Archive for the ‘Interviews with Scientific Leaders’ Category

Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs: Podcast by Denise Silber spoke with Moderna CEO and Harvard alumnus Stéphane Bancel: The race to find a vaccine – what it takes to develop a vaccine during a pandemic, Leadership in managing a science-based company

Reporter: Aviva Lev- Ari, PhD, RN


In this episode, Denise Silber, host of HAE Invites, interviews the CEO of Moderna Therapeutics (MRNA), one of the most strategic and observed life science companies of the COVID crisis.  In December 2018, Moderna became the largest biotech IPO in history. Now in 2020, they are called upon to do what has never been done before, to accelerate the development of a vaccine for a new disease. Join Denise as she speaks with Stéphane Bancel, the founding CEO of this Cambridge, MA research-based firm, whose pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) technology platform, includes a leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate.




  • Where Moderna Therapeutics is in the process of bringing the vaccine to market and who their competitors are

  • How the population could be segmented for the distribution of the vaccine

  • Current thinking on the need of a booster to prolong immunity

  • How Messenger RNA technology can be a platform for producing vaccines and medicines in an accelerated time frame

  • The importance of  asking “what if”, making decisions with incomplete information, and being transparent when managing in a science-based company

  • How to empower a team to do what has never been done before, through boldness, curiosity, and collaboration

  • How to share and communicate common values as the company grows

  • Why scientific failure is such a valuable experience

  • How the Case Method at HBS helps us overcome our blind spots




Stéphane Bancel has served as CEO of Moderna Therapeutics since October 2011 and as a member of Moderna’s board of directors since March 2011. Before joining the Company, he served for five years as Chief Executive Officer of the French diagnostics company bioMérieux SA. From July 2000 to March 2006, Stéphane Bancel served in various roles at Eli Lilly and Company, including as Managing Director, Belgium and as Executive Director, Global Manufacturing Strategy and Supply Chain. Prior to Lilly, he served as Asia-Pacific Sales and Marketing Director for bioMérieux.

Stéphane Bancel currently serves on the board of directors of Qiagen N.V. and previously served on the board of directors of BG Medicine, Inc. and Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: SYRS). He is currently a Venture Partner at Flagship Pioneering and a trustee of the Museum of Science in Boston. Stéphane Bancel holds a Master of Engineering degree from École Centrale Paris (ECP), a Master of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.



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In 2020 – 70 years a part @MIT: The Online 2020 Commencement & Presidential Address @MIT and The Online Premiere of the Shannon Documentary – The Bit Player. A Unique Tribute to Claude Shannon Screened at 2020 International Symposium on Information Theory 

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN



The Online 2020 Commencement at MIT




The Online premiere of the Shannon Documentary – The Bit Player. A unique tribute to Claude Shannon screened at 2020 International Symposium on Information Theory 

WATCH VIDEO – The trailer for The Bit Player on Vimeo




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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Podcast From
McKinsey Global Institute

Programming life: An interview with Jennifer Doudna by Michael Chui, a partner of the McKinsey Global Institute


The article in PDF format

AUDIT the Podcast Interview by Michael Chui

Lightning round: Quick questions and answers with Jennifer Doudna

Michael Chui: Yes, nurturing the next generation is an incredible privilege and a great joy. That totally resonates with me. Next, I’d love to do a quick lightning round of quick questions, quick answers. They’re meant to be fun. If you don’t like one you could just say, “Pass.” Are you willing to do that with me?

Jennifer Doudna: Sure.

Michael Chui: Here we go. First, what’s your favorite source of information about biological innovations?

Jennifer Doudna: Twitter.

Michael Chui: What’s a thing you wish people understood about CRISPR?

Jennifer Doudna: Oh boy. I wish they understood that it’s an ancient immune system in bugs.

Michael Chui: What’s the number one thing that people get wrong about CRISPR?

Jennifer Doudna: I think what they get wrong is that it’s not a cure-all. It’s a powerful tool, but it can’t do everything.

Michael Chui: What excites you most about the Bio Revolution?

Jennifer Doudna: Thinking about what’s next and how we get there.

Michael Chui: What worries you most about the Biological Revolution?

Jennifer Doudna: Technology getting ahead of itself, and people proceeding to do things that can be done, but really should not be done.

Michael Chui: What application of biological technologies is most underhyped or underrecognized for its potential?

Jennifer Doudna: I think it’s the work in plants and agriculture. It doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s going to be extremely impactful.

Michael Chui: What application of biological innovation is most overhyped?

Jennifer Doudna: CRISPR babies.

Michael Chui: What job would you be doing today if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?

