Scientists Boost Disease-Based Research

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Beginning a new era of growth and discovery, Boston Biomedical Research Institute has recruited seven new scientists, a 23% increase in its scientific staff.

The seven newly hired scientists are the fruits of a three-year strategic planning process designed to refine the Institute's basic research agenda into four core areas -- Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Regenerative Biology and Degenerative Disease, and Proteomics. "These core initiatives build upon the Institute's existing scientific strengths in protein-based basic research which uses disease models to find powerful new therapeutics for a range of illnesses, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and muscular dystrophy, among others," says Institute Director, Dr. Charles P. Emerson, Jr.

The new scientists include Dr. James L. Sherley who is studying adult stem cells with relevance to a range of problems associated with aging and how cancer forms; Dr. Shinichi Takayama who is researching a family of proteins known as BAG which plays a role in muscle degeneration and cancer, and is key to cell movement; Dr. Martin Duennwald and Dr. Moonkyoung Um and their collaborative research in the area of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases; Dr. Oliver King who will begin a new program in computational biology at BBRI, and whose research involves understanding the evolution of proteins involved in neurodegenerative disorders; Dr. Kent Nybakken who is studying the function of a key signaling pathway, the Hedgehog pathway, which is important in normal development, stem cell regulation and cancer; and Dr. Sachiko Homma whose studies focus on sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging.

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"By hiring new scientists in these key areas, the Institute is making a strong commitment to maximizing the potential for new collaborations that will ultimately lead to more significant and frequent discoveries," said board president, Mr. John R. Layton, "The Institute's ability to attract such talent is testament to the quality of science already underway here, and the new scientists recognize the benefits of the uniquely interactive environment for discovery that we actively foster."

In addition to attracting and developing new scientific talent, the Institute plans to broaden partnerships with laboratories at local universities and research institutes to further enhance its studies. "The selection of this impressive slate of scientists underscores BBRI's commitment to building successful collaborations both within and outside the Institute," said Dr. Emerson.

"The hiring of these exceptionally talented scientists will strengthen BBRI's efforts in conducting the most innovative research possible," said Dr. Judah Folkman, noted cancer researcher and Trustee of Boston Biomedical. "Under the leadership of Dr. Emerson, with his proven track record of innovation and his passion for disease-based research, this talented constellation of new scientific staff will enable BBRI to have an even greater impact on improving the health of people around the world."

"BBRI has emerged as a very innovative institution for collaborative disease research. The newly hired scientists possess a stellar combination of scientific brilliance, technical excellence, and collaborative savvy, and they are very enthusiastic about the unique research environment that BBRI provides," said Dr. Folkman. "These scientists promise to do great things for BBRI and for human health."

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