To me personally, it is exciting to see the relatively new field of neurotechnology recognized. The brain implements our thoughts and feelings. It makes us who we are. This mysteries and challenge requires new technologies to make the brain understandable and repairable. It is a great honor that our technology of optogenetics is being thus recognized.”

While they were students, Boyden, and fellow awardee Karl Deisseroth, brainstormed about how microbial opsins could be used to mediate optical control of neural activity. In mid-2004, the pair collaborated to show that microbial opsins can be used to optically control neural activity.

Upon launching his lab at MIT, Boyden’s team developed the

“The discoveries made by this year’s four honorees have fundamentally changed the landscape of neuroscience,” said George Q. Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School. “Their work has enabled scientists to see, understand and manipulate neurons, providing the foundation for understanding the ultimate enigma—the human brain.”

Beyond optogenetics, Boyden has

  • pioneered transformative technologies that image, record, and manipulate
  • complex systems, including expansion microscopy, robotic patch clamping, and even shrinking objects to the nanoscale.
  • He was elected this year to the ranks of the National Academy of Sciences, and selected as
  • an HHMI Investigator.
  • Boyden has received numerous awards for this work, including the
  • 2018 Gairdner International Prize and the
  • 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.



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Featuring Computational and Systems Biology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI), The Dana Pe’er Lab


Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

A lecture by Dana Pe’er is included, below in the eProceedings which I generated in Real Time on 6/14/2019 @MIT

eProceeding 2019 Koch Institute Symposium – 18th Annual Cancer Research Symposium – Machine Learning and Cancer, June 14, 2019, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM ET MIT Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA




Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI



Research Programs

Cancer Biology & Genetics Program

Our scientists study the molecular and genetic determinants of cancer predisposition, tumor development, and metastasis.

Cell Biology Program

Our researchers explore the molecular mechanisms that control normal cell behavior and how these mechanisms are disrupted in cancer.

Chemical Biology Program

Our scientists use chemical principles to investigate cutting-edge topics in biology and medicine.

Computational & Systems Biology Program

The goal of our research is to build computer models that simulate biological processes, from the molecular level up to the organism as a whole.

Developmental Biology Program

Our investigators study the mechanisms that control cell proliferation, cell differentiation, tissue patterning, and tissue morphogenesis.

Immunology Program

Our research is geared toward understanding how the immune system functions in all its complexity and how it can be harnessed to fight disease.

Molecular Biology Program

Our research is directed at understanding how cell growth is regulated and how the integrity of the genome is maintained.

Molecular Pharmacology Program

Our research program serves as a conduit for bringing basic science discoveries to preclinical and clinical evaluation.

Structural Biology Program

Our researchers are dedicated to understanding biology at the structural and mechanistic levels, and aiding the development of new cancer therapies.

Book traversal links for Research


The Dana Pe’er Lab


The Dana Pe'er Lab

The Pe’er lab combines single cell technologies, genomic datasets and machine learning algorithms to address fundamental questions in biomedical science. Empowered by recent breakthrough technologies like massive parallel single cell RNA-sequencing, we ask questions such as: How do multi-cellular organisms develop from a single cell, resulting in the vast diversity of progenitor and terminal cell types? How does a cell’s regulatory circuit control the dynamics of signal processing and how do these circuits rewire over the course of development? How does an ensemble of cells function together to execute a multi-cellular response, such as an immune response to pathogen or cancer? We will also address more medically oriented questions such as: How do regulatory circuits go awry in disease? What is the consequence of intra-tumor heterogeneity? Can we characterize the tumor immune eco-system to gain a better understanding of when or why immunotherapy works or does not work? A key goal is to use this characterization of the tumor immune eco-system to personalize immunotherapy.

Dana Pe'er, PhD

Dana Pe’er, PhD

Chair, Computational and Systems Biology Program, SKI; Scientific Director, Metastasis & Tumor Ecosystems Center

Research Focus

Computational Biologist Dana Pe’er combines single cell technologies, genomic datasets and machine learning techniques to address fundamental questions addressing regulatory cell circuits, cellular development, tumor immune eco-system, genotype to phenotype relations and precision medicine.


PhD, Hebrew University, Jerusalem Israel


The Dana Pe’er Lab: Publications

View a full listing of Dana Pe’er’s journal articles.

Palantir characterizes cell fate continuities in human hematopoiesis. Setty M, Kiseliovas V, Levine J, Gayoso A, Mazutis L, Pe’er D. 2019, in press. Nature Biotechnology.

