The Center for Computational and Integrative Biology is an affiliation of faculty drawn together by a common interest in the study of biology through methods engaging a broader scale of inquiry than the existing standard of the era. The faculty collectively has highly diverse interests, ranging from inquiries into the origins of life, the mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in plants and model organisms, the relationship between atherosclerosis and inflammatory responses in vertebrates, and the collection and analysis of comprehensive measures of physiology in an attempt to understand the harbingers of adverse outcomes (principally sepsis and its sequelae) in individuals treated for trauma.

The Center for Computational and Integrative Biology provides support for investigators at the hospital and across Boston through a variety of autonomous cores that provide services in DNA sequencing, oligonucleotide synthesis and research laboratory automation.

CCIB in the News

Ramnik Xavier: Landmark Crohn’s Microbiome Study Yields Important Findings

Ramnik Xavier: Newly diagnosed Crohn’s disease patients show imbalance in intestinal microbial population

Jack Szostak: Biochemist trying to solve the great mystery of life

Ramnik Xavier: Mass. General, Broad Institute and Amgen Will Work to Discover New Drugs for IBD

J. Keith Joung: Genomic Engineering Hits Its Mark

Gary Ruvkun, Christopher Carr: Sequencing DNA on Mars – Science Far Out or Far Out Science?

CCIB Awards & Honors

2014 MGH Clinical Research Day Team Award

For the second time, the Translational Medicine Group has received the MGH Clinical Research Day Team Award ($2,500) for their work developing an SGLT2 inhibitor. The abstract “Beyond Metformin – Evaluation of an SGLT2 Inhibitor for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes” was selected from 386 submissions.

The Translational Medicine Group (TMG) in partnership with a biotechnology company, Theracos, Inc., has overseen the development of a highly selective, highly potent inhibitor of SGLT2, THR1442. Previous clinical investigation demonstrated that THR1442 was well tolerated in healthy subjects and decreased fasting plasma glucose (FPG) in diabetic patients. The results of a multinational, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy and safety of THR1442 in comparison to placebo produced a statistically significant and clinically meaningful reduction in HbA1c that was persistent through 96 weeks. THR1442 lowered body weight and systolic blood pressure, and was associated with fewer common and serious AEs than placebo. Unlike other SGLT2 inhibitors, rates of mycotic genital infection and UTIs were no higher than placebo.

Currently, TMG is further developing THR1442 in a multinational program, which includes the US, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines.

Gary Ruvkun: 2014 Gruber Genetics Prize

Gary Ruvkun was named as a co-recipient of the 2014 Gruber Genetics Prize for his role in the discovery of micro-RNA molecules, along with Victor Ambros of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and David Baulcombe of the University of Cambridge.

Gary is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Molecular Biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Previous honors and awards include the Rosenstiel Award from Brandeis University (with Victor Ambros, Andy Fire, and Craig Mello), the Warren Triennial Prize from Massachusetts General Hospital (with Victor Ambros), the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute (with Victor Ambros and David Baulcombe), the Gairdner International Award from the Gairdner Foundation of Canada (with Victor Ambros), the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (with Victor Ambros and David Baulcombe), the Louisa Horwitz Prize from Columbia University (with Victor Ambros), the Shaul and Meira Massry Prize (with Victor Ambros), the Dan David Prize for Aging research (with Cynthia Kenyon), the Ipsen Foundation Longevity Prize and the 2014 Wolf Prize (with Victor Ambros).

Additional information is found here

Fred Ausubel: 2014 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal

Fred Ausubel was elected recipient of the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal of the Genetics Society of America. The GSA awards the medal to one of its members each year for lifetime achievement in the field of genetics. This medal was first awarded in 1981 and was named for Thomas Hunt Morgan, who won the Nobel Prize in 1933 for his work with Drosophila chromosomes.

Dr. Ausubel is Professor of Genetics, Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and is the Karl Winnacker Distinguished Investigator in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology. He has authored more than 300 publications and has served in editorial roles for fourteen journals.

NIH awards funding for second phase of the Human Microbiome Project

The NIH has announced that Dr. Ramnik Xavier, Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at MGH and a founding member of CCIB, and Dr. Curtis Huttenhower, Associate Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, have been selected to lead an initiative that will investigate connections between the microbes living in the human gut (the “microbiome”) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This research program marks the second phase of the Human Microbiome Project, a project launched by the NIH in 2008 to characterize the microbial communities that live in and on the human body, and to analyze the role of these microbes in human health and disease. In the current project, Drs. Xavier and Huttenhower will lead a cross-disciplinary team that includes researchers at MGH, the Harvard School of Public Health, Broad Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, UCLA, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Emory University, University of Colorado, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Washington University in St. Louis.

The team will collect and analyze samples from adults and children with IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), conditions that affect 1.5 million Americans and have an overall incidence that has increased >400% in the past 50 years. Although clearly linked to both genetics and environment, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have emerged in recent years as some of the most important conditions linked to the gut microbiota. The funded project will build resources for the larger research community to investigate correlations between the gut microbiome and IBD.

The initiative is funded through a branch of the NIH that supports programs that have exceptionally high impact and address seemingly intractable problems using innovative approaches. As the leaders of this nationwide collaborative project, Drs. Xavier and Huttenhower will oversee the coordination of state-of-the-art technology with enormous amounts of raw data. In addition to making important contributions to understanding IBD, the program promises to deliver computational tools and analytic approaches that will guide microbiome research for years to come.

Revised on 2014-10-14 16:22:06 UTC