Jennifer Doudna: I think I’d be an architect. I like building things.

Michael Chui: Not tomato farmer?

Jennifer Doudna: Well, that too. That’s very possible.

Michael Chui: Okay. In terms of tomatoes, do you think of yourself as a latter-day Mendel? Or is it just something you do for fun?

Jennifer Doudna: Mostly I do it for fun. I often tell my son, “If I had another life to live, I would probably be a plant geneticist.” Plant genetics is really fascinating.

Michael Chui: Did your childhood in Hawaii have anything to do with that? Because they have crazy plants there.

Jennifer Doudna: They do have crazy plants there. Yes, I’m sure it has a lot to do with it.

Michael Chui: All right, I have two more lightning round questions. To a student who is entering college today, what would you recommend that they study?

Jennifer Doudna: Computer science or robotics.

Michael Chui: Wait, we just spoke about how amazing biology is, and you’re saying computer science and robotics. What gives?

Pay attention to what’s happening in biology because it’s changing very quickly.

Jennifer Doudna

Jennifer Doudna: Well, I think those are going to intersect with biology. I really do. And when I say computer science and robotics, I increasingly think that those fields will include biology, because they have to.

Michael Chui: Finally, what one piece of advice do you have for listeners of this podcast?

Jennifer Doudna: Pay attention to what’s happening in biology because it’s changing very quickly.

Michael Chui: Great. Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us today, for sharing some of your insights. I’m Michael Chui with the McKinsey Global Institute. My guest has been Jennifer Doudna, discoverer of the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR, and who also directs the Innovative Genomics Institute at UC Berkeley. Thank you.

Jennifer Doudna: Thank you, Michael.


Jennifer Doudna, PhD is a professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jennifer is also the executive director of the Innovative Genomics Institute, the Li Ka Shing chancellor’s chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences, and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Gladstone Institutes, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her contributions to Life Sciences @UCBLettersSci


are captured in two books published in 2015 and in 2019 by Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group, Boston

  • VOLUME 2: Latest in Genomics Methodologies for Therapeutics: Gene Editing, NGS & BioInformatics, Simulations and the Genome Ontology On Amazon.com since 12/28/2019




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via Special COVID-19 Christopher Magazine

Special COVID-19 Christopher Magazine

Christopher-coverAntonio Giordano, MD, PhD. explains what COVID is and how to contain the infection, pointing also to what will require attention next.

Please see this special release at http://online.fliphtml5.com/qlnw/zgau/#p=1


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via Dr. Giordano Featured in Forbes Article on COVID-19 Antibody Tests in Italy and USA

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Donald Kennedy, Stanford’s eighth president, dead at 88 on April 21, 2020, of COVID-19

Donald Kennedy, who served as Stanford’s eighth president, helped set the stage for its transformation into one of the nation’s top research universities.

Donald Kennedy, a neurobiologist who became the eighth president of Stanford in 1980 and helped set the stage for its transformation into one of the nation’s top research universities during his 12 years in office, died April 21, 2020, of COVID-19 at Gordon Manor, a residential care home in Redwood City where he resided for the past two years.

Donald Kennedy, president emeritus and Bing Professor of Environmental Science. (Image credit: Stanford News Service)

Kennedy, who experienced a serious stroke in 2015, was 88.

In his scholarly research, which centered on the properties of small nerve cells, Kennedy established that complex forms of motor activity can be elicited by stimulation of single nerve cells located in the central nervous system of the crayfish. He subsequently pioneered a new technique of dye injection into single nerve cells so that the whole axon, dendrite and cell body of the cell can be seen in the light of the microscope.

His tenure as president was marked by a renewed commitment to teaching by the university, which opened the Stanford Humanities Center, expanded interdisciplinary studies and added campuses overseas. In 1988, Stanford launched Bing Stanford in Washington, which gives undergraduates the opportunity to live, study and work as interns with government agencies and nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.

“As we mourn the loss of Don Kennedy, we also salute his enormous contributions to Stanford and to our country,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

“As a biologist, as a national voice for science, as a vigorous leader of Stanford University and as an engaging teacher beloved by so many students, Don brought to his endeavors an enduring commitment to academic excellence, a deep wellspring of warmth and good humor and a vision for the possibilities always ahead of Stanford.”

Kennedy encouraged students to engage in public service by launching a program now known as the Haas Center for Public Service. The Haas Center now offers the Donald Kennedy Public Service Fellowship, which funds summer service projects for undergraduate students.

Commissioner of the FDA

In 1977, Kennedy took a leave of absence from Stanford to become commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under President Jimmy Carter. He later told an interviewer that “the opportunity to serve government is one that scientists should come to regard as a routine part of their career patterns, just as many academic lawyers, political scientists and economists do.”

