Undergraduates: Open Research Positions & Projects

Undergraduate Researcher, Dr. Catherine Dulac, Harvard MCB, Posted Feb 20, 2018

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Rubin, HSCRB, Posted Feb 15, 2018

Investigating the effects of weather on surface air quality, SEAS, Posted Feb 15, 2018

Immunology Undergraduate Research, Wucherpfennig lab, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Posted Feb 15, 2018

Undergraduate Research Internship, Dr. Rogers’ laboratory, HMS, Posted Feb 5, 2018

Undergraduate Position, Dr. Aizenberg Laboratory, SEAS, Posted Feb 2, 2018

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Balskus Laboraotry, Posted Jan 30, 2018

Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Researc, Dr. Pizzagalli Lab, Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Research, McLean Hospital / Harvard Medical School, Posted Jan 4, 2018

Uncovering novel etiologies for male infertility, Dr. Morton Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA , Posted Jan 4, 2018

100 Million years of Fish in the Sea, Dr. Sibert Lab, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology AND Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Posted Jan 4, 2018

Regulation of cholesterol metabolism in diabetes, Dr. Biddinger Lab, Department of Medicine/Division of Endocrinology, Boston Children's Hospital Harvard Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, Harvard Medical School , Posted Jan 4, 2018

 

Object Recognition in the Mouse Olfactory System, Murthy Lab, MCB, Posted December 18, 2017

Finding the equation that nature uses: toward mechanistic, predictions of ecosystem dynamics, Moorcroft lab, OEB, Posted December 4, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in ultra-high throughput directed evolution of enzymes, Posted December 4, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Lichtman Lab, Harvard University, Posted November 16, 2017

Undergraduate Research Trainee, Dr. Kuchroo lab, Dept. of Neurology, HMS, Posted October 16, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position in Nutrition and Growth in Preterm Infants, Department Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Posted October 13, 2017

Undergraduate research in psychiatric neuroimaging lab, McLean Hospital, Posted October 13, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Joslin Diabetes Center, Posted October 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Posted October 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Posted October 5, 2017

Undergraduate research assistant position, Dr. Z. Williams lab, MGH, Posted September 25, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in cell biology and chemistry, Boston Children’s Hospital, Posted September 22, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in biophysics and systems biology, HMS, Posted September 21, 2017

Understanding the Molecular Mechanism and Developing Therapies in Neuromuscular Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Posted Septmeber 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Moulton lab, BIDMC Dept. of Rheumatology, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunities in the Ploegh lab, Boston Children's Hospital, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position, Dr. Corey Lab, HMS, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in the Henske Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, HMS, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Dr. Joshi Lab, Wyss Institute at CLS, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Radiology, MGH, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Pu Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in the Taute lab, Rowland Institute, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Diabetes and Metabolic Disease, Biddinger Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital/HMS, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dept. of Ophthamlology, Harvard Medical School, Posted September 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research in Biomimetic Electronics, Posted September 20, 2017

Clinical Research Data Analysis Intern, Anesthesia Department, Boston Children’s in Waltham, Posted September 18, 2017

The Planetary Health Undergraduate Scholars Fellowship Program 2018, Posted September 18, 2017

Clinical Research Experience Openings for Fall 2017, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute, McLean Hospital, Posted September 18, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity to study the Evolutionary Ecology of Underwater Caves, Posted September 18, 2017

Undergraduate Student Internships for 2018, Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics Imaging, Posted September 18, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in skeletal development and bone homeostasis, HMS, Posted September 18, 2017

Characterization of the neuronal mechanisms that regulate reproductive function and metabolism, BWH, Posted September 7, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Priolo Laboratory, Department of Medicine/Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Posted September 7, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunities in the study of brain-immune interactions in neurodevelopment, Bilbo Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital/HMS, Posted September 7, 2017

Improving the immune response to tuberculosis infection: undergraduate research opportunity, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Posted September 7, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Vascular Biology Program and Department of Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital, Posted September 7, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Psychosis Neurobiology Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Posted September 7, 2017

Undergraduate Position at the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Deep Learning, Massachusetts General Hospital, Posted September 7, 2017

Undergraduate research/thesis opportunity using MRI and brain stimulation, Dr. Halko, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate student intern position, Greka Lab, BWH/Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research in Human Trafficking Research, Dr. Stoklosa, Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Wang’s Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Hoffman Lab, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Martino Imaging Center, MGH, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate/Graduate Research Opportunity, Department of Ophthalmology (Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology), Harvard Medical School, Posted September 5, 2017

Human Thyroid Cancers Preclinical and Translational Research Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Training in Immunology, Dr. Agudo Lab, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity for Chemistry, Dr. Yuan’s Lab, MGH, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in large-scale brain networks and neurodegenerative disorders,Dr. Sepulcre Lab, Department of Radiology, Mass General Hospital, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Neonatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Division of Newborn Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunities in “evo-devo” of bats, Tabin Lab, Harvard Medical School, Posted August 30, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunities in the study of brain-immune interactions in neurodevelopment, Bilbo Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital/HMS, Posted August 23, 2017

Undergraduate Research Training in Immunology, Dr. Judith Agudo, Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Posted August 15, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in breast cancer, Dr. Brugge Lab, Harvard Medical School, Posted August 11, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in the neuroscience of sleep, Dr. Lewis, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH, Posted August 2, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Plutzky Lab, Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Posted June 14, 2017

Undergraduate research/thesis opportunity using MRI and brain stimulation, Dr. Halko group, BIDMC, Posted June 14, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity Dr. Ursula Kaiser Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Posted May 31, 2017

Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Posted May 3, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, using fMRI and TMS to study Autism Spectrum Disorders, Harvard Center for Brain Sciences, Posted May 3, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position, Biochemistry of DNA Replication, Dr. Johannes Walter Lab, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, HMS

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Corey, Dept. of Neurobiology, HMS, Posted April 21, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in human neuroimaging of meditation, in the laboratory of Dr. Gaelle Desbordes,  MGH Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Posted April 12, 2017

Undergaduate Research Opportunity, Prof. Aristidis Veves, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Posted March 29, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Jain Lab, Department of Radiation Oncology, MGH, Posted March 28, 2017

Undergraduate Researcher, Dr. Iafrate, Center for Integrated Diagnostics, MGH, Posted March 28, 2017

Summer Undergraduate Research Position, Gilmore Lab, MEEI, HMS, Posted March 28, 2017

Undergraduate Research at the Laboratory of Computational Neuroimaging, Dr. Zollei, MGH, Posted March 20, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity at Schepens Eye Research Institute/Mass Eye and Ear, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Posted March 15, 2017

Undergraduate research position: Borderline Personality Disorder, McLean Hospital, Posted Mar 1, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity at MGH Department of Radiology, Posted Feb 22, 2017 

Summer research opportunity for undergraduate students, Dr Barteneva (BCH-HMS) in association with Department Biology, School of Science and Technology, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, Posted Feb 22, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position, Viral entry and pathogenesis, Ophthalmology, MEEI Posted Feb 16, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dept. of Ophtalmology, Mass Eye and Ear / Schepens Eye Research Institute, Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity to study the transcriptional regulatory circuit that combats the generation of osteoarthritis.  Location: Lassar Lab in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate research assistant opportunity for the Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, MA Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, MGH Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Synho Do Lab, Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Posted Feb 10, 2017

Dissecting human β-cell differentiation regulatory networks; Douglas A. Melton, Xander University Professor; Harvard Department of Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology Posted Jan 27, 2017

Summer Research in Panama, with Harvard Pfister Lab & Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Posted Jan 27, 2017

Summer research in the genetics of neuron shape, Dr. Maxwell Heiman lab, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, Posted Jan 24, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Berg Lab, MCB and Dept. of Physics Posted Jan 9, 2017 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Bumble Bee Behavior, Ben de Bivort’s lab, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Posted Jan 5, 2017

Research assistants needed for project on global health quality, Harvard Global Health Institute, Harvard Initiative on Global Health Quality, Cambridge, MA, Posted Dec 19, 2016

Undergraduate Research in Computational Biology opportunity, Duraisingh lab, Harvard School of Public Health, Posted Dec 12, 2016

Undergraduate Research in Molecular & Cell Biology opportunity in the Duraisingh Lab, Harvard School of Public Health, Posted Dec 12, 2016

Evolution and Ecology of Underwater Cave Organisms (Big & Small!), Posted Nov 29, 2016

Undergraduate Research Fellow in Alzheimer’s Disease Lab, MGH, Nov 21, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunity, Division Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, BWH, Nov 21, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunities in translational genetics and neurodevelopment (Yu Lab), Posted Nov 18, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Dr. Bonmassar lab, AA. Martinos Center, MGH, Posted Nov 18, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Neurodegeneration, Dr. Walsh lab, Posted Nov 16, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Walker Lab, Center for Human Genetic Research, MGH, Posted Nov 16, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in the Laboratory of Ronald Neppl, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, HMS, Posted Nov 16

Undergraduate research opportunity Dr. Ursula Kaiser Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Student Internships for 2017 at the Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics Imaging, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Bacterial Biophysics, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Host Microbiome and Toxicity, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Renewable Energy Materials, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Excitonic Materials and Devices, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Nanoscale MRI, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunity, Department of Ophthalmology at MEEI-HMS, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunity, Kirby Center for Neurobiology, HMS, Posted Nov 14, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH, Posted Nov 4, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity – Laboratory for Affective and Translational Neuroscience, McLean Hospital, Posted Nov 4, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunity “Aggression in the Fruit Fly Fight Club”, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Posted Nov 4, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunity in Cancer Immunology, Department of Dermatology and MGH Cancer Center, Posted Nov 4, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Basic Neurosciences, McLean Hospital, Posted Nov 4, 2016

Research position with Dr. Gidon Eshel, Radcliffe Institute, Posted Nov 3, 2016

Position Available (on-going) for New World Primate Caregiver/Documentarian at Pacific Primate Sanctuary, Maui, Hawaii, Posted Nov 2, 2016

Research Opportunity: Surgery Meets Molecular Biology in Mice, Posted Nov 2, 2016

Research Technician- Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research, Posted Oct 21, 2016

Research Assistant - Population & Family Health (PFH) cluster, Department of Global Health & Population (GHP), Posted Oct 3, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity - Bischoff Laboratory, Boston Children's Hospital, Posted Sept 29, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Eric Lander Laboratory, Posted Sept 29, 2016

Human Thyroid Cancers Preclinical and Translational Research Laboratory, Dr. Carmelo Nucera, Posted Sept 29, 2016

Undergraduate Research Positions at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, Posted Sept 29, 2016

African Ant Population Genetics, April 21, 2016

Undergraduate research position: Synthesis of Flexible Nanowires with Defined Aspect Ratio and Their DNA Self-Assembly, April 6, 2016

Undergraduate research position: Human Genetics, Posted April 5, 2016

Research Assistant Positions: Sensory, Motor, and Cognitive Processing, Dr. Assad lab, HMS, Posted Nov 18, 2015

Posted February 20, 2018

 

Undergraduate Researcher, Dr. Catherine Dulac, Harvard MCB

PI: Dr. Catherine Dulac, MCB, dulac@fas.harvard.edu, Biolabs 4017, https://www.dulaclab.com/ -- this will be the main site of work for the student

Aviv Regev, Broad Institute, 415 Main St -- there may be occasional work to be done at the Broad

 

Students will be conducting behavioral experiments in mice, measure mice hormone levels, and prepare samples for deep sequencing (both microbial DNA and neuronal RNA). If students wish, they will be taught computational skills to conduct their own analysis on the cluster.

Skills: Prior research experience is strongly preferable. Additionally, students with prior experience working with mice will be at an advantage.

Learning outcome: The student will be able to pose a scientific question, carry it out with the laboratory skills that s/he would learn, interpret results, and write. For those with a computational/quantitative leaning, they will be able to conduct data analysis in MATLAB and Python on the cluster and become a trained bioinformatician; however, this will be secondary to the wet-lab work.

During the term, students are expected to work 10-15 hours a week. During the summer, it would be 40 hours a week. The project is long-term, i.e. at least one year and ideally two.

Mentoring: Postdoc Hattie Chung will be mentoring the student. Student will meet with Hattie every 1-2 weeks to discuss progress.

The laboratory can fund the student, both during the term and summer, but they are still encouraged to apply for HCRP: https://lifesciences.fas.harvard.edu/research-opportunities

Please submit your resume highlighting prior lab experience with a brief description of your research interests to hchung@fas.harvard.edu

 

 

Posted Feb 15, 2018

Investigating the effects of weather on surface air quality, SEAS

Supervisor: Loretta J. Mickley, senior research fellow; Yang Li, postdoc fellow, SEAS
Location: Pierce Hall Lab website: http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/

Our research focuses on chemistry-climate interactions in the troposphere.  We seek to understand how gases and particles affect climate and how climate change, in turn, can influence the composition of the atmosphere.  Our group analyzes observations from a range of sources (ground-based monitors, aircraft, and satellites) and conducts modeling studies of atmospheric chemistry and climate. Key topics for summer projects include investigating the effects of meteorology on wildfires, smog episodes, or dust storms. Interest in programming is essential, and some knowledge of statistics would be helpful.

Learning outcome: research skills including data analysis, presentation and scientific writing

Mentoring: meet 1-2 times per week
Funding: students are encouraged to apply for fellowships (PRISE, HCRP, email ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info)
Please email your resume/CV and a short statement of interest to Dr. Mickley at mickley@fas.harvard.edu and Dr. Li at yangli@seas.harvard.edu.

 

 

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Rubin, HSCRB

Location: Lee Rubin, HSCRB, lee_rubin@harvard.edu. Sherman Fairchild Building G58 https://hscrb.harvard.edu/res-fl-rubin

Description of the project and duties The project focuses on designing new equipment used to culture stem cells in 3D.  

Skills required. No cell biology research skills are required. Design skills in AutoCad along with a familiarity with 3D printing is strongly encouraged.

Learning outcome: All of the following are likely outcomes following this research opportunity. Laboratory skills, research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc.

Students are expected to work a minimum of 2 months (continously) over the summer in the lab. Exact start and end dates are negotiable between the beginning of June and the end of August.

Mentoring: Dr. Lee Rubin and Dr. Feodor Price will be mentoring the student. Dr. Feodor Price will be overseeing the student on a daily basis.

Compensation: It is encouraged, but not a necessity, for students to apply for HCRP and other fellowships.

Email your CV to feodor_price@harvard.edu

 

 

Immunology Undergraduate Research, Wucherpfennig lab, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Mentors: Kai W. Wucherpfennig, MD, PhD Email: Wucherpfennig_Lab@DFCI.HARVARD.EDU http://t-cells-treating-cancer.dana-farber.org/

Cancer Immunology and Virology
Contact: Charles Thomas; Wucherpfennig_lab@dfci.harvard.edu
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 1 Jimmy Fund Way, Smith Building Floor 7 Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Office: 617-582-8289      http://t-cells-treating-cancer.dana-farber.org/

The goal of this program is to create a cohesive immunology training program in which undergraduate students are prepared for entry into PhD programs in Immunology and the development of immunotherapies. Under the leadership of Dr. Wucherpfennig and his team, students will also gain invaluable experience and insight into experimental design, innovative techniques, and the path to publication within a prestigious research laboratory. By participating in this program, students will be given the opportunity to develop both the technical skills and scientific discipline integral to a successful career in Immunology. 

Requirements: No prior research experience is necessary. However, an interest in life sciences research, problem solving, and good communications skills are required.

Number of hours: 10 hours per week minimum. Duration is flexible, but longer commitments are preferred and highly encouraged to gain something from the program.

Mentoring: Mentoring will be primarily provided by graduate students and fellows of the Wucherpfennig lab. The student will meet with the PI regularly in bi-weekly meetings with the fellow and/or graduate student.

Compensation: This is primarily a volunteer position; however, funding options can be more thoroughly discussed during the interview process.

Applying: Interested students should email Charles Thomas a single PDF document with the below requirements (email: Wucherpfennig_Lab@DFCI.HARVARD.EDU):

  1. Cover Letter- Introduce yourself and describe your specific interests in immunology.
  2. Curriculum Vitae- Please include relevant coursework, GPA, prior lab experience (if any), and other extra-curricular activities.

 

 

 

Posted Feb 5, 2018

Undergraduate Research Internship, Dr. Rogers’ laboratory, HMS

Michael Rogers, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Vascular Biology Program
michael.rogers@childrens.harvard.edu http://bostoncenterendometriosis.org/

Project description and intern duties: Our lab is working to better understand mechanisms of pain caused by endometriosis, a disease affecting 1 in 10 women. Endometriosis is the leading cause of chronic pelvic pain experienced by women. We currently have multiple projects underway to investigate the role of a VEGF receptor in pain experienced by patients and animal models with endometriosis. The student intern will be responsible for using common molecular biology techniques to process samples as part of an independent yet mentored project to better understand pain mechanisms. There will also be opportunities to assist team members with simultaneous studies. Progress updates will be shared with the team and the intern will summarize project findings upon completion of the internship.

Skills required: Basic laboratory skills (e.g. pipetting, preparing buffers, etc.) required, some molecular biology and/or animal experience preferred

Learning outcome: Students can expect to learn new research skills and leave with a better understanding of how to measure and analyze pain sensitivity. There will also be several opportunities to develop communication skills.

Additional Information: 40 hours/week preferred for length of summer, but negotiable depending on student’s schedule.
The student will be under the supervision of and have daily contact with a postdoctoral research fellow. He/she will also meet with the PI at least once a week. Funding is available, but students are encouraged to apply for funding through Harvard (PRISE, HCRP, email Dr. Anna Babakhanyan for more info at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu) or outside sources and/or to register for a research course credit.

How to Apply: Email your resume and a cover letter describing how this internship is pertinent to your career goals to Dr. Kristeena Wright at kristeena.wright@childrens.harvard.edu.

 

 

Posted Feb 2, 2018

 

Undergraduate Position, Dr. Aizenberg Laboratory, SEAS

Principal Investigator 
Prof. Joanna Aizenberg
Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science 
Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology 
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) 
Email: jaiz@seas.harvard.edu 
Website: https://aizenberglab.seas.harvard.edu/ 

Description of the project: A water droplet deposited on slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) forms an axisymmetric annular wetting ridge near its base by collecting lubricant oil from its vicinity. Due to unbalanced surface tension forces, such droplets exhibit remarkable mobility when this symmetry breaks. In this work (both experimental and modeling), we rationalize the characteristic merging velocity and force of interaction between two water droplets on SLIPS. 

Prior research experience is not required. Interest and motivation suffice to succeed on the project. 

Learning outcome: High speed imaging, image and data analysis, designing and carrying out experiments, modeling of droplet-droplet interaction, technical writing, presentation 

Number of hours the student is expected to work: Negotiable 

Mentor: Solomon Adera (postdoc, email: sadera@seas.harvard.edu

Does laboratory provide any funds to pay student’s stipend?  No. However, research funds are available through HCRP/PRISE and other fellowships (for more info email Anna Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu). The student can also register for a research course credit. Help is available to help the student write proposal for fellowship application. 

If interested in the position, email Solomon Adera (sadera@seas.harvard.edu

 

 

Posted Jan 30, 2018

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Balskus Laboraotry

PI name: Prof. Emily Balskus, Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Contact information: balskus@chemistry.harvard.edu; wsandoval@fas.harvard.edu

Location: 12 Oxford St, M303-H, Cambridge, MA 02138
Lab website: https://www.microbialchemist.com/

Description of the project and duties: Our gut is colonized by trillions of microorganisms, thereby exerting a profound effect on our health. This project seeks to find small molecules that interfere with gut microbial metabolic pathways that are prevalent in the human body may be connected to disease. The identified compound(s) will serve as tools for studying the role of these pathways in the gut microbiota and may also be starting points for the development of therapeutics. To find these compounds, we will employ phenotypic high-throughput screening (HTS) of diverse small molecule libraries from the Institute of Cell and Chemical Biology (ICCB) at Harvard Medical School. The duties of the student will be focused on testing and optimizing assay conditions for high-throughput screening. These assays will use bacterial growth, or other phenotypes, as reporters for activity. We seek motivated students wanting to learn more about the fascinating roles of the human gut microbiota and the use of chemistry as a tool for studying this complex microbial community.   

Skills required: Basic microbiology and/or biochemistry skills are required.
Learning outcome: Microbiology lab skills including high-throughput screening techniques. Research skills involving study design and data analysis, including growth kinetics and analysis of data from high-throughput screens. Statistical tools for HTS experiments. Presentations and scientific writing skills.
Number of hours students are expected to work: 40 hours at least per week for summer, and 10 to 15 h / week during the semester.
Mentoring: Dr. Walter Sandoval, a postdoc in the lab, will mentor and will work closely with the student on a daily basis. The student will also have access to mentoring from Prof. Balskus and other group members.
Does laboratory provide any funds to pay student’s stipend: The lab does not provide any stipend; therefore, students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships (PRISE, Microbial Sciences Initiative) or register for a research course credit (see your concentration advisor).

Interested applicants, please send your resume to Prof. Emily Balskus (balskus@chemistry.harvard.edu) or Dr. Walter Sandoval (wsandoval@fas.harvard.edu)

 

 

Posted Jan 4, 2018

 

Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Researc, Dr. Pizzagalli Lab

Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Research, McLean Hospital / Harvard Medical School

The Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research (CDASR; Director: Diego A. Pizzagalli, Ph.D.) was launched in 2010 at McLean Hospital - the largest psychiatric facility of Harvard Medical School. Using an interdisciplinary approach, CDASR investigators are working to identify the biological, environmental, and psychological factors that contribute to depression and anxiety. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop better prevention and treatment strategies for these prevalent disorders.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required. Volunteers assist lab members utilizing various methodologies (e.g., brain imaging, electrophysiology, clinical interviews) to study emotional and cognitive processing in both healthy and psychiatric populations, primarily major depression. Both undergraduate students and recent college graduates are eligible. 

To apply contact: Dr. Diego Pizzagalli, dap@mclean.harvard.edu
115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478
http://cdasr.mclean.harvard.edu/

 

 

Uncovering novel etiologies for male infertility, Dr. Morton Lab

Program in Genetics and Genomics and Certificate Program in Leder Human Biology and Translational Medicine, Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA   Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA  Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Unexplained infertility affects 2-3% of reproductive aged couples. One approach to identifying genes involved in infertility is to study subjects with a clinical phenotype accompanied by a de novo balanced chromosomal aberration (BCA) through the Developmental Genome Anatomy Project (DGAP). DGAP230 has oligospermia and 46,XY,t(20;22)(q13.3;q11.2). While BCAs may reduce fertility by production of unbalanced gametes, a chromosomal rearrangement may also disrupt or dysregulate genes important in fertility. After refining the location of chromosomal breakpoints, a qPCR walk across genes in the topologically associated domains (TADs) at the sites of rearrangement revealed exclusive dysregulation of SYCP2, which resides 1.5 Mb away from the der(20) breakpoint. We found that this misexpression derives from a single allele and developed a novel technique to determine that the expressed allele resides in cis with the der(20) breakpoint. 4C-Seq was used to identify putative enhancers from chr22 that may be responsible for the misexpression. SYCP2 encodes synaptonemal complex protein 2, a member of the synaptonemal complex (SC) involved in homologous chromosome synapsis in meiosis I. We hypothesize that SYCP2 misexpression may impair proper spermatogenesis by meiotic nondisjunction. To mode

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Knowledge of genetics and bioinformatics would be helpful.
To apply contact: Dr. Cynthia Morton, cmorton@bwh.harvard.edu
New Research Building room NRB160 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur Boston, MA 02155

http://mortonlab.bwh.harvard.edu

 

 

100 Million years of Fish in the Sea, Dr. Sibert Lab

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology & Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Fishes are the most diverse group of vertebrates on the planet, and are found in nearly all modern aquatic ecosystems, including oceans, lakes, and rivers. In my lab, we use a combination of biological and geological tools to study how fish, and their roles in these ecosystems have change through time. We use microfossil fish teeth and shark scales preserved in deep-sea sediments, to study changes in fish abundance, community structure, and morphological diversity, with a focus on intervals of extreme global change, including mass extinctions, global warming, global cooling, and anoxia. Current projects include:  1. Using microCT technology to study modern fish tooth, skull, and jaw morphology, to better understand the relationship between fish diet and morphology.  2. Studying the response of marine ecosystems to the Cretaceous-Paleogene Mass Extinction 65 million years ago.  3. A comprehensive study of shark taxonomy through the past 85 million years.  4. An in-depth study of how fishing pressure over the past 500 years has changed fish populations in the North Atlantic Ocean.  5. A project of the relationship between fish abundance and the evolution of diatoms, krill, and whales in the Antarctic.  We are excited about applying these tools other time periods as well.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required, and students with any level of experience are encouraged to apply. Labwork may include considerable time using a reflected light microscope, as well as heavy use of in-house computer programs. Programming experience in Python and/or R is a plus but not a requirement.
To apply contact: Dr. Elizabeth Sibert, esibert@fas.harvard.edu
26 Oxford Street Room 52, Cambridge, MA 02138
elizabethsibert.com

 

Regulation of cholesterol metabolism in diabetes, Dr. Biddinger Lab

Department of Medicine/Division of Endocrinology, Boston Children's Hospital Harvard Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, Harvard Medical School

Individuals with type 1 diabetes are prone to hypercholesterolemia that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Here, we used Liver Insulin Receptor Knockout (LIRKO) mice to dissect some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these pro-atherogenic changes in cholesterol metabolism in a mouse model of hepatic insulin deficiency. We find that insulin deficiency reprograms whole body cholesterol metabolism by shifting the bile acid ratio towards cholic acid and its derivatives in a FoxO1-dependent manner. Cholic acid promotes cholesterol absorption from the intestine, indirectly regulating hepatic and intestinal gene expression, and driving hyperlipidemia. Thus, the increase in biliary cholic acid, increase in intestinal cholesterol absorption, suppression of cholesterologenic genes, and hypercholesterolemia that we observed in LIRKO mice was normalized by hepatic deletion of FoxO1. Similar effects were observed by knocking down the enzyme required for cholic acid synthesis, Cyp8b1, in LIRKO mice. These studies identify cholic acid as key mediator of insulin’s effects on cholesterol metabolism, and suggest that CYP8B1 may represent a novel target for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia in diabetic patients.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required, although some prior research experience in PCR or Western blotting is desired.
To apply contact: Dr. Sudha Biddinger, Sudha.Biddinger@childrens.harvard.edu
3 Blackfan Cir, Room 16030.8 Boston, MA 02115
www.biddingerlab.org

 

 

Phage Therapy Testing Against Enteric Pathogens, Dr. Faherty Lab

Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital

Shigella flexneri is a Gram-negative, facultative intracellular pathogen that invades the colonic epithelium causing diarrheal disease in children. Shigella bypasses the innate immune system and physical mucosal barrier to invade colonic epithelium. A single phage particle can target a specific bacterium species or a subset of the same species. We proposed to evaluate the ability of engineered pathogen-specific phages to target pathogenic bacteria while preserving commensal organisms in a human-derived organoid infection model. These phages will specifically identify pathogenic strains and deliver sequence-specific antimicrobials to kill of strains that meet our pathogenic criteria. Current studies utilize a wild-type phage as a S. flexneri 2a-specific antibacterial agent. We demonstrated a killing effect of the phage on S. flexneri in different conditions such as culture media, HT29 cells and cecum-derived organoid monolayers. This phage does not kill commensal bacteria, as demonstrated with E. coli HS. Future work will evaluate the efficacy of engineered phages being developed for Shigella and Salmonella-specific clearance while minimizing off-target effects on the human microbiome. Application of organoid models will give insight into the pathogenesis for enteric bacteria.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Christina Faherty, csfaherty@mgh.harvard.edu
Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center Building, 114 16th St. Charlestown, MA 02129-4404
http://www.massgeneral.org/mucosal-immunology/

 

Inflammation and Edema: Neuropilins Guide the Way, Dr. Bielenberg Lab, Vascular Biology Department, Boston Children's Hospital

 

Edema or tissue swelling is exacerbated during inflammation due to increased vascular permeability at the site of injury. The vascular endothelial cell (EC) border tightly regulates microvascular fluid exchange and the degree of vessel leakiness. Vascular EC express pro-permeability vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors and neuropilin (NRP) co-receptors that mediate stimulatory and inhibitory signals. Class 3 semaphorin-3F (SEMA3F) is a ligand for the neuropilin 2 receptor and competes for binding with VEGF. We hypothesize that during inflammation, SEMA3F reduces edema by inhibiting vascular permeability. Inflammatory cutaneous reactions are induced on the ear skin of mice and ear thickness measurements are taken as a readout of tissue swelling. To determine the effect of SEMA3F depletion, ear thickness measurements are compared between SEMA3F antibody injected heterozygous Nrp2 and control mice. To assess the effect of increased systemic SEMA3F, ear thickness measurements are compared between SEMA3F adenovirus (Ad-3F) injected and control mice. We report that SEMA3F depletion leads to significantly prolonged edema and Ad-3F treated mice exhibited lower levels of swelling. Likely, SEMA3F serves as an anti-inflammatory mechanism preventing excessive edema formation.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No previous laboratory experience required. Our lab is focused on mentoring and training the next generation of scientists. However, individuals possessing a strong work ethic and passion for learning are highly desired.
To apply contact: Dr. Diane Bielenberg, diane.bielenberg@childrens.harvard.edu
Boston Children’s Hospital  1 Blackfan Circle Karp, RB12004E Boston, MA 02115
http://www.childrenshospital.org/research-and-innovation/research/resear...

 

 

The Evolved Psychology of Punishment, Dr. Krasnow Lab, Evolutionary Psychology Lab, Department of Psychology

Why do some people receive harsher sentences for the same crime? Why do some people impose tougher punishments than others, even for the same offense? We are starting a new project on the psychology of punishment, and are looking for motivated, engaged research assistants. Our lab draws on theories from evolutionary psychology and biology to explain why different people seem entitled to different types of treatment. Biological market theory suggests that more valuable cooperative partners will receive better treatment in their relationships. Therefore, we expect that cues of cooperative partner value – especially cues that were relevant in the environment of our ancestors – will predict punishment decisions. This project would be a good fit for students who are interested in evolutionary psychology, social psychology, criminal justice or public policy, and no specific pre-existing skills are required.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Max Krasnow, krasnow@fas.harvard.edu
William James Hall 984 https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/epl

 

 

Astrocytic Serine Racemase Expression in AD, Dr. Balu Lab, Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital

N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) play a central role in synapse formation, synaptic plasticity, and learning and memory. A distinctive feature of NMDAR activation, is that in addition to glutamate, it requires the simultaneous binding of a co-agonist (D-serine or glycine). D-serine is at least as, if not more important than glycine at modulating NMDARs in the forebrain. The neuronal enzyme serine racemase (SR) synthesizes D-serine in the brain. However, SR and D-serine can be induced in reactive astrocytes following traumatic brain injury. We hypothesized that SR might also be expressed in reactive astrocytes in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Thus, we examined post-mortem brain tissue from human subjects and from a transgenic rat (TgF344-AD) model. Subjects with advanced AD had massive astrogliosis, with these reactive astrocytes highly expressing SR. In contrast, subjects with low Braak stages had minimal astrogliosis, with SR being expressed in neurons, but not in quiescent astrocytes. Aged TgF344-AD rats showed the same pattern of SR expression as human AD tissue. Our findings have important implications for AD and other diseases associated with SR-expressing reactive astrocytes and highlight this pathway as a potential a therapeutic target to block NMDAR excitoxicity.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Having worked in a basic science lab a plus.
To apply contact: Dr. Darrick  Balu, dbalu@mclean.harvard.edu
115 Mill St. Belmont, MA 02478
http://www.mcleanhospital.org/biography/darrick-balu

 

 

Advancing coil design in micromagnetic stimulation, Dr. Bonmassar Lab, AA. Martinos Center Department of Radiology Harvard Medical School Massachusetts General Hospital

Micromagnetic stimulation (uMS) has several advantages over electrical stimulation. First, uMS does not require charge-balanced stimulation waveforms as in electrical stimulation. In uMS, neither sinks nor sources are present when a current is induced by the time-varying magnetic field, thus mMS does not suffer from charge buildup as can occur with electrical stimulation.  Second, magnetic stimulation via µMS is capable of activating neurons with specific axonal orientations.  Moreover, as the probes can be completely insulated from the brain tissue, we expect to significantly reduce the problem of excessive power deposition into the tissue during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). uMS technology was first developed in our laboratory and is entirely based on commercial components off the shelf, which are readily available to researchers. However, commercial inductors are designed to maximize efficiency (Q-factor), which consists in trapping the generated magnetic field to minimize its losses. Furthermore, they do not allow for multiple coil design in small and complex 3D geometries as it is often needed in neuroscience applications.We will show uMS coils developments based on a new thin-film technology at the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) Harvard University.

Requirements: The research is entirely performed at the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS), which requires training to gain access. More information on CNS can be found on the website: https://cns1.rc.fas.harvard.edu/. The skills that will be acquired by the students after completing the training and after performing research work are similar to the ones needed to manufacture MEMS. Students interested in this type of research and working at CNS are invited to contact us to learn the various options offered.

To apply contact: Dr. Giorgio Bonmassar, giorgio.bonmassar@mgh.harvard.edu
AbiLab Building 75, Third Ave Charlestown, MA 02129 Tel. (617) 726-0962 Fax (617) 726-7422
http://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/abilab/

 

 

A microRNA mediates resistance to EGFR inhibition, Dr. Slack Lab

HMS Initiative for RNA Medicine, Department of Pathology, Cancer Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Despite the efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) as first-line therapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), all patients will ultimately develop progressive disease. Intratumor cellular heterogeneity contributes to drug resistance in many types of cancer, including NSCLC. Oncogenesis might be mediated by certain microRNAs. However, the signaling events that link cancer stemness-related microRNA to EGFR-TKIs resistance remain to be charted. We have established a new 3D organoid model for normal and malignant EGFR mutant lung cells. Resistant EGFR mutations lead to higher induced levels of microRNA-21 (miR-21) compared with that of sensitive EGFR mutations. Knocking down miR-21 inhibits tumor growth and potentiates the therapeutic efficiency of EGFR-TKIs in EGFR-mutant lung cancer cells. Conversely, overexpression of miR-21 enhances the resistance of sensitive cancer cells to EGFR-TKIs. Further RNA sequencing analysis showed that PI3K-AKT signaling pathway is associated with miR-21-mediated EGFR-TKIs resistance. Administration of locked nucleic acids against miR-21 showed synergistic effects with EGFR TKIs in overcoming resistance to EGFR-TKIs in lung cancers. MiR-21 might be a promising target in overcoming EGFR-TKIs resistance.

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Frank Slack, fslack@bidmc.harvard.edu
330 BROOKLINE AVENUE, CLS417, Boston MA 02215
http://www.bidmc.org/Research/Departments/Pathology/Laboratories/Frank-S...

 

 

The Biddinger Lab: Hunting for the metabolic path

Dr. Biddinger Lab, Boston Children's Hospital Harvard Medical School Broad Institute

Our mission is to improve the lives of patients with diabetes.   As a lab, we are working to discover the pathways and metabolites that underlie the development of diabetes-associated diseases, like atherosclerosis.  We are fascinated by metabolism, and curious about the many metabolic derangements caused by diabetes. We strive to think creatively and critically, ask important questions, and uphold the highest experimental standards.  We use whatever approaches are necessary to answer our questions--integrating biochemical, molecular, cellular, proteomic and mouse genetic approaches with clinical studies in humans. We expect that our work will ultimately enable the development of better therapies for our obese and diabetic patients.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Basic skills in molecular biology are appreciated but not required
To apply contact: Dr. Sudha Biddinger, sudha.biddinger@childrens.harvard.edu
16th Floor Center for Life Sciences Building 3 Blackfan Circle Boston, MA
www.biddingerlab.org

 

Histone deacetylases HDAC4/HDAC5 participate in os, Dr. Wein Lab, Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Background: Osteocytes are the primary mechanosensors in bone. Loading-induced bone formation requires SOST down-regulation. The intracellular signaling pathways through which loading suppresses SOST suppression are unknown. HDAC4 and HDAC5 control SOST expression in osteocytes, and are required for PTH-induced SOST regulation. The goal of this study was to determine if class IIa HDACs participate in mechanical loading induced osteocyte mechanotransduction.   Methods: 20-week-old wild type, HDAC4 conditional, HDAC5 knockout, and double knockout female mice were subjected to in vivo cantilever bending of the right tibia. Each mouse underwent a 3 wk regimen, and dynamic histomorphometry was performed on the tibia mid-shaft.  Ocy454 cells were subjected to fluid flow stress.   Results: In vivo loading studies showed that HDAC4 and HDAC5 are required for loading-induced periosteal bone formation. In WT mice, periosteal bone formation rate (p.BFR) significantly increased in response to loading. In contrast, DKO mice failed to increase periosteal BFR in response to loading. In Ocy454 cells, FFSS led to time-dependent reductions in HDAC4 S246 and HDAC5 S259 phosphorylation, with peak reductions at 90 minutes. Control Ocy454 cells showed 77.4±4.9% SOST down-regulation in response to FFSS.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: It is preferable to have Western blotting and qPCR skills but required.
To apply contact: Dr. Marc Wein, MNWEIN@mgh.harvard.edu
50 Blossom Street, Thier Building / Boston MA, 02114 
https://scholar.harvard.edu/wein

 

Dark matter in the human brain dopamine neurons, Dr. Scherzer Lab, Neurogenomics Laboratory and Parkinson Personalized Medicine  Brigham and Women's Hospital

Enhancers function as DNA logic gates and may control specialized functions of billions of neurons. Here we show a tailored program of noncoding genome elements active in situ in physiologically unique dopamine neurons of the human brain. 71,022 noncoding elements were transcribed many of which consistent with active enhancers, and with regulatory mechanisms in zebrafish and mouse brains. Genetic variants associated with sleep, schizophrenia, and addiction were dramatically enriched in these elements. Expression Quantitative Trait Locus analysis revealed that Parkinson’s disease-associated variants on chromosome 17q21 cis-regulate the expression of an enhancer RNA in dopamine neurons. This study shows that enhancers in dopamine neurons link genetic variation to neuropsychiatric traits.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: no prior research experience is required
To apply contact: Dr. Clemens Scherzer, cscherzer@rics.bwh.harvard.edu
60 Fenwood Road, 9002EE Boston, MA 02115
http://www.scherzerlaboratory.org

 

Understanding the role of antioxidants in cancer, Dr. Brugge Lab, Department of Cell Biology

Tumors face numerous demands; to meet these needs, they rewire metabolic pathways, including those that produce antioxidant cofactors. The specific role of antioxidants within a tumor cell remains poorly understood. Here, we examined the dependency of tumors on glutathione (GSH), the most abundant antioxidant in the cell. To understand whether inhibition of GSH synthesis rendered cancer cells vulnerable to targeted inhibition of oncogenic pathways, we developed a high-throughput drug sensitivity assay and interrogated the impact more than 500 compounds upon GSH depletion. Blocking GSH synthesis sensitized cancer cells to inhibition of deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs), which when combined led to an induction of ER and proteotoxic stress and significant cytotoxicity. These findings demonstrate a crucial role of GSH in the regulation of protein homeostasis. Furthermore, our study elucidates a novel vulnerability in cancers cells that potentially can be exploited for a therapeutic benefit. 