Single-cell map of diverse immune phenotypes in the breast tumor microenvironment. Azizi E, Carr AJ, Plitas G, Cornish AE, Konopacki C, Prabhakaran S, Nainys J, Wu K, Kiseliovas V, Setty M, Choi K, Fromme RM, Dao P, McKenney PT, Wasti RC, Kadaveru K, Mazutis L, Rudensky AY, Pe’er D. Cell. 2018 Aug 23;174(5):1293-1308.e36. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.05.060. PMID: 29961579

Recovering gene interactions from single-cell data using data diffusion. van Dijk D, Sharma R, Nainys J, Yim K, Kathail P, Carr AJ, Burdziak C, Moon KR, Chaffer CL, Pattabiraman D, Bierie B, Mazutis L, Wolf G, Krishnaswamy S, Pe’er D. Cell. 2018 Jul 26;174(3):716-729.e27. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.05.061. PubMed PMID: 29961576

The Human Cell Atlas. Regev A et al. Elife. 2017 Dec 5;6. pii: e27041. doi: 10.7554/eLife.27041. PubMed PMID: 29206104

Distinct cellular mechanisms underlie anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 checkpoint blockade. Wei SC, Levine JH, Cogdill AP, Zhao Y, Anang NAS, Andrews MC, Sharma P, Wang J, Wargo JA, Pe’er D, Allison JP. Cell. 2017 Sep 7;170(6):1120-1133.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.07.024. PMID: 28803728

Wishbone identifies bifurcating developmental trajectories from single-cell data. Setty M, Tadmor MD, Reich-Zeliger S, Angel O, Salame TM, Kathail P, Choi K, Bendall S, Friedman N, Pe’er D. Nat Biotechnol. 2016 Jun;34(6):637-45. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3569. PMID: 27136076

Data-driven phenotypic dissection of AML reveals progenitor-like cells that correlate with prognosis. Levine JH, Simonds EF, Bendall SC, Davis KL, Amir el-AD, Tadmor MD, Litvin O, Fienberg HG, Jager A, Zunder ER, Finck R, Gedman AL, Radtke I, Downing JR, Pe’er D, Nolan GP. Cell. 2015 Jul 2;162(1):184-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.05.047. PMID: 26095251

Interferon α/β enhances the cytotoxic response of MEK inhibition in melanoma. Litvin O, Schwartz S, Wan Z, Schild T, Rocco M, Oh NL, Chen BJ, Goddard N, Pratilas C, Pe’er D. Mol Cell. 2015 Mar 5;57(5):784-796. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.12.030. PMID: 25684207

Integration of genomic data enables selective discovery of breast cancer drivers. Sanchez-Garcia F, Villagrasa P, Matsui J, Kotliar D, Castro V, Akavia UD, Chen BJ, Saucedo-Cuevas L, Rodriguez Barrueco R, Llobet-Navas D, Silva JM, Pe’er D. Cell. 2014 Dec 4;159(6):1461-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.10.048. PMID: 25433701

Conditional density-based analysis of T cell signaling in single-cell data. Krishnaswamy S, Spitzer MH, Mingueneau M, Bendall SC, Litvin O, Stone E, Pe’er D, Nolan GP. Systems biology. Science. 2014 Nov 28;346(6213):1250689. doi: 10.1126/science.1250689. PMID: 25342659

Single-cell trajectory detection uncovers progression and regulatory coordination in human B cell development. Bendall SC, Davis KL, Amir el-AD, Tadmor MD, Simonds EF, Chen TJ, Shenfeld DK, Nolan GP, Pe’er D. Cell. 2014 Apr 24;157(3):714-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.04.005. PMID: 24766814

Book traversal links for The Dana Pe’er Lab



The Dana Pe’er Lab is one of four Labs of the Computational & Systems Biology Program

Computational biologists combine findings in biology with computer algorithms and databases to conduct biological research on powerful computers, using sophisticated software — so-called “dry” laboratories — in ways that complement and strengthen traditional laboratory and clinical research. The aim is to build computer models that simulate biological processes from the molecular level up to the organism as a whole and to use these models to make useful predictions.


Computational biology can help interpret detailed molecular profiles of cancerous and noncancerous cells, molecular response profiles of therapeutic agents, and a person’s genetic profile to assist in the development of better diagnostics and prognostics, as well as improved therapies. Intelligent use of computational methods using detailed molecular and genomic data is expected to reduce the trial and error of drug development and possibly lead to shorter, more accurate clinical trials.