In deliberating over whether to accept the job, Kennedy said he also thought about his exhortations to students in Stanford’s Human Biology Program to get involved in matters of public policy – and he realized that he should follow his own advice.

Among the challenges he faced at the FDA were controversies over the banning of saccharin, the alleged cancer cure Laetrile, the risks associated with antibiotics in animal feeds, alcoholic beverage labeling, and chronic complaints that the approval process for new drugs either allowed dangerous drugs into the market or impairs innovation.

In 1979, when Kennedy returned to Stanford as provost, the New York Times praised his leadership of the FDA:

“When he came to Washington two years ago, the agency was torn by internal dissension and the charge in Congress that it had become chummy with the industries it regulates. Morale has been raised and the FDA’s reputation is decidedly one of independence. One measure of the respect that Mr. Kennedy won is that spokesmen for both consumer and industry groups, who seldom agree on anything, rate him equally high.”

In 1980, Stanford named Kennedy as its eighth president. He succeeded Richard W. Lyman, who became president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Editor-in-chief of Science

In 2000, Kennedy became editor-in-chief of Science. In an essay introducing readers to Kennedy, Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich called Kennedy “one of the broadest, warmest, most talented and most literate scientists ever to grace our business.”

“Among the privileges I most enjoyed at Science was oversight of the weekly editorial page,” Kennedy wrote in A Place in the Sun. “In my nearly eight years at the helm, I had the opportunity to express my views on more than a hundred occasions, writing opinion pieces on such areas of science and policy as dual-use [science can be deployed for good or evil], government secrecy, bioengineering, stem cell research, and climate change that I continue to find most compelling and in need of attention. On occasion I would inject a bit of humor, allowing me to flex my creative muscle.”

In 2008, Kennedy, who had been flying back and forth between Stanford and Washington, D.C., returned to the Farm, where he resumed teaching undergraduates, as well as master’s students enrolled in the Graduate School of Business. He engaged with students across the academic spectrum – from advising undergraduates and writing letters of recommendation for former students to serving on dissertation committees for PhD candidates.

Kennedy was active on a wide variety of boards, nonprofit organizations, foundations and scientific advisory boards, including the national advisory board of the Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and the board of directors of QuestBridge, a nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto that connects the nation’s brightest students from low-income backgrounds with leading institutions of higher education and further opportunities. He served as scientific advisor to the PBS NewsHour, and as co-chair of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Kennedy also served on the board of directors of Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation.

From Jan. 2005 to June 2013, Kennedy served as a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which works with partners around the world for social, cultural and environmental change designed to improve the lives of children, families, and communities.

Kennedy, who was born in New York City on Aug. 18, 1931, earned a bachelor’s degree (1952), a master’s degree (1954) and a doctorate (1956) at Harvard University.

Presiding over Stanford’s annual Commencement exercises, Kennedy delighted in sending the graduates on their way with a favorite quotation from former Illinois governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. “Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don’t forget when you leave why you came.”

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1972 and is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Commission for Public Service, and the American Philosophical Society.

Kennedy is survived by his wife, Robin Kennedy, of Menlo Park, California; children Page Kennedy Rochon, of Washington, D.C.; Julia Kennedy Tussing, of Menlo Park, California; Cameron Kennedy, of Washington, D.C.; Jamie Hamill, of Las Vegas; their spouses Mark Rochon, Ted Tussing, Rick Desimone and Rosario Hamill; and nine grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be announced by the family and Stanford University when family, friends and members of the Stanford family can safely congregate.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Stanford Hillel (https://stanford.hillel.org/), the Haas Center for Public Service (https://haas.stanford.edu/) or the Robin and Donald Kennedy Fund for Jewish Studies (https://library.stanford.edu/spc/donate).



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My Memories Tell a Story to Share

Author: Larry Howard Bernstein, MD, FCAP 

Contact: 413-727-8523


Updated on 6/2/2020

In preparation for a PODCAST with Dr. Larry, we prepared the following content:

For many years, he was the Chief Scientific Officer and Member of the Board of Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group, a Pharmaceutical Media Venture with several Cloud Based products: (1) an Open Access Online Scientific Journal

PharmaceuticalIntelligence.com, (2) a BioMed e-Series of 16 volumes in Medicine (3) A Real Time Press Coverage of Biotech and Medical Conferences (4) a Podcast Library of Interviews with Key Opinion Leaders (4) A Platform with Composition of Methods and (5) a Team of Experts, Authors, Writers.