Number of hours/week: Freshmen and Sophomores are recommended to work 6-10 hrs/week
Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Joan Brugge, joan_brugge@hms.harvard.edu
240 Longwood Ave
https://brugge.med.harvard.edu/

 

Targeting lipid synthesis in malignant brain tumor, Dr. Badr Lab, Neuroscience Center, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most malignant form of primary brain tumors with high mortality. The presence of stem-like GBM cells (Glioma stem cells; GSCs) within the tumor further complicates treatment by promoting therapeutic resistance and tumor recurrence. Identifying essential nutrients that fuel brain tumor growth and blocking key metabolic pathways in GBM, could offer new therapeutic opportunities to treat this fatal disease.  We present evidence that the activity of Stearoyl CoA Desaturase 1 (SCD1), an enzyme that converts saturated fatty acids (FA) to unsaturated FA is essential for maintaining the survival of highly aggressive GSCs. We show that GSCs express high levels of SCD1 compared to the normal brain, and present an increased vulnerability to SCD1 inhibition. We identified CAY10566 as a highly potent small-molecule inhibitor of SCD1. Mice treated with CAY10566 showed reduced tumor growth along with a significant increase in overall survival. Palmitic Acid, a saturated FA, increased tumor growth in a mouse model further supporting the notion that lipid synthesis promote growth of GBM.  This shows how saturated FA could fuel tumor growth and provide the preclinical evidence of the therapeutic benefit of SCD1 inhibitors to treat brain tumors in patients.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Preferable but not required.
To apply contact: Dr. Christian Badr, badr.christian@mgh.harvard.edu
Building 149, 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, United States
http://www.massgeneral.org/neurology/research/researchlab.aspx?id=1739&d...

 

 

White Matter Injury in Premature Infants, Dr. Rosenberg Lab, Department of Neurology Program in Neuroscience F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center Harvard Medical School Boston Children's Hospital

White matter injury in premature infants leads to substantial motor and cognitive deficits in survivors.  Despite improvements in neonatal intensive care, the prevalence of these neurological deficits is not decreasing and there are no targeted interventions available for the infants at greatest risk.  Our laboratory has been studying developing oligodendrocytes (the cells that ultimately produce myelin/white matter) in an attempt to better understand why these cells are particularly vulnerable to injury.  With a clearer understanding of injury pathways, we hope to develop targeted interventions for this debilitating and costly disorder.  We use a variety of in vitro and in vivo approaches in mice/rats that combine techniques such as immunocytochemistry, immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting, quantitative PCR, shRNA, behavioral assays, and zinc imaging among others.   Students would have an opportunity to work closely in the laboratory with Dr. Elitt (a neonatal neurologist/neurobiologist) and be supervised by Dr. Rosenberg (a neurologist/neurobiologist).  Particular emphasis is placed on developing realistic projects for students that mesh well with our overall research program in white matter injury.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Paul Rosenberg, paul.rosenberg@childrens.harvard.edu
Center for Life Sciences, 13th Floor
http://www.childrenshospital.org/researchers/paul-rosenberg

 

 

Anesthesia & Critical Periods of Brain Development, Dr. Berde Lab

Division of Pain Medicine Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine Boston Children's Hospital.

Each year in the USA, >6 million children require general anesthesia or sedation for surgical and medical procedures.  Many children also require the prolonged use of sedatives to tolerate a ventilator during intensive care.  Evidence from young animals and human infants suggest that prolonged anesthesia/sedative drug exposure may be associated with later deficits in language comprehension.  We aim to understand how early life exposure to anesthesia shapes brain development.  We use non-invasive brain monitoring techniques (EEG, NIRS), behavioral and physiological measures, in combination with advanced signal processing to investigate peripheral and central nervous system function.  Our work has shown that neurophysiologic responses to anesthetic drugs change as a function of age, particularly in the first year of life.  Ongoing work is aimed at 1) confirming what extent brain activity is shaped by the timing of age and duration of anesthesia exposure, and 2) developing therapeutic strategies to mitigate the risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcome. Currently, available research projects involve characterizing anesthesia-induced brain activity in infants undergoing esophageal atresia treatment and who require multiple anesthetic exposures during the first few months of life.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Requirements: - No prior research experience is required - Strong organisational, written and oral skills  Desirable:  - Experience in signal processing (i.e. MATLAB) - Early morning flexibility (i.e. availability for data collection in operating rooms  from 6.30am, when relevant)
To apply contact: All positions have been filled for summer 2018. Check back in the fall for updates.
Pain Treatment Service (EN311.1) Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue Boston MA02115
http://www.childrenshospital.org/research-and-innovation/research/labs/b...

 

 

Translational Molecular Imaging, Dr. Caravan Lab, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School

 

Our lab develops molecular imaging probes that allow us to visualize biochemical events in the living body using MRI, PET, and optical imaging. Projects range from new probe design through human applications. We are a multidisciplinary lab of chemists, biologists, physicists, engineers, and clinicians. We collaborate with groups at Harvard, MGH, and MIT to apply molecular imaging to problems in cardiovascular disease, liver fibrosis, kidney injury, pulmonary diseases, cancer, and neuroscience. 

Requirements: Our lab develops molecular imaging probes that allow us to visualize biochemical events in the living body using MRI, PET, and optical imaging. Projects range from new probe design through human applications. We are a multidisciplinary lab of chemists, biologists, physicists, engineers, and clinicians. We collaborate with groups at Harvard, MGH, and MIT to apply molecular imaging to problems in cardiovascular disease, liver fibrosis, kidney injury, pulmonary diseases, cancer, and neuroscience 

To apply contact: Dr. Peter Caravan, caravan@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu
75 3rd Avenue, Charlestown caravanlabmgh.weebly.com

 

Sensing with quantum defects in diamond, Dr. Park Lab, Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Dept. of Physics

Quantum defects in diamond are used as nanoscale sensors to measure biological and chemical structures and processes in situ. In our lab, we are working with nitrogen-vacancy centers in two modalities: 1) as single addressable spins for magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging of single molecules, and 2) as optically-readable charge detectors for real-time imaging of neuron action potentials and frictional electrification.  Our work spans the disciplines of quantum optics, physical chemistry, nano materials and devices, surface science and biological imaging. Several projects are available depending on interest, and will involve experiment design, device/material fabrication and characterization, followed by electrical and fluorescence measurements.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week
Requirements: Ability to work independently while communicating effectively with the team. Prior laboratory experience is helpful, but not required - the desire to learn is more important.
To apply contact: Dr. Hongkun Park, hongkun_park@harvard.edu
Conant 041 https://hongkunparklab.com/

 

Blood vessel defects in human disease, Dr. Bischoff Lab, Vascular Biology Program, Department of Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Our lab studies how endothelial cells (EC) – the cells that line all blood vessels and the heart - become altered in disease.  1) Infantile hemangioma (IH) is a vascular tumor that grows dramatically during infancy.  We identified an IH vascular stem cell that recapitulates key features of IH when implanted into mice.  We are focused on finding somatic mutations that drive hemangioma and hope such mutations will shed light on fundamentals of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis.  2) A somatic activating mutation in GNAQ (encodes Gα-q) was identified in Sturge Weber syndrome, a neurocutaneous disorder associated with capillary malformations on the face and the leptomeninges of the brain.  We showed the mutation is enriched in ECs, pinpointing the cell type from which the disease originates.  We are studying 1) signaling in Gα-q mutant ECs, 2) specific proteins found upregulated in mutant ECs and 3) if and how the mutant ECs fail to interact correctly with surrounding cells.  3) We study what happens to the mitral valve after myocardial infarction (MI).  We found increased endothelial- to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) in the mitral valve after MI is associated with increased thickness, which leads to mitral regurgitation.We are looking for drugs prevent excessive EndMT post-MI.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Some previous laboratory experience with techniques such as western blots, PCR, immunostaining is highly desirable.
To apply contact: Dr. Joyce Bischoff, joyce.bischoff@childrens.harvard.edu
Karp 12th floor, Karp Family Research Building, 1 Blackfan Circle, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115
http://www.childrenshospital.org/research-and-innovation/research/labs/b...

 

Olfactory ensheathing cells for glioblastoma gene, Dr. Tannous Lab

Department of Neurology, Neuro-Oncology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital and Neuroscience Program, Harvard Medical School

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most malignant form of primary brain tumors with a poor survival rate within 5 years after diagnosis. Standard-of-care therapy consists in a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and maximal surgical resection of the tumor; however, these treatments have shown not been effective. The olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) is a glial cell type that enwraps the axons of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) as they grow from the olfactory mucosa (OM) into the olfactory bulb. The unique ability of mammalian OM in continuously replacing its ORNs by physiological turnover and following injury is attributed to the presence of the permissive OEC environment. OECs release diffusible factors to attract neural progenitors and regulate their proliferation and differentiation. Owing to their strong ability to myelinate and guide axonal outgrowth, interact with astrocytes, as well as their immuno/inflammation-modulator and phagocytic properties, OECs therapeutic potential have been evaluated for neuronal regenerative medicine but were never studied in the context of cancer. We hypothesize that upon intranasal administration, OECs will migrate to the glioma site and deliver therapeutic transgene to tumor cells in a GBM model in vivo.  

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
To apply contact: Dr. Bakhos Tannous, bakhos_tannous@hms.harvard.edu
149 13th Street, room 6309 Charlestown, MA.

 

 

Non-coding RNAs, RNPs & Translation in Cancer, Dr. Vasudevan Lab

Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, MGH Center for Cancer Research, MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine & Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University

Quiescent (G0) cancer cells are dormant, reversibly-arrested cells, including stem cells, which resist clinical therapy that eliminates proliferating cancer cells. Upon chemotherapy removal, G0 cells sense the loss of their proliferating neighbors and restart cell division, restoring the cancer as recurrence. G0 shows a switch to a distinct gene expression program where RNA regulation enables persistence of this critical state. mRNA control elements and regulatory RNAs such as non-coding RNAs and microRNAs, interact with RNA binding proteins to form RNA-protein complexes (RNPs) and direct expression of clinically relevant genes; their deregulation leads to a range of clinical effects such as tumor resistance, immune and developmental disorders. The primary goal of our research program is to investigate non-coding RNA- and RNA binding protein-controlled expression of critical genes in tumors, which lead to resistance and tumor expansion. A second focus is to characterize the mechanism of expression or translation of critical genes in G0 states in cancers, stem cells and germ cells. A third aim is to develop therapeutic approaches to modulate RNA-controlled expression in tumor resistance. These investigations will provide insight and novel therapeutics on non-coding RNAs in tumors.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior experience is required in our supportive lab with dedicated and friendly students, postdocs, and lab manager. Enthusiasm for science, learning and discovery is needed.
To apply contact: Dr. Shobha Vasudevan, vasudevan.shobha@mgh.harvard.edu
MGH, Main Campus, Simches Research Bldg, 185 Cambridge St, CPZN 4100, Boston, MA 02114. Ph: 617-643-3143
http://dms.hms.harvard.edu/BBS/fac/Vasudevan.php

 

Dr. Puria Lab, Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences  Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Project 1. Cochlear Amplification: Mouse Finite-Element Model

Our knowledge of cochlear mechanics is currently undergoing a revolution. While the basilar membrane (BM) has long been considered the principal structure in cochlear motion, new techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) have instead revealed not only that the reticular lamina (RL) moves in a different pattern from the BM, but surprisingly it moves 3–10 times more at low input sound levels. Additionally, RL motion is closer to the inner-hair-cell stereocilia bundle, making it more relevant than BM motion for triggering the auditory nerve. We constructed a 3D finite-element model for the mouse cochlea and tested the model against recent non-invasive OCT vibrometry measurements. The model contains, a viscous-fluid environment, the key elements of organ of Corti (OoC) cytoarchitecture sandwiched between the BM and RL, including the piezo-like outer hair cell attahed to a Deiter’s cell and it’s Phalangeal process in a Y-shaped arrangement. The model allows clear relationships to be established between cochlear amplification and the structure and material composition of the OoC. The calculations demonstrate the high efficiency of the natural OoC cytoarchitecture and imply that the particular form of the Y-shaped combination is important for cochlear amplification. This improves our understanding of the various mechanical stages of hearing and deafness. [Work supported by NIH grant R01 DC 07910.]

 

Project 2. Cochlea imaging with optical coherence tomography

Recent developments in Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) allow measurements of cochlear motions through the bony cochlear wall without holes at spatial resolutions approaching about 10 um. We present measurements made with a commercial OCT system driven by custom software (VibOCT) that facilitates parallel-processing-based near real-time processing of measured whole A-line data to different frequency response measurements.  The 905-nm center wavelength Super Luminescent Diode (SLD) and high-speed (100 kHz) camera provide higher axial resolution (3 um in air) and temporal resolution than previous studies and a sub-nanometer noise floor in air. We gathered anatomical images of the gerbil cochlear apex in-vivo at higher resolution than available previously, sufficient to resolve individual outer hair cells, pillar cells, tunnel of Corti and inner sulcus regions.  Images from the 3rd apical turn show a bulging of Reissners membrane in-vivo that flattened post-mortem with a concomitant reduction in the distance between the Henson cell border and the stria vascularis wall. Vibrometry of the organ of Corti shows a low-pass characteristic in-vivo and post-mortem with a traveling wave-like phase delay similar to a recent study rather than the sharp tuning seen more basally. This system can provide valuable information on cochlear function, which is also useful for the development of detailed cochlear models of the passive and active gerbil apex.

 

Project 3. Drive mechanisms to cochlear hair cell stereocilia

It has been long believed that inner hair cell (IHC) stimulation can be gleaned from the classic shear motion between the reticular lamina (RL) and tectorial membrane (TM). The present study explores this and other IHC stimulation mechanisms using a finite-element-model representation of an organ of Corti (OoC) cross section with fluid-structure interaction. A 3-D model of a cross section of the OoC including soft tissue and the fluid in the sub-tectorial space, tunnel of Corti and above the TM was formulated based on anatomical measurements from the gerbil apical turn. The outer hair cells (OHCs), Deiter’s cells and their phalangeal processes are represented as Y-shaped building-block elements. Each of the IHC and OHC bundles is represented by a single sterocilium. Linearized Navier-Stokes equations coupled with linear-elastic equations discretized with tetrahedral elements are solved in the frequency domain. We evaluated the dynamic changes in the OoC motion including sub-tectorial gap dimensions for 0.1 to 10 kHz input frequencies. Calculations show the classic ter-Kuile motion but more importantly they show that the gap-height changes which produce oscillatory radial flow in the subtectorial space. Phase changes in the stereocilia across OHC rows and the IHC are also observed.

To apply contact: Dr. Sunil Puria, sunil_puria@meei.harvard.edu
Mass Eye and Ear 243 Charles Street Boston, MA 02114-3002

 

MRI/MRS in Neonates with Hypoxic Ischemic Injury, Dr. Ratai Lab

 

Department of Radiology / Massachusetts General Hospital  A. A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Harvard Medical School

We are looking for Harvard undergraduate students in Life Sciences who are interested in conducting research related to Neuroimaging. The focus of this research study will be on pediatric brain disorders.  Hypoxia-ischemic injury (HII) continues to be a major cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity. Because the prognosis for any given baby is uncertain, reliable prognostic indicators are needed. One of the most informative imaging tools to potentially influence therapy and predict outcomes is MRI. However, the value of conventional MRI appears to be limited. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) has emerged as one of the key technique in the assessment of such injury. MRS is a promising imaging technique that enables investigators to determine the concentration of specific metabolites. Thus, the purpose of this study is to evaluate MRI/MRS for prediction of outcome in neonates after HII. The candidate will work under direct supervision of Dr. Ratai (Clinical Spectroscopist at MGH). Furthermore, the candidate will work directly with radiologists, neurologists and neuroscientists. This work will provide the candidate with research experience in neuroimaging, may lead to a conference abstract and papers, and will aid in her/his future career as neuroscientist or physician.

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Eva-Marai Ratai, eratai@mgh.harvard.edu
Building 149, 13th Street, Room 2301 Charlestown, MA 02129 http://www.martinos.org/

 

 

Demystifying cardiomyocyte maturation: a bottlenec, Dr. Pu Lab, Department of Cardiology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Recent technical advances have allowed derivation of cardiomyocytes from pluripotent stem cells or non-myocytes, providing unprecedented opportunities to model and repair injured hearts. However, these derived cardiomyocytes exhibit immature phenotypes that limit their applications. To overcome this major roadblock in cardiac regenerative medicine, we aim to understanding the principles governing cardiomyocyte maturation and to ultimately use these findings to establish novel strategies to produce mature cardiomyocytes from non-myocytes.       We recently circumvented many of technical problems that limited cardiomyocyte maturation studies establishing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated CRISPR/Cas9-based somatic mutagenesis (CASAAV), a platform to quickly generate loss-of-function mutations in mouse cardiomyocytes. The technique quickly generates genetic mosaics that facilitate discovery of cell-autonomous gene function, avoiding confounding effects of heart dysfunction.      Undergraduate students are encouraged to choose from two research directions. 1) CASAAV-based genetic screen for addition maturation factors. 2) Mechanistic analysis of a recently identified maturation factor. We endeavor to provide undergraduate students a most rewarding experience.

Requirements: We accept students with and without laboratory skills. However, we will expect a longer-term commitment from inexperienced students, and prefer that these students will also commit to continuing their research during the summer.

To apply contact: Dr. William Pu, wpu@pulab.org
Enders Research Building, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA, 02115 www.pulab.org

 

Comparing neuroplasticity in individuals with cere, Dr. Merabet and Bauer Lab, Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School

Title: Comparing neuroplasticity in individuals with cerebral versus ocular visual impairment   The Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity studies how the brain adapts to blindness and visual impairment. Major research focuses include brain imaging technologies and virtual reality to investigate structural and functional neuroplasticity. We study individuals with cerebral/cortical vision impairment (CVI) as well as individuals with ocular vision impairment (OVI) and profound blindness. Our current research includes using  high-spatial resolution diffusion magnetic resonance imaging to trace white matter visual pathways in the brain; behavioral tests of cognitive spatial processing and visual complexity using real-world virtual reality simulations combined with eye-tracking and hand-tracking; and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain activation related to sensory information processing. 

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Required:  Computer programming experience: ability to understand, to do basic debugging, and/or execute batch scripts. Knowledge of any of the following languages is a plus: Python, bash, Java, C#, matlab, tcsh, and R.   Critical thinking skills  Good to have, but not required: Interest and/or education in psychology or neuroscience  General understanding of basic statistical methods   Interest working with individuals with disabilities  Not Required: Prior research experience
To apply contact: Dr. Lotfi and Corinna Merabet and Bauer, lotfi_merabet@meei.harvard.edu
20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA, 02114 https://scholar.harvard.edu/merabetlab

 

3D-printed liquid-infused tympanostomy tubes, Dr. Lewis Lab, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University

Tympanostomy tubes, or ear tubes, are the most common solution to relieve the symptoms of otitis media (OM), or middle ear infection, in the U.S. Most commercial ear tubes are made from silicone or fluoroplastic. While about one million ear tubes are implanted annually, approximately 7% to 37% of them fail due to occlusion caused by the adhesion of mucus, keratinocytes, or bacterial biofilms. Utilizing three-dimensional (3D) printing techniques, and a surface modification technique termed slippery, liquid-infused, porous surface (SLIPS), this project aims to create ear tubes that will prevent occlusion by cells and biofilms while enabling improved fluid flow compared to that through commercial tubes.  

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Wet chemistry lab skills are preferred
To apply contact: Dr. Jennifer Lewis, jalewis@seas.harvard.edu
58 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA
https://aizenberglab.seas.harvard.edu/, https://lewisgroup.seas.harvard.edu/

 

Pathogenesis of Burkholderia dolosa, Dr. Priebe Lab, Division of Critical Care Medicine of the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital

The Priebe laboratory investigates virulence mechanisms of bacterial pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC), Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and Mycobacterium abscessus, with the long-term goal of developing vaccines and novel therapies. These pathogens cause serious infections among hospitalized and immunocompromised patients and in people with cystic fibrosis. Techniques used in the lab span multiple fields, including microbiology, molecular biology, genomics, cellular and molecular immunology, and animal models of infection.  Areas of focus include identifying and characterizing bacterial genes, using genomic data, that are under selective pressure during infection. Using this approach, we are studying the function of regulators of virulence and the effects of mutations in these pathways.  One of these projects includes studying bacterial genomic diversity in bloodstream infections in hospitalized children.  Another major area involves vaccine development for Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, focusing on bacterial proteins that stimulate a Th17 response.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week
Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Gregory Priebe, gregory.priebe@childrens.harvard.edu
Enders 424 300 Longwood Ave Boston, MA 02115
http://www.childrenshospital.org/research-and-innovation/research/labs/p...

 

 

Stem cell based targeted therapies for cancer, Dr. Shah Lab, Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging,  Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

The recognition that different stem cell types can home to tumors following transplantation has unveiled new possibilities for their use in cancer therapy. Our research is based on simultaneously targeting cell death and proliferation pathways in tumor cells in an effort to eradicate both primary and metastatic tumors in the brain using engineered stem cells. We have engineered different cell surface receptor targeted adult stem cells to release (i) pro-apoptotic proteins to specifically induce apoptosis in tumor cells; (ii) anti-proliferative nanobodies (ENb) to inhibit tumor cell proliferation; (iii) immunomodulatory proteins to enhance T cell function; (iv) anti-angiogenic proteins to target blood vessels supplying the tumor; (v) oncolytic viruses to induce viral oncolysis; and demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of these engineered stem cells both in vitro and in vivo. We employ fluorescence/bioluminescence imaging markers and optical imaging techniques to track the fate of stem cells and tumor cells in real time in vivo. In an effort to translate these therapeutics into clinical settings, we have developed and utilized immuno-deficient and -competent mouse tumor models that mimic clinical settings of primary tumors and their secondary micro-invasive deposits in the brain.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week
Requirements: Applicants are expected to have experience in one or more of the following techniques: stem cell biology, oncology, gene cloning, viral vector construction and/or animal surgeries. Interns are expected to commit to 15-hours/week during academic terms and apply for full-time summer internship. They will receive training in various scientific areas including but not limited to experimental design, conduct, data interpretation and analysis, writing scientific reports and manuscripts.
To apply contact: Dr. Khalid  Shah, kshah@bwh.harvard.edu
60 Fenwood Rd. Boston, MA 02115 http://csti.bwh.harvard.edu

 

 

Discovering new treatments for metastatic cancer u, Dr. Culhane Lab, Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Biostatistics, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Using bioinformatics, machine learning and statistics, we mathematically model the molecular pathways that drive cancer development, progression and drug resistance.  We have several exciting projects for students.   For mathematicians and computer engineers, please help us develop deep-learning and Bayesian tensor matrix decomposition algorithms to integrate multiple sources cloud-based and in-house genetics and genomics data.    Bioinformaticians, statisticians and data scientists, you will work closely with our clinical and bench biology collaborators, to develop and validate computational models of the immune microenvironment in treatment resistant metastatic cancer. In-house data includes mRNA seq, scRNAseq, DNA sequencing (mutation, CNV), microRNA, methylation, CRISPR, etc. Your analysis may discover the next generation of immune therapeutics. We have active projects in kidney, breast and ovarian cancer.    Our lab is a strong advocate for reproducible research, Bioconductor and R.  Dr. Culhane is a member of the Bioconductor Technical advisory board and a founding member of the Boston R/Bioconductor for genomics meetup group.    Pre-Med students can gain valuable experience in precision medicine, next generation sequencing and 'omics bigData analysis.

Requirements: No prior research experience is required. We are happy to teach R/Bioconductor programming to motivated students.  Please indicate in your application if you have prior experience in R, Bioconductor, Matlab, Python, C++, Java, or another programming language.
To apply contact: Dr. Aedin Culhane, aedin@jimmy.harvard.edu
Smith SM822C 450 Brookline Ave Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/aedin-culhane/

 

Baron and Gori Laboratory, Dr. Baron Lab, Division of Bone and Mineral Research Dept or Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity Harvard School of Dental Medicine

The longstanding interest of our laboratory is to understand the molecular, cellular and genetic basis of skeletal homeostasis and its regulation in health and disease.  Our current projects can be subdivided into the following areas:  1) Wnt signaling and bone. WNT signaling is one of the most important developmental signaling pathways that control cell fate decisions and tissue homeostasis. Ongoing studies on the role of WNT signaling antagonists and agonists in skeletal homeostasis are part of the current focus of the lab.   2) Hippo signaling in skeletal homeostasis and responses to mechanical loading. The Hippo/YAP-TAZ signaling, involved in various mechanical cues with implications for cell fate, tissue development and homeostasis, has been recently implicated in bone biology. Ongoing studies focus on the role of this signaling in skeletal homeostasis.   3) Mechanisms by which PTH/PTHrP regulates skeletal homeostasis. Ongoing studies focus on the exploration of novel molecular pathways by which PTH regulates MSC fate decision and favors bone formation while repressing marrow adipogenesis.   4) Osteocytes and skeletal homeostasis. Osteocytes, the most abundant cells in bone, are embedded into bone and in intimate contact with the bone matrix. Ongoing studies explore the link between the matrix that surrounds the osteocytes and the way in which they regulate bone remodeling and/or mineral metabolism.   5) Central regulation of energy homeostasis and bone formation. Ongoing studies are focused to identify the precise neuronal circuits and the cellular and molecular pathways, regulating energy homeostasis and bone formation. These studies address an important clinical challenge for aging related metabolic disorders (obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2 and osteoporosis).  

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Research experience in cell and molecular biology is a plus but it is not required.
To apply contact: Dr. Roland Baron, Roland_Baron@hsdm.harvard.edu
188 Longwood Avenue, Boston

 

 

Design of Tool for Analysis of Speech Development, Dr. Shattuck-Hufnagel Lab, MIT EECS Speech Communication Lab

Non-word repetition tasks have been used to diagnose children with various developmental difficulties with phonology, but these productions have not been phonetically analyzed to reveal the nature of the modi cations produced by children diagnosed with SLI, autism spectrum disorder or dyslexia compared to those produced by typically-developing children. In this thesis, we compared the modi cation of predicted acoustic cues to distinctive features of manner, place and voicing for just under 30 children (ages 5-12), for the CN-Rep word inventory, in an extension of the earlier analysis in Levy et al. 2014. Feature cues, including abrupt acoustic landmarks (Stevens 2002) and other acoustic feature cues, were hand-labeled and analysis of factors that may influence feature cue modi cations included position in the word, position in the syllable, word length measured in syllables, lexical stress, and manner type. Results suggest specific patterns of modi cation in specific contexts for specific clinical populations. These findings set the foundation for understanding how phonetic variation in speech arises in both typical and clinical populations, and for using this knowledge to develop tools to aid in more accurate and insightful diagnosis as well as improved intervention methods.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience required
To apply contact: Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, sshuf@mit.edu
50 Vassar St., Rm 36-523,, Cambridge, MA, 02139
http://www.rle.mit.edu/people/directory/shattuck-hufnagel/

 

Complement is required for optic regeneration, Dr. Benowitz Lab, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Program in Neuroscience

The failure of axons to regenerate in the mature central nervous system (CNS) underlies the permanent functional deficit observed after clinical CNS damage such as spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and optic nerve injury, as well as diseases such as Alzheimer’s and glaucoma. Several recent, promising strategies for improving CNS axon regrowth have been discovered using the optic nerve crush model, including inflammatory zymosan, the growth factor oncomodulin, PTEN deletion, combinatorial treatments, and chelation of free zinc using TPEN. The inflammatory response to optic nerve crush, similar to other CNS injuries and diseases, involves the complement cascade, which normally functions in response to pathogen threat by recruiting inflammatory cells, marking pathogens for removal, and directly initiating cell lysis. While the role for complement proteins and their receptors in inflammatory host defense to pathogens is well characterized, recent findings have also suggested various non-traditional roles for complement proteins in CNS development, injury, and disease, including myelin clearance, neuroprotection, neurotoxicity, neuronal migration, synaptic engulfment, and axon guidance. However, the potential involvement of complement in axon regeneration after optic nerve injury has not been investigated. We report that genetic removal of complement proteins C1q or C3 or complement receptor CR3 blocked treatment-induced RGC axon regeneration following optic nerve injury in mice. The number of GAP43-labeled, regenerating axons beyond the crush site following treatment with zymosan plus cAMP, AAV2-shPTEN plus oncomodulin plus cAMP, or TPEN was significantly reduced in several lines of complement knockout mice in comparison to wild-type littermates 14 days post-injury. However, neither C1q, C3, nor CR3 knockout consistently affected RGC survival. These data suggest that the complement system is required for axon growth in the mature central nervous system, adding to the mounting evidence for non-traditional roles for inflammatory complement proteins in the nervous system. *We are seeking a motivated, interested and detail-oriented student to join this ongoing research project*

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required
To apply contact: Dr. Larry Benowitz, larry.benowitz@childrens.harvard.edu
Center for Life Science, Room #13030 3 Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA 02115

 

 

Comparative assessment of RGC subtypes, Dr. Baranov Lab, Harvard Medical School, Ophthalmology, Schepens Eye Research Institute

Cell transplantation has been explored as a potential strategy to replace retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) lost in glaucoma and other optic neuropathies. One of the challenges in cell replacement is the availability of functional RGCs in sufficient quantity. While current protocols allow to recapitulate retinal development by forming organoids from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), RGC yield remains low and the abundance of specific RGC subtypes is unknown. To address this gap, the proposed student project will be focused around three main objectives. First, a comparison of the abundance of RGC subtypes found in iPSC-derived organoids with RGC subtypes known from mouse retinas, using immunohistochemistry, qPCR and Flow Cytometry. Our data obtained for photosensitive and direction-selective RGCs points towards an underrepresentation of those RGC subtypes in iPSC-derived organoids, posing the question if modifications to the current culture protocol are needed. Hence, the second focus of the project will be to explore different approaches for the improvement of subtype specific RGC differentiation in iPSC-derived organoids, by addition of cofactors or modification of culture vessels.  Following the generation of RGCs in-vitro, their survival within the host retina after transplantation is a key objective of cell replacement. Though studies of subtype specific RGC survival following optic nerve crush indicate differential susceptibility to damage, it is unknown whether specific RGC subtypes have the same propensity to survive and integrate following transplantation. Therefore, the final objective of the project is to explore RGC subtype diversity within donor RGC populations, following transplantation. 

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: no prior research experience required if at least 15hrs/week are dedicated - project scope within the 3 proposed parts is flexible according to students interest and availability - project suitable for 2 students looking to work together
To apply contact: Dr. Petr Baranov, Petr_Baranov@meei.harvard.edu
Schepens Eye Research Institute 20 Staniford Street Boston, MA 02114

 

 

Differential Effects of Melodic Intonation Therapy, Dr. Zipse Lab, Cognitive Neuroscience Group (CNG), Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, MGH Institute of Health Professions

Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) is a treatment for nonfluent aphasia that was first described over 40 years ago. More recently, there has been conflicting evidence as to whether the rhythmic elements, the melodic elements, or both are important in order for the therapy to be most effective. There has even been a suggestion that the tapping component of the treatment may impede progress for some people, and some people with aphasia perform extremely poorly on tasks requiring rhythm processing. This raises the possibility that the tapping element of MIT may not be beneficial for those individuals with aphasia who struggle with rhythm. The aim of this study was to investigate this question. Three participants with chronic nonfluent aphasia were included in this study, which used a single-subject design to compare standard MIT with tapping (Standard; MIT-S) to a version without tapping (No Tapping; MIT-NT). Participants’ rhythm processing and beat entrainment abilities were evaluated prior to treatment. The participants exhibited different profiles of rhythm processing ability. Treatments were administered sequentially, with the order counter-balanced across participants, for a total of 10 weeks of treatment. Results indicate that tapping is not a beneficial element of MIT for all people with nonfluent aphasia, and that rhythm processing abilities may be an important consideration. In particular, individuals who struggle with rhythm tasks in a naturalistic, musical context may not benefit from tapping.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Our lab group works on an array of clinically relevant projects and uses a variety of techniques (ERPs, behavioral methods, eye tracking, clinical assessment). Training is provided and no specific laboratory skills are required. Experience reading research papers and working with spreadsheets (e.g., Excel) is helpful.
To apply contact: Dr. Lauryn Zipse, lzipse@mghihp.edu
Charlestown Navy Yard, 36 1st Avenue, Boston, MA, 02129
https://www.mghihp.edu/research-research-labs/cognitive-neuroscience-group

 

Incorporating Inter-Study Heterogeneity into the T, Dr. Parmigiani Lab

Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

We explore a setting where multiple sets of patient data gathered at different sites are available to train a predictor. These datasets may exhibit inter-study heterogeneity due to geography, selection criteria, or data processing decisions, among other sources of variation. As a result, the same feature and same outcome measured across studies may exhibit different associations within each study and produce different decision rules if all studies are considered separately. Oftentimes, these single-study decision rules do not replicate well externally [1]. Options for training predictors in the multi-study setting include merging all datasets together and ignoring heterogeneity; directly accounting for heterogeneity (e.g. meta-analysis); indirectly accounting for heterogeneity by ensembling predictors. In the third case, we examine the use of weighted ensembling using the cross-study performance of each predictor, as well as traditional methods such as unweighted ensembling and stacking [2]. We describe the characteristics of these different options in simulation and in a real-data setting with fifteen sets of data relating differential gene expression to survival in ovarian cancer patients. We show that each option can work well depending on the amount of inter-study heterogeneity, the choice of learning algorithm, and other data attributes.  1. Waldron, Levi, et al. "Comparative meta-analysis of prognostic gene signatures for late-stage ovarian cancer." JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute 106.5 (2014). 2. Breiman, Leo. "Stacked regressions." Machine learning 24.1 (1996): 49-64.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required. An interest in statistics, machine learning, statistical computing, and mathematics is desirable. Some coding experience would be helpful.
To apply contact: Dr. Giovanni Parmigiani, gp@jimmy.harvard.edu
3 Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA 02115
http://bcb.dfci.harvard.edu/~gp/

 

 

Clinical Computational Neuroimaging Group, Dr. Wu Lab

Athinoula A Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital

The Clinical Computational Neuroimaging Group is a team of interdisciplinary individuals interested in both data science and clinical research. Our research activities focus on developing methods to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and management of patients with brain injury as a result of stroke, cardiac arrest or trauma. We use state-of-the-art MRI acquistion and analysis techniques and combine  imaging with clinical data via machine learning algorithms to create quantitative biomarkers that can be used to monitor disease status relative to “normal” tissue or evaluate progression or recovery. We will present some of our research areas. We use imaging to triage patients with unwitnessed acute ischemic stroke for thrombolytic therapy, offering treatment options to patients for whom currently none exist. We also develop techniques to predict tissue and clinical outcome after acute ischemic stroke and to evaluate therapeutic efficacy of novel stroke treatments. For comatose cardiac arrest patients, we apply imaging to predict long-term neurological outcome by investigating changes in post-arrest structural and functional brain connectivity. We also use algorithms to combine structural and functional MRI to evaluate the sequelae of post-concussive mild traumatic brain injury.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Experience working in Unix-based environments and programming.
To apply contact: Dr. Ona Wu, ona@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu
149 13th Street,  CNY 2301 Charlestown, MA 02129 USA http://www.martinos.org/lab/ccni

 

 

Validity of the ABO Approximation in Graphene, Dr. Heller Lab, Department of Physics Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

The adiabatic Born-Oppenheimer (ABO) approximation is widely used in molecular and atomic physics to simplify quantum mechanical calculations. In a molecular system with time-dependent nuclear coordinates, the electronic wavefunction can be computed in the ABO approximation by solving the time-independent Schrödinger equation at particular points for a Hamiltonian that is purely a function of the nuclear coordinates. We aim to show that this approach breaks down when calculating the time evolution of the electronic wavefunction of a finite sheet of graphene in the presence of thermal lattice vibrations.   We initially simulate a finite graphene sheet with thermal lattice vibrations, assigning nuclear coordinates that oscillate along normal modes. The Hamiltonian operator is then constructed explicitly as a sparse matrix using the nearest neighbor tight-binding approximation: the only nonzero terms in the matrix are the diagonal terms and the (i,j)-th elements for which atoms i and j are immediately adjacent in the graphene lattice. We then explore the dynamics of the graphene electronic wavefunction in the ABO approximation by explicitly solving the time-independent Schrödinger equation for multiple time points, considering only the n-th eigenstate of the Hamiltonian at each time point. Additionally, we calculate the system’s true time-evolved wavefunction by approximating a solution to the time-dependent Schrödinger equation, taking the n-th ABO eigenstate at t = 0 as the initial condition. We then determine the probability that the ABO state predicts the true time-evolved state as a function of time; low probability at certain times indicates breakdown of the ABO approximation.

