Research Focus

Imagine, if we understood what the 30 trillions of cells in our body do at any given moment...

Now compare these 30 trillions of cells (not counting the microbiome!) to the earth population of 8B people (3,750 times more!). This creates a massive undertaking...

At CSB we develop innovative technologies to enable the discovery of new biology, drug targets and diagnostics.

Approach: we develop new integrated systems for subcellular analysis and use innovative imaging tools to decipher dynamic networks. This allows us to interrogate networks at multiple scales from populations to molecules.
Cycling between life and death

Small molecule MDM2inhibitor changes the temporal p53 expression in tissues and can render them more radiosensitive. This has potentially important applications in radiation oncology. The study published in Nature communications by the Lahav and Weissleder teams shed new light on the temporal p53 expression in tissues and proposes a new paradigm on exploiting differences in p53 expression levels. Learn more...

Identifying high grade dysplasia and invasive early pancreatic cancers may just have become easier

Increasing detection of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs), cystic tumors of the pancreas, from cross-sectional imaging is a problem for clinicians since these patients will require prolonged surveillance. A non-invasive method for the distinction of benign from invasive IPMNs is an unmet clinical need. The authors from the Center for Systems Biology, Surgery, Radiology and Pathology developed a blood based digital extracellular vesicle (EV) screening technology (DEST) that permits the distinction of invasive IPMNs from low grade and non-invasive subtypes. In a study of 133 patients, MUC5AC EV profiling reliably identifies patients with invasive IPMN. When combined with imaging and clinical findings, the DEST method has the potential to transform IPMN/early PDAC cancer detection and surgical evaluation, including avoiding unnecessary surgeries. Learn more...

Routine blood test may predict COVID-19 hospital death risk

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute respiratory illness with a high rate of hospitalization and mortality. Biomarkers are urgently needed for patient risk stratification. In a recent paper in JAMA Network Open, a team of investigators at the MGH Center for Systems Biology has reported that a standard test that assesses variations in red blood cell volume (RDW) can identify hospitalized patients with COVID-19 at the time of admission who have a 2.7x increased risk of mortality. Patients who had RDW values above the normal range when they were admitted to the hospital had a mortality rate of 31 percent compared with 11 percent in patients with normal RDW values. An increasing RDW during hospitalization was also associated with increased mortality. Learn more...