Higgins Lab

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Phone: 617-643-6129

I study the dynamics of human pathophysiologic processes by developing mathematical descriptions of complex human disease phenotypes and how they change over time. Pathophysiology may be described at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organismal levels and may show clinically significant variation over time scales ranging from less than a second to more than a decade. The research combines medical insight, dynamic systems theory, and experiments utilizing microfluidics, video processing, flow cytometry, simulation, and large-scale analysis of medical databases in pursuit of two goals: (1) advancing fundamental understanding of the dynamics of human pathophysiology, and (2) improving patient diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment.

Recent Publications

  • Hansen S, Wood DK, Higgins JM 5-(Hydroxymethyl)furfural restores low-oxygen rheology of sickle trait blood in vitro. Br J Haematol. 2019;:ePub - PMID: 31889311 - DOI: 10.1111/bjh.16251

  • Foy BH, Li A, McClung J, Ranganath R, Higgins JM Data-driven physiologic thresholds for iron deficiency associated with hematologic decline. Am J Hematol. 2019;:ePub - PMID: 31849101 - DOI: 10.1002/ajh.25706

  • Chaudhury A, Miller GD, Eichner D, Higgins JM Single-cell modeling of routine clinical blood tests reveals transient dynamics of human response to blood loss. eLife. 2019;8:ePub - PMID: 31845889 - PMCID: PMC6917488 - DOI: 10.7554/eLife.48590

  • Di Caprio G*, Schonbrun E*, Gonçalves BP, Valdez JM, Wood DK, Higgins JM High-throughput assessment of hemoglobin polymer in single red blood cells from sickle cell patients under controlled oxygen tension. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(50):25236-25242 - PMID: 31767751 - PMCID: PMC6911208 - DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1914056116

  • Valdez JM, Datta YH, Higgins JM, Wood DK A microfluidic platform for simultaneous quantification of oxygen-dependent viscosity and shear thinning in sickle cell blood. APL Bioeng. 2019;3(4):046102 - PMID: 31803859 - PMCID: PMC6881198 - DOI: 10.1063/1.5118212

  • More publications ...

Research projects

Physiologic and pathologic population dynamics of human blood cells in various forms of anemia.

Rheodynamics of vaso-occlusion in sickle cell disease.

Patient immunologic response to blood transfusion.

Other important pathophysiologic processes where states can be measured with temporal and spatial resolution sufficient for productive mathematical modeling.


2017-05-17: Michael Dworkin (Higgins Lab) won a best poster award for his poster “Improved estimation of average glucose from HbA1c by adjusting HbA1c for RBC age” at the 2017 Harvard Medical School Pathology Annual Retreat.
2016-12-07: Anwesha Chaudhury (Higgins Lab) has been awarded a Research Fellowship from the Life Sciences Research Foundation for her project “Mathematical modeling of white blood cell population dynamics for disease prognosis.” According to the foundation, “Every year our selection committee of renowned scientists identify the top 5% of applicants from an international pool of more than 1000 postdoctoral applicants.”
2016-10-25: Our latest paper - Malka, Nathan, and Higgins. “Mechanistic modeling of hemoglobin glycation and red blood cell kinetics enables personalized diabetes monitoring”. 5 October 2016, Science Translational Medicine. 8, 359ra130 (2016)- is now accessible for free:

2015-09-28: Roy Malka from the Higgins Lab, has won the prize for best MGH Pathology poster from a resident or fellow this year for his abstract entitled “Patient-Specific Inference of Average Glucose from Glycated Hemoglobin: Toward Personalized Diabetic Monitoring with Precision Laboratory Medicine”. Congratulations, Roy!