Dr. Bernstein had contributed 1,400 curated articles to LPBI’s Journal, mentioned above and served as Editor and Content Consultant to each of the 16 volumes in LPBI’s BioMed e-Series.

Examples of the TOP articles in the Journal by e-Readers Views shows the cardinal positioning of Dr. Bernstein’s publications.


Top Posts for all days ending 2020-06-02 (Summarized)      
All Time      
Title Views Author Name Type of Article
Home page / Archives 676,690 Internet Access Tabulation
Is the Warburg Effect the Cause or the Effect of Cancer: A 21st Century View? 17,117 Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACP Investigator Initiated Research
Recent comprehensive review on the role of ultrasound in breast cancer management 14,242 Dr. D. Nir Commission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Do Novel Anticoagulants Affect the PT/INR? The Cases of XARELTO (rivaroxaban) and PRADAXA (dabigatran) 13,839 Dr. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC & Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Commission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Paclitaxel vs Abraxane (albumin-bound paclitaxel) 13,709 Tilda Barliya, PhD Investigator Initiated Research
Apixaban (Eliquis): Mechanism of Action, Drug Comparison and Additional Indications 8,230 Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Investigator Initiated Research
Clinical Indications for Use of Inhaled Nitric Oxide (iNO) in the Adult Patient Market: Clinical Outcomes after Use, Therapy Demand and Cost of Care 7,903 Dr. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC & Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Investigator Initiated Research
Mesothelin: An early detection biomarker for cancer (By Jack Andraka) 6,540 Tilda Barliya, PhD Investigator Initiated Research
Our TEAM 6,505 Internet Access Tabulation
Biochemistry of the Coagulation Cascade and Platelet Aggregation: Nitric Oxide: Platelets, Circulatory Disorders, and Coagulation Effects 5,221 Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACP Investigator Initiated Research
Interaction of enzymes and hormones 4,901 Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACP Commission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Akt inhibition for cancer treatment, where do we stand today? 4,852 Ziv Raviv, PhD Investigator Initiated Research
AstraZeneca’s WEE1 protein inhibitor AZD1775 Shows Success Against Tumors with a SETD2 mutation 4,535 Stephen J. Williams, PhD Investigator Initiated Research
The History and Creators of Total Parenteral Nutrition 4,511 Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACP Commission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Newer Treatments for Depression: Monoamine, Neurotrophic Factor & Pharmacokinetic Hypotheses 4,365 Zohi Sternberg, PhD Investigator Initiated Research
FDA Guidelines For Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Studies for Small Molecules 4,188 Stephen J. Williams, PhD Investigator Initiated Research
The Centrality of Ca(2+) Signaling and Cytoskeleton Involving Calmodulin Kinases and Ryanodine Receptors in Cardiac Failure, Arterial Smooth Muscle, Post-ischemic Arrhythmia, Similarities and Differences, and Pharmaceutical Targets 4,038 Dr. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FACP & Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Commission by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
Founder 3,895 Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Investigator Initiated Research


That small sample from a universe of 1,400 articles reflects just a glimpse of the topics that he had covered in his writing.

In addition, in 2020 the Journal ontology has 700 Categories of Research, more than 50% were create by Dr. Bernstein for allowing a precise classification of the wide range of topics his life body of research had covered, chiefly: Cancer, Genomics, Pathology, Coagulation, Cardiovascular, Nutrition, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Processes, at large.

Dr. Bernstein served on the Board of Director of NAACLS and the American Library Association Commission on Accreditation and he is listed in the America’s Top Physicians.

He has three patents:

1. Measuring Lactate Dehydrogenase Isoenzymes by differential inhibition of heart and muscle enzymes using the inhibition by a triplex formed by pyruvate – NAD+ and LDH.

2. Measuring the mitochondrial Malate Dehydrogenase using the inhibition of mMDH by a triplex formed by OAA – NAD+ – and mMDH in the laboratory of Nathan Oren Kaplan (NAS).

3. Measuring a cancer modified MDH by loss of mMDH inhibition with Prof. Johannes Everse. In addition, only a provisional patent was filed for Converting Hematology Based Data into an Inferential Interpretation under the direction of Prof. Ronald Raphael Coifman (NAS). No patent was filed for the statistical determination of myocardial infarct using two assays for creatine kinase MB. No patent was filed for the diagnosis of myaocardial infarct using a neural network under the supervision of Izaak Mayzlin, eminent mathematician from former Soviet Union;
No patent was filed for the determination of myocardial infarct using Kullback Entropy.

My lab was the only one to get down to reliable measurements of transthyretin of 20 mg/L. I co-chaired the First International Transthyretin Congress in Strasbourg, at the invitation of Yves Ingenbleek, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg.