The Christina Leslie Lab

The John Chodera Lab

The Dana Pe'er Lab

The Joao Xavier Lab


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2019 Wolf Prize in Medicine to Dr. Jeffrey Friedman @RockefellerUniv for Discovery of the Satiety Protein Hormone, Leptin which Regulates the Sensation of Hunger

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Medicine: The satiety hormone

The prize in Medicine will be awarded to Jeffrey Friedman from Rockefeller University in New York, for discovering the hormone leptin, which regulates the sensation of hunger.

Friedman (65) grew up in New York and graduated from medical school at the early age of 22. Later on, he fell in love with research, acquired his PhD in Molecular Genetics, and received a faculty position at Rockefeller. He was interested in understanding the factors that contribute to obesity, and studied a strain of mice with a mutation in a specific gene that made the mice fatter than regular mice. Friedman wanted to understand how a change in just one gene could lead to such an extreme transition, and after eight years of research using the most advanced genetic tools of the time, he identified the gene ob, and later, its product – a protein hormone he termed leptin. He found that leptin, secreted by fat cells into the blood, affects the brain. Under fat shortage leptin levels drop – leading to an increased appetite; while high levels of leptin signal the presence of excess fat and lead to a sensation of fullness, or satiety. Therefore, in certain situations of obesity, leptin treatment may assist in reducing appetite and facilitating weight loss.

Friedman’s studies paved the way for a fuller understanding of the system that regulates hunger and satiety, which has led to the development of new drugs and treatment.

הורמון שחשף את מנגנון ויסות הרעב ושימש לפיתוח טיפולים נגד השמנה. ג'פרי פרידמן | צילום: קרן וולף
A hormone that revealed the mechanism of hunger regulation and served to develop treatments for obesity. Jeffrey Friedman | Photograph: Wolf Foundation

Jeffrey M. Friedman to receive the 2019 Wolf Prize in Medicine

Nussenzweig portrait

Jeffrey M. Friedman

Jeffrey M. Friedman, Marilyn M. Simpson Professor and head of Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, has been named the recipient of the 2019 Wolf Prize in Medicine. He is being recognized for his discovery of leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells that modulates food intake and energy expenditure.

Friedman’s 1994 discovery of leptin, and of its receptor in the brain encoded by the obese gene, shed new light on the pathogenesis of obesity. He and his colleagues have since shown that leptin acts on sets of neurons in brain centers that regulate food intake and energy expenditure, and has powerful effects on reproduction, metabolism, other endocrine systems, and immune function. Defects in the leptin gene are associated with severe obesity in animals and humans.

“Jeff’s research has transformed our understanding of obesity. The fact that loss of a single hormone made by fat cells has such a profound effect on our drive to consume calories establishes a biological basis for obesity that is clearly not a simple failure of will-power,” says Rockefeller President Richard P. Lifton. “His research has opened a new field with great potential for advancing health and the understanding of the biological basis of behavior. This prestigious prize is richly deserved.”

Since 1978, the Wolf Foundation in Israel has awarded annual prizes in the arts and sciences, which are presented by the President of Israel. In addition to Friedman’s prize for Medicine, this year’s Wolf Prize recipients include an architect, a professor of agriculture and resource economics, two chemists, and a mathematician. The awardees will be honored at a Jerusalem ceremony led by the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, in May.

Previous Rockefeller recipients of the Wolf Prize in Medicine include Maclyn McCarty in 1990 and Jeffrey V. Ravetch in 2015. Three Rockefeller faculty have been recipients of the Wolf Prize in Physics: Mitchell Feigenbaum and Albert Libchaber in 1986 and George Uhlenbeck in 1979.





The Wolf Prize in Medicine is awarded once a year by the Wolf Foundation in Israel.[1] It is one of the six Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978; the others are in AgricultureChemistryMathematicsPhysics and Arts. The Prize has been stated to be the second most prestigious award in science, and a significant predictor of the Nobel Prize.[2]



Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

The Biologic Roles of Leptin in Metabolism, Leptin Physiology and Obesity: On the Mechanism of Action of the Hormone in Energy Balance

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Leptin signaling in mediating the cardiac hypertrophy associated with obesity

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Reviewer, and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Leptin and Puberty

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.


Pregnancy with a Leptin-Receptor Mutation

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.