To apply contact: Dr. Eric Heller, eheller@fas.harvard.edu
Mallinckrodt Laboratory, Theoretical Chemistry Division
https://www-heller.harvard.edu/

 

 

The Gut-Liver Axis: The Source of Inflammation, Dr. A. Hodin Lab, Department go General Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital,  Harvard Medical School

Introduction:Thre mice lacking intestinal alkaline phosphatase(IAP)have an accelerated aging phenotype,we used this as a leaky gut model to understand the contribution of the portal system and gut in the inflammaging process during aging.Methods:C57/BL6 WT or IAP-KO mice of different ages(3-22months)were used for the aging model.Primary mouse macrophages were incubated with portal or systemic serum from different aged mice.Results:We found an age-dependent increase in inflammatory cytokine in livers of WTs(p<0.05for TNF-α andp<0.001forIL-6).IAP-deficient mice showed higher cytokine levels in their liver compared to their WT littermates(mRNA-fold change:TNF-α:2.23,p<0.05and3.89 for IL-6,p<0.01).LPS in portal and systemic serum increased as a function of age,but were>1000-times higher in portal compared to systemic serum,(p<0.001).Absence of IAP was associated with significantly more LPS in both portal and systemic blood.In young mice,LPS was higher in KO vs WT mice,2.32-fold systemically and1.32-fold portally.Similar trend was seen in old mice,where systemically ratios increase by 3.33 and portally1.86 fold.Upon incubation of target cells,we found that both systemic and portal serum from old animals induced significantly higher inflammation than serum derived from young animals(2.89and2.73-fold increase,respectively,p<0.01and<0.05).There was a highly significant difference between the magnitude of TNF-α expression induced by portal compared to systemic serum(4.06and6.02 fold increase in young and old group,respectively.p<0.01).Portal serum from IAP KO mice resulted in a more pronounced inflammatory response than serum from their WT counterparts(1.89-and3.44-fold increase in young and old group,respectively.p<0.001).Conclusion:Targeting the “leaky gut” with IAP could prevent the entry of gut-derived inflammatory mediators into the portal system,thus representing a novel therapy to prevent a variety of gut-derived systemic diseases.

Requirements: Our lab is. partly working on overn gut mucosal defense and the interplay between the host and the intestinal microflora. Basic techniques such as qPCR, western blots. ELISAs are daily bench experiments! but we are more than happy to train the students if they do not have any prior research experience!
To apply contact: Dr. Richard A. Hodin, RHODIN@mgh.harvard.edu
Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Epithelial Biology, Jackson building, 8th floor, Massachusetts General Hospital
http://www.massgeneral.org/generalsurgery/research/researchlab.aspx?id=1...

 

 

Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computations, Dr. Do Lab, Radiology Department

Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation (LMIC) is interested in developing algorithms to improve quality of medical care by supporting physicians to work smarter, faster and better.  Even among highly-trained radiologists, there are variations among performances and mistakes are made with increased workload from reliance on medical imaging for diagnosis and monitoring progression of a disease.  Our team has been working on projects to develop algorithms that assist radiologists in making an accurate diagnosis and improve their workflow:  1).  Hemorrhagic Stroke:  Our team is currently developing an algorithm to detect Hemorrhagic Strokes on CT scans, which could improve diagnostic accuracy and to shorten response time to a medical treatment.  2).  Bone Age Assessment algorithm is a project that helps radiologists to make assessments that are more consistent by decreasing inter-radiologist variation and more efficient by decreasing reading time.  This algorithm is currently deployed and being used in MGH Radiology department.  3).  Mammographic Cancer Detection:  Developing Deep Learning algorithms to improve diagnostic sensitivity and decrease inter-radiologist variability in the classification of breast density.  4).  Body part recognition on CT:  Recognizing and segmenting body organ helps radiologist to separate out different organs to see which organ(s) is(are) affected by the disease process.   Beyond our current projects, LMIC is working towards developing an AI optimized CXR for TB.  The development and deployment of AI optimized portable CXR will help to diagnose and treating TB in parts of the world where radiologists are scarce.  LMIC is also expanding the scope of AI research to explore new areas such as care management, care coordination, financial management, and operations.

Requirements: No research experience required.  We prefer students with prior knowledge of coding in Python or use of Tensorflow. 
To apply contact: Dr. Synho Do, SDO@mgh.harvard.edu
25 New Chardon St.  Suite 400,  Boston MA 02114 lmic.mgh.harvard.edu

 

 

Diabetic Choroidopathy with SS-OCT, Dr. Miller Lab, Department of Ophthalmology, Retina Service, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Purpose: To compare choroidal vascular density (CVD), choroidal thickness (CT), and choroidal vascular volume (CVV) in different stages of diabetic retinopathy eyes against controls using swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT).    Methods: Cross-sectional, prospective, multi-center study including patients with different stages of diabetic retinopathy and age-matched controls. Diabetic eyes were divided into four groupsL no diabetic retinopathy (DR), non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), NPDR with macular edema, and proliferative DR (PDR). All patients underwent a full ophthalmologic exam and imaging using SS-OCT. En face images of the choroidal vasculature were obtained and converted to binary images using ImageJ. CVD was calculated using as a percent area occupied by the choroidal vessels in the central macular region, as well as in posterior pole. The central macular CVV was calculated by multiplying the average CVD by macular area and CT (obtained with automated SS-OCT software). Multilevel mixed linear models were used for analyses.   Results: Compared to controls (0.31 ± 0.07), central macular CVD was significantly decreased by 9% in eyes with NPDR with macular edema (0.28 ± 0.06; ß=-0.03, p=0.02) and by 15% in PDR (0.26 ± 0.05; ß= -0.04, p=0.01). The central macular CVV was significantly decreased by 19% in eyes with PDR (0.020 mm3 ± 0.005 mm3, ß = -0.01, p=0.01) compared to controls (0.025 mm3 ± 0.01 mm3).   Conclusions: CVD and CVV are significantly reduced in more diabetic retinopathy, and increasing reductions were observed with increasing diabetic retinopathy. Additional work with CVV and CVD in diabetic eye disease. New imaging modalities should allow further exploration of the contributions of choroidal vessel disease to diabetic eye disease pathogenesis, prognosis, and treatment response. 

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required
To apply contact: Dr. John B.  Miller, John_Miller@MEEI.HARVARD.EDU
12th Floor Retina Service, 243 Charles Street, Boston MA, 02114

 

 

Microbiome Response to Pesticide Exposure, Dr. Brucker Lab, The Rowland Institute at Harvard

The host microbiome plays a crucial role in physiology, behavior, nutrition, and speciation of the host. The structure of the gut microbial community is highly plastic under different diets and antibiotic treatments, and perturbation to this structure can have harmful effects on the host. However, there are no studies investigating the structure and function of gut microbes when exposed to long-term environmental stress. Using the model organism, a parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis, and the ecologically important pollinator, the honeybee, we investigate how the gut microbiome changes and responds when exposed to low levels of a commonly used herbicide, across multiple generations. Soil and water bacteria can metabolize the herbicide; however, it is unknown if these metabolic processes can occur in the host gut and if that will change the toxicity of the compound. We observe the differences of host physiology (toxicity, body weight, mating behavior) and the gut bacterial community through 16s amplicon sequencing, qPCR, and selective bacterial isolation between atrazine exposed and control population. Using mass spectrometry and metabolic growth assays, we determined that the gut bacterial metabolism is heritable across generations. Furthermore, by screening for microsatellite markers in exposed and control populations' host genotype, we observe congruent host genome topologies to the structure of their microbiomes' – termed phylosymbiosis. Our findings highlight the significance of the microbiomes’ function in driving resistance to environmental stress and their potential role in driving genomic selection in their host. Our work is the first case of experimental phylosymbiosis.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: The position is open to all years, but applicants with prior experience in a biology lab are preferred - but not required. Major in a science degree is encouraged (i.e. biology, bioengineering, chemistry).  Must be comfortable with insects (spiders, bees, wasps) and bacteria (strong odors).  Applicants must demonstrate high organizational skills and attention to details, be able to follow protocols, do some minimal calculations, and willingness to learn skills quickly and efficiently. 
To apply contact: Dr. Robert Brucker, brucker@rowland.harvard.edu
100 Edwin H. Land Blvd. Cambridge, MA 02142
http://bruckerlab.org/

 

Computational Analysis of the Brain’s White Matte, Dr. O'Donnell Lab, Harvard Medical School

Our research focuses on diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, the only method that can map the connections of the living human brain. We have three main research areas: open-source software, neurosurgical planning, and computational methods for big data studies. Our machine learning technology enables discovery of thousands of unique white matter brain connections that are found very robustly in large groups of subjects. This enables neuroscience and neuroanatomy research, as well as the automated detection of crucial fiber tracts for neurosurgical planning. Our open-source software, SlicerDMRI, is downloaded 200 times per month and used in multiple brain research studies (dmri.slicer.org). Research opportunities are at the intersection of computer science and neuroanatomy, with potential to learn about statistical analyses and neuroimaging studies, as well as to contribute to open-source software.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required. Any of the following skills will be useful: experience with the Linux terminal, Python and/or Matlab coding, and interest or experience in machine learning, analysis of data, or neuroscience.
To apply contact: Dr. Lauren O'Donnell, odonnell@bwh.harvard.edu
1249 Boylston St. Boston, Massachusetts 02215
https://scholar.harvard.edu/laurenjodonnell

 

 

Finding the equation that Nature uses: Toward mech, Dr. Moorcroft Lab, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

The Moorcroft lab combine novel observations (e.g remote sensing data) and mechanistic numerical models to understand and predict dynamics in the terrestrial biosphere. The majority of the group uses the Ecosystem Demography 2 (ED2) model, which calculates the distribution of different plants and their physical properties and processes based on meteorological drivers. This model is applied to ecosystems from Arctic tundra to Mediterranean ecosystems in California to lowland rainforests in the Amazon. Students interested in joining this lab should have a background and/or interest in math and computer science. Possible projects include: - Using a variety of remote sensing observations to characterize ecosystems. - Use mechanistic models to understand plant biodiversity and its importance on the Earth system - Other relevant projects of student design. 

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required
To apply contact: Dr. Paul Moorcroft, paul_moorcroft@harvard.edu
Suite 43, HMNH, 26 Oxford St. https://moorcroftlab.oeb.harvard.edu/

 

 

Commensal-induced inflammasome activation, Dr. Cherayil Lab, Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital

Gut commensal bacteria play important roles in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). One of their contributions to the pathogenesis of this condition is via the activation of the inflammasome in macrophages and the consequent secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β. Since the mechanism of commensal-induced inflammasome activation is not well understood, we carried out studies to characterize this process using two representative commensal bacteria, Bacteroides fragilis and Bifidobacterium longum. We showed that the induction of IL-1β secretion by both of these organisms was dependent on the NLRP3 inflammasome and on potassium efflux. However, it did not require bacterial viability or phagocytosis. In follow-up experiments, we found that the supernatant of B. fragilis was also able to induce IL-1β secretion and that this activity was inhibited by polymyxin B, suggesting a role for lipopolysaccharide and the possible involvement of the non-canonical inflammasome. We are currently investigating this possibility further. Our results will help to clarify the mechanisms that lead to IL-1β production in IBD and may suggest novel therapeutic strategies for this disease.

Requirements: Some experience with basic molecular biology techniques (RT-PCR, western blotting, etc.) would be helpful but is not essential. Must be willing to work with human bacterial pathogens (Salmonella) and with mice as needed. A minimum commitment of 8-20 hours per week for at least 2 semesters is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Bobby Cherayil, cherayil@helix.mgh.harvard.edu
Building 114, 16th Street, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA 02129
http://www.massgeneral.org/mucosal-immunology/

 

 

Characterization of frozen-thawed dopaminergic cel, Dr. Hallett Lab, Neuroregeneration Research Institute, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital

There are approximately 1.5 million diagnosed cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the U.S. Patients with this chronic progressive disorder present with motor symptoms characterized by tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity and postural instability. At the onset of symptoms and diagnosis ~ 70% of the midbrain DA neurons have already degenerated. L-DOPA can initially restore dopamine (DA) levels and motor function, but with time the therapeutic window becomes increasingly narrow with L-DOPA induced dyskinesia as a common side effect. Although deep-brain-stimulation (DBS) also can alleviate motor symptoms, such interventions ultimately lead to repeat procedures, limitations for patients in receiving other medical procedures and high medical costs. Cell replacement therapy has proven beneficial in clinical studies using cell preparations derived from fetal ventral midbrain. While fetal cell transplantations are not scalable for a larger patient population and require immunosuppression, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a promising alternative. iPSCs generated from affected PD patients can be differentiated into midbrain dopaminergic cells and used for autologous transplantation. The proof-of-concept of autologous transplantations using differentiated iPSCs has previously been shown by us in non-human primates (Hallett et al. Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Mar 5;16(3):269-74). In current pre-clinical efforts, we have generated iPSCs from human PBMCs using episomal reprogramming and xeno-free derivation conditions. The iPSCs have been differentiated into midbrain DA neurons using a xeno-free differentiation protocol and the differentiated cell preparations frozen and thawed with good viability and reliable reproducibility. The frozen-thawed cell preparations have been characterized based on cell viability and stability, cell content and reproducibility of differentiated cell batches, and in vivo functionality after xeno transplantations into rodents. These data provide strong support for the clinical translation of iPSC-derived midbrain DA neuron cell therapy.

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Penelope Hallett, phallet@mclean.harvard.edu
MRC, 115 Mill street, Belmont MA 02478 www.neuroregeneration.org

 

 

Nuclear medicine imaging instrumentation, Dr. Sabet Lab, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Department of Radiology, MGH

In our imaging instrumentation lab, we focus on developing high-performance and advanced radiation imaging systems by rigorously studying and addressing some of the fundamental limitations and obstacles of today’s imaging systems. One specific research area in our lab is fabrication of new category of radiation detectors using ultra short laser pulses for Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), and Computed Tomography (CT) applications. In this regard, we developed Laser-Induced Optical Barriers (LIOB) technique where a high power pulsed laser is tightly focused inside the bulk of a radiation scintillator crystal, causing a local modification of the crystal structure. The modification is manifested by a change in refractive index (RI) of the material, where the modified region (called Optical Barrier) will have a RI lower than that of the unmodified crystal. Using the LIOB technique we place a pattern of optical barriers to manipulate scintillation light spread inside the radiation detector to achieve high spatial resolution radiation detector and hence improve the medical image quality. We are now able to create novel detector designs tuned for a specific medical imaging application by optimizing the optical barrier pattern. Our ongoing projects include development of brain-dedicated PET detector system, development of prototype sub-mm spatial resolution small animal PET, design optimization of a cardiac-specific SPECT system, development of a scintillator-based photon counting CT detector, fabrication of intra-operative positron+gamma probe for surgical application, and GPU programing and machine learning for performance optimization of detectors processed by the LIOB technique.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week
Requirements: Other than logical thinking and enthusiasm, no other skill is required! Computer programming in MATLAB, LabVIEW, Python, etc is a plus. Students will learn all the necessary skills in the lab.
To apply contact: Dr. Hamid Sabet, hsabet@mgh.harvard.edu
149 13th Street Rm #5222
http://gordon.mgh.harvard.edu/gc/people/faculty/hamid-sabet/

 

 

Repurposing Feraheme Drug for PET/SPECT Imaging , Dr. Yuan Lab, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Heat Induced Radiolabeling (HIR) of Feraheme (FH) nanoparticles (NP) is a chelator free, radiocation surface adsorption (RSA) method using heat (120°C) to bond cations to the iron oxide core of FH NP in less than 3 hours. It repurposes the FH NP from its current uses of iron anemia treatment (FDA approved indication) and MR contrast agent (off-label use) to a radiolabeled PET or SPECT agent. HIR is a three-step but a one-pot process which includes “Loading” of radioations by heating, “Striping” off the loosely bonded cations by a small chelator chelation, and a “Size-exclusion-chromatographic” purification. HIR differs from other RSA methods in its (i) radiocation flexibility by using any of three cations employed in clinical imaging (89Zr4+, 64Cu2+ and 111In3+), (ii) procedural simplicity: bonding radiocations to a NP drug with heat, (iii) leaving the physical and biological properties of FHNP drug unchanged and, (iv) ability to generate multivalency of targeting groups.  When injected, HIR-FH NPs can be internalized by circulating monocytes that traffic to normal lymph nodes and abnormal sites of inflammation. In addition, many bioactive molecules can be attached to the HIR-FH NPs and their bioactivities are well retained for receptor targeting, which grants HIR FHNPs potentials for active targeting drug delivery and cell labeling.  HIR is unique to repurpose FH into a PET/SPECT agent for imaging the monocyte arm of the immune system. Meanwhile, the surface modified HIR-FH NPs provide potential general agents for ex vivo cell labeling, in vivo PET cell tracking, and targeted radiation therapy.

Requirements: Better to have skills of HPLC and LCMS, but optional
To apply contact: Dr. Hushan  Yuan, hyuan@mgh.harvard.edu
149 13th St., Charlestown, MA 02132
http://gordon.mgh.harvard.edu/gc/people/faculty/hushan-yuan/

 

 

Driving with visual impairment, Dr. Bowers Lab, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School

Older drivers are the most rapidly increasing segment of the driving population. Continuing to drive in older age is very important to maintaining independence and a high quality of life. However, the onset of age-related vision or cognitive impairments may compromise driving safety. Currently the regulations regarding driving with impaired vision vary widely across the states and lack scientific basis. People with impaired vision can legally drive in some states but not others.  Research at Bowers Lab focuses on quantifying the effects of different types of vision impairments on driving performance using a high-fidelity driving simulator. Driving performance is evaluated by measuring steering and lane-keeping skills and the detection of hazards in a timely manner. In addition to these measures, head and eye movements are recorded to better understand scanning (i.e. looking) behaviors while driving on highways and approaching intersections in city settings.   We have ongoing studies evaluating the effects of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and hemianopia (the loss of half the field of vision following a stroke or traumatic brain injury) on driving performance. Our goals are to understand more about how each type of vision loss affects driving and how people with vision loss compensate for their impairment.   In another set of studies we are evaluating the effects of different kinds of distraction on timely detection of hazards in the driving simulator and how the effects of distraction differ in younger and older drivers, with and without vision impairment.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience necessary
To apply contact: Dr. Alex Bowers, alex_bowers@meei.harvard.edu
20 Staniford Street Boston, MA 02114
http://www.masseyeandear.org/research/investigators/b/bowers-alexandra-r

 

 

The Kuchroo Lab, Dr. Kuchroo Lab, Brigham & Women's Hospital Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases Harvard Medical School

We are an immunology lab that studies autoimmunity, which refers to an inappropriate immune system attack on the body’s own tissues. It underlies many devastating human diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and colitis. In the Kuchroo lab, we study the contribution of CD4+ T cells to the development of autoimmunity. In particular, we study experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of MS. Using transgenic and knockout mice, we aim to shed light on the genes and molecular pathways that control CD4+ T cell responses in EAE. For example, the lab has identified new cell surface receptors that can lead to the death or exhaustion of autoreactive T cells. Further, we have characterized novel CD4+ T cells called the Th17 cells which induce autoimmune tissue injury.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: no requirements
To apply contact: Dr. Vijay Kuchroo, vkuchroo@evergrande.hms.harvard.edu
60 Fenwood Road, BTM 10022  Boston, MA 02115  
http://kuchroolab.bwh.harvard.edu/

 

 

Hijacking Host Kinases for HIV-1 Phosphorylation, Dr. Yu Lab, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard

As a small virus with restricted genome size, HIV-1 critically depends on host machinery to support its life cycle. Upon infecting CD4+ cells, HIV-1 integrates itself into the host genome and replicates itself, all the while interacting with host cellular components. One such interaction involves protein phosphorylation cascades which is yet to be characterized in the context of HIV-1 proteins. Phosphorylation is known to regulate protein folding, localization, activity, half-life, and interaction with other molecules. Host kinase-mediated phosphorylation thus may regulate mechanisms indispensable to viral replication and virulence. In collaboration with the Broad Institute, we have used highly-sensitive mass spectrometry-based phosphoprotein profiling approaches for proteome-wide mapping of HIV-1 phosphorylated sites in infected CD4+ T cells as well as cell-free virus. We have detected over 30 unique phosphorylated sites on HIV-1, few of which also serve as targets for immune response. This is the first study to comprehensively map global landscape of phosphorylated residues on HIV-1 proteins. We are continuing to characterize the functional impacts of these viral protein modifications such as effects on viral fitness, which in turn could be targeted by pharmacologic or immunologic interventions.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required. Must have curiosity, strong work ethics, and a sense of humor!
To apply contact: Dr. Xu Yu, xyu@mgh.harvard.edu
400 Technology Square 7th Floor Cambridge, MA 02139
http://www.ragoninstitute.org/portfolio-item/yu-lab/

 

BMP signaling in bones and joints, Dr. Rosen Lab, Developmental Biology HSDM

Research in the Rosen Lab focuses on the role of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling in the molecular and cellular processes that build the tissues and organs of the musculoskeletal system. Using the mouse as a model system, some of the questions we are currently examining are:  1. BMP signaling in joint morphogenesis: Both too much and too little BMP signaling lead to joint malformations during embryogenesis, suggesting that BMP signaling must be tightly regulated both spatially and temporally. We are studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in this process.  2. BMP signaling in the regulation of bone shape and strength: The skeleton is made up of 270 bones at birth; these elements display a wide variety of sizes and shapes. BMP signaling is a primary effector of bone width through its actions on progenitor cells located in the periosteum, the outer surface of bones. As the ratio of bone length to bone width determines how strong each individual bone is, we are interested in the process by which growth in bone length is coordinated with growth in bone width to achieve optimal bone strength.  

Requirements: No prior research experience is required. Willingness to work with mice is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Vicki Rosen, Vicki_rosen@hsdm.harvard.edu
REB 510 188 Longwood Avenue Harvard Catalyst

 

Protective role of cGK1 in SMC in mouse stroke mod, Dr. Atochin Lab, Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA

Objective: While the role of cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI) mediating cGMP signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) is clearly known, its role as mediator/inductor of the protective effect of nitric oxide (NO) during stroke has not been completely clarified. We showed previously that cGKI has protective effect in stroke middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model in male mice. The aim of this study was to understand whether SMC cGKI has a protective role in maintaining cerebrovascular reperfusion during stroke injury in stroke MCAO model in female mice. Animals: To test specifically role of cGKI in SMC we use conditional knockout female mice which express CreERT2 recombinase under the control of smooth muscle alpha-actin (cGKI KO) after tamoxifen injection. Littermate female mice (no Cre gene) receiving the same tamoxifen treatment were used as control (cGKI WT) mice.  Methods and Results: We verify the ablation of cGKI protein expression in cerebrovascular SMC of the cGKI KO mice using a specific COOH-terminal cGKI antibody for immunohistochemistry, finding regular expression of the protein in WT mice. We develop the stroke experiments under 30 % oxygen / 70 % nitrous oxide / 1.5 % isoflurane anesthesia, using 30 minutes of MCAO filament model and 47 hours of reperfusion. By TTC brain staining we found that cGKI KO mice show greater cerebral infarct volume (89.2±11.6 mm3, Mean±SD) than cGKI WT (56±21.6) mice (n=6/group, p < 0,01). The neurological deficit (5 point severity scale) was more severe in cGKI KO mice (1.3) than in cGKI WT mice (0.3).  Cerebral laser-Doppler flowmetry was utilized during MCAO to test whether regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) differences correlated with stroke outcome.  Although intraischemic CBF did not differ among groups, the CBF was greater in cGKI WT mice than in cGKI KO mice during the reperfusion (101±13 % and 75±16 % respectively (15-th minute of total reperfusion), n=6/group, p< 0.01). In conclusion, this study discloses the relevance of cGKI as a protective protein regulating CBF during reperfusion and improving stroke outcome in female mice. These results suggest that cGKI and downstream pathways should be targeted in studies designed to protect brain tissue during stroke. 

Requirements: Prior research experience in molecular biology and animal physiology is preferred but not required.
To apply contact: Dr. Dmitriy Atochin, atochin@cvrc.mgh.harvard.edu
149 East, 13th street, 4 floor CVRC, MGH, Charlestown, MA 02129
http://cvrc.massgeneral.org/faculty/dmitriy-atochin-phd/

 

 

Neuropsychiatric Genetics of African Populations P, Dr. Koenen Lab, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Recent advances in psychiatric genetics have identified over 100 genetic loci of associated with schizophrenia that are now being used to inform translational research. However, for historical and practical reasons, large-scale genetic studies to date have primarily used genomes with European ancestry. If this pattern continues, advances in genetics will be limited with the ensuing risk that therapeutic innovations leave out large segments of the global population. The Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are therefore undertaking to expand neuropsychiatric genetics research into Africa with the objective of improving the existing science and addressing issues of equity.  This new initiative, the Neuropsychiatric Genetics in African Populations (NeuroGAP) – Psychosis Study, aims to collect DNA and phenotypic data from more than 35,000 cases (subjects with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and controls from four countries in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda over the next four years.

To apply contact: Dr. Karestan Koenen, kkoenen@hsph.harvard.edu
677 Huntington Avenue, Kresge 505, Boston, MA 02115

 

 

New tech to study microbial & microbiome activity, Dr. Girguis Lab, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Microbes are, unquestionably, the most critical members of our biosphere. They exist in every habitat, including our own bodies, playing a crucial role in mediating chemical composition and governing biogeochemcial cycles on land and in the ocean.  Notably, the last two decades have been a watershed for environmental microbiology, as major advances in gene sequencing have fundamentally changed our notions of microbial diversity, evolution, and physiological potential. However, our understanding of what microbes are doing—namely their metabolic activity and the degree to which they influence planetary biogeochemical cycles—remains in its infancy. One of the primary obstacles to furthering our understanding of microbial activity in situ is the limited number of systems available to collect co-registered geochemical and microbial data and samples.   The Girguis lab at Harvard focuses on studying microbial activity, from free-living microbes living in the deep sea to the gut microbiomes of the great whales. To that end we develop new technologies to study the metabolic activity of microbes. From underwater mass spectrometers and tunable laser diode isotope analyzers, to osmotic pumps that may soon be able to sample the chemical composition of your gut, our lab bridges the divides that often exist between science and engineering. We also starting to work closely with material scientists and bioengineers to develop new materials for use in harnessing electrical currents from microbial communities, and to develop new technologies for studying microbes in situ (within the human gut).  Currently, we are looking for engineers and engineering-minded biologists and biochemists who are interested in being a part of these efforts. We are a hard-working and fun-loving team. The students who fare best in the lab are self-motivated, open to new ideas, and willing to engage with scholars around the university and elsewhere to move the projects forward. There are also opportunities to do field work if desired, including going to sea. Undergraduate students from our lab have gone to to pursue graduate studies (e.g. Caltech, UC Berkeley, Brown University) and medical school (UC San Francisco, Univ. of Pennsylvania).

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: The ideal candidate will be a student in mechanical or electrical engineering, computer science, or Integrative Biology. Additional experience with hardware or software, e.g. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Solidworks, welding, machining, 3D printing). Most importantly, the person must be self-motivated and collaborative.
To apply contact: Dr. Peter  Girguis, pgirguis@oeb.harvard.edu
16 Divinity Avenue, room 3085, Cambridge MA 02138 https://girguislab.oeb.harvard.edu/

 

Early ART reduces latent HIV reservoir in infants, Dr. Lichterfeld Lab, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard

Background: Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) can effectively suppress HIV-1 replication and improve patient outcomes, treatment discontinuation typically results in viremic rebound due to the presence of latently-infected CD4 T cells. However, early treatment during acute infection appears to limit the establishment of this viral reservoir, possibly allowing for long-term remission. The Early Infant Treatment Study in Botswana provides a unique opportunity to examine whether immediate initiation of ART can significantly decrease proviral reservoirs in HIV-1-infected infants, which may advance the search for a functional HIV-1 cure.  Methods: Serial PBMC samples were collected from five infants with neonatal HIV-1 infection who started ART within 72 hours (n=4) or 31 days (n=1) after birth, and were followed for 84-96 weeks (w). Genomic DNA was subjected to near full-length amplification of single-genome HIV-1 templates. Resulting products were sequenced with Illumina MiSeq.   Results: Intact full-genome proviral sequences represented an average of 41% of all detected sequences at baseline, compared to 21% of detected sequences after 84/96w of ART. This corresponded to an average frequency of 76 and 3 intact sequences per million PBMCs at baseline and after 84/96w of treatment, respectively, and is consistent with a half-life of 18 weeks for intact proviral sequences during the first two years of life.   Conclusion: ART initiated very early during neonatal HIV-1 infection leads to a profound decline of intact proviral sequences in infected infants, particularly after 84/96w of treatment. Monitoring of eligible patients during future analytic treatment interruption may indicate whether long-term remission is possible.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week
Requirements: Some prior lab experience recommended (e.g., pipetting, sterile technique)
To apply contact: Dr. Mathias Lichterfeld, MLICHTERFELD@mgh.harvard.edu
400 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139
http://www.ragoninstitute.org/portfolio-item/lichterfeld/

 

 

Host Factors Contribute to Gut Pathogen Virulence, Dr. Faherty Lab, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Bacterial pathogens are responsible for millions of infections worldwide, with over half a million deaths annually in children under the age of five because of diarrheal disease.  Incredibly, Shigella and related enteric pathogens are vaccine-resistant bacteria whose only treatment option are antibiotics. As rates of antibiotic resistance continue to climb these pathogens become more formidable underscoring the importance of studying Shigella and related enterics.  In the Christina Faherty lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, we study gut pathogens; taking cues from human physiology to decipher specifics of some of the most challenging bacteria, Shigella.    Research in the Faherty lab is centered around Shigella transit through the gastrointestinal tract; specifically, how exposure to different digestive compounds promotes Shigella virulence, immune evasion, survival and ultimately, their pathogenic paradigm.  We currently have several ongoing projects: • Illustrating and identifying the function of bile-induced Shigella genes (a large number are unannotated or hypothetical genes!) • Identifying how Shigella binds host proteins to facilitate invasion.  • Tracing genetic changes in clinical isolates from collaborators in endemic areas. • Exploring alternative therapeutics to overcome antibiotic resistance while reducing infectious burden.  We are redefining the principles of Shigella pathogenesis using models that incorporate host physiology combined with donor derived cells while simultaneously training the next generation of scientists.  Come experience modern microbiology in an environment utilizing cutting edge techniques filled with enthusiastic researchers.  We’d love to meet you!

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience required
To apply contact: Dr. Christina Faherty, csfaherty@partners.org
114 16th Street Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown MA
http://www.massgeneral.org/mucosal-immunology/research/researchlab.aspx?...

 

 

Hippocampal Oxytocin Modulates Social Memory, Dr. Sahay Lab, Neurobiology, Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School

The trisynaptic hippocampal pathway DG-CA2/3-CA1 plays a critical role in processing contextual information by encoding distinct representations in non-overlapping ensembles of neurons, a process known as pattern separation. Recent studies suggest a role for the dorsal CA2/3 subregion in processing social memories, raising the question of how the same hippocampal sub-regions process social information. Based on the enrichment of receptors for the social hormone oxytocin (Oxtrs) in the DG-CA2/3 axis, but not CA1, and the critical role oxytocin plays in social memory, we hypothesized that Oxtrs in dorsal DG-CA2/3 are essential for social memory processing. Here we employ pharmacological and genetic tools to demonstrate the necessity of Oxtrs in dDG and dCA2/3 for social memory, but not object memory. Further, we utilized ensemble mapping techniques to demonstrate that Oxtrs are necessary for population-based encoding of social stimuli in CA3. Optogenetic terminal-specific silencing revealed roles for distinct dCA2/3 outputs to downstream limbic regions in discrimination of objects and social stimuli. Together, these studies begin to elucidate how an evolutionarily conserved neuromodulatory hormone, oxytocin, utilizes a basic memory processing circuit in the hippocampus to modulate social behavior.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Prior research experience is key.
To apply contact: Dr. Amar Sahay, sahay.amar@mgh.harvard.edu
185 Cambridge Street CPZN-Room 4400 Boston, MA 02114 sahaylab.com

 

 

A Neural Network Basis of Brain Injury in Women , Dr. Valera Lab, Department of Psychiatry, MGH/HST Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH/Harvard Medical School

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in women experiencing intimate-partner violence (IPV) is common, and IPV afflicts 30 % of women worldwide. However, the neurobiology and related sequelae of these TBIs have never been systematically examined. Consequently, TBI treatments are typically absent and IPV interventions are inadequate. There has been a call for a comprehensive assessment of IPV-related TBIs and their relationship to aspects of women’s cognitive and neural functioning. In response, we examined brain-network organization associated with TBI and its cognitive effects using clinical interviews and neuropsychological measures as well as structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in women experiencing IPV-related TBI. We hypothesized that TBI severity would be related to poorer cognitive performance and be associated with structural and functional connectivity between cognitive networks previously implicated in other TBI populations. Severity of TBI was negatively associated with inter-network intrinsic functional connectivity indicative of TBI, between the right anterior insula and posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus (family-wise error-corrected Z > 2.3, cluster- based p < 0.05). This association remained significant when controlling for partner-abuse severity, age, head motion, childhood trauma and psychopathology. Additionally, intrinsic functional connectivity between the same regions correlated positively with cognitive performance on indices of memory and learning. These data provide the first mechanistic evidence of TBI and its association with cognitive functioning in women sustaining IPV-related TBI. These data underscore the need to address and consider the role TBI may be playing in the efficacy of IPV interventions ranging from emergency first responder interactions to specific treatment plans.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required
To apply contact: Dr. Dr. Eve Valera, eve_valera@hms.harvard.edu
MGH at the Navy Yard 149 13th St.  Charlestown, MA 02129
https://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/lab/valera/eve-valera-phd

 

 

ER stress response and calcium homeostasis is alte, Dr. Isacson Lab, Neuroregeneration Research Institute, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital

The Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase (LRRK2) G2019S gain of function gene mutation is one of the most prevalent mutations contributing to Parkinson’s disease (PD) pathogenesis. The increased kinase activity alters mitochondrial health, axon outgrowth, intracellular trafficking and autophagy. We have previously shown that human LRRK2 G2019S iPS-derived neurons exhibit increased vulnerability to PD-associated cell stressors and modify mitochondrial dynamics, which can be rescued by LRRK2 inhibitors (Cooper et al., 2012, Sci Transl Med. 2012, 4;4(141):141ra90.). Human iPS-derived neurons carrying the LRRK2 G2019S mutation and challenged with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium (Ca2+) uptake blocker thapsigargin (THP) show a significant decrease in their ER stress responses accompanied by neurite collapse, when compared to neurons derived from healthy subject controls. As THP blocks ER Ca2+ influx via sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ -ATPase (SERCA) and induces ER stress, this result indicates that iPS neurons carrying the LRRK2 G2019S mutation have an altered capacity to regulate Ca2+ homeostasis. Indeed, we further discovered that after THP-induced SERCA block, human iPS-derived neurons carrying the LRRK2 G2019S mutation exhibit an increase in depolarization-induced calcium influx and modified calcium decay (interpreted as buffering capacity), when compared to healthy subject control neurons. This phenotype is diminished by treatment with antisense oligonucleotides targeting the LRRK2 G2019S mutation. These data suggest that the LRRK2 G2019S mutation alters intracellular calcium homeostasis and ER stress response, potentially contributing to the PD-specific neuronal dysfunction.