I chaired the 14th and was an invited participant in the 17th Ross Roundtable on Nutrition, Organized and Chaired the Beckman Roundtable on Pre-albumin in Los Angeles, was responsible for the AACC first document of Standards of Clinical Laboratory Practice with Lawrence Kaplan, and was recipient of the Labbe/Garry award of the Nutrition Division of AACC).

Other projects in normalizing the NT-proBNP for age and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), were successful, but widespread implementation is even more gradual than was TTR.

  • Could you tell us about the research project that had the most significance in your career?

You worked with two noted researchers – Gil David and Yale University’s Chairman of the Mathematics Department Ronald Coifman – to develop a software system which is today’s equivalent of electronic health records that gathers medical information, generates metrics and analyzes data in real-time, providing a health diagnosis for an individual’s medical condition.



The Schwartz and Auslander Families

I was born a triplet to David and Lillian Bernstein on December 28, 1941, the first set of triplets born in Highland Park Hospital in some 20 years, but on graduation from Mumford High School, Detroit, Michigan in 1960, we were one of three sets of triplets. We were Larry, Leslie and Linda, who were preceded by Sharon, a sister two years older, also a December baby. Our parents were middle class and our father was a dental technician, so a family with four children was not easy to bring up. We always lived in a household of two families, with my uncle Irving and aunt Elsie Bernstein, living in the lower level, having two children, Barbara, who was our age, and Richard, who was the older brother. When we were born, under the circumstance of my grandmother, Bobby Mulvin (Mulvina in Hungarian), three calls were made in successive days to inform the family in Cleveland, Ohio, of our birth. My mother’s father and mother were Julius and Mulvina Schwartz, from the Hungarian edge of Austria on the Raba River, who moved the family to Cleveland as the intentions of Hitler became clear. My mother had two older brothers and a younger sister, David, Herman and Bernice. David had already been a United States citizen when the Schwartz family moved to the United States in 1931, and Herman was a third year medical student in Budapest after completing a year in Vienna, having been valedictorian of his high school class after special arrangement of his local catholic priest. But Herman had to move from Hungary months prior to graduation because immigration would close. Lillian was 18 years age when she brought her 11 year old sister to America. Julius and David worked in the dry cleaning business in Cleveland. There was also a Mulvina cousin, Biederman, who was a jeweler in Vienna who moved to Cleveland, but his father did not escape the Nazis. Their children were Alan and Marvin, Lois, Robert and Barbara (Liss), Lucille and Janice. Another two generations have passed. Robert was a merit scholar in upstate New York, became a reporter on the Miami Herald, and had three children. He died too young of leukemia. Barbara married and had 3 Wolfe children, two boys and a girl.

I have described the Cleveland side of the family. My mother worked making ties in Cleveland for a friend of my father’s family. She helped bring him to Detroit and married my mother. My father came from Czeckoslovakia, his father having a tree farm on the Carpathian mountains, near the border with Poland. He became a Schochet (kosher chicken). He had a sister, Rivka. Rivka married a cantor after her husband died. My grandmother was in the Auslander family. Auslander means out of the land. A rabbi brought his family out of Spain and changed the family name to Auslander. My grandfather was Meyer and grandmother was Rachel (Bobby Rochel). They lived two streets from the elementary school, so we had lunch at the grandparents house. My grandmother had sisters Esther, Edna, Katie, Jeanette. We go to a next generation rich in talent. This family lived in the city of Detroit, which has an interesting history.


The Jewish Community

Grandfather Meyer was very orthodox, but he shaved, and attended the Gelitzioner Shul, but our mother objected to her children going to an orthodox yeshiva school that was too rigid. Our mother read a lot to become knowledgable and also fluent in the English language. Our father read the Detroit Free Press and the business section daily. Some of our family went to the reform synagogue, Temple Israel, that did not use rigorous Hebrew in prayer. We attended the Bnai Moshe synagogue, which had Rabbi Moses Lehrman, whose daughter became an English teacher at our school. There was a cantor, and there was a superb reader of the Torah (Baal Koreh). The president of the Bnai Moshe was the founder of a salami that was the equal to that in New York.