New Insights into mtDNA, mitochondrial proteins, aging, and metabolic control

Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

Leptin signaling in mediating the cardiac hypertrophy associated with obesity

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Reviewer, and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Leptin and Puberty

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.


Pregnancy with a Leptin-Receptor Mutation

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.


New Insights into mtDNA, mitochondrial proteins, aging, and metabolic control

Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP


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Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: Keynote: Siddhartha Mukherjee, Oncologist and Pulitzer Author; June 4 9AM Philadelphia PA

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD. @StephenJWillia2


Hematologist and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee was born in New Delhi, India. He holds a BS in biology from Stanford University, a DPhil in immunology from Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes Scholar), and an MD from Harvard Medical School. He completed his internal medicine residency and an oncology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Murkherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, artist Sarah Sze, and their two daughters. His Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, tells the story of cancer from its first description in an ancient Egyptian scroll to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions. A three-part documentary series based on the book, directed by Barak Goodman and executive produced by Ken Burns, debuts on PBS stations March 30 and continues on March 31 and April 1. The film interweaves a sweeping historical narrative with intimate stories about contemporary patients and an investigation into the latest scientific breakthroughs. He has also written the award winning book “The Gene: An Intimate History” and is Founder of Vor Biopharma, who had just published on their CD33 engineered hematopoetic stem cells as an immunooncology therapy VOR33.

Hon. James C. Greenwood- former Congressional representative and Founder CEO of BIO: moderator

Greenwood: Never have the threats from DC to innovation in the biotech field been so great.  Focused on some great recent innovations and successes in gene therapy.  Although the cost high, father of two LMR retinopathy patients said if his sons had to go through a lifetime of constant care it would cost much more than the gene therapy from Spark cost.  Politicians need to realize that medicines that completely cure diseases are worth much more.  They should meet in the middle with respect to developing a new payer model that will not hurt innovation.

Dr. Mukherjee:  He go into oncology from a virology PhD because he liked to understand the human aspect

of disease.  As an oncologist he gets to interact more closely with patients.  The oncology horizon is always changing.  He likened his view of oncology and cancer as a pyramid with prevention the base, then early detection then therapy at top.

We haven’t found preventable human carcinogens, none that is highly proven causal

This will be the next challenge for cancer researchers, to figure out why we can’t identify these preventable carcinogens.





Please follow on Twitter using these @ handles and # hashtags






# Hashtags

#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)


Other Articles on this Open Access Journal on Interviews with Scientific Leaders Include:

Medical Scientific Discoveries for the 21st Century & Interviews with Scientific Leaders at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078313281 – electronic Table of Contents

Jennifer Doudna and NPR science correspondent Joe Palca, several interviews

Practicing Oncology: Medscape Editor-in-Chief Eric J. Topol, MD interviews Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD

Eric Topol interviews Al Gore on Genomics and Privacy

Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Saul About Beta-Blockers

Volume Two: Medical Scientific Discoveries for the 21st Century & Interviews with Scientific Leaders


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Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019:  Issues of Risk and Reproduceability in Translational and Academic Collaboration; 2:30-4:00 June 3 Philadelphia PA

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

Derisking Academic Science: The Unmet Need  

Translating academic research into products and new therapies is a very risky venture as only 1% of academic research has been successfully translated into successful products.

Collaboration from Chicago area universities like U of Chicago, Northwestern, etc.  First phase was enhance collaboration between universities by funding faculty recruitment and basic research.  Access to core facilities across universities.  Have expanded to give alternatives to company formation.
Half of the partnerships from Harvard and companies have been able to spin out viable startups.
Most academic PI are not as savvy to start a biotech so they bring in biotechs and build project teams as well as developing a team of ex pharma and biotech experts.  Derisk as running as one asset project.  Partner as early as possible.  A third of their pipeline have been successfully partnered.  Work with investors and patent attorneys.
Focused on getting PIs to get to startup.  Focused on oncology and vaccines and I/O.  The result can be liscensing or partnership. Running around 50 to 60 projects. Creating a new company from these US PI partnerships.
Most projects from Harvard have been therapeutics-based.  At Harvard they have a network of investors ($50 million).   They screen PI proposals based on translateability and what investors are interested in.
In Chicago they solicit multiple projects but are agnostic on area but as they are limited they are focused on projects that will assist in developing a stronger proposal to investor/funding mechanism.
NYU goes around university doing due diligence reaching out to investigators. They shop around their projects to wet their investors, pharma appetite future funding.  At Takeda they have five centers around US.  They want to have more input so go into the university with their scientists and discuss ideas.