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Ole Isacson, ole_isacson@hms.harvard.edu
 MRC, 115 Mill street, Belmont MA 02478
 www.neuroregeneration.org

 

 

Chi sites may reduce errors in DNA repair, Dr. Prentiss Lab, Harvard University Department of Physics

Eukaryotes are known to use complex strategies to avoid dangerous genome rearrangements resulting from double strand break (DSB) repairs that mistakenly join different copies of long repeated sequences; however, bacterial strategies have remained mysterious. In bacteria, double strand breaks repaired by the RecBCD pathway probe the sequence of double strand DNA using two ssDNA-RecA filaments with Chi site sequences on their 3′ ends. Commitment to strand exchange depends on subsequent DNA synthesis by polymerases. Our work show that though bacteria contain > 5000 long repeated sequences, almost all RecA-mediated repairs can create correct products. Here we demonstrate that a combination of the dependence of DNA synthesis on the heteroduplex product at the 3′ end of a RecA filament and the sequence distributions near Chi sites can reject most incorrect DSB repair attempts. Our experimental results show that DNA synthesis is rare unless the filaments contain sequence matched heteroduplex products longer than ~20 bp. In addition, we show that the sequences adjacent to Chi sites imply that RecBCD rarely creates initiating ssDNA with long repeats at the 3′ ends and never forms a pair of initiating ssDNA from the same long repeat. Understanding the mechanisms for rejecting major rearrangements in bacterial genomes may provide better predictions of rearrangements that succeed despite this strategy, as well as new techniques for combatting bacterial infections. Finally, since insertion of two Chi sites enhances gene targeting, the additional information on the influence of mismatches in sequences adjacent to Chi sites may increase targeting efficiency.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience required
To apply contact: Dr. Mara Prentiss, prentiss@fas.harvard.edu
Lyman 222 17 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA 02138
prentiss.physics.harvard.edu

 

 

Study of immune surveillance of stem cells, Dr. Agudo Lab, Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology, Dana-Faber Cancer Institute

In order to interrogate how T cells interact with any given cell type or tissue, we recently generated the first and only green florescent protein (GFP)-specific T cell mouse called the Jedi mouse. Jedi T cells specifically recognize the immunodominant epitope of GFP presented on MHC class I, and thereby turn GFP into a model antigen. Thus, Jedi T cells can be used in combination with any of the hundreds of GFP-expressing mice or cell lines. We have used Jedi cells to dissect how T cells interact with several stem cells in their niche in vivo. There is a long-standing interest in understanding the immunogenicity of stem cells because of their role in tissue homeostasis. By transferring Jedi cells into several stem cell GFP-reporter mice, we have discovered that stem cells in the intestine, ovary and mammary gland are not protected from cellular immunity while quiescent skin and muscle stem cells are spared. Similarly, it has been shown that quiescent hematopoietic stem cells are also protected by regulatory T cells. The fact that quiescent stem cells can escape from immune attack might be the result of the necessity to avoid their clearance to ensure tissue integrity. This can help explain why mutations in long-lived stem cells would not lead to immune editing, and suggests how cancer-initiating cells may evade immune surveillance. Tissue stem cells can serve as the cancer-initiating cells of some tumors, such as in the intestine or mammary gland, and so their permissiveness to immune surveillance is relevant to preventing malignancy. Established tumors use a number of mechanisms to prevent their clearance by the immune system such as expression of PD-L1, but the events occurring at the earliest stages of tumor growth that allow them to escape are not known. Our findings suggest that cancer initiating cells might start out as immune privileged because they are quiescent stem cells. The Agudo lab‘s goal is to dissect how T cells interact with cancer initiating cells and rare disseminated tumor cells and uncover mechanisms of immune evasion in order to prevent metastasis.

Requirements: no previous lab experience is required, only curiosity and love for science!
To apply contact: Dr. Judith Agudo, judith_agudo@dfci.harvard.edu
450 Brookline Ave, Smith building, room 708

 

 

Nitric oxide limits intestinal stem cell expansion, Dr. Rask-Madsen Lab, Joslin Diabetes Center

During the last 30 years, obesity rates have doubled for adults and tripled for children in the United States.  Obesity increases the risk of several types of cancer, including colorectal cancer.  While there is a large body of literature describing how the metabolic and hormonal milieu in obesity may affect tumor progression there is very little data on whether metabolic disease affects intestinal tumor initiation. We have recently published that genetically determined insulin resistance in vascular endothelial cells promotes intestinal tumor formation in mice.  In many cases, tumor initiation takes place after an oncogenic mutation in intestinal stem cells.  Since insulin regulates endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) production, we examined whether NO could suppress intestinal stem cell maintenance.  In 3-dimensional culture of intestinal stem cells (organoids), the NO donors and the NO second messenger cGMP both deeply suppressed intestinal stem cell markers.  Furthermore, treatment of mice with L-NAME, an inhibitor of NO synthase, increased the population of intestinal stem cells.  We therefore hypothesize that endothelium-derived NO limit the intestinal stem cell population.  We further hypothesize that endothelial dysfunction in obesity, characterized by impaired NO production, leads to expansion of the intestinal stem cell population, thereby increasing the risk for tumor initiation.  The student project, using organoid culture and mice with genetic reporter fluorescence in intestinal stem cells, will aim to further describe how endothelium-derived NO may regulate intestinal stem cells.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Knowledge of very basic lab techniques is required; experience with cell culture is preferred.
To apply contact: Dr. Christian Rask-Madsen, christian.rask-madsen@joslin.harvard.edu
One Joslin Place, Rm 430 Boston, MA 02215
https://joslinresearch.org/investigators/Christian-Rask-Madsen

 

 

What Time Is It? Timing for Analog Seismograms, Dr. Ishii Lab, Ishii Group, Department of Earth And Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

With modern-day instruments and seismic networks timed by GPS systems, time synchronization of data streams is all but a forgone conclusion. However, during the analog era, when each station had its own clock, comparing data timing from different stations was a far more daunting prospect. Today, with recently developed methods by which analog data can be digitized, all that separates us from opening up decades worth of data is having the ability to accurately reconcile the timings of two separate stations. One among many possible and exciting applications of these digitized and timed data would be investigating changing subsurface structural features (on a volcano for example) over a much longer timescale than was previously possible. With this in mind, we introduce a new approach to time synchronization between stations based on distant earthquakes. The first arrivals of waves are identified at stations for pairs of earthquakes, one from the modern digital era and one from the analog era. These pairs are doublets that have nearly identical locations, and depths. Assuming accurate timing of the modern data, relative time corrections between a pair of stations can then be inferred for the analog data. This method for time correction depends upon the analog stations having modern equivalents, and both having sufficiently long durations of operation to allow for recording of usable teleseismic events. As a result of these requirements, this method has been developed largely with records from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) network, which not only has a large and well-preserved collection of analog seismograms, but also has a long operating history (1912 – present) with many of the older stations having modern equivalents. The scope of this project is to calculate and apply relative time corrections to analog data from two seismic stations on the HVO network (HILB (1919 – present) and UWE (1928 – present)). Further development of this method should involve investigation of the effects of relative clock-drift, that is, the determining factor for how long a time correction is valid for, and possible ways to account for it.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: It is preferable for students to have some computer programming background, and the patience to work through large and complex data sets.
To apply contact: Dr. Miaki Ishii, ishii@eps.harvard.edu
20 Oxford St. Cambridge, MA 02138
http://www.seismology.harvard.edu/index.html

 

 

Immune Tolerance of Mouse Renal Allografts, Dr. Alessandrini Lab, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

The kidney is pro-tolerogenic by mechanisms as yet unknown. In mice, tolerance of kidney allografts can occur spontaneously in certain strain combinations, such as DBA/2 to C57/BL6. We have previously identified novel lymphoid structures in all accepted kidney grafts that may be important in tolerance induction and named them Treg-rich lymphoid structures (TOLS). Depletion of Tregs results in the dissolution of these structures, resulting in renal allograft rejection. Nevertheless, few studies focused on the lymphoid neogenesis in allografts after organ transplant, and their role in graft tolerance or rejection is not fully understood. Here we further investigated the lymphoid characteristics and the functional properties of TOLS, and the time-course and mechanism of TOLS formation. We show that TOLS are composed of various immune cell types and as these structures form, expression of podoplanin, a protein that is a marker for lymphatics, increases within the TOLS, suggesting that these structures are developing lymphatic-like characteristics. Renal grafts showed massive peri-arterial infiltrates at week 1 and by week 6 form into TOLS. We further show that TOLS formation is dependent on the chemokine receptor, CCR7.  Renal allografts in a CCR7 KO recipient exhibit much smaller TOLS with increased fibrosis and pathological evidence of rejection. Nanostring RNA analysis shows that CCR7 and its ligand, CCL19, are highly expressed in accepted kidney allografts when compared to rejecting and native kidneys.   We conclude that TOLS are characteristic of renal allograft acceptance and their formation is dependent on the CCR7/CCL19 pathway.

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Alessandro Alessandrini, aalessandrini@partners.org
55 Fruit Street, Thier 8 Boston, MA 02114
http://www.massgeneral.org/research/researchlab.aspx?id=1624&display=pro...

 

 

Seizures in critically ill neonates and children, Dr. Sansevere Lab, Neurology  Division of Epilepsy  Boston Children's Hospital

Purpose: To describe the main clinical and electroencephalographic (EEG) characteristics of neonates and children who underwent continuous EEG (cEEG) monitoring in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) while requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Methods: Retrospective study of  patients <1 month to 21 years with a cEEG  in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit(ICU) while requiring ECMO  at Boston Children’s Hospital from October 2010 to September 2016.  Key findings: 401 (219 children and 182 neonates) were reviewed. Of those, 179 (100 children and 79 neonates) had an EEG while on ECMO. The most common reason for ECMO was cardiac arrest due to a congenital heart defect (119/401) and respiratory distress/pulmonary hypertension (105/401). Indication for EEG monitoring included detection of subclinical seizures (176/179) and to characterize of events (25/179). The percentage of patients on ECMO with cEEG increased from 31% (16/51) in 2011 to 65% (47/72) in 2016. Seizures were detected in 17.9% of patients who had an EEG while on ECMO (32/179). Of those, 19 were neonates and 13 were children. About half of the seizures observed were electrographic only in nature (15/32).  Significance: This study adds to the current literature showing that patients on ECMO are at high risk for subclinical seizures. Additional study is needed to further characterize this group with regards to the effect of high seizure burden on overall outcome on mortality.  

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Role primarily includes medical record abstraction  Includes screening for the appropriate targeted patients  Provides the experience of building a database and assisting with data entry using the RedCap database  No prior research experience required Experience with REDCap is a plus
To apply contact: Dr. Arnold  Sansevere, Arnold.Sansevere@childrens.harvard.edu

 

 

GINGER, Dr. Chibnik Lab, Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; the Stanley Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

The Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research is a research education program that aims to boost global capacity to conduct neuropsychiatric genetics research. To achieve this goal, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have teamed up with multiple African institutions to create a global neuropsychiatric genetics training program, which launched in July 2017.  With backing from their home institutions, 17 Research Fellows from East and South Africa have been enrolled to take part in the inaugural two-year GINGER program. The GINGER program includes three main components, specifically:  (1) Workshops: A series of neuropsychiatric epidemiology and genetics workshops focusing on epidemiology, genetics, writing, mentoring and building a research program;  (2) Virtual Coursework: Weekly virtual training and mentoring sessions to follow the progress of projects and learn from renowned researchers in the field of neuropsychiatric epidemiology and genetics;  (3) Onsite Training: Onsite skills based training to be taught at each collaborative institution, open to a larger audience, including graduate students, fellows, research assistants and project managers.  The GINGER Program offers semester and summer long internships to give interested Harvard University undergraduates the opportunity to gain experience in education program development and management, scientific curriculum development and impact evaluation and monitoring. Examples of potential projects and hands-on learning activities include:   • Program Evaluation and Impact: Work with GINGER team to develop program evaluation impact and evaluation methods including key          performance indicators; evaluation methods will be used to determine program impact and effectiveness and track this impact over time.          • Curriculum Development: Learn scientific research curriculum development processes by supporting curriculum design for international research          training workshops; gain exposure to scientific research methods through joining and supporting virtual classroom and/or workshop activities.  The GINGER Program offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about program development, program impact evaluation and monitoring, and to gain international work experience. Students will engage with GINGER stakeholders located in East and South Africa as well as the United Kingdom.     

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research or teaching experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Lori Chibnik, lchibnik@hsph.harvard.edu
677 Huntington Avenue Boston MA 02115
https://ginger.sph.harvard.edu/

 

 

Organ-specific contrast agents for diagnosis, Dr. Choi Lab, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Our research focuses on the development of novel tissue- and organ-specific contrast agents for diagnosis, staging, and treatment of human diseases. Tumor-targeted fluorophores are of particular interest, which can be used for image-guided surgery by specifically visualizing target tissue with high optical properties and avoiding nonspecific uptake in normal background tissues. During the past decade, we have been systematically probing the relationship among the hydrodynamic diameter, shape, charge, and hydrophobicity of nanoparticles and small molecule contrast agents on in vivo biodistribution and clearance (Nature Biotech. 2007, Angew Chem Int Ed. 2011, Adv Mater. 2016).  Using invisible near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence and 3D molecular modeling, we have defined the relationship among the key independent variables that dictate biodistribution and tissue-specific targeting such as lung and sentinel lymph nodes (Nature Biotech. 2010), human prostate cancers (Nature Nanotech. 2010), and human melanomas (Nature Biotech. 2013). Another project we have been working on is the targeting of endocrine glands and their tumors. We have currently achieved specific targeting on the thyroid/parathyroid glands (Nature Medicine, 2015), pancreas (Theranostics, 2014), thymus, pituitary gland (anterior/posterior separately), and adrenal glands (manuscripts in preparation/review). We have also developed other tissue-specific targeted fluorophores for lymph nodes (Theranostics, 2014), bone and cartilage (Angew Chem Int Ed. 2014), kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen, salivary glands, brown fat, seminal vesicle, and prostate (manuscripts in preparation). Regenerative medicine with tissue-engineered scaffolds is another area of interest, and we have developed biodegradable NIR scaffolds and cellular trafficking systems for longitudinal monitoring of tissue regeneration (Sci Rep. 2013 and Biomed Mater. 2013). Using dual-channel intraoperative imaging systems, we are currently trying to target cancerous tissue/vasculature/nerve (tumors), cardiovascular diseases, and bone/cartilage/inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis) simultaneously with different colors, which lay the foundation for clinical translation to image-guided surgery.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience is required.
To apply contact: Dr. Hak Soo Choi, hchoi12@mgh.harvard.edu
149 13th Street, Rm 5222, Charlestown, MA 02129
gordon.mgh.harvard.edu

 

 

Enzymatic Release of Therapeutic Peptides from Eng, Dr. Joshi Lab, The Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering,  Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)

Curli fibers are the major proteinaceous component of E. coli biofilms. They are composed of repeating CsgA monomers, which are secreted from the cells and self-assemble into robust fibers. Utilizing this biofilm component, the Joshi Lab has developed the BIND platform (biofilm-integrated nanofiber display). By genetically engineering the curli operon, we have been able to append various protein domains to CsgA, combining their function with the inherent structure, robustness and self-assembly properties of curli fibers.   One potential avenue for applying the BIND platform lies in the emerging field of engineered probiotics. By implementing this approach in E. coli Nissle 1917 – a probiotic strain of E. coli – we can create engineered fibers with bioactive domains that confer therapeutic effects in the human gut. Our lab is currently pursuing this approach, fusing CsgA to proteins such as anti-inflammatory cytokines and trefoil factors (TFF) – a family of proteins that have been shown to promote epithelial restitution. Biofilm-based display is a novel approach to drug delivery. However, its potential can be further enhanced by inducing the release of the therapeutic molecule from the biofilm matrix in a controllable manner. This would introduce an additional controllable element to the system, and could increase the local dose of the therapeutic molecule in response to specific physiological stimuli. The focus of this project is to design and incorporate a cleavable linker into the BIND platform and assess its specificity and its effect on the concentration of the released peptide.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience required
To apply contact: Dr. Neel Joshi, njoshi@seas.harvard.edu
The Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering,  Center for Life Sciences (CLS), Room 203 3 Blackfan Cir, Boston, MA 02115 http://joshi.hms.harvard.edu/

 

 

Biology of Hematopoiesis and Cancer, Dr. Zon Lab, Stem Cell Program and Division of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology

The Zon laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer in zebrafish and mouse systems, as well as human cell lines. We have collected well over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. Recently, we identified several chromatin factors with essential roles at various stages of hematopoiesis. We have developed suppressor screening genetic methods and found that transcriptional elongation regulates blood cell fate. We also have performed chemical genetic screens to identify components implicated in blood development and have found that prostaglandins increase the number of blood stem cells. This has led to a clinical trial to improve engraftment for patients receiving cord blood transplants; phase I trials were just successfully completed.  The laboratory has also developed zebrafish models of cancer. Using transgenics, we have generated a melanoma model in the zebrafish system. Transgenic fish get nevi, and when combined with a p53 mutant fish develop melanomas. We recently found a histone methyltransferase that can accelerate melanoma, and discovered a small molecule that blocks transcription elongation and suppresses melanoma growth.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: Prior lab experience is recommended but not required.
To apply contact: Dr. Leonard Zon, zon@enders.tch.harvard.edu
Sherman Fairchild Biochemistry Building Ground Floor 7 Divinity Ave Cambridge, MA 02138

https://zon.tchlab.org

 

 

Motion sickness and dizziness in migraine disorder, Dr. Lewis Lab, Departments of Otolaryngology & Neurology, Harvard Medical School Jenk's Vestibular Physiology Lab, MEEI

People with migraine are more sensitive to motion as a car passenger (e.g. motion sickness) and many also experience episodic dizziness (vestibular migraine, VM). No clear mechanism has been described that explains why migraineurs develop these vestibular symptoms. Thus, we studied VM patients and control groups (normal subjects, patients with migraine but no dizziness, and patients with dizziness but no migraine) using psychophysical (perceptual thresholds) and eye movement tests during motions that simultaneously activated the semicircular canals (angular velocity sensors) and otolith organs (gravity and linear acceleration sensors).  We hypothesize that the brain's integration of these vestibular cues is abnormal in vestibular migraine patients.

Requirements: Understanding of excel and simple statistical methods.  Familiarity with matlab is desired but not required.To apply contact: Dr. Richard Lewis, richard_lewis@meei.harvard.edu
243 Charles St., Boston, MA Room 913, Jenk's Vestibular Lab, MEEI

 

 

An evolutionarily conserved role of Presenilin, Dr. Shen Lab, Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Title; An evolutionarily conserved role of Presenilin in neuronal protection in Drosophila brain Abstract; Mutations in the Presenilin genes are the major genetic cause of Alzheimer's disease. Presenilin and Nicastrin are essential components of g-secretase, a multi-subunit protease that cleaves Type I transmembrane proteins. Genetic studies in mice previously demonstrated that conditional inactivation of Presenilin or Nicastrin in excitatory neurons of the postnatal forebrain results in memory deficits, synaptic impairment and age-dependent neurodegeneration. The roles of Drosophila Presenilin (Psn) and Nicastrin (Nct) in the adult fly brain, however, are unknown. To knockdown (KD) Psn or Nct selectively in neurons of the adult brain, we generated multiple shRNA lines. Using a ubiquitous driver, these shRNA lines resulted in 80-90% reduction of mRNA and pupal lethality, a phenotype that is shared with Psn and Nct mutants carrying nonsense mutations. Furthermore, expression of these shRNAs in the wing disc caused notching wing phenotypes, which are also shared with Psn and Nct mutants. Similar to Nct, neuron-specific Psn KD using two independent shRNA lines led to early mortality and rough eye phenotypes, which were rescued by a fly Psn transgene. Interestingly, conditional KD (cKD) of Psn or Nct in adult neurons using the elav-Gal4 and tubulin-Gal80ts system caused shortened lifespan, climbing defects, increases in apoptosis and age-dependent neurodegeneration. Together, these findings demonstrate that similar to their mammalian counterparts, Drosophila Psn and Nct are required for neuronal survival during aging and normal lifespan, highlighting an evolutionarily conserved role of Presenilin in neuronal protection in the aging brain.

Requirements: Experience in the research lab, especially in fruit fly, would be recommended, but no prior research experience is also welcome.

To apply contact: Dr. Jie Shen, jshen@bwh.harvard.edu
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, NRB Rm 636C, Boston, MA 02115
http://www.shenlab.net/HOME.html

 

 

Plasmodium falciparum protein export, Dr. Duraisingh Lab, Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Immunolgy and Infectious Disease

Malaria causes about 500,000 deaths yearly. Plasmodium falciparum accounts for the majority of severe malaria cases, drives morbidity and mortality, and consequently has exerted a strong selection pressure on the human genome. Identification of host factors important for P. falciparum growth within the red blood cell (RBC) is important for developing therapies that are less prone to resistance as opposed to drugs targeting the parasite. P. falciparum exports some of its proteins to the surface of the erythrocyte, including important virulence factors such as P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1). PfEMP1 allows infected RBCs to bind to the endothelial microvasculature and avoid spleen clearance, contributing to disease severity in malaria. Human heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) has been associated with P. falciparum protein export, however direct genetic evidence is missing since mature RBCs lack a nucleus.  Our overall goal is to identify critical host determinants for PfEMP1 export using forward and reverse genetic tools. We will use erythroid progenitor cell lines that still have a nucleus to perform genetic perturbation screens (lentivirus-based CRISPR/Cas9 forward screens) with the goal of identifying RBC proteins important for PfEMP1 export. The hits identified by the screen will be validated and characterized on their specific role in protein trafficking. We will also interrogate the specific role of host HSP70 in P. falciparum protein export using reverse genetics in erythroid progenitor cells. The findings from this work will elucidate the specific host-pathogen interactions that are pathogenic in malaria and highlight them as novel therapeutic targets.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week
Requirements: No prior research experience required. Only enthusiasm to learn.
To apply contact: Dr. Manoj  Duraisingh, mduraisi@hsph.harvard.edu
651 Huntington Avenue, FXB 203
https://sites.sph.harvard.edu/duraisingh-lab/

 

 

Nanobody–antigen conjugates elicit HPV-specific an, Dr. Ploegh Lab, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital

High-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV)-associated cancers express viral oncoproteins (e.g. E6 and E7) that induce and maintain malignant phenotypes. The viral origin of these proteins makes them attractive targets for therapeutic vaccine development. Camelid-derived single-domain antibody fragments (nanobodies or VHHs) that recognize cell surface proteins on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) can serve as targeted delivery vehicles for antigens attached to them. Indeed, antigen site-specifically conjugated via a C-terminal sortase motif on the VHH can induce a CD8+ T cell response. Here we investigated the ability of an anti-CD11b VHH (VHHCD11b) to target APCs and serve as the basis for a therapeutic vaccine against HPV+ tumors. Mice immunized with VHHCD11b conjugated to an MHC I immunodominant E7 epitope (E749-57) had more E7-specific CD8+ T cells compared to those immunized with E749-57 peptide alone. These CD8+ T cells conferred prophylactic protection against a subsequent challenge with HPV E7-expressing tumor cells. In a therapeutic setting, VHHCD11b-E749-57 vaccination resulted in greater numbers of CD8+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes compared to mice receiving E749-57 peptide alone in HPV+ tumor-bearing mice as measured by in vivo non-invasive VHH-based immuno-positron emission tomography (immunoPET), which correlated with tumor regression and survival outcome. Together, these results demonstrate that VHHs have promise as a therapeutic cancer vaccine platform.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement
Requirements: No prior research experience required.
To apply contact: Dr. Hidde Ploegh, hidde.ploegh@childrens.harvard.edu
1 Blackfan Circle, RB 06215, Boston, MA 02115
http://www.childrenshospital.org/research-and-innovation/research/progra...

 

 

Migration in the Mediterranean, Dr. Tuross Lab, Human Evolutionary Biology, FAS, Harvard University

Through the use of light stable isotopes we are studying the movement of peoples through the Mediterranean in antiquity.  From Spain to Turkey, with a major focus in Sardinia, we are studying the flow of people across diverse environments, water regimes and diets.  The work involves the preparation of bone and tooth protein for mass spectrometry; data analysis and graphic display development.  We are a small, friendly lab and we like to travel.

Requirements: No prior research experience is  necessary, but if you have training then you can move into a higher level of complexity in the project.
To apply contact: Dr. Noreen Tuross, tuross@fas.harvard.edu
11 Divinity Ave, Cambridge MA 02138

 

 

Screening for OspB Protein Targets, Dr. Goldberg Lab, Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Shigella species infect colonic epithelial cells and cause dysentery, resulting in 80 to 165 million cases of disease and 600,000 deaths annually worldwide. In addition to a lack of vaccines for Shigella, the extremely high rates of antibiotic resistance among Shigella isolates makes it especially difficult to treat. Consequently, there is a need to understand how Shigella target host cell signaling pathways to develop an environment conducive to their survival and replication. OspB, an effector protein delivered by Shigella into epithelial cells, alters the mTOR signaling pathway, a mammalian cell pathway that promotes cell growth and proliferation. Preliminary data suggest that OspB is a protease, but little is known about the mechanisms of OspB function and or its proteolytic substrate(s). We found that when we express OspB in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, yeast growth is suppressed in the presence of rapamycin or caffeine, chemicals that activate yeast TOR. To identify a proteolytic substrate(s) or cellular pathway targeted by OspB, we conducted a screen in which we looked for yeast proteins that might be degraded as a result of OspB function. Our approach was to identify yeast genes that, when overexpressed, rescue the sensitivity of yeast cells expressing OspB to caffeine. The initial screen of the overexpression library identified several suppressors of OspB-induced caffeine sensitivity and is a promising approach to understanding the mechanisms of OspB function.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Marcia Goldberg , marcia.goldberg@mgh.harvard.edu

65 Landsdowne Street Cambridge, MA 02139

http://www.massgeneral.org/medicine/research/researchlab.aspx?id=1714

 

 

Molecular underpinnings of Parkinson's Disease, Dr. KHURANA Lab, Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases Department of Neurology Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School   Principal Faculty Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), are common and devastating neurodegenerative diseases affecting millions in the United States alone. They present severe challenges to patients and caregivers, and place a growing burden on our public health system. There is currently not a single strategy to prevent, slow or reverse these diseases. Considerable attention has been given to directing therapies at aggregation of alpha-synuclein (α-syn), a small 14-kDa protein associated with phospholipids
in membranes and synaptic vesicles in the presynaptic terminals of neurons.  Our lab is focused on understanding molecular underpinnings of α-synuclein mediated neurotoxicity. Over the course of several years, we have generated invaluable models of PD, from unicellular yeast all the way to patient derived induced pluripotent cells (iPCs) that can be differentiated into neurons. We have created proteome-scale maps from the genetic and physical interactors of α-synuclein. We are currently undertaking challenging CRISPR screens of mammalian PD models to expand our knowledge not only to understand the cellular functions of α-synuclein but also to understand how disturbed protein networks around it contribute to PD.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required however basic molecular biology is a plus. The students are expected to be highly motivated and willing to show enthusiasm to learn new techniques.

To apply contact: Dr. VIKRAM KHURANA, VKHURANA@BWH.HARVARD.EDU

Building for Transformational Medicine (BTM) 10th Floor (Rm 10016L) 60 Fenwood Road  Boston MA 02115

http://khuranalab.bwh.harvard.edu/

 

 

Seismological Constraints on the Inner Core, Dr. Ishii Lab, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

The inner core, the kernel of the Earth, plays crucial role in our planet’s formation and evolution, as well as powering the Earth’s magnetic field that protects life from harmful cosmic rays. Despite its importance, it is least understood of the Earth’s interior. Its remote location (more than 5000 km below ground) and harsh environment make it impossible to send a probe, and we must rely upon information collected at the Earth’s surface. When large earthquakes occur, they cause the Earth to ring like a bell and by observing and listening to these sounds, we have determined that the inner core is solid iron, and it is surrounded by the outer core which is liquid iron. However, the liquid outer core isolates the inner core, sound-proofing certain types of sound, obscuring our understanding of the detailed structure and composition of the Earth’s inner core. We develop new methods to circumvent the obstacles posed by the Earth’s liquid outer core to hear the exotic sounds of inner-core ringing in order to better determine its structure and composition. This entails careful analyses of seismograms recorded by seismic stations throughout the world. This study will report the first observation of the exotic inner-core sounds, and these novel data will provide unprecedented constraints on the materials and structure that make up the center of our planet.  

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Computer programming skills and patience to work with complicated data.

To apply contact: Dr. Miaki Ishii, ishii@eps.harvard.edu

20 Oxford Street   Cambridge MA, 02138

http://www.seismology.harvard.edu/index.html

 

 

Point of Care MRI, Dr. Ackerman Lab, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Department of Radiology Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) is an emerging concept in the delivery of medical diagnostic services: rather than in the hospital or clinic, the test is performed in the physician’s office, at the bedside, in the surgical suite, in the back of the ambulance, on the battlefield, in the isolated rural village. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), one of the most resource-intensive and expensive, yet most informationally and diagnostically rich, medical tests, has been late to this game. Our laboratory is developing point-of-care MRI technology to bring down the cost and portability of high quality MRI through advances in magnet system design. Other innovations from our lab have transformed the scanner into a treatment device by enabling it to perform therapeutic interventions while also providing diagnostic information. We are seeking bright, energetic students to join our team to assist with software development, electronic engineering, materials chemistry, and in conducting experiments.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required. We are particularly interested in students with skills in software, electronics, lab bench chemistry, or crafts (machine tools, soldering, shop craft, etc.). Expect to get your hands dirty--we build stuff.

To apply contact: Dr. Jerry Ackerman, jerry@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

Martinos Center, Room 1.031 Massachusetts General Hospital 149 13th St. Charlestown, MA 02129

 

 

Characterization of Neuropetide Profile in Gliobla, Dr. Tannous Lab, Institution: MGH Department: Neurology

Gliomas account for the great majority of primary tumors that arise within the brain parenchyma. Gliomas are classified based not only in histopathology appearance but also on molecular parameters. Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive type of gliomas. The mainstay of treatment of GBM is surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Despite this aggressive treatment, the mediam survival of patients with GBM is <2 years. Recently, GBM molecular profile revealed two predominant subtypes, proneural and mesenchymal, while multiple subtypes can reside in the same tumor. GBM that presents mesenchymal signature is more aggressive and has an increased therapeutic resistance. Plasticity between these 2 subtypes is observed in tumor recurrence and therapy resistance. Neuropeptides are small protein-like molecules expressed and released by neurons to modulate their communication. Neuropeptides are involved in several biological activities, many of them may act as growth factors by stimulating cell proliferation and mitogenesis. Because the current standard GBM treatment is unlikely to result in prolonged remission, there is a great effort to better understand the oncobiology of GBM and overcome tumor resistance. Since neuropeptides play an important role in neurogenesis and neuronal communications, we hypothesized that these small molecules can also play a role in modulating neural stem-like cells and resistance in GBM. The aim of this work is to characterize the neuropeptide profile of GBM cell lines (sensitive vs resistant to chemotherapy) and patient-derived neural stem-like cells with different molecular subtypes, a subpopulation of the tumor known to be responsible for tumor initiation, recurrence and resistance. Our preliminary data show a different neuropeptide profile between sensitive vs resistant GBM cells, as well as proneural vs mesenchymal stem-like cells. These results suggest that neuropeptide may play a role in tumor resistance and plasticity.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

To apply contact: Dr. Bakhos Tannous, bakhos_tannous@hms.harvard.edu

Neuroscience Center Molecular Neurogenetics Unit 149 13th St., room 6101 Charlestown, MA 02129

 

 

Restoration of hearing by CRISPR/Cas9, Dr. Chen Lab, Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School

Introduction: CRSIPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing emerged as potential new treatment due to the permanent editing results. However most CRISPR/Cas9 has been performed in germline or in vitro by viral vectors or DNA vectors, which raise long-term safety concerns. We report here hearing restoration in a PMCA2 deaf mouse model (Obl-Oblivion) by direct protein delivery and CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing.Methods: gRNAs against the Pmca2 mutation were screened by in vitro endonuclease assay and by using Obl fibroblasts. Potent gRNAs were complexed with Cas9 protein by lipid formulation, which were then injected to neonatal mouse Obl inner ear. Hearing studies were performed at one, two and three months after injection, with tissues harvested for characterization.Results: Hearing recovery of 10-45dB were observed, which is specific to gRNAs against the mutation, whereas in control inner ear no recovery was detected. Genome editing led to significant improvement in outer hair cell survival, demonstrating recovery of Pmca2 function in the outer hair cells. Preservation of neurites of auditory ganglion neurons was detected by genome editing.Conclusion: Our study demonstrates high-efficiency genome editing and hearing restoration in the Obl deaf mouse model by transient in vivo inner ear delivery of Cas9 and gRNA complex. This is the first time that CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing has been successfully applied to disrupt mutation and restore function in a genetic disease model by direct protein delivery in vivo. Our strategy is applicable to restoration of hearing in a wide range of genetic hearing loss models with potential for the application in human.

Requirements: There is no specific prior research experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Zheng-Yi Chen, zheng-yi_chen@meei.harvard.edu

243 Charls str, Boston, MA, 02114

http://www.masseyeandear.org/research/investigators/c/chen-zheng-yi

 

 

Halko Lab: Non-invasive network neuromodulation, Dr. Halko Lab, Department of Neurology

The Halko laboratory, located within the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, investigates the role that large-scale neural networks play in cognitive performance and disease pathology.   Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies, including transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging, these studies probe casual relationships of networks.  We have demonstrated it is possible to modulate specific brain networks and observe functional connectivity changes across the entire brain, providing insight into how brain networks are connected, change, and are altered in disease states.  These studies are applied with a translational focus, investigating the interaction between a basic science understanding of human cognitive networks and therapeutic intervention in neurological and psychiatric disease states such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, ADHD, traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. Students interested in a research or thesis opportunity, especially those with basic knowledge of UNIX, programming, statistics, and/or cognitive neuroscience, are encouraged to apply. Research training and mentoring will be provided by members of the lab, which consist of Principal Investigator Mark Halko; Dr. Simon Laganiere, Instructor of Neurology and Director of the Executive Function and Attention Disorders Clinic; Dr. Roscoe Brady, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Psychopharmacology Education; and research collaborators at multiple institutions in the greater Boston area.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience required.

To apply contact: Dr. Mark Halko, mhalko@bidmc.harvard.edu

330 Brookline Ave, Kirstein Building KS 158, Boston, MA 02215

http://tmslab.org

 

 

Web-based Data Visualization Tools for Genomics, Dr. Gehlenborg Lab, Department of Biomedical Informatics Harvard Medical School

Our lab has developed HiGlass (http://higlass.io), an innovative and versatile approach for visualizing and interacting with genomic data on the web. HiGlass was recently featured in a Nature news story (https://tinyurl.com/ybtgvmcm) and is being utilized by a large NIH consortium as well as individual investigators to view genomics and epigenomics data as well as 3D genomic interaction data. We are currently developing a number of applications that build on the HiGlass platform and applying them to a diverse range of questions. This effort requires implementation and design of additional data visualization components, server-side data management components, and APIs, as well as curation of example data sets from the literature that demonstrate the capabilities of these tools.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements: Students should have experience in at least one of the following three areas:  1. Software development with JavaScript or 2. Software development with Python or 3. Genetics/Genomics

To apply contact: Dr. Nils Gehlenborg, nils@hms.harvard.edu

10 Shattuck Street Boston, MA 02115

http://gehlenborglab.org

 

 

Finding a needle in the haystack: Detecting rare c, Dr. Yuan Lab, Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Department of Biostatistics, Harvard Chan School of Public Health

Rare cell types are of large importance.  While stem cells are rare in mature tissues, these cells are the building blocks from which other cells are formed, and are necessary for tissue repair and maintenance.  Or consider circulating tumor cells: found in a miniscule proportion of all blood cells, circulating tumor cells could hold the key to noninvasive cancer diagnosis and monitoring.  Unfortunately, rare cells often go unnoticed, as most common-use cell type detection methods are not designed to handle their detection.  By addressing the unique challenges associated with differentiating between noise and biological signal from these rare cell types, our lab is developing methods to find these cell types.  What other important rare cell types can we discover?

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Students are expected to have good programming and analytical skills.

To apply contact: Dr. Guo-Cheng Yuan, gcyuan@jimmy.harvard.edu

Longwood Center, Room 1060, 360 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02215

http://bcb.dfci.harvard.edu/~gcyuan/

 

 

Hippocampal Activation during Memory Retrieval, Dr. Silveri Lab, Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Multiband blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were acquired at 3T during performance of a virtual Morris Water Maze task on retrieval and motor conditions. Participants included 14 healthy alcohol and drug naïve adolescents, 13-14 old years, recruited for a three-year longitudinal MRI study. Data from the baseline visit demonstrate significant BOLD activation in the hippocampus during the retrieval condition when participants used cues in the environment to navigate to a hidden platform, compared to the motor condition, when no cues were present. In contrast, significant BOLD activation was observed in the default mode network during the motor condition, when cognitive task demands were minimal. Activation of the anterior cingulate cortex was observed when the retrieval condition was compared to a probe trial, in which navigation occurred in the retrieval environment, while unbeknownst to participants, the platform had been removed. These are the first fMRI data to be reported from an adolescent cohort using a virtual translation of this classic memory task, known to be sensitive to detecting alcohol and drug-related effects on memory performance. These preliminary findings are consistent with hippocampal and prefrontal activation patterns observed during memory retrieval in a prior adult study. Given that the age of onset of alcohol use often occurs during this crucial period of brain development, data acquired using this task at baseline, when adolescents are alcohol and drug naïve, may shed light on the role of memory in risk for early substance use.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Neuroscience or Psychology Majors preferred Interest in Neuroimaging and Psychiatry ideal No skills required

To apply contact: Dr. Marisa Silveri, msilveri@mclean.harvard.edu

McLean Hospital, McLean Imaging Center, 115 Mill Street, Belmont MA 02478

http://nlamh.mclean.harvard.edu/

 

 

Evolutionary Genomics of Malaria, Dr. Neafsey Lab, Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program, Broad Institute Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health

The Neafsey lab uses computational genomic tools to study the evolution of Plasmodium malaria parasites and their Anopheles mosquito vectors. We focus on topics that impact public health, including: the evolution of drug resistance, the application of natural genetic variation to vaccine design, and the use of genomic data to understand disease transmission dynamics. We are currently looking for an undergraduate student who is interested in studying the evolution of Plasmodium transmission. Plasmodium is a sexually reproducing, eukaryotic parasite that has a complex transmission cycle. The Plasmodium lifecycle involves obligate stages within mosquito, human liver, and human blood cells. At each of these life stages, Plasmodium adopts a unique cellular form capable of invading and replicating within the specific host or vector tissue. Blocking the transition from one form to the next would block parasite transmission. This project is using evolutionary genomic approaches to understand these critical life stage transitions with the aim of informing new transmission-blocking approaches. During the course of the project, the student will analyze Plasmodium genomes using a variety of approaches drawn from molecular evolution, comparative genomics, and population genetics. The project will be wholly computational and will involve both implementing genome analysis software and writing custom scripts.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior experience or skills are required. The exact project can be tailored to match the student’s past experience with and interest in coding. Students with no coding background are welcome to apply.