Detroit was a city on the Detroit River that was once known as Fort Ponchartrain at the time of the Revolutionary War with the British. There were Indians at the edge of the Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula was obtained by Governor Lewis Cass from Wisconsin an a trade that made Toledo a part of Ohio. Detroit and the Detroit River became a crossing point for Negroes at the time of flight from the Southern states during the Civil War. Windsor, Ontario was a point of transfer of liquor from Winsor, Ontario. Detroit became important when Henry Ford brought automation into auto manufacturing, and it was followed by Dodge/Crysler and General Motors. Neighboring Dearborn, Michigan became a city where there was later a Ford Museum, and it was known to be only for whites and non-jews. There was also before my arrival an anti-Semitic priest, Father Coughlin. In addition, Henry Ford was known to disseminate “The Elders of Zion. So the city was somewhat divided, as perhaps other cities – like New York. Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles – that had distinctly jewish and black neighborhoods that one might consider ghettos. The city of Highland Park, within Detroit, was Polish. The jewish neighborhood migrated from Chicago Boulevard toward Livernois, and beyond to beyond Seven Mile Road, and eventually beyond Eight Mile Road, the Detroit border.

My early childhood was on Sturtevant, between Linwood and Dexter. Linwood extended to middle Detroit, where there was an automobile convention center. There was a theater at the corner of Linwood and Livernois. There was an upper middle class neighborhood adjacent to Oak Park, and a zoo on Woodward Avenue. The synagogue my family attended was on Dexter, and there was a butcher shop, a bakery, and the Dexter Davison Market. My aunt Edna had an ice cream parlor a short distance from the synagogue on Dexter. She had two sons and one became a doctor and the other a professor.
The McCullough elementary school and across the street a United Hebrew School were walking distance from where my family lived, with many children on our street. Milk was delivered to a milkbox, and an alternative way of entering the home was through the milkbox. The next door neighbor had a dog named Blackie. He was child friendly. There were many children in the neighborhood. My best friend in elementary school was an Armenian boy, Michael Michalian.


High School and College

We moved from the old neighborhood at the time were to attend High School. My brother and I joined the chess club and learned from Peter Wolf, who excelled at it. Mumford High School chess club won the city championship over Redford High School, taking the cup four years in succession. I also found a friend in high school a grade ahead, Fred Baskin, who was extremely bright and very social. The triplets graduated from high school and entered WSU in 1960. When we finished high school we all went to Wayne State University (WSU), where I majored in chemistry, and was a premedical student. Fred had a Merit Scholarship. I prepared myself sufficiently so that if I were not to qualify for medical school, I could follow a suitable career. My older sister, Sharon, was a very fine pianist and she entered WSU with a General Motors Scholarship three years earlier. She excelled in mathematics. She has taught piano for years and still does so at 80 years age. Fred went on to graduate school in biochemistry at University of California, Berkeley and I went on to medical school at Wayne State University upon graduation. My sister Linda did graduate work and obtained a Master degree in biology at Wayne State, married a psychiatry graduate, and they moved to California and raised two boys. I shared the same room as Leslie, but I did not see changes in him that lead to attempted suicide and admittance to the hospital. The three of us spent a summer at the NIH in a study of Schizophrenia. Leslie went to San Diego to be near Linda.

I worked very hard in my first two years of medical school. I engaged in a graduate study in embryology under Harry Maisel in the Anatomy Department, studying the evolution of the proteins of the lens of the eye (crystallins) under Prof. Harry Maisel, but I also studied the changes in the isoenzymes of lactate dehydrogenase (LD). He was an inspiring scientist, but I also had the opportunity to learn electron microscopy under Maurice Bernstein in the same department. When I finished the Master degree I returned to finish the last two years of medical school. This was a valuable experience under two inspiring mentors. In the study of the evolution of the LD isoenzymes I became extremely interested in the work of Nathan Kaplan at the Graduate University of Biochemistry in Boston, and the work of one of his graduate students who looked at the changes in the wings of avians, depending on flight characterics. I chose to go to the University of Kansas Medical School for residency and PhD in pathology. When I arrived in 1968, the pathologist whose work interested me had left to carry on the chairmanship elsewhere, but I was fortunate to meet Masahiro Chiga, who had left an Acting Chairman of Biochemistry to return to pathology. He was an inspiration. I finished less than a year when he recommended that I go to the University of California, San Diego to work with Nathan Kaplan. He modestly said that he had worked with the muscle enzyme of adenylate kinase (myokinase) that is different than the liver enzyme, but he hadn’t had the insight that Kaplan had. I stayed in touch with him until his death. My mother developed gastric cancer, quite rare then, and I visited her several times before she died. I also dated an old Mumford schoolmate, Audrey Mellon, who I married before going to San Diego.