Takeda: Data Validation very important. Second there may be disconnect with the amount of equity the PI wants in the new company as well as management.  Third PIs not aware of all steps in drug development.

Harvard:  Pharma and biotech have robust research and academic does not have the size or scope of pharma.  PIs must be more diligent on e.g. the compounds they get from a screen… they only focus narrowly

NYU:  bring in consultants as PIs don’t understand all the management issues.  Need to understand development so they bring in the experts to help them.  Pharma he feels have to much risk aversion and none of their PIs want 100% equity.

Chicago:  they like to publish at early stage so publication freedom is a challenge

Dr. Freedman: Most scientists responding to Nature survey said yes a reproduceability crisis.  The reasons: experimental bias, lack of validation techniques, reagents, and protocols etc.
And as he says there is a great ECONOMIC IMPACT of preclinical reproducability issues: to the tune of $56 billion of irreproducable results (paper published in PLOS Biology).  If can find the core drivers of this issue they can solve the problem.  STANDARDS are constantly used in various industries however academic research are lagging in developing such standards.  Just the problem of cell line authentication is costing $4 billion.
Dr. Cousins:  There are multiple high throughput screening (HTS) academic centers around the world (150 in US).  So where does the industry go for best practices in assays?  Eli Lilly had developed a manual for HTS best practices and in 1984 made publicly available (Assay Guidance Manual).  To date there have been constant updates to this manual to incorporate new assays.  Workshops have been developed to train scientists in these best practices.
NIH has been developing new programs to address these reproducability issues.  Developed a method called
Ring Testing Initiative” where multiple centers involved in sharing reagents as well as assays and allowing scientists to test at multiple facilities.
Dr.Tong: Reproduceability of Microarrays:  As microarrays were the only methodology to do high through put genomics in the early 2000s, and although much research had been performed to standardize and achieve best reproduceability of the microarray technology (determining best practices in spotting RNA on glass slides, hybridization protocols, image analysis) little had been done on evaluating the reproducibility of results obtained from microarray experiments involving biological samples.  The advent of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning though can be used to help validate microarray results.  This was done in a Nature Biotechnology paper (Nature Biotechnology volume28pages827–838 (2010)) by an international consortium, the International MAQC (Microarray Quality Control) Society and can be found here
However Dr. Tong feels there is much confusion in how we define reproduceability.  Dr. Tong identified a few key points of data reproduceability:
  1. Traceability: what are the practices and procedures from going from point A to point B (steps in a protocol or experimental design)
  2. Repeatability:  ability to repeat results within the same laboratory
  3. Replicatablilty:  ability to repeat results cross laboratory
  4. Transferability:  are the results validated across multiple platforms?

The panel then discussed the role of journals and funders to drive reproduceability in research.  They felt that editors have been doing as much as they can do as they receive an end product (the paper) but all agreed funders need to do more to promote data validity, especially in requiring that systematic evaluation and validation of each step in protocols are performed..  There could be more training of PIs with respect to protocol and data validation.

Other Articles on Industry/Academic Research Partnerships and Translational Research on this Open Access Online Journal Include

Envisage-Wistar Partnership and Immunacel LLC Presents at PCCI

BIO Partnering: Intersection of Academic and Industry: BIO INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION June 23-26, 2014 | San Diego, CA

R&D Alliances between Big Pharma and Academic Research Centers: Pharma’s Realization that Internal R&D Groups alone aren’t enough

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2020 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal for Outstanding Research in the Medical Sciences – Call for Nominations


Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN



Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal

Scheduled for presentation in 2020.  Nominations accepted online through Monday, October 7, 2019.

About the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal

The Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal is awarded every two years for outstanding research in the medical sciences. The medal carries with it a $25,000 award, and an additional $50,000 for research. The Kovalenko Fund, gifted by Michael S. Kovalenko in 1949 to the National Academy of Science in memory of his wife, Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko, was specifically designed to recognize the achievements made to the medical sciences and, over the past 67 years, has honored many outstanding contributors.

Most Recent Recipient

James P. Allison, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, received the 2018 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal.