To apply contact: Dr. Daniel Neafsey, neafsey@broadinstitute.org
Broad Institute: 75 Ames St  Cambridge, MA 02142 HSPH: 665 Huntington Avenue  Boston, Massachusetts 02115

www.hsph.harvard.edu/daniel-neafsey/

 

 

Understanding MKRN3 mechanisms of action in the re, Dr. Kaiser Lab, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston

An elaborate neural network integrating internal and external signals governs the onset of puberty and subsequent fertility. The precise nature and components of this network are not well established, but it is clear that puberty is triggered by the central increase in pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion, which stimulates the secretion of the pituitary gonadotropins, necessary for the activation of gonadal function. In addition to environmental factors, this process is influenced by genetic factors, many of which remain to be identified. Our group recently reported loss-of-function mutations in the makorin ring finger protein 3 (MKRN3) gene in association with central precocious puberty. While several stimulators of GnRH secretion have been identified previously, MKRN3 is the first protein to be identified that acts as an inhibitor of puberty onset. The aim of my project is to determine the role and mechanisms of action of MKRN3 in puberty onset. To this end, I will use a combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches to identify the targets of MKRN3 action and thereby unravel the neuronal network controlling puberty onset. The results of this study may lead to the generation of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pubertal and reproductive disorders.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Ursula Kaiser, UKaiser@bwh.harvard.edu

Department of Medicine Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension 221 Longwood Avenue, EBRC Room 202 Boston, MA 02115

http://physiciandirectory.brighamandwomens.org/details/999/ursula-kaiser...

 

 

Brain Activation in College Binge Drinkers, Dr. Silveri Lab, Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

The transition to college is associated with increased binge drinking during a time when prefrontal cortex (PFC) and prefrontal-limbic circuitry continue to mature. Traits associated with this immaturity, including impulsivity in emotional contexts, may contribute to risky drinking among college freshmen. The current study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to record brain activity during a task that required participants to ignore background images that were positive, negative or neutral while performing an inhibitory control task (go-nogo). Subjects were 23 college freshmen (7 male, 18-20 years) who engaged in a range of drinking behavior (past three months’ binge episodes range = 0-19, mean = 4.6, total drinks consumed range = 0-104, mean = 32.0). Brain activation on inhibitory trials (nogo) was contrasted between negative and neutral, and between positive and neutral conditions. Results showed higher recent binge drinking was significantly associated with decreased activation in PFC during negative relative to neutral trials. No significant associations between binge drinking and brain activation were observed for positive relative to neutral trials. Thus, subjects with heavier recent binge drinking showed decreased recruitment of executive control regions under negative versus neutral distractor conditions. These findings suggest that in young adults with heavier recent binge drinking, processing of negative emotional images interferes more with inhibitory control neurocircuitry than in young adults who do not binge drink often. This pattern of altered frontal lobe activation may serve as an early marker of risk for future self-regulation deficits that could lead to problematic alcohol use.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Neuroscience or Psychology Majors preferred  Interest in Neuroimaging and Psychiatry ideal  No skills required

To apply contact: Dr. Marisa Silveri, msilveri@mclean.harvard.edu

McLean Hospital, McLean Imaging Center, 115 Mill Street, Belmont MA 02478

http://nlamh.mclean.harvard.edu/

 

 

Cdkal1 predisposes to type-2 diabetes by promoting, Dr. Banks Lab, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Divisions of Endocrinology and Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Our goal is to understand the mechanisms by which genetic predisposition can contribute to developing type 2 diabetes. Unbiased approaches to link genetic loci to increased risk for people to develop T2D have identified many sites which may hold the promise for understanding and combatting this disease. However relatively few new mechanistic insights have been made into common genetic contributors to diabetes. Cdkal1 is one of the first and most powerful loci identified by GWAS and is strongly confirmed in diverse populations worldwide. Healthy individuals with disease-associated noncoding SNPs within the Cdkal1 gene have decreased first-phase insulin secretion, suggesting a role in pancreatic islets. Cdkal1-deficient mice appear to model this phenomenon well, as these animals also exhibit decreased first-phase insulin signaling. But what does Cdkal1 do? Prokaryotic homologs of Cdkal1 regulate protein translation by enzymatic modification of tRNA. Current models of Cdkal1 activity suggest this mechanism causes a specific defect in protein translation of insulin. However, we recently refuted this model with unbiased systems-based approaches. Rather, we find that CDKAL1 controls mitochondria through a novel post-translational protein modification which has not previously been observed in eukaryotes.  Our experiments will investigate the mechanisms by which Cdkal1 can alter mitochondrial function with isolated proteins, cell lines, primary cells, or mice over-expressing or deficient in Cdkal1. Together these experiments hold the promise of explaining how commonly inherited genetic factors contribute to the development of type-2 diabetes

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior experience is necessary

To apply contact: Dr. Alexander Banks, abanks@bwh.harvard.edu

77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, HIM 632

bankslab.bwh.harvard.edu

 

 

Boredom Susceptibility and Grey Matter Volume, Dr. Silveri Lab, Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Developmental reductions in grey matter volume (GMV) coincident with adolescence have been associated with age-related maturation of behavioral and cognitive control. Adolescents with a family history of alcoholism (FH+) exhibit alterations in grey matter structure that may confer neurobiological vulnerability for future hazardous drinking. To date, only focal regions have been examined in FH studies of brain structure. Thus, this study examined the influence of FH status on whole-brain morphology, and associations with sensation seeking and impulsiveness, two traits known to predict hazardous drinking. Thirty-three adolescents, ages 13-14 years old, were stratified into FH+ (n=17) and FH- (n=15) groups. Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3T and completed the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS) and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS). Volumetric brain data were extracted using the Freesurfer pipeline and all FH comparisons were analyzed using regression models that included age and sex as covariates, which accounted for head size. FH+ status was associated with larger total GMV (p<0.03), relative to the FH- group, which appeared to be driven by larger cortical (p<0.001) rather than subcortical GMV. Although behavioral measures did not differ significantly between groups, the boredom susceptibility component of sensation-seeking was positively correlated with larger cortical GMV (p<0.01), only in the FH+ group. The relationship between higher GMV and susceptibility for boredom in the FH+ group suggests that FH status may moderate the trajectory of grey matter sculpting that is developmentally adaptive, which may provide one possible pathway to a predisposition for risk-taking behavior.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Neuroscience or Psychology Majors preferred.  Interest in Neuroimaging and Psychiatry ideal.  No skills required.

To apply contact: Dr. Marisa Silveri, msilveri@mclean.harvard.edu

McLean Hospital, McLean Imaging Center, 115 Mill Street, Belmont MA 02478

http://nlamh.mclean.harvard.edu

 

 

Hibernating yeast cells and cancer dormancy, Dr. Motamedi Lab, MGH -Centre for Cancer Research and Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

The research program in the Motamedi laboratory is focused on understanding how changes in eukaryotic chromatin are made, maintained and propagated, and how these changes establish alternative cellular states particularly in response to environmental stress. Our work on mechanism of RNA- mediated heterochromatin formation in the fission yeast help establish the Nascent Transcript Model, according to which non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) tethered to chromatin provide a platform for the assembly of RNA processing (Motamedi et al. Cell 2004) and chromatin-modifying, -binding, and -remodeling (Motamedi et al Mol Cell 2008) complexes, which spread in cis to the neighboring chromosomal regions (Li, Motamedi Mol Cell 2009). This model established the first molecular blueprint for how long (lncRNAs) and small (sRNA) noncoding RNAs cooperate to regulate chromatin states. Currently, one of the major focus in the lab is cellular quiescence (or G0) - a poorly understood cellular state, which is a major contributor to tumor dormancy and cancer resistance. Our latest work in the fission yeast (Joh et al Mol Cell 2016) has revealed a new function of heterochromatin proteins - the establishment of the transcriptional program of G0 cells. With our novel G0 discoveries, our lab is well positioned to exploit our expertise and innovative approaches to successfully carry out this work. We have the demonstrated experience in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, with specific expertise in G0, RNA-mediated epigenetic gene silencing, and chromatin biology. In addition to our own expertise, we have mass spectrometric, statistics and bioinformatics support for this work.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements: Basic understanding of genetics, biochemistry and cell biology. No previous lab experience is required but a basic theoretical understanding of techniques is desired.

To apply contact: Dr. Mo Motamedi, mmotamedi@hms.harvard.edu

CNY 149, 13th Street, Room 7-212, Charlestown, MA 02129

http://www.massgeneral.org/cancerresearch/research/researchlab.aspx?id=1...

 

 

Impulse Control in Alcohol-Using Adolescents, Dr. Silveri Lab, Neurodevelopmental Lab on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

To examine the impact of emotion on inhibitory control in adolescents with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), adolescents admitted to a dual-diagnosis residential treatment program were assessed on impulsivity measures, psychiatric and substance use disorders, and impulse control in the face of emotional distracters. Adolescents performed an emotional Go-NoGo task at intake and discharge from the two-week program. Adolescents with alcohol use disorders demonstrated higher negative urgency, less improvement in inhibitory control during positive emotional distractions at discharge, and a strong association between negative urgency and difficulties inhibiting a response to positive valence stimuli, compared to those without AUD. A lack of improvement on positive trials in the AUD group suggests ongoing elevated risk for impulsive action, in the context of heightened emotions. Understanding cognitive and neurobiological factors underlying impaired inhibitory control in the context of emotion, particularly in adolescents with AUD, may be helpful for improving treatment interventions in unique adolescent psychiatric cohorts. These findings suggest treatment for adolescents with AUDs could better address impulse control in emotionally positive as well as negative contexts, though further research is necessary to understand how negative and positive urgency scores differ in their relation to behavioral inhibition.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements: Neuroscience or Psychology majors preferred. Interest in neuroimaging and psychiatry ideal. No skills required.

To apply contact: Dr. Marisa Silveri, msilveri@mclean.harvard.edu

McLean Hospital, McLean Imaging Center, 115 Mill St., Belmont, MA 02478

http://nlamh.mclean.harvard.edu/

 

 

Metasurfaces for polarization optics, Dr. Capasso Lab, Applied Physics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Light, or electromagnetic radiation, has three essential qualities: frequency (wavelength), intensity (brightness), and polarization. Polarization is the path along which the electric field vector oscillates and is fundamental in many fields of science and technology. The means for its control and measurement, however, largely rely on birefringent crystal waveplates, the same materials that led to polarization’s discovery in the 1600s. These plates must be precisely ground and present miniaturization and integration challenges.  In the Capasso Group, we develop “metasurfaces”, a term which refers to a new class of optics in which light is shaped by interaction with nano-scale structures rather than by bulk material refraction as in, e.g., a lens. Metasurfaces present a promising new frontier for polarization optics because these nanostructures can be engineered with very particular polarization properties.  In recent work, we have developed a metasurface that may act as a polarimeter, an instrument for measuring a light beam’s polarization state. Traditional polarimeters require many bulk polarization optics and, consequently, are large, expensive, and often limited in time resolution. Our metasurface polarimeter requires no additional waveplate optics other than the metasurface itself and we have shown that it may perform as well as an expensive commercial device.  We seek an undergraduate intern to further characterize the polarimeter and to aid in the development of the next generation of metasurface polarization optics applications, including, perhaps, a camera that can capture polarization images. The work sits at the intersection of optical technology (engineering) and fundamental optics (physics).

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements: Familiarity with optics, Fourier analysis, and a basic knowledge of scientific computing, from coursework, are extremely helpful.  Skills such as CAD, electronics design, and basic machining of parts are also helpful but can potentially be learned as needed.

To apply contact: Dr. Federico Capasso, capasso@seas.harvard.edu

McKay 125 9 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA 02319

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/capasso/

 

 

Sensory Processing and its Relation to Brain Volum, Dr. Valera Lab, Psychiatry, MGH/Harvard

Studies suggest that children with ADHD exhibit more symptoms of sensory processing dysfunction (SPD) compared to healthy children. However, sensory processing has not yet been measured in ADHD using subscales for different sensory modulations (e.g., over-, under-sensitivity), studied in adults with ADHD, or examined in relation to brain volumes. Therefore, we assessed SPD in ADHD adults, and looked for relationships between SPD subscales and several brain volumes. We administered the Sensory Processing 3-Dimensions Scale (SP3D) to 24 ADHD and 29 healthy (HC) subjects, ages 18-50, who also underwent neuroimaging. The SP3D assesses sensory seeking (SS), over-responsivity (SOR), and under-responsivity (SUR) within different sensory domains. Structural imaging data were analyzed using FreeSurfer v5. Our findings indicate that, relative to healthy controls (HCs), subjects with ADHD scored higher on the SS and SUR subscales, and marginally higher on the SOR subscale. Furthermore, co-occurring anxiety mediated sensory over-responsivity in adults with ADHD. Amygdala volume correlated with SS and SUR total scores, and the posterior ventral diencephalon (pVDC) volume negatively correlated with the SOR total score in subjects with ADHD. These data suggest that adults with ADHD exhibit increased symptoms of sensory processing dysfunction with respect to sensory seeking and under-responsivity. Sensory over-responsivity, however, appears to be driven by co-occurring anxiety. Furthermore, because SS and SUR are associated with the amygdala, while SOR is associated with the pVDC, our findings indicate that SOR is supported by a different neural circuit than SS and SUR. Implications for these findings will be discussed.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Variable and open to discussion.

To apply contact: Dr. Eve Valera, eve_valera@hms.harvard.edu

Massachusetts General Hospital  Psychiatry, Rm 2660  149 13th St. Charlestown, MA 02129

https://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/lab/valera

 

 

Dissecting the Impact of Glucotoxicity Resolution , Dr. Patti Lab, Section of Integrative Physiology and Metabolism

Background  Gene-environment interactions are at the nexus of insulin resistance and risk for type 2 diabetes, and in turn, are likely mediated by disordered epigenetic regulation of chromatin structure and transcription.  However our understanding of the molecular basis remains limited. Data indicate that high levels of circulating or cellular metabolites, such as glucose, can directly modify chromatin structure, causing transcriptional dysregulation and initiating the vicious cycle of insulin resistance. In addition, these epigenetic states can be transmitted through the paternal germ line to impact offspring metabolism. We aimed to dissect the impact of glucotoxicity on hepatic epigenetic regulation, transcription and offspring metabolism  Methods and Results  To study glucotoxicity and its reversal, we treated mice with SGLT-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i), a class of anti-diabetic drugs that increase urinary glucose excretion, reducing cellular glucose overload. Microarray and metabolomics analysis demonstrates that SGLT2i (1) induces a fasting-like metabolic state, (2) robustly modulates hepatic transcription (2522 genes pnom<0.05), (3) reduces hepatic nutrient storage, (4) alters nutrient sensor activity, (5) alters expression/activity of multiple key TFs, (6) improves offspring metabolic phenotypes.   In light of such broad alterations in GEX, we hypothesize that resolution of hepatic glucotoxicity by SGLT-2 inhibitors remodeled chromatin structure in response to an altered intermediary metabolite landscape. We are currently analyzing epigenetic factors modified by resolution of glucotoxicity using Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin (ATAC-seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-seq). Moreover, we are analyzing paternal germ cell and offspring tissue epigenetic marks to determine potential mechanisms responsible for these exciting intergenerational effects.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Prior research experience is not required. 10 hours per week minimum

To apply contact: Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Patti, MaryElizabeth.Patti@joslin.harvard.edu

1 Joslin Place Boston MA 02215

 

 

 

Binge Drinking in Emerging Adulthood, Dr. Silveri Lab, Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Binge drinking reaches a prevalence of 37.5% in individuals aged 18-25 years. It is therefore unsurprising that the highest rate of alcohol use disorders also occurs within this period of emerging adulthood. The widespread pattern of chronic, intermittent alcohol consumption seen in this age group coincides with the finalization of frontal lobe maturation, which may render emerging adults (EA) vulnerable to both immediate and long-term neurobiological consequences of binge drinking. The purpose of this study was to compare EA binge drinkers (BD) and light alcohol drinkers (LD) on clinical, cognitive and neuroimaging assessments to identify associations with binge drinking. Subjects were 18-25 year old BD (n=23) and LD (n=29), and underwent a battery of assessments as well as structural MRI and MRS brain scans. While BD demonstrated significantly greater drinking across all domains assessed, no significant differences were observed on clinical measures. Groups also did not differ across multiple cognitive domains, with the exception of a modest decrement in verbal learning scores for BD (p=.005). In contrast, multiple neurobiological differences were observed for magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy measures, including altered frontal lobe cortical thickness (p=.01), and altered GABA (p=.02), NAA (p=.02) myo-inositol (p=.05) and glutathione (p=.03) brain metabolites. These results suggest that while the frontal cortex is differentially sensitive to binge vs. light alcohol consumption, the observed neurobiological alterations in BD during EA do not manifest as clinical or cognitive impairments. Supported by K01AA014651 and R01AA018153 (MMS).

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Neuroscience or Psychology Majors preferred Interest in Neuroimaging and Psychiatry ideal No skills required

To apply contact: Dr. Marisa Silveri, msilveri@mclean.harvard.edu

McLean Hospital, McLean Imaging Center, 115 Mill Street, Belmont MA 02478

http://nlamh.mclean.harvard.edu

 

 

Neurochemical correlates of adolescent impulsivity, Dr. Silveri Lab, Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

The objective of this study was to characterize in vivo brain GABA and glutamate levels in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the frontal lobe and in a region with strong functional and anatomical connections to the hippocampus, the medial temporal lobe (MTL). Twenty-four healthy adolescents completed the Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS), the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS), and underwent proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) at 3 Tesla using MEGAPRESS optimized to detect GABA. Metabolite data was acquired from separate single voxels placed in the ACC and right MTL and quantified using LCModel and normalized to creatine (Cr) levels. Significantly lower GABA/Cr was observed in the ACC compared to the MTL (p=.003), whereas Glu/Cr was similar across regions. Accordingly, the excitation:inhibition (Glu:GABA) ratio was significantly higher in the ACC (4.8 ± 0.8) compared to the MTL (3.1 ± 1.3, p=.003). Higher MTL Glu/Cr significantly predicted higher BIS total impulsivity scores (p=.006), and BSSS disinhibition (p=.008) and total sensation seeking (p=.024). Lower ACC GABA likely reflects a later maturation of this neurochemical in prefrontal cortex, relative to established Glu levels across regions. These data are the first reported evidence of a neurochemical correlate of heightened impulsivity and sensation seeking in adolescents observed prior to initiation of alcohol or drug use, observed in the MTL, but not the prefrontal cortex. These metabolite data may help probe the coupling between hippocampal and prefrontal regions, and risk-related behaviors that are developmentally adaptive, but may become maladaptive, particularly as adolescents initiate alcohol and drug use. 

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Neuroscience or Psychology Majors preferred Interest in Neuroimaging and Psychiatry ideal No skills required

To apply contact: Dr. Marisa Silveri, msilveri@mclean.harvard.edu

McLean Hospital, McLean Imaging Center, 115 Mill Street, Belmont MA 02478

https://http://nlamh.mclean.harvard.edu/

 

 

Amplification in Hearing: Mouse Finite-Element Mod, Dr. Puria Lab
Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School  Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences  Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Our knowledge of cochlear mechanics is currently undergoing a revolution. While the basilar membrane (BM) has long been considered the principal structure in cochlear motion, new techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) have instead revealed not only that the reticular lamina (RL) moves in a different pattern from the BM, but surprisingly it moves 3–10 times more at low input sound levels. Additionally, RL motion is closer to the inner-hair-cell stereocilia bundle, making it more relevant than BM motion for triggering the auditory nerve. We constructed a 3D finite-element model for the mouse cochlea and tested the model against recent non-invasive OCT vibrometry measurements. The model contains, a viscous-fluid environment, the key elements of organ of Corti (OoC) cytoarchitecture sandwiched between the BM and RL, including the piezo-like outer hair cell attahed to a Deiter’s cell and it’s Phalangeal process in a Y-shaped arrangement. The model allows clear relationships to be established between cochlear amplification and the structure and material composition of the OoC. The calculations demonstrate the high efficiency of the natural OoC cytoarchitecture and imply that the particular form of the Y-shaped combination is important for cochlear amplification. This improves our understanding of the various mechanical stages of hearing and deafness. [Work supported by NIH grant R01 DC 07910.]

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements: No prior experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Sunil Puria, sunil_puria@meei.harvard.edu

Mass Eye and Ear  243 Charles Street Boston, MA 02114-3002

http://www.masseyeandear.org/research/investigators/p/puria-sunil

 

 

Cochlea Imaging with Optical Coherence Tomography, Dr. Puria Lab,   
Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, Harvard University     Graduate School of Arts and Sciences     Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Recent developments in Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) allow measurements of cochlear motions through the bony cochlear wall without holes at spatial resolutions approaching about 10 um. We present measurements made with a commercial OCT system driven by custom software (VibOCT) that facilitates parallel-processing-based near real-time processing of measured whole A-line data to different frequency response measurements.  The 905-nm center wavelength Super Luminescent Diode (SLD) and high-speed (100 kHz) camera provide higher axial resolution (3 um in air) and temporal resolution than previous studies and a sub-nanometer noise floor in air. We gathered anatomical images of the gerbil cochlear apex in-vivo at higher resolution than available previously, sufficient to resolve individual outer hair cells, pillar cells, tunnel of Corti and inner sulcus regions.  Images from the 3rd apical turn show a bulging of Reissners membrane in-vivo that flattened post-mortem with a concomitant reduction in the distance between the Henson cell border and the stria vascularis wall. Vibrometry of the organ of Corti shows a low-pass characteristic in-vivo and post-mortem with a traveling wave-like phase delay similar to a recent study rather than the sharp tuning seen more basally. This system can provide valuable information on cochlear function, which is also useful for the development of detailed cochlear models of the passive and active gerbil apex. [Work supported in part by grant R01 DC07910 from the NIDCD of NIH]

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements:    No prior experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Sunil Puria, sunil_puria@meei.harvard.edu

Mass Eye and Ear     243 Charles Street     Boston, MA 02114-3002

http://www.masseyeandear.org/research/investigators/p/puria-sunil

 

 

Drive Mechanisms to Cochlear Hair Cell Stereocilia, Dr. Puria Lab
Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School     Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, Harvard University     Graduate School of Arts and Sciences     Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

It has been long believed that inner hair cell (IHC) stimulation can be gleaned from the classic shear motion between the reticular lamina (RL) and tectorial membrane (TM). The present study explores this and other IHC stimulation mechanisms using a finite-element-model representation of an organ of Corti (OoC) cross section with fluid-structure interaction. A 3-D model of a cross section of the OoC including soft tissue and the fluid in the sub-tectorial space, tunnel of Corti and above the TM was formulated based on anatomical measurements from the gerbil apical turn. The outer hair cells (OHCs), Deiter’s cells and their phalangeal processes are represented as Y-shaped building-block elements. Each of the IHC and OHC bundles is represented by a single sterocilium. Linearized Navier-Stokes equations coupled with linear-elastic equations discretized with tetrahedral elements are solved in the frequency domain. We evaluated the dynamic changes in the OoC motion including sub-tectorial gap dimensions for 0.1 to 10 kHz input frequencies. Calculations show the classic ter-Kuile motion but more importantly they show that the gap-height changes which produce oscillatory radial flow in the subtectorial space. Phase changes in the stereocilia across OHC rows and the IHC are also observed.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements:    No prior experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Sunil Puria, sunil_puria@meei.harvard.edu

Mass Eye and Ear     243 Charles Street     Boston, MA 02114-3002

http://www.masseyeandear.org/research/investigators/p/puria-sunil

 

 

Re-writable Flat Photonics, Dr. Capasso Lab, SEAS

We develop a novel direct-laser writing approach to fabricating dielectric phase-change material (used in DVD re-writables) based metasurfaces. In particular, the realization of fully flat optical components is planned.  The advantage of this exciting method lies in the re-writability of such metasurfaces. Given a blank, any kind of metasurface can be written directly into the phase-change material and subsequently be erased.The work can be in either electromagnetic full-field simulations, hands-on optical setup building or data evaluation. 

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: The ideal candidate should be strongly motivated, have experience in or a strong willingness to learn LabView, Matlab and numerical simulation methods and have an undergraduate level understanding of electrodynamics.

To apply contact: Dr. Federico Capasso, capasso@seas.harvard.edu

9 Oxford St 02138 Cambridge

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/capasso/

 

 

Imaging and computational neuroscience of sleep, Dr. Lewis Lab, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH/HMS

http://web.mit.edu/ldlewis/www/

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No specific experience is required. Students seeking a computationally-oriented project should ideally have some programming and/or signal processing experience. Students seeking an experimentally-oriented project should be comfortable working with human subjects.

To apply contact: Dr. Laura Lewis, lauralewis@fas.harvard.edu

149 13th St Charlestown MA

 

 

The role of G proteins in gonadotropin expression, Dr. Kaiser Lab, Department of Medicine, Division of endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

GnRH is a hypothalamic neuropeptide central to the initiation and control of the reproductive hormone cascade and hence fertility. Its action serves as a key regulatory point in the pituitary gland to control of the secretion of the gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which in turn regulate gonadal function and gametogenesis.  GnRH is released in a pulsatile manner, with differential patterns of pulsatile GnRH release leading to differential synthesis and secretion of LH and FSH that are essential for control of female reproductive cyclicity and fertility. We aim to advance our understanding of the nature of the pituitary GnRH pulse frequency “decoder”, using both cell models and genetically modified mouse models. In mouse models, we will determine the importance of the Gαs and Gαq/11 proteins in gonadotropin expression and in normal reproductive function. In cell models, we will study the molecular pathways by which the differential gonadotropin expression occurs. The result of these studies will help to elucidate the details of the GnRH pulse frequency “decoder” and identify pathways and targets to modulate FSH separately from LH, with the potential to improve therapy for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and other fertility disorders.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Ursula Kaiser, ukaiser@bwh.harvard.edu

221 Longwood Avenue Boston, MA, 02115

 

 

Evaluation of Choroidal Lesions with Swept-Source , Dr. Miller Lab, Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School

Purpose: To image choroidal lesions with swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) and to identify the morphologic characteristics associated with optimal visualization. Design: Prospective, cross-sectional study Methods: Patients with choroidal melanocytic lesions < 3 mm in thickness on B-scan ultrasonography were recruited.  All participants underwent color fundus photography (CFP), B-scan ultrasonography, and SS-OCT.  All images were evaluated by two independent graders. CFP were used to assess the degree of pigmentation of lesions. On SS-OCT we evaluated various qualitative (e.g. lesion outline, detection of scleral-choroidal interface, and quality of the image) and quantitative parameters (measurement of maximum lesion thickness and the largest basal diameter). Probability of optimal image quality was examined using ordered logistic regression models. The main outcome measure was quality of the choroidal lesion images on SS-OCT, defined as: optimal - all margins of the lesion well visible; suboptimal - at least one margin not properly imaged; or poor - more than one margin not properly imaged.   Results: We included 85 choroidal lesions of 82 patients.  The mean age of the patients was 65.8 ± 11.8 years. Forty-eight lesions (59%) were from female patients. There were 24 choroidal lesions (29%) for which image quality was classified as optimal, 31 lesions (37%) as suboptimal, and 30 lesions (36%) as poor. The factors associated with optimal image quality were distance closer to the fovea (OR 0.76, P < 0.001), posterior pole location (OR 3.87, P = 0.05), lower ultrasound thickness (OR 0.44, P = 0.04), lighter lesion pigmentation (OR 0.12, P = 0.003) and smaller lesion diameter (OR 0.73, p<0.001).  In the multi-variable analysis, closer distance to the fovea (OR 0.81, P = 0.005), lighter lesion pigmentation (OR 0.11, P = 0.01) and smaller lesion diameter (OR 0.76, p=0.006) remained statistically significant. Conclusion:  SS-OCT is useful in imaging most choroidal melanocytic lesions. Image quality is best when the choroidal lesion is closer to the fovea, has a smaller diameter and a lighter choroidal pigmentation.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required

To apply contact: Dr. John Miller, john_miller@meei.harvard.edu

243 Charles Street, Boston, MA, 02114

http://www.masseyeandear.org/research/ophthalmology

 

 

Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Dr. Li Lab, Radiology, MGH, Harvard Medical School

Our group is dedicated to develop and bring forth the most advantage artificial intelligence system to the general healthcare community. Combining the talents from the field of data science, machine learning, radiology and clinical physicians, we are building smart systems to create value in the delivery of medical care and radiology services. Currently we have built deep-learning based medical image analytics systems for various clinical purposes, including pre-screening of critical lung conditions, emphysema early detection, and characterization of soft tissue cancer. Results reported in our preliminary experiments have shown increased diagnostic certainty with much decreased time on task for radiologists. In addition, we are working towards several major challenges in the current field of medical data analysis, including the adaptiveness to diverse data modalities and patient populations, the robustness to the noise in the data, and the capability to overcome the challenge of the lack for training samples. Based on our expertise in algorithm design and computational system, we have developed and published several advanced AI methodologies corresponds to each of the challenges above.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Quanzheng Li, li.quanzheng@mgh.harvard.edu

55 fruit st. White 427,Boston, 02114

 

 

 

Development of a PET tracer for multiple sclerosis, Dr. Brugarolas Lab, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Central nervous system demyelination represents the pathological hallmark of multiple sclerosis (MS) and contributes to other neurological conditions including traumatic brain injury, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to assess demyelination quickly and quantitatively is crucial for the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases. As current imaging approaches for demyelination rely on magnetic resonance imaging, which is neither quantitative nor specific for demyelination, we set out to develop a PET tracer for demyelination. In this project, we describe the development of a novel radioligand for brain imaging based on the FDA-approved drug for MS, 4-aminopyridine (4-AP). The Brugarolas lab seeks to develop new PET tracers for the brain and develop methods to image therapeutic antibodies by PET. The research employs synthetic chemistry, radiochemistry, biochemical assays and PET imaging in animal models of disease.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Prior experience in a chemistry or biochemistry lab is advantageous. Candidates will learn about radiochemistry and preclinical imaging with PET.

To apply contact: Dr. Pedro Brugarolas, pbrugarolas@mgh.harvard.edu

55 Fruit St, Bulfinch 051 Boston, MA 02114

http://gordon.mgh.harvard.edu/gc/

 

Towards a gene expression barcode from RNAseq data, Dr. Irizarry Lab, Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Biostatistics, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Understanding transcriptional programs in diverse cell types and tissues is of fundamental interest in biology. Is a gene active or turned “ON” in a given tissue type or biological sample of interest? This question though seemingly straightforward is complicated by biological stochasticity and leaky transcription on the one hand, and technical noise introduced by measurement technologies and quantification pipelines on the other. Next-generation RNA sequencing enables such investigation at a resolution and scale not possible before. In this work, we propose a statistical framework to model transcriptional activities of genes by leveraging publicly available bulk mRNA-seq data from 34 tissue-types in the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project. The availability of large numbers of public data enable the possibility of developing unifying models for baseline RNAseq expression across different tissue types that are robust across sequencing technologies.  Expression values generated by RNA sequencing presents a rather complicated picture with some genes appearing bistable, while others more graded. We start with a bimodal framework of “off” and “on” states for each gene. We model transcriptional activity states using a 2-component hierarchical mixture model with one component representing “background” expression arising from technical sources or basal transcription, and the other component representing an “actively expressed” transcriptional state. We incorporate corrections for technical sources of error like gene length and GC bias. To motivate our model, we use prior knowledge from microarray data and generate priors informed from empirical data. For inference, we use probabilistic programming by Hamiltonian Monte Carlo sampling. With such a model in place, we can predict the gene expression activity state of a new biology sample.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: Statistical programming language (preferably R), basic knowledge of genomics

To apply contact: Dr. Rafael Irizarry rafa@jimmy.harvard.edu

 

Development of Motion-Free Tomographic Imaging, Dr. Gupta Lab, MGH radiology

CT is the clinical standard for diagnosing many emergent medical conditions, such as stroke and traumatic brain injuries.  Unfortunately, the size, weight, and expense of CT systems make them inaccessible for patients outside of large trauma centers, or in the developing world. We are designing a novel, modular x-ray system that will allow for CT scanners to be significantly lighter weight and cheaper.  This would expand access to this valuable diagnostic tool to austere environments such as rural and low-income communities, battlefield care, and extended space missions.    This is a multi-disciplinary project drawing on many fields including electrical engineering, nuclear science, machine learning, and medicine.

Number of hours/week: Juniors andSseniors can work 15-20 hrs/week

Requirements: We are looking for a students who can make a significant time commitment to this project, and are interested in pursuing a thesis or publication. No research experience is required, but some training in physics, engineering, or CS is highly recommended.

To apply contact: Dr. Rajiv Gupta, rgupta1@mgh.harvard.edu

149 13th street, Rm 2.406

http://www.massgeneral.org/doctors/doctor.aspx?id=17730

 

 

Synthesis of Platelet Imaging Conjugates, Dr. McCarthy Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Systems Biology and Cardiovascular Research Center

In the clinical setting, blood vessel stenosis or the narrowing of a vessel, may impede adequate blood flow causing a number of pathological conditions, including angina and stroke.  Depending on the severity of the stenosis, the implantation of stents may be required to ensure patency.  Unfortunately, this intervention sometimes results in the formation of a clot within the stent occluding blood flow, potentiating catastrophic consequences.  We have thus developed a near-infrared imaging agent capable of binding to activated platelets, the hypothesized nidus for clot formation within the stent.  Based upon tirofiban, a widely utilized anti-platelet agent, we have generated a fluorescent derivative capable of detecting clots in vivo.  This agent has been extensively validated in murine models of thrombosis.  Current investigations are currently underway to determine if the agent is capable of detecting activated platelets adhered to implanted stents in rabbit models of stenosis.  Importantly, we will determine whether optimized optical fiber catheters capable intravascular NIRF imaging can provide high-resolution, sensitive readouts of molecular targets in coronary-sized vessels through blood, without the need for flushing, due to relatively low blood attenuation of NIR light. The ability to image platelet on healing coronary stents may offer new insights into pathogenesis of stent thrombosis, particularly late stent thrombosis in current and next generation drug eluting stents, especially when coupled with high-resolution structural imaging via intravascular ultrasound, or via single catheters integrating NIRF with optical frequency domain imaging, a leading modality for imaging coronary stent architecture.

Requirements: Organic chemistry lectures and lab

To apply contact: Dr. Jason McCarthy, jason_mccarthy@hms.harvard.edu

149 13th Street, 6th floor Charlestown, MA 02129

https://csb.mgh.harvard.edu/investigator/jason_mccarthy

 

 

The Mathematical Picture Language Project, Dr. Jaffe Lab, Department of Physics

We reevaluate ways that one can use pictures, not only to gain mathematical insights, but also to prove mathematical theorems. As an example, we describe ways that the Quon language, invented to study quantum information, sheds light on several other areas of mathematics. It results in proofs and new algebraic identities of interest in several fields. We explain how this picture language affords mathematical insights. Motivated by this success, we outline a picture program for further research, with the goal of unifying ideas from different subjects in mathematics and physics. We contextualize this program by citing examples of how pictures appear throughout mathematical history, from the schools of Euclid and Pythagoras to modern particle physics.

Number of hours/week: Negotiable: depends on arrangement

Requirements: No prior research experience is required.

To apply contact: Dr. Arthur Jaffe, jaffe@g.harvard.edu

17 Oxford St Cambridge, MA 02138

https://mathpicture.fas.harvard.edu

 

 

Elucidating the interplay of stress responses and energy stores, Dr. Blackwell Lab

The mechanisms by which organisms regulate stress responses and energy stores are likely to be ancient as they would have ensured the propagation of species during periods of drought and starvation. Cellular responses to stressors are orchestrated by specialized transcription factors, which fine-tune the expression of genes to either eliminate the stressor or ensure survival for long enough after the stress has ceded. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, activation of the transcription factor SKN-1 (the sole ortholog of the mammalian NF-E2-related factors (Nrf) transcription factors) regulate genes involved in the response to oxidative stress and xenobiotics, extracellular matrix components, proteasome components and lipid metabolism genes. SKN-1 is required for lifespan extension mediated by reduced insulin/IGF signaling, rapamycin treatment, germline stem cell ablation, lipid overload, and by reactive oxygen (ROS) derived from either the mitochondria or the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Current projects in our laboratory use a variety of genetic and molecular biology techniques in C. elegans taking advantage of its short life cycle of about 3 weeks, easy cultivation in big numbers and transparency allowing visualization of GFP-tagged genes. One project includes altering the aggregation profile of proteins that accumulate in neurodegenerative diseases through the activation of ER derived ROS. Another project analyses the nature of lipid signals in a genetic model of lipid overload that activates SKN-1 to regulate stress resistance, increased proteasome activity and longevity.