University of Calfornia, San Diego

I found myself in a completely different environment in San Diego. One part of it was the enormous scientific environment, not only with Kaplan’s laboratory his two competent two assistants, and his several postdoctoral students, but also my engagement with several staff biochemists. There were presentations in the hallway next to Prof. Kaplan’s office, and some were from outside research institutions. It was amazing how when the medical school was opened, it had drawn talents from all of the best institutions. An unintended benefit was the beautiful ocean, the nearby La Jolla, and nearby other research centers. Dr. Kaplan was the Editor, and he cofounded Methods in Enzymology with Sidney Colowick, who had worked with Carl and Gerty Cori (Nobel Laureates) in St. Louis. They had both worked with Fritz Lippman in the discovery of Coenzyme A , the cofactor that acts as an acyl carrier, and either activates the acyl group for group transfer or electrophilic attack, or increases the acidity of the protons adjacent to the carbonyl group. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1945 with Hans Krebs, who elucidated the Krebs cycle. Kaplan’s role in the discovery was significant. Interestingly, Hans Krebs work was related to work carried out in the laboratory of Otto Warburg (Nobel Laureate, 1937)), whose work pioneered the study of mitochondrial impairment if cancer.

My own work was not with lactate dehydrogenase, but with Malate dehydrogenase, a critical enzyme linked to mitochondrial function. While LDH catalyze the conversion of pyruvate to lactate with NADH as cofactor and the transfer of a proton, the reverse reaction was inhibited by a ternary complex formed by LDH-NAD- and lactate, but this reaction was weak with the muscle type LDH compared to the heart type LDH. In a similar manner the malate dehydrogenase had a mitochondrial and cytoplasmic isoenzyme, the mitochondrial MDH forming a ternary complex, but not the cytoplasmic enzyme. I spent many months purifying the mitochondrial enzyme from 50 lb of chicken hearts with first an ammonium sulfate precipitation, then a column separation, and dialysis. A study of the mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase was followed by stopped flow analysis and that showed the inhibition by transfer of the hydrogen to form a ternary complex.

I returned to residency in pathology at UCSD under an NIH fellowship with Averill Liebow in the next year. Liebow was an internationally known expert in pulmonary pathology. He was also very amazing. A resident from Yale referred to Liebow noticing him sleeping in the back row and the professor called his name, the son of so and so, you can’t sleep in my class. His car was the first in the lot, until I came. Then when I went to the VA Hospital and parked on the other side, he noted that I parked around the corner. The chief of chemistry at the VA was an outstanding teacher and biochemist who subsequently took a position at Beckman-Coulter. I set up an assay in a study of swimming rats with Liebow. My first daughter was born during my residency and it was fascinating watching her learn to stand up. I took her to the San Diego zoo on weekends and she would stand up in her crib and say zoo, zoo. It was at this time that I collected urine specimens for a study of adenylate kinase with Percy Russell, and also took serum specimens from a study of creatine kinase MB in myocardial infarction that was done by the cardiologist Burton Sobel for my own study that was published.


At the end of my residency I had to give two years for my time deferred from the Vietnam War. Liebow called the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington to give me the best placement. I then spent the next two years working in orthopedic pathology with Lent C. Johnson, who was quite a genius. He determined the normal ratio of bone forming to bone removing cells, and did pioneering work in bone cancer. Liebow wanted me to return after the two years, but he had a stroke. At the end of two years I took a pathology position at the University of South Florida, Tampa, under Herschel Sidransky.

Herschel was an outstanding researcher from University of Pittsburg Medical School. He had several outstanding researchers in his department. I returned to my studies of malate dehydrogenase and in particular, the mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase in hepatic cancer from Herschel Sidransky’s animals. I had a grant from the Cancer Society. I also had the support in statistics from a mathematician.

Herschel became the Chairman of Pathology at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Several faculty went with him, but I received a substantial salary increase and a supportive offer from the University of South Alabama, Mobile, with a very enthusiastic pathology chairman. Just prior to leaving Florida, Naomi was born. I took on a role with the Medical Technology Program, and I also participated in program reviews, and some time later was on the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards. The Chairman was a capable and enthusiastic neuropathologist who intended to build a good department, but it was not long after that the Chair of Medicine, also the Dean, set up a clinical laboratory for his own interest, without merit. I submitted a cancer grant proposal that was approvingly reviewed by the Chairman of Physiology. It was approved by the NIH without funding, with suggestions to consider. That was a point that I chose to move, and after two years, I moved the family to Des Moines, Iowa to work at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center, the second largest after University Hospital. The President of the hospital sent me a high school student and we completed a project on fetal lung maturity that we published. However, the move was not a good match, as the Chairman’s main concern was outside laboratory work and there was also a laboratory manager who was manipulative.