Allison’s pioneering research has had a vast impact on cancer therapy and the evolution of the entire field of cancer immunology. His work has advanced science while improving the health and wellbeing of cancer patients worldwide, a process that continues to this day. Read more about Allison’s work»

Award History

The first Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal was awarded to Alfred N. Richards in 1952 for his outstanding contributions to medical science over a period of a half-century, both as an investigator and as a research executive and administrator. Richards received his first honor in 1897, when he became the first graduate student at Columbia to earn his PhD in physiological chemistry. Richards’ early research focused on the liver and chronic indole poisoning as a possible cause for cyclic vomiting in children although later, he notably sought to study the physiological and ecological effects of the atomic bomb. Richards served as Chairman of the Committee on Medical Research for President Roosevelt and, from 1947-1950, he served as the National Academy of Sciences’ own President, overseeing the establishment of the National Science Foundation.


James P. Allison (2018)
For the discovery that antibody blockade of the T cell molecule CTLA-4 unleashes the body’s immune response against malignant tumors and develops immune checkpoint blockade as a successful cancer therapy.
Read more about Allison’s work»
Watch Allison’s acceptance speech»

Huda Y. Zoghbi (2016)
For her pioneering contributions to the fields of neurodegenerative proteinopathies, autism spectrum disorders, epigenetics, and developmental biology by coupling clinical observation and gene discovery with focused, in-depth mechanistic study.
Read more about Zoghbi’s work»

Stuart H. Orkin (2013)
For his pioneering achievements in defining the molecular basis of blood disorders and the mechanisms governing the development of blood stem cells and individual blood lineages. His work has significantly advanced our understanding of human hematologic diseases and revealed new strategies to prevent and manage these disorders.
For her discovery of recurring chromosome translocations that characterize specific hematological malignancies, a landmark event that caused a major shift in the paradigms relating to cancer biology in the 1970s and paved the way for development of specific treatment for two leukemias.
Jeffrey M. Friedman (2007)
For the discovery of leptin and its role in the regulation of appetite, energy expenditure, and the molecular mechanisms underlying obesity.
Irving L. Weissman (2004)
For his seminal studies that defined the physical properties, purification, and growth regulation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells.
For his elucidation of the structure, function, and mechanism of regulation of heptahelical receptors, nature’s detectors of signals from many hormones, neurotransmitters, and drugs.
For his landmark discovery and identification of genes that control immune responsiveness, and for his subsequent elucidation of mechanisms of antigen recognition and induction of the immune response.
For his discovery and purification of the hemotopoietic growth factors and for their introduction into clinical medicine for the control of blood cell formation and resistance to infection.
For revolutionary accomplishments in human sphingolipid storage disorders, including the discovery of enzymatic defects, the development of genetic counseling procedures, and successful enzyme-replacement therapy.
For the discovery and characterization, with Avery and McLeod, that deoxyribonucleic acid is the chemical substance of heredity, and for his subsequent contributions to our understanding of the biology of streptococci and their role in disease.
Oscar D. Ratnoff (1985)
For his studies of the Hageman trait, an experiment of nature that improved understanding of such bodily defenses as the formation and dissolution of blood clots, inflammation, and immunity.
Henry G. Kunkel (1979)
For his pioneering and influential studies in basic immunology, immune complex disease, immune deficiency disorders, and lymphocytic membrane markers.
Julius H. Comroe, Jr. (1976)
For his immeasurable contribution to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease during his career, which was devoted to the physiology and chemistry of respiration and the mechanical and chemical properties of the human lung.
Seymour S. Kety (1973)
For furthering the essential understanding of balance between hereditary and other biological factors, on the one hand, and psychosocial experimental ones, on the other, in the pathogenesis and manifestations of schizophrenia.
For his laboratory and epidemiological researches on virus diseases, including his major role in the program for the evaluation of the polio vaccine and for his imaginative design for long-term studies of the atomic bomb survivors in Japan.
Karl P. Link (1967)
For his discovery and application of coumarin anticoagulants.
Rufus Cole (1966)
For his notable role in advancing our knowledge of lobar pneumonia and in establishing clinical investigation as a science.
George H. Whipple (1962)
For his contributions of many biological discoveries basic for advances in clinical and experimental medicine.
Karl F. Meyer (1961)
For his outstanding contributions to medical sciences as an investigator, teacher, and administrator over a period of half a century.
Eugene L. Opie (1959)
For his outstanding contributions to medical science and for a life of exemplary devotion to medical education and inquiry into the origins of disease.
Ernest W. Goodpasture (1958)
For his outstanding contributions to medical science and for long and continued devotion to the study of his chosen field of pathology.
Peyton Rous (1955)
Alfred N. Richards (1952)
For his outstanding contributions to medical science over a period of a half-century, both as an investigator and as a research executive and administrator.

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