Requirements: No laboratory experience is required just great disposition and willingness to learn and do great science

To apply contact: Dr. T. Keith Blackwell, keith.blackwell@joslin.harvard.edu

One Joslin Place, Boston, MA

http://blackwellweb.joslin.harvard.edu/

 

 

Posted Dec 18, 2017

Object Recognition in the Mouse Olfactory System, Murthy Lab, MCB

How do our brains learn to recognize objects in our environment? Humans are very good at visual object recognition. We can easily identify familiar or novel things that we see. For example, you have no problem recognizing people you know well, even in bad lighting or if their faces are partially blocked by a winter scarf. It also doesn’t matter if you see your friend or hear their voice your brain is easily able to recognize them. Our research project is aimed at understanding how networks of connected cells in the cortex represent sensory information and how that information results in the brains ability to perceive and recognize objects. We study this question in the mouse olfactory system. Mice rely heavily on their sense of smell to find food and mates, and to avoid predators. We utilize in vivo multi-unit electrode recordings in awake, behaving mice to measure patterns of neural activity as mice learn to identify new odor objects.

Learning outcome: Students will have the opportunity to learn and to work on projects involving disciplines from electrophysiology to mouse behavior.
No previous experience is necessary, but we are looking for students who are good learners, reliable, and can follow instruction.
Compensation:  Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more info at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu).

Contact: Interested students should email Liz Shtrahman (eshtrahman@fas.harvard.edu).

 

 

Posted December 4, 2017

Finding the equation that nature uses: toward mechanistic, predictions of ecosystem dynamics, Moorcroft lab, OEB

https://moorcroftlab.oeb.harvard.edu/

The Moorcroft lab combine novel observations (e.g remote sensing data) and mechanistic numerical models to understand and predict dynamics in the terrestrial biosphere. The majority of the group uses the Ecosystem Demography 2 (ED2) model, which calculates the distribution of different plants and their physical properties and processes based on meteorological drivers. This model is applied to ecosystems from Arctic tundra to Mediterranean ecosystems in California to lowland rainforests in the Amazon. Students interested in joining this lab should have a background and/or interest in math and computer science. Possible projects include: - Using a variety of remote sensing observations to characterize ecosystems. - Use mechanistic models to understand plant biodiversity and its importance on the Earth system - Other relevant projects of student design.

Contact: Xiangtao Xu xu.withoutwax@gmail.com, Miriam Johnston mjohnston@g.harvard.edu, Paul Moorcroft paul_moorcroft@harvard.edu

 

 

Undergraduate research opportunity in ultra-high throughput directed evolution of enzymes

Prof. David Weitz, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Contact: 9 Oxford street, Gordon McKay, room 517, 02139 Cambridge MA, rraoul@g.harvard.edu, tel. 857-707-2905, https://weitzlab.seas.harvard.edu

Currently great amounts of man-years and monetary resources are invested into directed evolution because this technique can yield extremely valuable products: biomolecules tailored to the specific needs of a process.

Enzymes or antibodies that are found by screening natural- or in silico-designed- variants do not necessarily have the desired properties (e.g., not specific or fast enough, wrong temperature or pH optima, low yielding expression, etc). Directed evolution is a powerful method to improve these molecules according the need of a specific application, be it academic or industrial. The general approach for directed evolution is: (1) generating variation in the gene of interest, (2) expressing the different variants and (3) selecting the best variant(s). The best variants can then be used in another cycle to create further improved variants. A typical cycle in directed evolution requires 2-3 days and requires a lot of intervention by skilled workers. Microfluidics is an upcoming field that promises to greatly speed up the selection of enzyme and antibody variants. This technique can operate at ultra-high throughput: in excess of 10 8 reactions per day, greatly accelerating directed evolution. Whereas this miniaturization promises to bring significant cost reductions for directed evolution, genetic library generation has not undergone a similar revolution. This project aims at developing an in vivo mutagenesis method that could fully automate and reduce the duration of library generation to the growth speed of Escherichia coli, reducing the required time for a typical directed evolution scheme from months to days.

http://www.pnas.org/content/107/9/4004.full.pdf

Skills required: Ideally the student will have some experience with microbiology, molecular genetics or biochemistry.

Learning outcome: This position is a great opportunity to learn general laboratory and research skills in biochemistry, molecular genetics as well as enzyme catalysis.

Number of hours: This position has flexible working hours and we can work something out that works with classes. Ideally the workload will be between 10-20 h per week.

Mentoring: Applicants will work along side Dr. Raoul Rosenthal (https://brancoweissfellowship.org/raoul-rosenthal.html) in the lab.

Compensation: Students will be paid between $13-15 depending on prior experience. In addition students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more info at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu).

Interested applicants should email their resume to Raoul Rosenthal, rraoul@g.harvard.edu.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Lichtman Lab, Harvard University

 

 

The Lichtman lab offers internships to students who have interest in neural circuit analysis, the focus of the lab’s research. Our aim is to map neural connections at high resolution and describe how they change as the nervous system matures. To achieve this goal, the lab has developed high-throughput techniques to increase the speed and efficiency of acquiring and analyzing big data sets comprised of serial section electron microscopy images. These approaches include a device for automatic collection of very thin nervous system sections, a multi-beam scanning electron microscope for high speed image acquisition, and automated computer-based image segmentation and visualization. Using these tools, the lab has collected a neuromuscular junction (NMJ) connectome of nearly 40 TBs from a day-old mouse. The mapping of all the motor axon projections in one muscle is the current goal. Such a map will help elucidate how axons branch reorganize by pruning and synapse formation to generate the mature patterns of motor control of skeletal muscle fibers. The lab is looking for students to participate in this study to reveal the complete neuromuscular connetome.

Though the internships are unpaid, this experience will provide opportunities to work with scientists at Harvard University, offer experience to learn advance techniques in data acquisition and analysis in the field of Connectomics, and improve your skills in applying computer assisted approaches to image processing and data analysis. Successful candidates will be intensively trained by lab members to learn the fundamentals of connectomics and the application of a suite of programs including ImageJ, VAST and 3d StudioMax. Interns will be responsible for segmentation, reconstruction and analysis of their own part of neuromuscular connectome data by use of these techniques. Students who have biology, medicine, or computer science backgrounds are encouraged to apply, but this is not mandatory. To apply, please submit your resume to kaikang@fas.harvard.edu.

 

 

Posted October 16, 2017

Undergraduate Research Trainee, Dr. Kuchroo lab, Dept. of Neurology, HMS

PI: Dr. Vijay Kuchroo, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, BTM, 10th Floor, 60 Fenwood Road, Boston, Longwood area
http://kuchroolab.bwh.harvard.edu/
 

Description of the project and duties:

  • Maintenance of immortalized cell lines and primary cell cultures.
  • Processing of RNA and cDNA where appropriate
  • Transfection and running of qPCR to assess knockout efficiency

Link to Manuscripts: http://kuchroolab.bwh.harvard.edu/2017-2/

Skills required: advanced chemistry courses in high school or college. No prior research experience is required.

Learning Outcome: Laboratory skills, Research skills, Data analysis method, Presentations, Scientific writing, Appropriate cell culture technique, Tissue and cell isolation, Lab note keeping and lab notebook management

Number of hours students are expected to work: 10-15 hrs/week

Length of the project: Negotiable

Mentoring: Postdoctoral fellow will mentor students

How often are mentorship meetings etc.: weekly. Trainees should participate in regular lab meetings to gain a better understanding of the overall lab activity and meet others working in the lab.

Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info) or register for a research course credit.

Email your resume and cover letter addressed to Dr. Vijay Kuchroo, stating why you are interested in working as an intern to: vkuchroo@rics.bwh.harvard.edu

 

Posted October 13, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position in Nutrition and Growth in Preterm Infants, Department Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, MPH
Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
221 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA 02115
mbelfort@bwh.harvard.edu

Preterm birth is a major public health problem affecting over 10% of U.S. newborns each year. Although very preterm infants (<32 weeks’ gestation) face multiple medical complications and prolonged hospital stays, survival is now >90% due to major medical advances in the past 2 decades. Despite these high survival rates, a remaining clinical challenge is the high rate of burdensome health and developmental problems faced by children and families long after they leave the hospital. Because early-life nutrition plays a critical role in the growth and development of multiple organs and tissues (e.g. brain, kidneys, adipose tissue, lungs), ensuring optimal nutrition during the prolonged stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has great potential to improve long-term outcomes.

Our interdisciplinary group of neonatal researchers and clinicians aims to (1) develop and test novel interventions to improve the nutritional status of preterm infants in the NICU; and (2) implement nutritional practices based on the best available evidence available, using principles of implementation science.

Current ongoing projects include a clinical research study of human milk composition and preterm infant growth, body composition, and brain development; a validation study of a new device to measure the macronutrient content of human milk; and implementation studies following introduction of new clinical guidelines. The undergraduate student will assist with these ongoing projects. Specific tasks may include data collection and analysis, preparation of reports, literature review, assisting with milk sample analysis, and assisting with biorepository management. Additional educational opportunities such as shadowing of clinicians and attendance at departmental lectures are available.

Skills required: No prior research experience is necessary. However, a strong interest in nutrition, pediatrics, maternal/child health, or epidemiology is required. This is an excellent opportunity for a student considering medical school or graduate school in a public health-related field.

Learning outcome: Students will learn about the critical role of nutrition in early development, with an emphasis on implications for improving the health of general and clinical populations. Skills learned will include extraction of medical record data, use of REDCap for data and biospecimen management, data analysis for clinical research and quality improvement studies, and systematic literature review using PubMed.

Number of hours: A commitment of 8 hours per week for at least 2 semesters is preferred. Full time summer positions may also be available.

Mentoring: Dr. Belfort will serve as mentor, meetings will occur weekly.

Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan for more info at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu ) or register for a research course credit.

 

Undergraduate research in psychiatric neuroimaging lab, McLean Hospital

Contact info:
Isabelle Rosso, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Olson, Ph.D.
Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Laboratory
Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research
McLean Hospital, 115 Mill St., Belmont, MA

Our lab has a variety of potential projects, and we are willing to try to tailor projects toward student interests. For example: We have skin conductance data from a fear conditioning paradigm that needs to be organized within SPSS. We have partially processed multi-modal imaging data; an interested student could be involved in assisting with processing and quality control of tractography and morphometry data, with an ultimate goal of analyzing the fear conditioning data in relation to the imaging data. Opportunities exist for students to be involved in taking current participants to MRI scan sessions, phone screening individuals with psychiatric disorders, etc.

Skills required: Excellent interpersonal skills are essential. No particular laboratory skills or prior research experience is needed, though individuals with a more advanced background may be able to more quickly progress toward working on more advanced projects.

Hours, length of project: Negotiable

Mentoring: Elizabeth Olson, Ph.D. and Isabelle Rosso, Ph.D. will co-mentor the student. Weekly mentorship meetings are a minimum, though we typically have more frequent contact with mentees.

Stipend: Our lab does not have funds to support a student. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit.

Applying: Please apply by submitting a CV and cover letter to Dr. Olson: eaolson@mclean.harvard.edu

 

Posted October 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Joslin Diabetes Center

PI: Dr. Christian Rask-Madsen, Vascular Biology and Complications, Joslin Diabetes Center
One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215, Email: christian.rask-madsen@joslin.harvard.edu
Lab website: https://joslinresearch.org/investigators/Christian-Rask-Madsen

The aim of the research will be to characterize the regulation of the intestinal stem cell niche by vascular endothelial cells.  Our hypothesis is that vascular endothelial dysfunction in type 2 diabetes changes the vascular niche for intestinal stem cells and causes expansion of the stem cell population.  This increases the risk for oncogenic mutations and contribute to the increased risk for colorectal cancer in people with type 2 diabetes. The student research will use culture of mouse intestinal stem cells and co-culture with vascular endothelial cells.  The project may also involve mice with expression of a fluorescent reporter in intestinal stem cells combined with genetic mutations in endothelial cells.

Learning outcomes: The student researcher will learn 3D-culture techniques, analysis of RNA and protein expression, and manipulation of gene expression in cell culture.  The student will be involved in data analysis and planning of experiments.  The goal will be that the student will experience the creativity of experimental research by designing and interpreting experiments independently with input from the mentor as needed.  The student will also have opportunities for presentation at lab meetings at Joslin and at national or international meetings, depending on the data which will be acquired.  The student can expect to be an author on manuscripts based on the results.

Time Commitment: The student researcher will be expected to work in the lab about 20 hours per week.  However, this commitment is flexible and will accommodate periods with increased time demands in the school curriculum.  The project will be planned for the duration of the academic year but can be extended depending on results and interest.

Mentoring: The PI will mentor the student daily and be involved or available in planning all experiments.  We are a small lab where the advantage is close supervision and daily availability of the PI.

Funding: The laboratory does not provide a stipend for this project.  Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships (please contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info) or register for a research course credit.

If interested, please contact Dr. Rask-Madsen using the email address above.  An initial discussion is without commitment on behalf of the student and can just serve to elaborate on the information given here.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, Schepens Eye Research Institute

PI: Dr. Reza Dana, Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, Schepens Eye Research Institute, http://www.schepens.harvard.edu/dana

Description of the project: Role of regulatory T cells in corneal transplantation. 

Duties: Basic wet lab techniques such as PCR and flow cytometry, image processing and data analysis

Skills required: no prior biomedical research skills required, basic computer skills required.  

Learning outcome: basic biomedical research skills, image processing, and data analysis. 

Hours: minimum 5 hours weekly for minimal 4 weeks. 

Mentoring: Dr. Dana and research postdoc fellows in the lab will mentor students. 

Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan for more info at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu) or register for a research course credit.

To apply please email your resume to Ms. Linda Benson Linda_Benson@meei.harvard.edu with subject ‘HUROS’. 

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

PI: F. Stephen Hodi, M.D., Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Avenue, Dana 5th floor

Our laboratory investigates human immunology and the development of immune therapies to treat cancer.  Two primary areas of potential projects and investigation exist. 

The first is to conduct screening and functional studies utilizing patietn samples from patietns receiving immune therapy to dissect what characteristics are involved with effective treatment and resistant mechanisms to immune therapy.  This involves standard and developed techniques assessing peripheral blood and biopsied tumor tissues. 

The second project involved improving our understanding of the interactions of angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) and immune regulation.  Factors that are involved in making new blood vessels suppress particular parts of the immune system.  The blood vessels are also the gatekeepers in allowing immune cells to home into the tumor microenvironment.  Through various serologic screening methods we are able to identify candidate protein targets that have the potential dual roles of promoting new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and at the same time suppress the immune responses against tumors.   The laboratory efforts will involve assessing such factors with the goal to develop combinatorial approaches to treat patietns with cancer.

The students with these projects will be conducting experiments to answer these questions.  This work would include and not limited to cell culture, immune assessments including flow cytometry, immuno-blotting, cytokine functional assays, ELISAs, ELISPOTs.  It would be expected that the students will be taught how to perform these techniques and learn how to conduct this work with supervision.  Depending on the interest, a student may lead a project or portion of a project.  The student may also have opportunities to present at lab meetings or other scientific conferences, and become an author on publications.

Skills required: No prior research experience is necessary.
Learning outcome: The desire is for this experience to provide a foundation for developing laboratory technical skills, scientific methods, and experimental design.  In addition, exposure to the field of immunology and immune therapy.
Hours: Understanding the schedules of students, this is flexible.  We have a variety of project opportunities where the hours and time commitment can vary while still being productive and educational.  It would be important to have some dedicated time period (e.g 3-4 hours) in order to plan and participate in experiments as part of the educational experience.
Mentoring: who will be mentoring student day to day, how often are mentorship meetings, etc. The student will have a PhD level staff scientist to guide, oversee, and instruct the daily activities.  The student would meet to review progress and for teaching every 1-2 weeks with the laboratory lead.
Funding: A moderate stipend may be possible and happy to discuss.  Encourage if interested and time permissive to consider research course credit with committed time for scientific development or Harvard fellowships such as PRISE and HCRP (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info).
Please feel free to email inquiries and resume if available to Dr. Hodi at Stephen_hodi@DFCI.Harvard.edu

 

Posted September 25, 2017

Undergraduate research assistant position, Dr. Z. Williams lab, MGH

We are looking for a student interested in animal behavior and neurophysiology. Our lab probes the mechanisms by which complex cognitive processes are computed by neurons in the mammalian brain, particularly focusing on questions involving social and group decision making. The projects in the labuse mice and monkeys as animal models for both normal and abnormal behavior. Depending on your specific interests, together we will decide which project is the best fit for you.

Your duties will primarily include animal care, running animal behavioral assays, collecting electrophysiological recording data, performing basic histology, and analyzing behavioral and neuronal data. We expect you to be in lab at least 10 hours per week, preferably in blocks of more than 3 hours, but this is flexible. Some background in animal behavior, cognitive sciences, and computer programming (Matlab, R, or Python) are helpful but not essential.

The lab environment is relaxed, friendly, and very supportive; regardless of your assignment, you will learn from other projects, as we interact and discuss on a daily basis. You will also be expected to present at weekly lab meetings/journal clubs and give poster presentations or talks at undergraduate research days. If desired, you will also have an opportunity to do a thesis project in the lab.

For more information, feel free to shoot us an email or visit the lab website at http://zivwilliams.mgh.harvard.edu/

If interested, please submit a resume and a short cover letter to Dr. Raymundo Baez at raymundobaez@gmail.com and Lance Johnson at lancejohnson@college.harvard.edu.

 

 

Posted September 22, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in cell biology and chemistry, Boston Children’s Hospital

Principal investigator: Dr. Hidde Ploegh
Co- Mentor: Ross Cheloha, PhD (
ross.cheloha@childrens.harvard.edu)

Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital (Karp Family Research Building).
Laboratory website: http://www.childrenshospital.org/research-and-innovation/research/progra...

Study of the cell biology of protein ubiquitination using new tools and devices. This project focuses on developing a new method to characterize protein posttranslational modifications (ubiquitination) in live cells. Regulation of ubiquitination has important implications in cellular protein quality control as well as for many diseases. This project will require bacterial protein expression and purification, cell culture using mammalian cell lines, and synthetic organic chemistry.

This project extends from previously published work from the Ploegh lab:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12401499
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=26811477

Skills required: None. All enthusiastic students encouraged to apply.
Learning outcomes: You will gain laboratory skills (protein expression and purification, synthetic chemistry, mammalian cell culture), research skills (study design, data analysis), and data presentation experience.
Hours per week required: Minimum of 10, but flexible on timing. Minimum of semester long commitment, with (preferred) option to extend beyond semester.
Mentorship: Daily contact with supervisor (Ross Cheloha, PhD). Biweekly interactions with principal investigator. Monthly progress updates are expected and a presentation to the laboratory will be given at the end of the research experience.
Funding: No funding from lab available at beginning of research experience. Students are encouraged to apply with the HCRP for fellowships (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info). Possibility for funding from the laboratory following initial research experience.

Please email a resume, a course schedule/availability, and a brief introduction to Ross Cheloha (ross.cheloha@childrens.harvard.edu) for consideration.

 

Posted September 21, 2017

 

Undergraduate research opportunity in biophysics and systems biology, HMS

PI: Dr. Ying Lu, Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School

Email: ying_lu@hms.harvard.edu  Website: https://yinglu.hms.harvard.edu/

The project is trying to understand how protein degradation is regulated in eukaryotic cells, using integrative approaches. Ubiquitylation pathways generate a large number of ubiquitin topologies on protein substrates, which must be read by the proteasome and converted to the rate of protein degradation. The 26S proteasome is a 66-subunit protein complex.  Previous works, including the structural studies in our group, revealed molecular details of this machine and its conformational heterogeneity. However, how those structural features enable accurate selection of its targets and efficient degradation is poorly understood.
The lab has developed single-molecule fluorescent methods and quantitative mass spectrometry approaches to understand this intricate protein degradation system.  Students will learn basic techniques in protein biochemistry and use single-molecule methods in a microfluidic system to study the dynamics of protein complexes. Students are expected to work semi-independently and get involved in multiple projects in the lab.  Explorative projects are also highly encouraged.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25859050
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25859049
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27791164

Skills required: No prior skills required.
Number of hours: negotiable
Mentoring: the PI will directly mentor the student; Students discuss with PI 2~3 times / week.
Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP, other fellowships or research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info).
Please email your resume to Dr. Lu :  Ying_lu@hms.harvard.ed

 

 

Posted September 20, 2017

Understanding the Molecular Mechanism and Developing Therapies in Neuromuscular Diseases

PI Information:  Vandana A Gupta, PhD, Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, NRB 168A, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115 Ph: 617-525-4452 
Email: vgupta@research.bwh.harvard.ed  Website: http://guptalab.bwh.harvard.edu/

Project Description: This project is focused on understanding the role of novel genes in neuromuscular development and disease pathology. This is a research position that will involve cloning, bacterial cultures, mammalian cell culture, generation of transgenic zebrafish lines and performing small chemical screens to develop therapeutics. We are looking for a self-motivated and creative student to work in a team as well as independently. No prior research experience is required. Project Timeline: We are looking for a time commitment of a minimum of 10 hours/week for 6-12 months.
Skills Required: Previous experience with molecular biology or cell culture techniques would be great. However, students with no prior research experience are also encouraged to apply.
Learning Outcome: Research design, experimental skills, data analysis, research presentations, writing scientific papers.
Mentoring: Dr. Gupta will be mentoring students and will be meeting atleast once per week with students. Regular mentoring and training for new skills will be provided.
Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit.
Contact: Email your resume and research interests to Dr. Gupta at vgupta@research.bwh.harvard.ed

 

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Moulton lab, BIDMC Dept. of Rheumatology

We work ​in the Division of Rheumatology at BIDMC in the Longwood Medical Area.
We study autoimmune diseases (mainly Lupus), specifically molecular mechanisms underlying the role of T cells in disease - basic immunology research with a translational focus - human/patients and animal research.
This would be suitable for current juniors or seniors who are interested in conducting independent research during the school year and/or also during the summer.
his would be ideal for those who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine or research.

Funding: For this opportunity, we do not offer funding, and therefore the student would need to apply for Harvard funding such as HCRP (please contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more info at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu), and we would be happy to help in the application process.
Contact: Vaishali Moulton MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
3 Blackfan Circle, CLS-948, Boston, MA 02115, 617-735-4186, vmoulton@bidmc.harvard.edu

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunities in the Ploegh lab

PI: Dr. Hidde Ploegh, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Division of Molecular Biology, Department of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Hidde.ploegh@childrens.harvard.eduLab address: Karp family building, 6th floor

The Ploegh lab seeks to recruit motivated and talented undergraduates to be trained in laboratory and research skills by assisting experienced researchers in their ongoing efforts. The Ploegh lab offers a multidisciplinary research environment.  Undergraduate students would support projects focusing on post-translational protein modifications in disease, in vivo PET imaging of cancer, Ebola and HPV pathogenesis or cancer immunotherapy using CART cells. Prior research experience is preferred but not required. Students will learn how to perform biomedical research and be trained in relevant laboratory techniques.

Students will gain experience in study design, data analysis and scientific data presentation. Mentoring will be provided on a 1-on-1 basis from graduate and postdoctoral researchers. Number of hours as well as length of the project to be determined by mutual agreement.

Funding: The laboratory does not provide funds to pay undergraduate researchers. However, interested students are encouraged and supported to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or to register for a research course credit if applicable (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info).

Interested students should submit their CV and a brief statement of their research interests to simona.stella@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Undergraduate Research Position, Dr. Corey Lab, HMS

PI: Dr. David Corey, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

Within the inner ear are fast, sensitive receptor cells, working on a scale of microseconds and nanometers to convert the mechanical stimulus of sound into electrical signals that the brain can understand. In recent years, this process has become better understood, as many proteins involved in the submicroscopic mechanotransduction complex have been identified. If mutated, most of these proteins cause hereditary deafness. Our group in the Neurobiology Department at Harvard Medical School is working to understand the complex, with a combination of electrophysiology, 3D electron microscopy, biochemistry, and single-protein mechanics. We have an opening for one or two students to join this effort.

Specifically, we need to understand how the mechanotransduction proteins assemble into a functional complex. We use state-of-the-art biochemical and biophysical techniques such as biolayer interferometry, multi-angle light scattering, microscale thermophoresis and isothermal calorimetry, as well as more conventional methods like co-immunoprecipitation, to understand how different proteins interact with each other to form the mechanotransduction apparatus. Students will help us with DNA cloning, protein synthesis, and cell culture to generate a library of proteins. Students will then participate in the collection and analysis of biophysical and biochemical interaction data to generate an interaction model.

Interested candidates please email to Dr. David P. Corey at dcorey@hms.harvard.edu.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in the Henske Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, HMS
PI: Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) Henske, MD, Professor of Medicine

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Location: 45 Francis Street, Thorn Building, (Elevator D) Room 826, Boston, MA 02115
Website: https://www.henskelab.org/
Project Description: The Henske Laboratory is focused on the cell biology and biochemistry of rare genetic diseases, including Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). Dr. Henske is a medical oncologist who follows LAM and TSC patients in addition to directing a research laboratory. Our mission is to translate research discoveries into improved care as quickly as possible, to improve the lives of those affected by these devastating diseases. TSC is an autosomal dominant syndrome causing seizures, autism, and tumors of the brain, heart, kidney, skin, and lung. LAM is a destructive, progressive cystic lung disease that affects almost exclusively women and can lead to lung collapse and respiratory failure. LAM is caused by TSC2 gene mutations in benign tumor cells that metastasize to the lung. The TSC proteins inhibit the activity of the mammalian target of Rapamycin (mTOR) kinase.

Some of the research topics covered in the lab:
• Employing high-throughput screening methodologies to identify novel therapies for TSC and LAM.
• Developing relevant in vivo models that recapitulate the clinical manifestations of TSC and LAM
• Understanding how benign-appearing LAM cells metastasize to the lungs
• Understanding the role of estrogen in the female-predominance of LAM
• Studying how nutrients, such as lipids, glucose, and amino acids, are utilized by tumor cells that are deficient in the TSC2 protein
• Analyzing data sets from clinical trials in LAM

Links to published manuscripts and reviews describing our work:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27226234

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27753446
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28498820
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28512249
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25185584
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25780943
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24296756
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21746920

Skills required: Prior research experience preferred but not required.
Learning outcome: students will acquire skills in experimental design, experimental techniques, lab data analysis, presentations, and scientific writing. If warranted based on their contributions, students will be co-authors on scientific manuscripts.
Number of hours: negotiable
Mentoring: Mentoring will be primarily provided by postdoctoral fellows in the laboratory. The student will also have regular meetings with Dr. Henske, and attend weekly lab meetings and journal clubs and will have opportunities to present at the lab meetings and journal clubs.
Funding: The Laboratory does not have funds to pay student stipends, but students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info).
Please email your resume to Dr. Henske at (ehenske@bwh.harvard.edu) with a cover letter 
including a brief outline of your interests, goals, and anticipated time availability.

 

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH

Ziv Williams, Department of Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital. 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA
zwilliams@mgh.harvard.edu, http://zivwilliams.mgh.harvard.edu/

Our lab probes the mechanisms by which complex cognitive processes are computed by neurons in the mammalian brain, particularly focusing on questions involving social and group decision making. The projects in the lab use mice and monkeys as animal models for both normal and abnormal behavior. Depending on your specific interests, together we will decide which project is the best fit for the student. Your duties will primarily include animal care, running animal behavioral assays, collecting electrophysiological recording data, performing basic histology, and analyzing behavioral and neuronal data.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4364450/pdf/nihms668054.pdf

Skills required: Some background in animal behavior, cognitive sciences, and computer programming (Matlab, R, or Python) are helpful but not essential. No matter the amount of prior experience, we will work together to develop the student’s research skill set. The lab environment is relaxed, friendly, and very supportive; regardless of your assignment, the student will learn from other projects, as we interact and discuss on a daily basis.
Learning outcome: The student will learn to work with animals, data analysis, basic electronics, and programming. Additionally, the student will be expected to present at weekly lab meetings/journal clubs and give poster presentations or talks at undergraduate research days. If desired, the student will also have an opportunity to do his/her thesis project in the lab.
Number of hours: We expect the student to be in lab at least 10 hours per week, preferably in blocks of more than 3 hours, but this is flexible. The timeframe will depend on the project and its progress.
Mentoring: The student will be mentored primarily by Dr. Raymundo Baez, a post-doc, and William Li, an MD/PhD student. We will meet and discuss on a daily basis, and the student will have informal meeting with Ziv on a weekly basis.
Funding: We encourage students to apply to fellowships (such as HCRP, please contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info) for stipends as well as register for course credit.
Students will need to submit a resume and a short cover letter to Dr. Raymundo Baez at raymundobaez@gmail.com and William Li at wli29@mgh.harvard.edu.

 

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Dr. Joshi Lab, Wyss Institute at CLS
Prof. Neel Joshi, E-mail: neel.joshi@wyss.harvard.edu
Location: Wyss Institute at CLS (Longwood), Website: Joshi.hms.harvard.edu

Genetically programmable microorganisms will be used as platform to engineer hybrid systems with different inorganic nanomaterials. The goal of this project is to combine the functional properties of inorganics (i.e. conductivity, optical properties, etc.) with biological materials (sequence programmability, catalysis, etc.) in a platform suitable for scalable manufacturing. In particular, we are interested in repurposing the bacterial cell surface and its biofilm proteins as scaffolds for the assembly of various components in order to create hybrid materials with applications in catalysis, photosynthesis, and environmental remediation.

(1) Guo et al., Nature Nanotechnology, 2016, 11, 1105.

(2) Nguyen et al., Nature Communication, 2014, 3.

(3) Sakimoto et al., Science, 2016, 351, 74.

Skills required: No specific skills needed.
Learning outcome: Participation with cutting-edge research project, laboratory skills, research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc.
Number of hours: Around 3 months or longer required. 15 hours per week is expected.
Mentoring: Dr. Junling Guo and Dr. Miguel Suastegui will be the mentors for this project. Mentors and student(s) will be working together at the lab to ensure effective communication and safety.
Funding: Lab does not provide student stipend, but candidates are encouraged to apply for fellowships (ex. HCRP; contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info) and research course credit.
Please email to Prof. Neel Joshi and Dr. Junling Guo (Junling.Guo@wyss.harvard.edu) to apply for this position. Please send your CV and describe the reasons why you are interested in the project.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Radiology, MGH
PI: Hamid Sabet, 
Department of Radiology, Mass General Hospital. hsabet@mgh.harvard.edu
149 13th St, #5213, Charlestown 02129, http://gordon.mgh.harvard.edu/gc/people/faculty/hamid-sabet/

Description of the project and duties: In our imaging instrumentation lab, we focus development of high-performance and advanced radiation detectors by rigorously studying and addressing some of the fundamental obstacles of today’s imaging systems. One specific research area in our lab is fabrication of new category of radiation detectors using ultra short laser pulses for PET, SPECT, and CT imaging applications.
The current projects are:
- Development of high sensitivity and high resolution brain PET (includes detector design and fabrication and characterization, simulation studies, hardware integration, and image reconstruction)
- Development of sub-mm resolution small animal PET (includes hardware development, simulation studies, system modeling, and image reconstruction)
- New design for cardiac SPECT system (includes detector fabrication, collimator design and fabrication, system modeling, and image reconstruction)
- Development of scintillator-based photon counting CT detector (includes detector modeling, scintillator fabrication and characterization)
- Development of intraoperative positron+gamma probe for surgical applications (involves with detector fabrication, integration with electronics boards, testing)
- GPU programing and machine learning for performance optimization of detectors fabricated by using Laser-Induced Optical Barriers technique

Skills required: Other than logical thinking and enthusiasm, no other skill is required! Computer programing in MATLAB, LabVIEW, Python, etc is a plus. Students will learn all the necessary skills in the lab.
Learning outcome: Students will gain knowledge about nuclear medicine imaging modalities and will have chance to experiment with fundamental and high-end detector components of PET, and SPECT systems. They will also learn how to design an experiment or simulation, write manuscripts and research proposals.

Number of hours: As much as they are willing to work.
Length of the project: It depends on the project, some span over multiple years. If the student contributes to the project, his/her name will be added to the research paper(s) even if his/her time in the lab is finished and the project keeps ongoing.
Mentoring: The PI and current lab members will be helping the student to accomplish his/her work. Lab meetings and one-to-one meeting between the PI and the student will be held. But the PI's door is always open for any questions or concerns.
Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to HCRP or course credit (contact. Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info). Lab does not provide funds.
Email your resume to the PI and a small statement on why you would like to join the lab, and for how long. Also describe what your expectations are.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Pu Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital
PI information: William Pu, wpu@pulab.org, Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115,www.pulab.org
Project description: Research assistants will participate in projects in three main areas: (1) regulation of gene expression and transcription in cardiovascular development and disease, (2) cardiac regeneration, and (3) engineered tissue models of human heart disease. We use both genetically engineered mouse models and human induced pluripotent stem cells. The techniques that we use include molecular biology, bioinformatics, bioengineering, developmental biology, and cardiac physiology.
Skills required: A background in basic biology. Specific laboratory skills are not required.
Learning outcome: Research assistants will gain experience in many lab techniques and in the proper design and interpretation of experiments.
Commitment required: Negotiable.
Mentoring: Mentoring will primarily be by postdoctoral supervisors. This will occur on a daily basis.

Funding: Depends of level of experience and commitment.
Interested students should email wpu@pulaborg with a statement of interest, time commitment, and CV.

 

Undergraduate research opportunity in the Taute lab, Rowland Institute

PI: Dr. Katja Taute, Rowland Institute at Harvard
100 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge, MA 02142, www.tautelab.org                 

Bacteria show an amazing diversity in strategies for locomotion and chemotaxis, but only a small number of these are understood. Many involve propulsion using helical appendages called flagella that are rotated by a motor at their base. Number, shape, and location of the flagella vary between species for unknown reasons and with largely unknown consequences. The Taute lab studies novel bacterial motility strategies and aims to unravel the underlying physics and ecology.      

The successful candidate will contribute to revealing the mechanisms underlying motility and chemotaxis in a species with an unusual flagellar architecture. She/He will establish a flagellar tethering experiment to characterize the motor’s rotation behavior in wildtype and mutant strains.              

Skills required: Curiosity and enthusiasm for interdisciplinary science are a must. The following skills will be used in the project. It is expected that the candidate would bring along some of them and pick up the others: basic wet lab skills, bacterial culturing and handling, phase contrast microscopy, data acquisition, image analysis, Matlab programming, critical data analysis, interpretation, and presentation.
Learning outcome: laboratory skills as listed above, research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations
Number of hours: We are looking for a student willing to work 8-10 hours per week during the fall semester, ideally 1-2 sessions per week.
Mentoring: The PI will assume most the mentoring work directly, with occasional help from a postdoc. Typically, the undergrad will interact with the PI at least once per week, and data reviews will typically take place roughly once a month.
Funding: We encourage students to seek out mutually beneficial opportunities for course credit and external funding (Harvard fellowships: HCRP), but alternatively can provide a wage of $15/hr.

Candidates should email their CV, their transcript, and a statement of motivation to Katja Taute at taute@rowland.harvard.edu . What are your interests, why would you like to join the lab, what skills would you like to learn, and which do you bring along?
 

Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Diabetes and Metabolic Disease, Biddinger Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital/HMS

Sudha Biddinger MD/PhD, Department of Medicine/Boston Children’s Hospital, 16027 CLSB, www.biddingerlab.org

The student will participate in research on insulin signaling, metabolism, and diabetes.  This will include learning specific wet lab techniques (examples include Western blotting, cloning, real-time PCR, and lipid extraction), participating in lab meetings, and working with other team members.  Interested students will be given the opportunity to develop their own projects.  The overall goals will be to learn about diabetes research and ideally to co-author a publication.  

Skills required: Any molecular biology or computational skills are welcome, but not required.
Learning outcome: laboratory skills, research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc.
Number of hours: Negotiable.  Ideally we are looking for a student who will work with us over the course of 2-3 years.
Mentoring: You will be mentored on a daily basis by a senior graduate student or post-doc who will help you with the design and execution of your experiments, and then weekly with the PI, who will help with
Funding: Negotiable.
Please send an email describing any previous research experience, how much time you can commit, and what you hope to get out of this research experience (sudha.biddinger@childrens.harvard.edu).  If you have a CV handy, please send that as well. 

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dept. of Ophthamlology, Harvard Medical School
Dong Feng Chen, MD, PhD; Email: Dongfeng_chen@meei.harvard.edu
http://www.masseyeandear.org/research/investigators/c/chen-dong-feng
Molecular signals controlling retinal neuron and optic nerve regeneration
The student will be involved in using retinal neuron or progenitor cell cultures to examine for proteins or epigenetic compounds that affect the proliferation, differentiation, fate determination or neurite outgrowth. Candidate compounds will be further validated and studied in vivo using genetically modified mouse models. Thus, student may also be working with mice carrying defined genetic or epigenetic mutations to look for phenotypes of neural development or functional defects.