After two years we moved to Binghamton, New York to a position with Gustavo Reynoso, who came from Rochester, New York and was a very respected pathologist. There was a consolidation of hospitals that led to Dr. Reynoso taking the chairmanship of pathology at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Connecticut, and he procured a position for me at Bridgeport Hospital, in Bridgeport, CT. The move was very good with an excellent staff in pathology, and I was the director of chemistry and blood bank. This time I stayed for 20 years, and developed a very good relationship with the medical staff, the Chairman of Pathology, Dr. Marguerite Pinto, and particularly with my supervisors in Blood Bank and Chemistry. My Blood Bank supervisor married and moved to Greece and eventually was in charge of the Athens Blood Program.

My relationship with the residents in medicine and cardiology was very collaborative. When I was in the hospital recovering from a femoral fracture, I received a call from I.J. Good, Chairman and Editor of a mathematics journal to whom I had sent cardiac enzyme data some years before. He had finished and validated a program “Diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction from two measurements of creatine kinase isoenzyme MB with use of nonparametric probability estimation”, and they successfully ran the data. We published the paper in Clinical Chemistry. The President of the College of American Pathologist complimented the work at a national meeting. I also met another pathologist, Rosser Rudolph, at a pathology meeting and he had developed a powerful mathematical program that determined the entropy of diagnostic data. We collaborated for many years. In addition, I was really privileged to work with the father of my daughter’s classmate, Isaac Mayzlin, who was an important mathematician at Moscow University. We developed an neural network algorithm for myocardial infarction.

I had a very long, satisfying role in collaboration with Dr. Walter Pleban, who was the surgeon in charge of the only burn unit in Connecticut. I had been engaged in the nutritional support program with Dr. Pleban for some years because of my work on transthyretin. Unfortunately, the criteria using decrease in serum albumin that was in use was very inadequate for early recognition. Transthyretin is a plasma protein that binds to vitamin A and declines very early in protein malnutrition. A decline in transthyretin results in impairment of methionine metabolism. I also had a longstanding relationship with Prof. Yves Ingenbleek at University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, in this work. When Stanley Dudrick became the Chairman of Surgery, it was a fortunate circumstance. Stanley was the pioneer in developing intravenous nutrition and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work.

A year after Yale University took charge of the Bridgeport Pathology Department, I took a position as Chief of Clinical Chemistry and Blood Bank at the Methodist Hospital of Brooklyn. I had a very good relationship with surgery and medicine, and had superb projects with the residents, but also had excellent high school and college students work on projects. I was 65 years old five years later, and returned to work at Norwalk Hospital in charge of the Blood Bank while the position was recruited. After finishing my work there, I went to Yale University and developed a project with Ronald R. Coifman, the retired Chairman of Mathematics and his graduate student. It lead to the development of a powerful algorithm for interpreting the hemogram that we published. There is a substantial body of research being published of a similar nature, but it is not at all clear whether or how this will be incorporated into the electronic medical record. It reminds me of the support I had at Bridgeport Hospital using a laboratory system designed by Dr. Perry Seamonds that eliminated nonessential examination of peripheral smears by rules criteria. This laboratory system also alleviated the volume of laboratory testing to relieve the burden on the physicians. A different problem I later noticed was that the Hospital Systems that were later introduced had the laboratory, but did not include the Blood Bank! However, as the electronic medical record has evolved it has taken an enormous physician, nursing, and provider time that does not justify a reduction in staff.

After I had been done with my Yale project, I developed a visual problem and stopped driving. I had problems I would later realize. I had had two incidents in a few years that I drove my car off the road because of sleep apnea. I was walking in my neighborhood and had to stop and hold on to a tree for balance. In the case of sleep apnea, it was diagnosed earlier in a sleep apnea study in Brooklyn. I had a study at Yale that brought to my realization that I had thyroid cancer, for which I had thyroidectomy. However, I had diplopia after surgery which disappeared some time later. We moved to Northampton, Massachusetts when our daughter, Naomi and her husband Daniel with grandson Joseph moved, Naomi taking a teaching position at Holyoke Community College, and Daniel working as a neurologist at the VA hospital.

Prior to moving I was contacted by Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN who was building an online medical forum known as Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group, and I became the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).  Over the decade I wrote many articles (1,390) in the Open Access Online Scientific Journal http://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com that were included in 16 organized e-Books in Medicine. Dr. Lev-Ari’s accomplishment is quite impressive. The e-Books are all available on Amazon.com


I stopped contributing two years ago, but a graduate student had read my work and wanted my academic guidance (in Canada). She finished her thesis and graduated a year ago. It was a privilege to work with her. Since moving to Northampton, we has been in a very good community at Lathrup.











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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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