Skills required: Not required, but experience with cell culture or PCR preferred
Learning outcome: Laboratory and research skills, including study design, data analysis, cellular and molecular biology bench techniques, presentations, scientific writing.
Number of hours: negotiable
Mentoring: Instructor and postdoctoral fellows will be mentoring the student day to day, and weekly (or more frequent if desired) individual mentorship meeting
Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababkhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info).
Email your resume to Dr. Dong Feng Chen at
Dongfeng_chen@meei.harvard.edu
Contact information: Dong Feng Chen, MD, PhD; Email: Dongfeng_chen@meei.harvard.edu
Tel: 617-912-7490; Dept. of Ophthamlology, Harvard Medical School, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, 20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114

 

 

Undergraduate Research in Biomimetic Electronics

PI: Jennifer Lewis, Bioengineering Dept., jalewis@seas.harvard.edu; B176 Northwest Building, https://lewisgroup.seas.harvard.edu/

Biological sensory systems have evolved over millions of years to very efficiently evaluate complex stimuli and deliver pre-processed information to the brain. Integrating bio-inspired concepts in electronic sensor networks provides the possibility to create artificial sensor networks with unprecedented efficiency and capabilities. Previous work has included the development of organic, flexible pressure sensor systems that mimic the digital information coding in the brain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch2CNL5HBno&t=18s). An additional important characteristic of pressure sensors in biological skin is that their electrical response adapts to the stimulus over time. This adaptation is best implemented in artificial systems at the sensor level rather than in the electronics to minimize energy consumption. Toward this end, filament printing can be used to prepare composite materials with anisotropic mechanical and electrical characteristics. Due to viscoelastic deformation in the matrix materials, composites can be prepared that have different electrical responses to pressure in different directions, allowing the implementation of time-varying, adaptive characteristics.

Duties:
-
Prepare and characterize composite inks for filament printing (polymer matrix with conductive fillers such as metal nanoparticles, carbon nanomaterials, and conductive polymers)
- Print filaments of ink and measure anisotropic electrical and mechanical properties

Skills required: None
Learning outcome:
Laboratory skills: Fabrication using 3D printing; mechanical characterization using Instron tensile tester; electrical characterization using Keithley 2400
Research skills: Experimental design; data analysis and graph preparation using Origin; presentation preparation for meetings
Work expectations: ≥10 hours per week; length of project is variable; first project will take <1 year, but follow-up projects could extend for several years
Mentoring: mentoring and training will be done by Alex Chortos (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=iuFQkUkAAAAJ&hl=en). Mentoring process is flexible based on the preference of the student. Likely meetings could be every two weeks.
Funding: students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP for funding or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababkhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info).
Interested students should email their resume to Alex Chortos at achortos@seas.harvard.edu

 

Posted September 18, 2017

Clinical Research Data Analysis Intern, Anesthesia Department, Boston Children’s in Waltham

PI: Nadia Barakat, PhD (PI), Anesthesia Department, 781-216-1199 (lab number), located in Boston Children’s in Waltham, www.painandthebrain.org
Description of the project and duties: This research study is looking to investigate the effects of chronic pain on children with spinal cord injury (specifically myelitis). We implement advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques in order to do so. The research intern will work with our team and gain experience conducting various image analysis experiments. Responsibilities may include image analysis, data entry and statistical analysis. Please feel free to read the retrospective review to learn more about the challenges faced in imaging and treating patients with demyelinating diseases (PMID: 26509120).
Skills required: Programming experience required, experience with image processing applications preferred, proficiency in Microsoft Office suite required.
Learning outcome: Research skills such as study design, data analysis methods, presentations (if abstract accepted), scientific writing (abstracts, paper), etc.
Number of hours students are expected to work: At least 20 hours per week.
Length of the project: at least 1 year, somewhat flexible
Mentoring: Nadia Barakat (the PI) will be mentoring the student and she will be meeting with him/her weekly at the very least.
Funding: The lab does not provide any funds and the student is encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more info). The student must be receiving school credit for this internship.
What information students need to submit and contact information for submitting this information: Please submit a resume to spineimaging@childrens.harvard.edu (Subject line should read: “Last name: Internship”)

 

The Planetary Health Undergraduate Scholars Fellowship Program 2018

Planetary health is an interdisciplinary field focused on understanding and quantifying the human health impacts of the accelerating transformation of most of Earth’s natural systems including the climate system, land use and land cover, and marine systems (for more details, see here). We are excited to offer this fellowship opportunity sponsored by the Henry David Thoreau Foundation that will sponsor up to five scholars selected across a range of disciplines to 1) receive training in planetary health science; 2) travel to Madagascar to receive hands-on experience in planetary health research; and 3) learn how to create policy impact by preparing presentations, capstone reports, or policy briefs on the research undertaken in Madagascar. Our desire is that students from across the FAS campus engage in this fellowship program, including anthropology, African studies, computer science, ecology, environmental science, global health, economics, government, visual studies, medicine, and journalism.

The team of selected scholars will be advised by Dr. Christopher Golden, who is the Associate Director of the Planetary Health Alliance, a Research Scientist at the School of Public Health, and who has been working in Madagascar for the past 18 years investigating the intersection of environmental change and human health. During the Spring 2018 semester, the team will be conducting background research and preparing for the summer field research in Madagascar. The research will be challenge-oriented, allowing us to draw from each of our disciplinary backgrounds and create a cohesive approach to addressing a problem. Potential research topics include, but are not limited to: 1) fisheries management and food security in the Antongil Bay of Madagascar; 2) eco-epidemiology of malaria and other vector-borne diseases in Madagascar; 3) health system improvement and disease surveillance in Northeastern Madagascar; and 4) poultry interventions to solve the bushmeat crisis in Makira National Park. Through Dr. Golden’s long-term engagement with various governmental and non-governmental partners, we have the opportunity to make a real-world impact.

For a brief video synopsis of the work (and to see the beautiful area where you will be working!), please see National Geographic’s 3-minute video. For an introduction to the work of Madagascar Health and Environmental Research (MAHERY), and of our National Geographic blog series featuring an introduction to the program and the voices of our current fellows.

Requirements:
- Students must be 1st, 2nd or 3rd year students in FAS

- Students will be required to attend weekly meetings during the Spring Semester 2018
- Students are required to take ESPP 90D: An Introduction to Planetary Health
- Students will be required to attend a 4-week research trip to Madagascar during the summer of 2018 (likely June 1- July 1)
- Students will be required to complete a capstone project (including a presentation, original analysis, creative report/visual exhibition, press report, or policy brief) in the Fall semester 2019
- Students will be asked periodically to facilitate small on-campus projects with the Planetary Health Alliance

Benefits:
- Students will receive a $1,000 stipend for their trip to Madagascar
- Airfare (r/t to Madagascar will be covered)
- Lodging and group meal costs will be covered in Madagascar
- All local transportation in country will be covered
- Students will receive focused mentorship by Dr. Golden and the MAHERY team in the development of their capstone project

To apply: Please submit a 1 page cover letter and CV to Dr. Golden at golden@hsph.harvard.edu. The cover letter should include information about your disciplinary background, why you are interested in this fellowship, and how you hope to engage in planetary health science in the future. Questions? Please e-mail Dr. Golden.

Timeline:
Oct. 20, 2017 by 5pm: Applications due via e-mail
Oct. 30 – Nov. 17, 2017: In-person interviews
Nov. 22, 2017: Final decisions given to students

 

Clinical Research Experience Openings for Fall 2017, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute, McLean Hospital

The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI) at McLean Hospital is accepting applications for Student Visitors and/or Academic Credit Students interested in receiving clinical research training. The student will work with Martha Falkenstein, PhD, Jacob Nota, PhD. Jason Krompinger, PhD, and Jason Elias, PhD, members of the research and clinical staff and faculty in Harvard Medical School. The student will be a part of the OCDI’s ongoing clinical research examining mechanisms underlying OCD and related conditions, as well as the effectiveness of our intensive/residential cognitive behavioral treatment program. The OCDI’s research mission is to excel in naturalistic clinical research that will directly improve the effectiveness of treatment for OCD and related conditions. For more information about the type of work we do, please see: http://www.mcleanhospital.org/biography/jason-elias

This position would be an excellent fit for applicants interested in obtaining doctoral training in clinical or counseling psychology or psychiatry, and/or preparation for research assistant positions after graduation. Mentorship is an important part of our mission, and our previous students have been accepted into top graduate schools and earned authorship on presentations and papers.

Principal experiences include:

  • running the clinical participants through various study protocols
  • assisting in data management and archival data collection tasks related to the research program
  • assisting with literature searches, manuscript preparation, and presentations
  • participating in weekly research meetings. The student will meet with the principal investigators in both one-on-one and group formats

No prior research experience is required.

Time commitment of at least 8 hours per week is required. We are located at the North Belknap building on McLean’s campus, accessible via MBTA 73 bus or Fitchburg Line commuter rail to Waverley Square stop. McLean is a short walk or is accessible via the McLean shuttle.

Please note that we do not have the funds to pay students’ stipends and encourage students to apply for any relevant Harvard fellowships or register for research course credit (please contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more information about fellowships at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu).

To apply, please send CV/resume to: Martha Falkenstein, Ph.D. at mfalkenstein@mclean.harvard.eduWe will begin reviewing applicants for Fall semester immediately.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity to study the Evolutionary Ecology of Underwater Caves
PI: Professor Colleen Cavanaugh, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Supervisor: Postdoctoral Fellow Joey Pakes Nelson, pakes@fas.harvard.edu

Biolabs 2033, https://cavanaughlab.oeb.harvard.edu/

General description: In nutrient limited systems, such as dark caves in which landlocked marine layer flows beneath a freshwater layer, one would expect few animals to thrive. Yet, some extreme caves have inexplicably large biomasses of shrimp and members of the Remipedia, a rare crustacean class discovered in 1981. Why and what is feeding all of these animals? Microbes!!
Field and laboratory studies by Pakes Nelson combine both microbial and animal evolutionary ecology to better understand the evolution of communities and relationships between microbes and crustaceans in these systems. While the majority of her work focuses on largely inaccessible habitats across Mexico and the Caribbean, she has recently developed a project in United States freshwater cave systems. Combined, this research asks:

  1. What are the patterns and drivers of community structure in underwater caves?
  2. What fuels underwater cave communities?
  3. How do cave-adapted species and communities evolve?

Selected students may work on one of the following projects:

  1. Biogeography of cave crustaceans: This project uses molecular biology techniques and statistical analyses to ask questions like: What is the diversity of shrimp in Mexican caves? How did these lineages evolve and spread?
  1. DNA extraction, PCR, sequence generation for analysis of shrimp phylogeography and rates of dispersal.
  2. Work in excel, ArchGIS/GOOGLE EARTH, genbank and literature searches are likely. (The student may also learn phylogenetic and population genetic analyses.)
  1. Drivers of Anchialine Cave Community Structure:

While cave diving has only been popular since the 1970s and safe diving practices were not developed until much later, caves has been appreciated as biological hotspots since the Voyage of the Beagle. This project aims to combine early and recent research to answer questions about known caves like: Where are they? What geologic and chemical characteristics do they share? Who lives inside of them?

  1. Help us create and catalogue of cave communities using library science in person and on line.
  2. Then, mine data from these works and catalogue this knowledge in excel
  3. Finally, perform statistical analyses to test hypotheses about where we find the most biodiversity and why we see these patterns.

Skills needed:

  • For project 1: Life Sciences 1a or Life and Physical Science A or molecular biology experience are required.
  • For project 2: No experience is necessary, but familiarity with google scholar, pubmed or Hollis is a plus!
  • For all projects the following would be desirable, but is not essential:
    • Coursework covering: evolution, invertebrate biology, microbial diversity, biological oceanography, geochemistry, or ecology.
    • A background in one or more of the following: Excel, ArchGIS, Adobe product suite, programming languages (e.g., R, CS50 coursework), would be fantastic.

Time Commitment: 7-9 hours per week. This commitment includes at least 6 hours in lab, an hour of weekly meeting, and on certain weeks an hour to read literature or prepare new protocols at home.

Mentorship: Selected students will be trained by and work closely with Postdoctoral Fellow Joey Pakes Nelson, who received her AB at Harvard (Winthrop) and PhD at UC Berkeley. Techniques used in the laboratory are shared by many environmental, microbial and medical laboratories. Past students who have worked with Pakes Nelson have gone on to graduate school in biology, veterinary, and medical schools and co-authored publications. Most recently, her Harvard mentees have presented work at Harvard, Radcliffe, and international conferences! Mentees have private meetings with Pakes Nelson each week to discuss progress and goals. Undergraduates working in the lab are also encouraged to Cavanaugh Lab meetings to learn from other researchers in the laboratory and to practice presenting when ready!

If interested: Please send pakes@fas.harvard.edu an email with subject line “Interest in Undergraduate Research.” In the body of the email, please let me know why this research interests you and how your background might help our research team. In addition, please attach a transcript and CV to the email if they are available.
Funding: 
please contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more information about fellowships at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu.

More information about Pakes Nelson Research follows:
A video about Pakes Nelson dissertation research: 
http://ucmp.berkeley.edu/blog/archives/1731
An article about Pakes Nelson postdoctoral field work: http://tcweeklynews.com/experts-help-to-restore-tcis-caves-p6099-85.htm 

Publications:

Opel*, A, R Rotjan, C Cavanaugh, J Pakes Nelson**. (2017) The effect of coral restoration on Caribbean reef fish communities. Marine Biology. (Accepted with minor revisions)

Schwentner, M, DJ Combosch, J Pakes Nelson, G Giribet. (2017) Insect origins: A phylogenomic solution of crustacean–hexapod relationships. Current Biology. (Accepted with minor revisions)

Mambelli, S, PD Brooks, R Sutka, S Hughes, K Finstad, J Pakes Nelson, and TE Dawson (2016) High throughput method for simultaneous analysis of N, C and S stable isotopes and concentrations in organics and soils. Rapid Communication in Mass Spectrometry. 30:1743-1753.

Pakes, MJ, LM Mejía-Ortíz (2014) Chemosynthetic ectosymbiosis reported in the predatory anchialine cave endemic, Xibalbanus tulumensis (Remipedia). Crustaceana 87:1657-1667.

Pakes, MJ, AK Weiss*, L Mejia-Ortiz (2014) Arthropods have intracellular chemosynthetic symbionts, too: Cave study reveals an unusual symbiosis. Journal of Crustacean Biology 34:334-341.

Moritsch*, MM, MJ Pakes, DR Lindberg (2014) Does sea level change shape biodiversity patterns in the anchialine taxa, Remipedia and Atyidae. Organisms Diversity & Evolution 14:225-235.

Glenn*, DL, MJ Pakes, RL Caldwell (2013) Fluorescence in Arthropoda informs ecological studies in anchialine crustaceans, Remipedia and Atyidae.  Journal of Crustacean Biology 33:620-626.

Mejía-Ortíz, LM, M López-Mejía, MJ Pakes, RG Hartnoll, E Zarza-González (2013) Morphological adaptations to anchialine environments in five shrimp families (Barbouria yanezi, Agostocaris bozanici, Procaris mexicana, Calliasmata nohochi and Typhlatya pearsei). Crustaceana 86:578-93.

Pakes MJ & RM Woollacott (2008) Reproduction of the gorgonian, Plexaura flexuosa, in Bermuda. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 357:121-127.

N.B. I started working in coral reefs at Harvard as my thesis project supervised by RM Woollacott and given a love of these low-nutrient (oligotrophic) ecosystems, I recently jumped at the opportunity of advising A Opel’s coral reef undergraduate thesis! -JPN

 

Undergraduate Student Internships for 2018, Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics Imaging
http://csti.bwh.harvard.edu/
The Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics Imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA is seeking highly motivated undergraduate students interested in oncology research.
Our research is based on simultaneously targeting cell death and proliferation pathways in tumor cells in an effort to eradicate both primary and metastatic tumors in the brain using therapeutically engineered stem cells. We have engineered different adult stem cells types to release (i) pro-apoptotic proteins to specifically induce apoptosis in tumor cells; (ii) anti-proliferative nanobodies (ENb) to inhibit tumor cell proliferation; (iii) anti-angiogenic proteins to target blood vessels supplying the tumor; (iv) oncolytic viruses to induce viral oncolysis; and demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of these engineered stem cells both in vitro and in vivo. Inherently linked to our tumor therapy paradigm, we employ fluorescent/bioluminescent imaging markers and optical imaging techniques to track the fate of stem cells and tumor cells in real time in vivo. In an effort to translate these therapeutics into clinical settings, we have developed and utilized immuno-deficient and -competent mouse tumor models that mimic clinical settings of primary tumors and their secondary micro-invasive deposits in the brain.
We offer an excellent training program in a collaborative research environment including molecular biology, stem cell biology, gene delivery to brain tumors, and imaging disciplines. The student interns will be working under guidance from a postdoctoral fellow on a research project and will be supervised by the Principal Investigator leading the project.

Requirements: Applicants should be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program within the Greater Boston area, with experience in one or more of the following techniques: stem cell biology, gene cloning, viral vector construction and/or animal surgeries. The student interns are expected to commit at least 15-hours/week during regular academic year and apply for full-time summer internship. They will receive training in various scientific areas including but not limited to experimental design, conduct, data interpretation and analysis, writing scientific reports and manuscripts.
Interested candidates can email the Center Director, Dr. Khalid Shah with a copy of their most recent resume and two letters of recommendation at kshah@bwh.harvard.edu.
Location: Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department: Neurosurgery Research
Work Location: 60 Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115
Duration of Internship: 2 years
Funding: please contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more information about fellowships at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu.

 

Undergraduate research opportunity in skeletal development and bone homeostasis, HMS

Location: Harvard School of Dental Medicine, REB 3rd floor, 188 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA

Description of the project: We are currently offering an undergraduate research opportunity to investigate the role of Wnt canonical and non-canonical signaling cascades in skeletal development and bone homeostasis. WNT signaling is one of the most important developmental signaling pathways that controls cell fate decisions and tissue homeostasis. Not surprising, the last decade has provided abundant data implicating the WNT pathway also in bone development and in the regulation of bone mass. Indeed, rare human mutations together with gain-and loss-of-function approaches in mice have clearly demonstrated that flaws in this pathway lead to altered bone mass. WNT ligands function with an entourage of receptors, co-receptors, agonists and antagonists that either enable or prevent WNT signaling activation. The strength of WNT signaling lies in several feedback mechanisms that control proper signaling and thereby proper responses. Even though the WNT signaling cascade in bone has been studied intensively in recent years, not all key aspects of how it regulates bone mass are clear and mechanisms such as the function of specific WNT ligands, agonists and inhibitors or the
regulation of signaling specificity between different WNT cascades remain puzzling. Given that WNT signaling can be targeted for drug development, understanding how we can manipulate the different players within the WNT signaling pathways is a major focus for developing new anabolics for treating bone diseases associate with low bone mass and development defects. In particular, our work on the role of Wnt16 in skeletal homeostasis (Nature Medicine. 2014) is of great interest, in that it established that trabecular and cortical bone are differentially regulated. In addition, our most recent
work on Sfrp4 (a Wnt signaling antagonist) and skeletal homeostasis published on the New England Journal of Medicine, strengthen the hypothesis of a differential regulation of these two bone compartments by Wnt signaling. Ongoing studies on the role of Wnt16, Sfrp4 and Rspo3 (a potentiator of Wnt signaling) in skeletal homeostasis are part of the current focus of the lab on Wnt signaling and bone. These studies are currently supported by one NIH grant. 
Recent publications related to Wnt signaling:
1. Baron R. and Kneissel M. WNT signaling in bone homeostasis and disease: from human mutations to treatments. Nature Medicine, 19:179-192, 2013.
2. Movérare-Skrtic S., Henning P., Liu X., Nagano K., Saito H., Börjesson A.E., Sjögre K., Windahl S.H., Farman H., Kindlund B., Engdahl C., Koskela A., Zhang F., Eriksson E.E., Zaman F., Hammarstedt A., Isaksson H., Bally M., Kassem A., Lindholm C., Sandberb O., Aspenberg P., Sävendahl L., Feng J.Q., Tuckermann J., Tuukkanen J., Poutanen M., Baron R. Lerner U.H., Gori F., (Co-corresponding Authors) and Ohlsson C. Osteoblast-derived WNT16 represses osteoclastogenesis and prevents cortical bone fragility fractures. Nature Medicine. 2014; 20:1279-1288.
3. Gori F., (Corresponding Author), Lerner U., Ohlsson C., Baron R. A new WNT on the bone: WNT16, cortical bone thickness, porosity and fractures. Bonekey Rep. 2015; 13;4:669. doi: 10.1038/bonekey.
4. Simsek Kiper PO, Saito H, Gori F (Co-First Author), Unger S, Hesse E, Yamana K, Kiviranta R, Solban N, Liu J, Brommage R, Boduroglu K, Bonafé L, Campos-Xavier B, Dikoglu E, Eastell R, Gossiel F, Harshman K, Nishimura G, Girisha KM, Stevenson BJ, Takita H, Rivolta C, Superti-Furga A, Baron R (Co-corresponding Author). Cortical bone fragility insights from SFRP4 deficiency in Pyle’s disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016. 2016; 374(26):2553-62.

Learning outcomes: The successful candidate will be involved in exploring the role of Wnt cascades in skeletal  homeostasis, in particular she/he will be working with mouse models of gain- and loss-of-function of the Wnt signaling. Given that this project requires both in vivo and in vitro studies, the candidate will gain expertise in mouse genetics, cell and molecular biology. The work performed in the lab will provide the candidate with technical and intellectual skills required to address important hypotheses using molecular, cellular and in vivo approaches and to eventually develop an independent research program at an academic institution. Importantly, the candidate will be in contact with researchers in the division at the bench and beyond. We, in fact, have weekly journal clubs and data meetings presented by postdocs and Ph.D. students in the division. The candidate will be also asked to present her/his work. In addition, we have monthly bone research meeting with the accomplished investigators in the field of bone development and skeletal homeostasis from greater scientific communities of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Mentoring: The candidate will be directly supervised by Dr. Gori and will work in a very dynamic lab which currently includes 4 postdocs, 3 Ph.D. students, 1 HSDM undergraduate student and 3 research assistants. Dr. Gori will be meeting with the candidate as much as it is needed. These interactions will be focused on experimental design, data analysis, review of the work, constructive discussion on the next step to take and scientific writing. 
Skills required: Research experience in cell and molecular biology is a plus but it is not required. 
Time: The candidate is expected to be in the lab at least 3 times a week, 3 to 4 hs/day. However, this time is negotiable and will depend on the candidate’ duties with the school deadlines (exams and finals). 
Funding: Unfortunately, at this time, the lab cannot provide any funds to pay student’s stipend. Students are, therefore, encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information on fellowships).
Investigators: Francesca Gori, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Bone and Mineral Research, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, francesca_gori@hsdm.harvard.edu and Roland Baron, Ph.D., DSS, Professor, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, roland_baron@hsdm.harvard.edu
Please email your resumes and contact information to Dr. Gori at francesca_gori@hsdm.harvard.edu

 

 

Posted September 7, 2017

Characterization of the neuronal mechanisms that regulate reproductive function and metabolism, BWH

PI: Dr. Victor M Navarro. Medicine (Endocrinology), BWH 221 Longwood Ave, Boston Tel: +1 617 525 6566|Fax: +1 617 582 6193|Email: vnavarro@bwh.harvard.edu Lab website: http://navarrolab.bwh.harvard.edu

Our lab focuses on the identification of new central factors and the characterization of their mechanism of action in the control of reproduction and metabolism. In particular, we are interested in the hypothalamic Kiss1 and GnRH neurons using a number of genetic mouse model and viral delivery approaches. The student involved in this project will be in charge of the study of one of our potential gene candidates to play this regulatory role. He or she will be involved in the development and maintenance of mouse colonies, performing anatomical and expression studies of gene and protein expression in the brain (PCR, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, etc) combined with stereotaxic injections of viral constructs to modify the expression of targeted genes. Characterization of a number of biological parameters that define reproductive and metabolic functions will be required (e.g. fertility assessments, monitoring of puberty onset, body weight, food intake, etc). The student will be expected to work in collaboration with other members of the lab but in an independent manner. He/she will be encouraged to present their data at local and regional meetings, analyze their data and prepare them for publication.
Skills required: No skills required. Ability to work with live mice.

Learning outcome: The student that joins our lab is expected to acquire knowledge of neuroanatomy and physiology of the neuronal networks that govern the endocrine system. They will gain experience in the handling of mice and maintenance of animal colonies as well as in the performing of experimental protocols, including collection of samples, analyses of these samples and interpretation and presentation of the data.
Number of hours: Negotiable
Mentoring: The student will be mentored by myself and senior postdocs in the lab. Weekly meetings will be held.
Funding: No stipend is provided so the student is encouraged to apply for fellowships.
To apply, email your resume to vnavarro@bwh.harvard.edu

 

Undergraduate research opportunity, Priolo Laboratory, Department of Medicine/Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Priolo Laboratory within the Department of Medicine/Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, is currently recruiting motivated undergraduate students to participate in translational research activities in the field of oncology.

Dr. Priolo’s research program focuses on the identification of novel therapeutic targets and metabolic imaging biomarkers in mTOR-driven proliferative diseases, including genitourinary and lung cancer, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), and pulmonary Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM).

The undegraduate should have an interest in Medical Science, Molecular Biology, and/or Biochemistry.  We seek creative and passionate team players, who will contribute to a fun and highly interactive work environment. Training and mentorship will be provided by Dr. Priolo and her team. 

The candidate will work closely with Dr. Priolo and collaborators on research projects that include mammalian cell culture, dissection of signaling pathways, RNAi, metabolomic analyses and metabolic assays, non-coding RNA, mouse models, and positron emission tomography–based imaging.

To apply, please submit your curriculum vitae to Carmen Priolo (carmen_priolo@dfci.harvard.edu), along with the name and email address of two references.

 

 

Undergraduate research opportunities in the study of brain-immune interactions in neurodevelopment, Bilbo Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital/HMS
PI: Staci Bilbo, PhD, Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Lurie Center for Autism, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Contact:
sbilbo@mgh.harvard.edu, http://bilbolab-harvard.org
Project: The Bilbo Lab focuses on the study of neuroimmune interactions in brain development, using pre-clinical models. We collaborate with clinical research groups to translate our findings to human populations. We are particularly interested in the role of immune molecules in both normal and disrupted brain development, based on evidence from human and animal studies that immune system dysfunction or inflammation may be critical in neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, cognitive and mood disorders, and autism. A particular focus is on the resident immune cells of the brain, microglia, including their development and function in response to early life inflammatory signals.

We are recruiting undergraduate scholars to get involved with several aspects of our projects aimed at determining the role of neural-glial and neural-immune interactions in brain and behavioral outcomes, including cellular and molecular analyses of microglial function, behavioral analyses in rodent models, and the processing and analysis of data for collaborative clinical (human) studies at the Lurie Center for Autism.  There will also be many opportunities for interacting with and shadowing clinicians at the Lurie Center, one of the largest clinical care centers for Autism and related disorders in the world.
Skills Required:  Wet lab skills in molecular biology (e.g. qPCR, ELISA, Westerns) are preferred but not required.  An understanding, respect, and acceptance of the use of live animals in research is absolutely required.
Learning outcomes:  Students will learn skills in rodent handling and behavior, and in cellular, molecular, cell culture, and microscopy techniques, and will have the opportunity to present at lab meetings and/or conferences, and to gain authorship on manuscripts as warranted.
Hours: A commitment if ~8 hours/week for at least 2 semesters is preferred.  The lab is in the Charlestown Navy yard campus, building 114.  A free shuttle from MGH main campus runs every 15 min.
Mentoring: The Bilbo lab consists of many postdoctoral fellows, students, technicians, and undergraduate researchers.  We are very much a team, and mentoring and teamwork are key components of our lab culture.  The student will be closely mentored by an assigned postdoctoral fellow, in addition to the overall team approach, and will meet weekly with Dr. Bilbo.  There are weekly lab meetings on Thursdays at 3:30, for which the student is encouraged to attend (but not required). 
Funding: Positions are for academic credit or volunteers.  Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP/PRISE  for funding (contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more info about funding at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu), and we are happy to help with the preparation of applications.
To apply:  Please send CV and cover letter briefly explaining why you would like to get involved in research to sbilbo@mgh.harvard.edu.
 

 

 

Improving the immune response to tuberculosis infection: undergraduate research opportunity, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
PI: Suzanne Gaudet, Assistant Professor of Genetics

Lab location: Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Smith Building rm 834
Tuberculosis continues to be a devastating disease killing over 1 million people per year worldwide. Interestingly, most individuals can fight off infection without the need of medical intervention. What is different about the immune response in those that can and can’t fight TB? We are attempting to answer this question by investigating activation of critical immune pathways in individual cells during early infection to determine what attributes are most beneficial to killing TB. This work will aid the development of new treatments directed at initiating an improved immune response.

Undergraduates will be paired with a postdoc in the lab to perform tissue culture, microscopy, and molecular biology experiments and will have the opportunity to develop independent projects. The student will be given full responsibility of a small project and will be encouraged to work on the project as independently as possible. This will include reading applicable literature, designing experiments, performing quantitative analysis, and presenting findings at lab meetings. Additionally, the student will provide assistance to their post-doc mentor providing exposure to additional experimental techniques.

Applicants must have completed at least one biology lab course. Students will be expected to work a minimum of 6 hours per week in the lab and preferably will commit to working in the lab first and second semester. Some research funds are available for the student’s stipend; students are still encouraged to apply to HCRP/PRISE (contact Dr. Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for information about fellowships) and students interested in doing research for course credit are also encouraged to apply. Interested students should submit a resume, including a list of all science courses previously taken and currently enrolled, and a short cover letter describing their interest in the project to Suzanne Gaudet (suzanne_gaudet@hms.harvard.edu).
 

 

Undergraduate research opportunity, Vascular Biology Program and Department of Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital
Principal Investigator: Joyce Bischoff, PhD
Affiliation: Vascular Biology Program and Department of Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. 
Contact:
joyce.bischoff@childrens.harvard.edu
Lab location: Karp Family Research Building,  12th floor, 1 Blackfan Circle
Lab website: http://www.childrenshospital.org/research-and-innovation/research/labs/bischoff-laboratory

Description of the project and duties:
Project 1 – Identifying somatic and germline variants that drive vascular tumor growth (Ref1)
Project 2 – Deciphering how mutations in GNAQ (encodes Gα-q) cause capillary malformations in Sturge-Weber syndrome (Ref2)
Project 3 -  The role of endothelial cells in mitral valve adaptation after myocardial infarction (Ref3).
Skills required: Routine laboratory skills and familiarity with standard biochemical and molecular techniques (e.g. cell culture, western blots, PCR) would be beneficial. 
Learning outcome: Students will learn about diseases that are driven by mutations and/or externally driven alterations endothelial cells – the cells that line all blood vessels and the heart and heart valves through lab presentations, experimentation and data analysis and presentation. 
Number of hours students are expected to work: negotiable
Mentoring: Students will be supervised by one of the post-doctoral fellows in the lab. Meetings between PI and student arranged as needed
Funds: Lab does not provide funding, students will need to obtain funding to cover the stipend through Harvard fellowships such as HCRP/PRISE (contact Dr. Babakhanyan for more information about fellowships at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu) or register for a research course credit.
Please email your resume/CV to Dr. Joyce Bischoff at joyce.bischoff@childrens.harvard.edu. Include information about the time frame you are available (i.e. semester, summer)
1.         Boscolo E, and Bischoff J. Vasculogenesis in infantile hemangioma. Angiogenesis. 2009;12(2):197-207.
2.         Huang L, Couto JA, Pinto A, Alexandrescu S, Madsen JR, Greene AK, et al. Somatic GNAQ Mutation is Enriched in Brain Endothelial Cells in Sturge-Weber Syndrome. Pediatr Neurol. 2017;67:59-63.
3.         Bischoff J, Casanovas G, Wylie-Sears J, Kim DH, Bartko PE, Guerrero JL, et al. CD45 Expression in Mitral Valve Endothelial Cells After Myocardial Infarction. Circ Res. 2016;119(11):1215-25.

 

 

Undergraduate research opportunity, Psychosis Neurobiology Laboratory, McLean Hospital
PI: Mei-Hua Hall, Ph.D.
Psychosis Neurobiology Laboratory
Mailstop 315, Admissions Building, Room S338, McLean Hospital
115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478 Tel: 617-855-3632
http://www.mcleanhospital.org/research-programs/psychosis-neurobiology-laboratory

Our study aims use a computerized cognitive training program for patients with schizophrenia with the goal of improving certain cognitive functions (such as memory and attention) and psychosocial outcomes. This project is finishing up and data need to be analyzed. If a student wants to examine whether cognitive training enhances attention or other cognitive function in patients, they can take part of the data as a project. I attached a consent form of this study which project overview of the study.
Skills: Student will need to have good statistical/quantitative skills to deal with longitudinal data and organization skills to organize database and perform analysis.
Learning outcome: Student will be able to lean clinical research study design, data analysis method, presentation, database, neurophysiology and cognition, scientific writing.
Number of hours: The number of hours is negotiable. However, this project is more applicable for someone who wants to take it as a senior thesis project.
Mentoring: Dr. Hall will be mentoring the student; lab postdoc may also help with mentoring the student.
Funding: No funding is available to pay student’s stipend. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships (contract Dr. Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu to obtain more information about Harvard undergraduate research fellowships).
To apply: Students who are interested in this project can send email to me with his/her CV and a letter. I will conduct a skype interview with the student to determine whether there is a good match.

 

 

Undergraduate Position at the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Deep Learning, Massachusetts General Hospital

The Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation is looking for undergraduate students who are interested in research at the intersection of data science and medicine and developing programs and algorithms that improves quality and safety of patient care. It is a unique opportunity to be exposed to the cutting-edge technologies in artificial intelligence and deep learning in the context of healthcare while working with a team of passion-driven researchers from diverse backgrounds.

PI name Synho Do, PhD
Department Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Contact information: Sehyo Yune, MD, MPH, MBA, Research Translation Manager: sehyo.yune@mgh.harvard.edu
25 New Chardon St. 4 th Floor, Boston, MA, 02114 Tel) 617-643-0264

Duties

The student research assistant will actively play an important role to build essential components of the ongoing projects; 1) digitalized big and high quality raw data repositories, 2) fast pre-processing and robust data retrieval system from secure storage, 3) create intelligent algorithm to find an association map with self-learning capability, and 4) actionable information extraction and visualization of information.

Skills required No prior research experience is required. Computer programming skills using Python and/or experience with Tensorflow is preferred. Strong accountability and ability to work in a dynamic team environment is desired.

Learning outcome 1) Technical skills; utilizing deep learning in analyzing medical images to create algorithms that will benefit in patient care, various data analysis methods, study design skills. 2) General skills; scientific writing, teamwork, communication, etc.

Number of hours and duration of the position Negotiable.

Mentoring: The student will receive direct supervision and mentoring from the PI and will work closely with other members of the team.

Funds: Students are encouraged to seek funding sources such as HCRP (contact Dr. Babakhanyan for questions regarding funding at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu). We may consider funding for students with demonstrated strong technical skills and significant experience.

Sample Projects:

Brain Hemorrhage Diagnosis Intracranial hemorrhage is the most important and emergency condition to be detected from brain CT scan. As timely diagnosis is a critical prognostic factor, even a small bleeding needs immediate attention. Our deep-learning based system automatically detects and classifies intracranial hemorrhage, enabling prioritization of radiologist reading and preventing delay in diagnosis and treatment.

Mammographic Cancer Detection Despite being the gold standard for breast cancer screening, mammography has shown unsatisfactory sensitivity of 85-90% for breast cancer detection, and there has been long efforts to increase its performance using computer-aided diagnosis (CAD). [2] Our team is working on a deep-learning-based CAD system to consistently classify breast density and detect breast cancer more effectively.

Chest X-ray Screening We are developing a chest x-ray screening system that can detect conditions common in the underserved areas, such as pulmonary tuberculosis and pneumonia. This deep-learning-based system will enable community health workers to better understand the test result and make timely decisions regarding treatment of patients in critical conditions.

Beyond Imaging We are expanding the scope of research and exploring new areas such as care management, care coordination, financial management, operations, and equipment optimization for AI-based analyses of medical images.

Please refer back to our recent publications:
1. Cho J, Lee E, Lee H, Liu B, Li X, Tajmir S, Sahani D, Do S. Machine Learning Powered Automatic
Organ Classification for Patient Specific Organ Dose Estimation. Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine. Pittsburgh, PA; 2017.
2. Lee H, Tajmir S, Lee J, Zissen M, Yeshiwas BA, Alkasab TK, Choy G, Do S. Fully Automated Deep Learning System for Bone Age Assessment. J Digit Imaging. 2017 Aug;30(4):427-441
3. Lee H, Rogers J, Cho J, Daye D, Mishra V, Choy G, Tajmir S, Lev M, Do S. Machine Intelligence for Accurate X-ray Screening and Read-out Prioritization: PICC Line Detection Study. Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine. Pittsburgh, PA; 2017.

Learn more by visiting our website at lmic.mgh.harvard.edu
If interested, please send your resume and cover letter to Dr. Sehyo Yune at sehyo.yune@mgh.harvard.edu 

 

 

Posted September 5, 2017

Undergraduate research/thesis opportunity using MRI and brain stimulation, Dr. Halko, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
PI name: Mark Halko, PhD, mhalko@bidmc.harvard.edu. Instructor of Neurology, Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. http://tmslab.org/
Location: The Berenson-Allen Center is located in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Research study visits take place at the Harvard University Center for Brain Science Neuroimaging Facility (Northwest Building) in Cambridge, MA.
Description of the project: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an emerging technology for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric illnesses. Recent interest has shifted to the cerebellum, where initial promising therapeutic investigations have been made in diseases such as schizophrenia and ataxia. Despite these developments, the understanding of which parameters are best suited to stimulate the cerebellum remains a mystery. This project involves magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and three different stimulation intensities to understand the relevant dose parameters of repetitive cerebellar stimulation. We apply repetitive TMS to the cerebellum to impact networks associated with attention, and observe the neuropsychological impact upon attention, relating parameters of stimulation to brain activity acquired from MRI and psychological behavior. Simultaneous acquisition of attentional metrics will investigate of the dose-response relationship between stimulation and networks and stimulation and cognition, allowing for optimization of cerebellar stimulation protocols for effective therapeutic intervention.
Students will assist in performing MRI scans and TMS. Depending on computer proficiency and analysis skills, there is also the opportunity to participate in data analysis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28495634
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27251628
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25186750

Skills required: No prior research experience is required as training will be provided. Background in psychology or neuroscience; and basic knowledge of UNIX, programming, and statistics preferred.
Learning outcome: This position offers extensive research experience and opportunity for a thesis project. Students will become trained in operating the MRI machine; and gain familiarity in human subjects and neuroimaging research, and noninvasive brain stimulation.
Number of hours and length of stay are negotiable, but 5+ hours a week expected.
Mentoring: Mentoring will be provided by regular meetings with Mark Halko and the neurologist on the study team. The student also has the opportunity to join meetings and research talks (rounds) at the Berenson-Allen Center/BIDMC and Longwood Medical Area.
Funding: This is a volunteer position. Students are encouraged to apply for HCRP and other Harvard Research Fellowships or obtain a research or thesis course credit (email Dr. Anna Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information about Harvard undergraduate fellowships for research).
To apply: Please email your resume and a short cover letter to Mark Halko, mhalko@bidmc.harvard.edu.

 

Undergraduate student intern position, Greka Lab, BWH/Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Our laboratory has a strong interest in the biology of ion channels and calcium signaling, with the goal to harness our foundational work in this space for the development of novel precision medicine therapeutics.
We are currently focused on rare, genetically defined kidney diseases, for which there is tremendous unmet need. We ultimately hope to use the transformative potential of this work to also address areas of unmet need in highly prevalent, hard-to-treat diseases affecting millions of people worldwide, including the modern epidemic of diabetic kidney disease.
Recent efforts in our lab were focused on Transient Receptor Potential channels (TRP) as regulators of actin dynamics and cell motility. Our work uncovered TRPC5 and TRPC6 as calcium influx pathways regulating the activity of the RhoGTPases Rac1 and RhoA.
We were also recently successful in translating our insights from TRPC5 biology into a targeted approach for kidney disease therapeutics. Our work revealed the calcium-permeable TRPC5 channel as a key mediator of proteinuric kidney disease. We also showed that genetic deletion or inhibition of TRPC5 protects the kidney filter.
Significant effort in the laboratory is also directed toward understanding the mechanisms linking calcium signaling to disrupted cellular metabolism, with important connections to the modern epidemic of obesity and diabetes.
Harnessing the highly interdisciplinary nature of our team at Harvard Institutes of Medicine and the Broad Institute, students, postdoctoral fellows and staff scientists on our team bring their unique expertise in ion channel biophysics, pharmacology, cell biology, genomics, biochemistry, imaging, in vivo studies and computational biology to solve complex scientific problems.
No prior lab experience is required, but a strong motivation to be a team player, and to assist in hands-on experiments under direct supervision from graduate students or post-docs are a must! Funding from HCRP is desirable (email Dr. Anna Babakhanyan at ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information about Harvard undergraduate fellowships for research).
Please send resumes and inquiries to agreka@bwh.harvard.edu or agreka@broadinstitute.org
For more information, please visit our website: http://grekalab.bwh.harvard.edu

 

 

Undergraduate Research in Human Trafficking Research, Dr. Stoklosa, Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School

PI: Hanni Stoklosa, Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Womens Hospital.
https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/66391

The Division of Women’s Health Training Programs are designed to create and develop the next generation of leaders in medicine, policy and clinical and academic research fields. Our research trainees receive a wide variety of skills and experiences. They collect valuable knowledge as they assist in an ongoing research project, participate in division events, attend one-on-one meetings with a supervisor/mentor, and complete projects and publications by the end of their training program. They should come away with not only a comprehensive knowledge of the project they have assisted with but also with a skill set which can be applied to future research. The focus of your training will be global women’s health research, specifically focused issues around human trafficking, from the local to the international level.

As a non-lab trainee, your work will focus on research and writing. We expect that at the end of your experience with us you will have gained knowledge about not only our specifics research topic, but also global women’s health research as a whole, and how to present those finding to a wide audience. Most importantly, you should complete your training having gained the following skills and abilities:

  • Ability to analyze large amounts of information to find what is important/relevant, and quickly;
  • Ability to comprehend and interpret both empirical and analytical data;
  • Learned how to conduct literature reviews/searches;
  • Ability to evaluate topics and design research studies;
  • Ability to build off of what you are learning, to create new questions and ideas;
  • Demonstrating an ease with engaging other professionals;
  • Ability to communicate easily and skillfully with the survivor community; &
  • Effectively communicate with the team members and supervisors.

By the completion of your experience, you should complete your assigned projects on your particular research topic which you will present to your supervisor; you will also have a final meeting with your supervisor to discuss what you have learned and what you will take away from the experience.
Skills required. no prior research experience is required
Learning outcome: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc. (depends on the project)
Number of hours: negotiable
Mentoring:  Dr. Stoklosa will be mentor, mentor meetings every other week
Funding: We do not provide funding. Students are encouraged to volunteer, register for research course credit or apply to the HCRP or other Harvard fellowships (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information)
To Apply: Please email your resume and writing sample to Dr. Stoklosa HSTOKLOSA@BWH.HARVARD.EDU

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Wang’s Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Dr. Xin Wang, Director, Neuroapoptosis Drug Discovery Laboratory
Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School
60 Fenwood Ave. Longwood, MA
http://researchfaculty.brighamandwomens.org/BRIProfile.aspx?id=211

My lab focuses on the identification of candidate therapeutics and potential targets as well as biomarkers for neurological disorders including Stroke, newborn hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Another main interest concerns the molecular and cellular apoptotic mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases, because a greater understanding will help in the development of new therapies that act on disease genes.

Link to published manuscripts describing the work:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28796402
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27731352
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26031348
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25986728
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24553937
Skills required: Prior research experience preferred but not required.
Learning outcome: students will acquire lab skills, study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, possibility to co-author original scientific paper and review article
Number of hours: negotiable
Mentoring: Dr. Xin Wang, Dr. Bharati Sinha, Dr. Robert Luo
Funding: No funds but students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information)
To Apply: Please email your resume to Dr. Xin Wang at xwang@rics.bwh.harvard.edu

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Hoffman Lab

Hoffman lab is looking for a student to participate in the synthesis of novel quantum materials for atomically-resolved imaging experiments. We use molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to assemble new materials one atomic layer at a time, so we can create combined "heterostructures" with exotic electronic properties not found in nature. We are seeking a student who can help us with several tasks:
(1) automation of MBE processes such as temperature control, shutter manipulation (skills to be developed: learn the basic principles of MBE, learn LabVIEW & other instrument communication protocols)
(2) design and build a "vacuum suitcase" for transferring samples cleanly from one experiment to another (skills to be developed: computer-aided design (CAD), vacuum and pumping technology)
Successful completion of these tasks would naturally lead to direct involvement in our more fundamental scientific endeavors, such as growth and scanning tunneling microscope (STM) imaging of LaVO3/SrVO3 heterostructures, which we speculate may be strongly correlated topological insulators.

* minimum 10 hr/week commitment for one semester
* longer-term commitment desired
* requires strong motivation & independent drive, but no prior experience
* day to day mentoring by Jason Hoffman
* weekly group meeting w/ Jenny Hoffman
* eligible for course credit (Physics 90r) or $11/hr funding from HCRP (deadline Wed, Sept 13 2017. C
ontact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information)
* please email CV (including coursework & any relevant experience), along with brief motivation for pursuing the work to Prof. Jenny Hoffman <jhoffman@physics.harvard.edu> and Dr. Jason Hoffman <jasonhoffman@fas.harvard.edu>

 

Undergraduate research opportunity, Martino Imaging Center, MGH
PI: Dr. Rajiv Gupta, MGH radiology. Lab is at 149 13th street, Charlestown, MA.
Project overview: The student would be working with a team of doctors, engineers, and scientists from MGH, MIT, HMS, and NASA to develop a portable computed tomography (CT) imaging system for use in rural communities, battlefields, and extended space missions. The student would focus on the electrical and mechanical design challenges. Some of the relevant IP from our group can be found here, here, here, and here.
Required skills: some background in engineering or physics is required. Candidate should also have some familiarity with electronic circuits, soldering, and MATLAB. Image processing, machining, and computer-aided design (CAD) skills are desirable, but not required.

Learning outcome: Working in our group, the student would become familiar with medical x-ray systems, circuit design, and other areas of engineering and medical research. The student would have the opportunity to shadow Dr. Gupta in the Radiology department at MGH.
Hours are flexible, but we want at least 10 hours per week. Preference will be given to student who are interested in working with our group for 2 or more semesters, possibly towards the completion of a thesis or academic paper.
Mentoring: the student would work closely with Avilash Cramer, a Harvard-MIT medical engineering PhD student in our group.
Funding: we can provide funding for a student stipend.
Interested students should send a resume to avilash@mit.edu, and arrange an interview. Students should also provide names and details of 1-3 references.

 

Undergraduate/Graduate Research Opportunity, Department of Ophthalmology (Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology), Harvard Medical School

PI: Michael S. Gilmore, Ph.D.; Sir William Osler Professor, Department of Ophthalmology (Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology), Harvard Medical School.
Website: http://gilmorelab.com/ Contact: michael_gilmore@meei.harvard.edu
Location: Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary (MGH Campus), immediately adjacent to Charles/MGH red line
Project Description: Prof. Gilmore is PI of the NIH/NIAID supported Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance. The goal of that program is to understand underlying mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, and to derive new approaches for preventing and treating multidrug resistant infection. Under this umbrella there are several projects currently being pursued. Some utilize genomic technologies for identifying key properties of multidrug resistant microbes, such as the enterococci and staphylococci, that allow them to persist in the hospital environment, be transmitted to patients, infect, cause disease, and resistant antibiotic treatment. These incorporate elements of bacterial genomics, pathogenesis, human ecology, bacterial metabolism and cell structure, origins, evolution and other fields. A current area of substantial interest is understanding the nature, origins and flow of antibiotic resistance among members of the genus Enterococcus. This work recently found that intrinsic resistance to many antimicrobials and disinfectants appears to have paralleled the emergence of life from the sea (Tracing the Enterococci from Paleozoic Origins to the Hospital. Lebreton F, Manson AL, Saavedra JT, Straub TJ, Earl AM, Gilmore MS. Cell. 2017 May 18;169(5):849-861.). Follow on studies involve collaborating with extreme adventurers and others to obtain samples suspected of harboring enterococci from remote and unsampled environments, unperturbed by human activity. So far this has resulted in the identification of at least 20 new species, which we examine for genes related to the resistances and other traits we now find in strains of enterococci from hospital infection. Other studies use genetic approaches, such as Tn-seq and conventional mutagenesis, to identify properties of enterococci and staphylococci that limit the effectiveness of antibiotics, with a view toward deriving new drugs that circumvent those obstacles.
Skills required: Students should be familiar with basic laboratory methods, including preparing and dispensing solutions in large and small quantities, basic chemistry and biology, and keeping an accurate research notebook. Students will work under the daily supervision of postdoctoral research associates, and will meet with the PI weekly to discuss results and identify new directions.
Learning Outcome: Students acquire skills and knowledge for safely culturing and manipulating antibiotic resistant bacteria, a detailed understanding of the antibiotic resistance problem, an understanding of bacterial genomics and evolution, and basic skills needed to conduct research in molecular biology and genomics, such as data acquisition, bioinformatic analysis, scientific writing and data presentation.
Time Commitment: The benefit to the student, and to the laboratory, are generally a function of the amount of time invested in the project. This varies according to each student’s availability and goals, but requires a plan that has clear potential to make a meaningful impact on the research project, and to generate an experience or product of value to the student.
Funding: Students are encouraged to seek fellowship support through HCRP and other resources(contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information).
Getting started: Email your CV to Prof. Gilmore (michael_gilmore@meei.harvard.edu) with a brief outline of your interests, goals, and anticipated time availability.

 

Human Thyroid Cancers Preclinical and Translational Research Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School

PI: Carmelo Nucera, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School
Principal Investigator Human Thyroid Cancers Preclinical and Translational Research
Program, Specialist in Endocrine Diseases and Metabolism
Division of Experimental Pathology, Department of Pathology
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Simon C. Fireman Research Center, Harvard Medical School
99 Brookline Avenue, Office Room: RN-0270A, Boston (MA) 02215, USA
Email 1: cnucera@bidmc.harvard.edu Office-Phone: 617-667-5964 Lab-Phone: 617-667-1696

My laboratory is open to accept undergraduate students for cancer research. I'm genuinely dedicated to mentor undergraduate students and advancing translational Thyroid Cancer Research and non-coding RNA-based discoveries. I'm actively committed to mentor and apply my research to patient care, to facilitate innovation for healthcare, solve unmet clinical needs, and ultimately improve public health.

I am an MD/PhD with specialty in endocrine cancers and I’m developing as Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School a multidisciplinary research program in the "Division of Cancer Biology and Angiogenesis/Experimental Pathology" at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, focused on "preclinical and translational models of human thyroid cancer with an emphasis on mechanisms of metastatic networks, new models of in vitro angiogenesis, tumor microenvironment, and metabolic regulations, using novel targeted therapies anti-BRAFV600E anti-tumor microenvironment. I am primarily engaged in basic and translational thyroid cancer research, but also actively participate in tutoring and teaching activities to basic science students and medical students. I have 15 years of research and clinical experience.
In particular, my research interests are in elucidating mechanisms by which the oncogene BRAFV600E leads to the invasive and metastatic phenotype in aggressive and iodine-refractory thyroid cancers. I'm highly committed and motivated to applying my research and effort to patient care, to facilitate innovation, to solve unmet clinical needs, and improve public health.
I have been awarded from the American Thyroid Association, the NIH/NCI for Thyroid Cancer Research, Tumor Microenvironment, and BRAFV600E. My translational research and mentoring program is aimed:

(i) To determine the prognostic role of Long intergenic non-coding RNA (LincRNA) in thyroid cancer.
(ii) To identify new prognostic biomarkers and validate therapeutics for treating metastatic/refractory thyroid cancers.
(iii) To identify pro-metastatic/-angiogenic and metabolic pathways in the microenvironment of BRAFV600E-positive thyroid cancer.
(iv) To determine the function of lymphatic/blood vessels in thyroid cancer and identify driver clones in the angiogenic microenvironment of thyroid tumors (tumor heterogeneity).
(v) To investigate pathogenesis and molecular basis of “orphan and rare’ endocrine diseases.
If you are interested in applying to this Research Program please submit your Curriculum Vitae and 2 references (i.e. Faculty) to: Carmelo Nucera cnucera@bidmc.harvard.edu
For questions regarding HCRP or other Harvard fellowships that support undergraduate research or registering for course credit contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information.

 

Undergraduate Research Training in Immunology, Dr. Agudo Lab, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

 Principal Investigator: Judith Agudo, PhD           
Cancer Immunology and Virology Department, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Contact: Judith Agudo; judith_agudo@dfci.harvard.edu
Website: http://cancer-immunology-training.dana-farber.org/

The goal of this program is to create a cohesive immunology training program in which undergraduate students are prepared for entry into PhD programs in biomedical research by working closely with graduate students, fellows, and principal investigators within the Harvard community. The current program for graduate students and fellows was formalized in July of 2016 with the support of the NCI and we have since appointed 7 trainees to the program. There are 26 mentors/principal investigators that make up the program and much of the academic cancer immunology community in Boston and Cambridge. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with these trainees and mentors within this program to help give them experience in the lab by learning techniques, reading papers, and working closely with brilliant scientists.
Description of the project and duties:  The goal of our lab is to dissect mechanisms used by tissue-resident stem cells and co-opted by rare cells within tumors with stemness properties and metastasis initiating potential to evade immune surveillance. To this end, we take advantage of a mouse model we recently developed that allows the study of T cell interactions and killing of any cell type, called the JEDI mouse. (https://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v33/n12/full/nbt.3386.html and https://youtu.be/5lvtGudGzgU)
The role of the student will be to actively participate and help with experiments of imaging and flow cytometry analysis of Jedi T cells in a cancer or regeneration settings. The selected student will have the opportunity to be an active member of a lab at the intersection of immunology, stem cell biology and technology development.         
Requirements
: No prior research experience is necessary. However, an interest in cancer, immunology and/or stem cell biology is required.
Mentoring: Mentoring will be primarily provided by postdoctoral fellows in the laboratory. The student will meet with the PI regularly in weekly meetings with the fellow.
Learning outcome: laboratory skills, research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc.
Number of hours: 10 hours per week minimum. The duration of the project will be one year but it can be flexible and negotiable.
Compensation: This is primarily a volunteer position; however, students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information).
Applying: Interested students should email Dr. Agudo a single PDF document with the below requirements (email: judith_agudo@dfci.harvard.edu):
1. Cover Letter- Introduce yourself and describe your interests in biology and basic research.
2. Resume- Please include relevant coursework, GPA, prior lab experience (if any), and other extra-curricular activities.

Contact Information:     
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Cancer Immunology Training Program
1 Jimmy Fund Way, Smith Building room 770A
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Office: 617-632-6659    
Email: judith_agudo@dfci.harvard.edu
http://cancer-immunology-training.dana-farber.org/contact.html

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity for Chemistry, Dr. Yuan’s Lab

Project Description: This nano-scientific project is repurposing a clinical nanodrug into radioactive agents both for inflammatory disease imaging and cancer radiotherapy.  Our lab seeks to improve the agent’s pharmacokinetics through nanoparticle’s surface modification and apply these insights to guide the delivery of modified nanoparticles to the tumor sites. For more information, please visit the links below for more details.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28225818
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26368132
http://gordon.mgh.harvard.edu/gc/people/faculty/hushan-yuan/

PI name: Hushan Yuan
Department: Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Skills preferred (not required):

  • Synthesis of small chemical constructs and their conjugation to nanoparticles: involving HPLC, TLC, SEC, column chromatography, NMR, LCMS, buffer making, etc. (Mandatory)
  • Radiochemistry: individuals are allowed to practice radiolabeling with radioisotopes (conditional/optional)
  • In vitro cell based specificity study: cell culture (tumor cell lines, T cells, B cells), media reconstitution, autocleave, etc. (conditional/optional)
  • In vivo small animal active targeting study: xenograft cell implantation on mice, animal care (conditional/optional).
  • Animal imaging: tail vein injection and PET imaging with microPET-CT (conditional/optional).

Learning outcome: 
1. Laboratory skills: HPLC, TLC, SEC, column chromatography, NMR, LCMS, buffer making, etc
2. Research skills: Notebook recording, study design, data analysis, presentations, scientific writing, etc.

Number of working hours (negotiable): >16 hrs
Length of the project: minimum 3 month
Mentoring: PI will mentor student day to day. Weekly based mentorship meetings.
Stipend: Laboratory will not provide any funds to pay student’s stipend. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information).
Contact: Email your resume to Dr. Yuan at hyuan@mgh.harvrd.edu

 

Undergraduate research opportunity in large-scale brain networks and neurodegenerative disorders,Dr. Sepulcre Lab, Department of Radiology, Mass General Hospital

PI name: Jorge Sepulcre
Department: Radiology, Mass General Hospital
Contact information: sepulcre@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu
Location: 149 13th St, Suite 5.209, Charlestown 02129
Lab website: http://gordon.mgh.harvard.edu/sepulcre_lab/


The Sepulcre lab focuses on brain imaging studies aiming at the understanding of large-scale brain networks implicated in human cognition and neurodegenerative disorders. We also devote a substantial part of our work developing cutting-edge network methodologies for different brain imaging modalities such as functional connectivity MRI and PET imaging. We currently have several line in which students can enroll depending on their interest, including working with functional connectivity MRI in blind children, PET tracers and MRI in Alzheimer disease, fMRI of language networks and the developing of graph theory analyses to get a better understanding of the relationships of the brain networks.
Skills required: No any laboratory skills are required, the student will learn all the skills needed in the lab, also no prior research experience is needed, just enthusiasm.
Learning outcome: Depending on the project the student wish to enroll he will learn how to design a study, write a proposal, process data and any laboratory skill that would be needed for the work.

Number of hours: As much as he/she is willing to be involved.
Length of the project: is variable, but if data is already collected it takes 3 months for the analysis and 3 more for further elaborations.
Mentoring: the PI and any of the members of the lab will be helping the student to accomplish his/her needs. Lab meetings are help every other Friday, but the PI's door is always open for any questions or concerns.
Funding: Lab does not provide funds. Students are welcome to apply for HCRP and other fellowships or register for course credit (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information).
TO APPLY: Email your resume to the PI and a small statement on why you would like to join the lab, as well as your expectations to Dr. Sepulcre sepulcre@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Neonatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Division of Newborn Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital

PI: Jonathan Litt, MD MPH ScD
Department of Neonatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Division of Newborn Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital
330 Brookline Avenue, Rose 3, Boston MA 02215
617-667-3276, jlitt@bidmc.harvard.edu

Project: Preterm infants are at risk for ongoing problems with health and development. Even preterm infants without significant morbidities have health needs beyond those of a health term-born child requiring specialized follow-up by multiple providers – primary care pediatricians, high-risk infant follow-up programs, early intervention providers, and audiologists, to name but a few. Care coordination is an integral part of the family-centered medical home and has been shown to improve outcomes for patients and families. Data from a recent pilot study of preterm infants revealed high levels of unmet needs for care coordination services. The majority of children in this small local cohort did not receive care within the context of a family-centered medical home. Noting this, we aim to develop a program within the Infant Follow-up Program (IFUP) at Boston Children’s Hospital to help the families of preterm infants integrate their care among providers after hospital discharge. Specifically, we have four distinct objectives:

  • Characterize parents’ needs for care coordination, provider communication, and systems navigation.
  • Explore IFUP capacity for providing care coordination services.
  • Identify partners among community-based pediatricians, hospital-based subspecialists, and other service providers.
  • Develop processes and tools for sharing care responsibilities among providers and across systems with an emphasis on promoting bi-directional communication and accountability.

For this project, the student would help develop and administer parent survey instruments for met and unmet care needs. The student would also help design and test interventions to improve current practice. The student would work closely with our outpatient follow-up program.
Skills required: No prior research experience is required.
Learning outcome: Research skills such as study design, instrument development, and data analysis methods.
Number of hours: The project is just now in the starting stages. The hours and length of time the student invests are negotiable and based on availability and interest. Please note: the Infant Follow-up Program is a full-day clinic that is held weekly on Mondays. The student is expected to be available for part of the day (either morning or afternoon). The student is also invited to attend didactic conferences held by the Division of Neonatology held at various times during the week, though these are not required.
Mentoring: Dr. Litt will serve as the primary mentor with Dr. Jane Stewart, Director of Infant Follow-up at Boston Children’s Hospital, as a co-mentor. Meetings will be held weekly to discuss the project and progress toward mutually set goals.
Funding: This project does not provide any funds to pay student’s stipend. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information).
To apply: Interested students should submit a resume and brief, 1 paragraph statement describing their interest in learning about research, generally speaking, and Newborn Medicine/Perinatal Epidemiology. Please note that interest in, and prior exposure to, the specific content area is not required. Please email these materials to Dr. Litt at jlitt@bidmc.harvard.edu

 

Posted August 30, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunities in “evo-devo” of bats, Tabin Lab, Harvard Medical School

Jasmin Camacho, NSF predoctoral fellow, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Department of Genetics (HMS)
Contact: jcamacho@fas.harvard.edu, https://scholar.harvard.edu/jasminc/about-bat-lab
Project: The Tabin Lab studies the genetic basis by which form and structure are regulated, both during embryonic development to produce the exquisite morphology of the vertebrate embryo and over evolutionary time to generate the extraordinary and beautiful diversity of animal forms on this planet. In our developmental studies we combine classical methods of experimental embryology with modern molecular, imaging, genetic and genomic techniques for interrogating and testing gene function. In our evolutionary work we have addressed question of morphological, behavioral and metabolic evolution in a variety of species using both developmental and genetic approaches.

We are recruiting undergraduate scholars to get involved with several aspects of our projects aimed at determining the genetics of skeletogenesis in the regulation of bone growth and bone shape differences using the bat limb and cranial base. Other projects include the role of stem cells in facial evolution in a diverse group of bats and the development and evolution of novel animal features. A more bioinformatics approach may be available based on research interests (genome and transcriptome dataset). Additional projects and ideas may be discussed in terms of a senior thesis, if bats are used as a model.

Skills Required: Wet lab skills in molecular biology (e.g. qPCR, cloning) are preferred but not required. An understanding, respect, and acceptance of the use of live animals in research is absolutely required.

Learning outcomes: Students will learn skills in cellular, molecular, cell culture, and microscopy techniques, and will have the opportunity to present at lab meetings and/or conferences, and to gain authorship on manuscripts as warranted. If interested, the student will have the opportunity to conduct field studies in any of the following countries of interest: Mexico, Panama, Trinidad.

Hours: A commitment of ~8-10 hours/week for at least 2 semesters is preferred. The lab is in the Harvard Medical School campus, New Research Building. A free shuttle from Lamont Library to NRB runs every 10 min 7-10 AM and 4-6PM and every 30 minutes 10-4pm.

Mentoring: The Tabin lab consists of many postdoctoral fellows, students, technicians, and undergraduate researchers. The student will be closely mentored by a predoctoral fellow. There are weekly lab meetings on Mondays at 12:15 and tri-lab meetings on Tuesdays at 10:00 for which the student is encouraged to attend (but not required).

Funding: Positions are for academic credit or volunteers. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP for funding, and we are happy to help with the preparation of applications. For more information about Harvard undergraduate research fellowships contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu.

To apply: Please send CV and cover letter briefly explaining why you would like to get involved in research to jcamacho@fas.harvard.edu

 

Posted August 23, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunities in the study of brain-immune interactions in neurodevelopment, Bilbo Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital/HMS

Staci Bilbo, PhD, Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Lurie Center for Autism, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Contact: sbilbo@mgh.harvard.edu, http://bilbolab-harvard.org

Project: The Bilbo Lab focuses on the study of neuroimmune interactions in brain development, using pre-clinical models. We collaborate with clinical research groups to translate our findings to human populations. We are particularly interested in the role of immune molecules in both normal and disrupted brain development, based on evidence from human and animal studies that immune system dysfunction or inflammation may be critical in neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, cognitive and mood disorders, and autism. A particular focus is on the resident immune cells of the brain, microglia, including their development and function in response to early life inflammatory signals.

We are recruiting undergraduate scholars to get involved with several aspects of our projects aimed at determining the role of neural-glial and neural-immune interactions in brain and behavioral outcomes, including cellular and molecular analyses of microglial function, behavioral analyses in rodent models, and the processing and analysis of data for collaborative clinical (human) studies at the Lurie Center for Autism.  There will also be many opportunities for interacting with and shadowing clinicians at the Lurie Center, one of the largest clinical care centers for Autism and related disorders in the world.

Skills Required:  Wet lab skills in molecular biology (e.g. qPCR, ELISA, Westerns) are preferred but not required.  An understanding, respect, and acceptance of the use of live animals in research is absolutely required.

Learning outcomes:  Students will learn skills in rodent handling and behavior, and in cellular, molecular, cell culture, and microscopy techniques, and will have the opportunity to present at lab meetings and/or conferences, and to gain authorship on manuscripts as warranted.

Hours: A commitment if ~8 hours/week for at least 2 semesters is preferred.  The lab is in the Charlestown Navy yard campus, building 114.  A free shuttle from MGH main campus runs every 15 min.

Mentoring: The Bilbo lab consists of many postdoctoral fellows, students, technicians, and undergraduate researchers.  We are very much a team, and mentoring and teamwork are key components of our lab culture.  The student will be closely mentored by an assigned postdoctoral fellow, in addition to the overall team approach, and will meet weekly with Dr. Bilbo.  There are weekly lab meetings on Thursdays at 3:30, for which the student is encouraged to attend (but not required). 

Funding: Positions are for academic credit or volunteers.  Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP for funding, and we are happy to help with the preparation of applications (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information about various undergraduate fellowships).

To apply:  Please send CV and cover letter briefly explaining why you would like to get involved in research to sbilbo@mgh.harvard.edu.

 

Posted August 15, 2017

Undergraduate Research Training in Immunology, Dr. Judith Agudo, Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Program Background:     The goal of this program is to create a cohesive immunology training program in which undergraduate students are prepared for entry into PhD programs in biomedical research by working closely with graduate students, fellows, and principal investigators within the Harvard community. The current program for graduate students and fellows was formalized in July of 2016 with the support of the NCI and we have since appointed 7 trainees to the program. There are 26 mentors/principal investigators that make up the program and much of the academic cancer immunology community in Boston and Cambridge. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with these trainees and mentors within this program to help give them experience in the lab by learning techniques, reading papers, and working closely with brilliant scientists.
http://cancer-immunology-training.dana-farber.org/

Description of the project and duties:  The goal of our lab is to dissect mechanisms used by tissue-resident stem cells and co-opted by rare cells within tumors with stemness properties and metastasis initiating potential to evade immune surveillance. To this end, we take advantage of a mouse model we recently developed that allows the study of T cell interactions and killing of any cell type, called the JEDI mouse. (https://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v33/n12/full/nbt.3386.html and https://youtu.be/5lvtGudGzgU)

The role of the student will be to actively participate and help with experiments of imaging and flow cytometry analysis of Jedi T cells in a cancer or regeneration settings. The selected student will have the opportunity to be an active member of a lab at the intersection of immunology, stem cell biology and technology development.             

Requirements:  No prior research experience is necessary. However, an interest in cancer, immunology and/or stem cell biology is required.

Mentoring: Mentoring will be primarily provided by postdoctoral fellows in the laboratory. The student will meet with the PI regularly in weekly meetings with the fellow.

Learning outcome: laboratory skills, research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc.

Number of hours: 10 hours per week minimum. The duration of the project will be one year but it can be flexible and negotiable.

Compensation: This is primarily a volunteer position; however, students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information).

Applying:  Interested students should email Dr. Agudo a single PDF document with the below requirements (email: judith_agudo@dfci.harvard.edu):
1. Cover Letter - Introduce yourself and describe your interests in biology and basic research.
2. Resume - Please include relevant coursework, GPA, prior lab experience (if any), and other extra-curricular activities.

Contact Information: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Cancer Immunology Training Program
1 Jimmy Fund Way, Smith Building room 770A, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Office: 617-632-6659      Email: judith_agudo@dfci.harvard.edu
http://cancer-immunology-training.dana-farber.org/contact.html

 

Posted August 11, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in breast cancer, Dr. Brugge Lab, Harvard Medical School

Project: The laboratory of Professor Joan Brugge at Harvard Medical School is recruiting an undergraduate student to work on an exciting project on breast cancer under the guidance of a postdoctoral fellow. The project focuses on studying the role of the tumor microenvironment and cell-cell interactions in promoting cancer development. It utilizes a diverse set of cutting-edge tools, including single-cell profiling, cell and organoid culture systems, and animal models.
Prerequisites: The student should demonstrate a strong interest in biology, be self-motivated, and have good work ethic. Prior lab experience (e.g., PCR, molecular cloning, immunoblotting, cell culture) would be an advantage.
Learning outcomes: Students will gain first-hand experience in planning experiments, conducting experiments, and analyzing data. The student will learn important research techniques and concepts in cancer biology, cell biology, and molecular biology. These skills are widely applicable in different areas of the life sciences in both academia and industry. Significant results can lead to authorship on publications.
Commitment: A commitment of 8-10 hours per week for at least 2 semesters is required to allow the student to maximize the potential of this training experience. This position is for academic credit or volunteers (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for information about term-time and summer research funding). The student will have the opportunity to continue working full-time in the summer. A summer stipend will likely be available.
Mentoring:
- Students will work closely with the postdoctoral fellow on a daily basis, and meet with Professor Brugge on a regular basis.
- Professor Brugge is a renowned leader in the cancer field and has been recognized by multiple awards for her outstanding mentorship. Her undergraduate trainees have successfully gone on to top Ph.D. and M.D. programs.
- The postdoctoral fellow mentor, Dr. Carman Li, has experience mentoring multiple undergraduate research students and is passionate about training young scientists.

To apply: Interested candidates should email Dr. Carman Li (Carman_Li@hms.harvard.edu) with
1) a resume/CV listing your research experience and coursework grades, and
2) a cover letter describing your interest in biology.
Reference letters are welcome but not required.
Lab website: https://brugge.med.harvard.edu/
Lab address: Address: 240 Longwood Ave, C1-501, Boston MA 02115

 

Posted August 2, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in the neuroscience of sleep, Dr. Lewis, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH

Laura Lewis, Ph.D., Harvard Society of Fellows and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital. Contact at: ldlewis@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

Project: How do sleep and sleep deprivation affect the brain? We are using newly developed techniques for EEG and fMRI to study human brain activity during sleep and understand the effects of sleep deprivation. The goal is to understand the brain circuits that regulate sleep, how brain activity changes during drowsiness and states of unconsciousness, and how sleep dysfunction contributes to neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease. The student's role could involve: hands-on experimental work, including applying EEG caps and acquiring MRI images; interacting with patient populations, administering questionnaires, etc.; manual coding of data; and programming in MATLAB for data analysis.

Skills required: This position could focus on experimental or computational neuroscience depending on the individual student’s background. Students should be comfortable working with human subjects, and available for occasional nighttime work, as some sleep experiments occur at night. Experience with Matlab, programming, and/or signal processing would be an asset for students seeking a computational neuroscience position.

Learning outcome: Students will gain training in hands-on clinical research and/or computational neuroscience, depending on the project.

Hours: A commitment of ~8-10 hours/week for at least 2 semesters is preferred. This project is located at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH (free shuttle runs from MGH main campus).

Mentoring: Regular meetings will be scheduled with Dr. Laura Lewis.

Funding: This position is for academic credit or volunteers. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships for funding and we are happy to help with applications (contact Dr. Anna Babakhanyan ababakhanyan@fas.harvard.edu for more information).

To apply: Please send CV and cover letter to ldlewis@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

 

Posted June 14, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Plutzky Lab, Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

PI: Jorge Plutzky, MD, Director, Preventive Cardiology, Cardiovascular Medicine

We have an excellent available opening for a bright, talented, hardworking person to work in the laboratory either as an undergraduate researcher who is interested in subsequent medical or graduate school. Plutzky laboratory does cutting edge research regarding transcriptional mechanisms underlying complex phenotypes that intersect obesity, diabetes and vascular disease. The science is exciting, broad (from cells to mice to human samples), clinically relevant, with strong collaborators, typically appears in the highest level journals, involves a very collegial group and a proven record of mentorship, all at an excellent location in the Harvard Medical School Quadrangle and associated hospitals, and based in a modern, state of the art facility. We are especially proud of how well our prior undergraduates have done in their subsequent careers and the chance the group had to help advance their futures. 
To apply:  email jplutzky@bwh.harvard.edu or 857-307-1989 for any questions or to discuss the position further.

 

Undergraduate research/thesis opportunity using MRI and brain stimulation
PI name: Mark Halko, PhD, mhalko@bidmc.harvard.edu. Instructor of Neurology, Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. http://tmslab.org/
Location: The Berenson-Allen Center is located in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Research study visits take place at the Harvard University Center for Brain Science Neuroimaging Facility in Cambridge, MA.
Description of the project: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an emerging technology for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric illnesses. Recent interest has shifted to the cerebellum, where initial promising therapeutic investigations have been made in diseases such as schizophrenia and ataxia. Despite these developments, the understanding of which parameters are best suited to stimulate the cerebellum remains a mystery. This project involves magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and three different stimulation intensities to understand the relevant dose parameters of repetitive cerebellar stimulation. We apply repetitive TMS to the cerebellum to impact networks associated with attention, and observe the neuropsychological impact upon attention, relating parameters of stimulation to brain activity acquired from MRI and psychological behavior. Simultaneous acquisition of attentional metrics will investigate of the dose-response relationship between stimulation and networks and stimulation and cognition, allowing for optimization of cerebellar stimulation protocols for effective therapeutic intervention.
Students will assist in conducting MRI scans and TMS. Depending on computer proficiency and analysis skills, there is also the opportunity to participate in data analysis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28495634
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27251628
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25186750

Skills required: Background in psychology or neuroscience preferred. No prior research experience is required as training will be provided. Basic knowledge of UNIX, programming, and statistics preferred.
Learning outcome: This position offers extensive research experience and opportunity for a thesis project. Students will become trained in operating the MRI machine; and gain familiarity in human subjects and neuroimaging research, and noninvasive brain stimulation.
Number of hours and length of stay are negotiable, but 5+ hours a week expected.
Mentoring: Mentoring will be provided by regular meetings with Mark Halko and the neurologist on the study team. The student also has the opportunity to join meetings and research talks (rounds) at the Berenson-Allen Center/BIDMC and Longwood Medical Area.
Compensation: This is a volunteer position. Students are encouraged to apply for HCRP and other Harvard Research Fellowships or obtain a research or thesis course credit.
To apply: Please email your resume and a short cover letter to Mark Halko, mhalko@bidmc.harvard.edu.

 

Posted May 31, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity Dr. Ursula Kaiser Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital

An increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that several G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)–ligand pairs are critical for normal human reproductive development and function. Patients harboring genetic insults in either the receptors or their cognate ligands have presented with reproductive disorders characterized by varying degrees of GnRH deficiency. These disorders include idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) and Kallmann Syndrome (KS). Mutations in PROKR2 have been identified in patients with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism or Kallmann syndrome, characterized by GnRH deficiency. However, the molecular mechanisms through which these mutations cause disease are not fully understood. Several of these mutations are in amino acids in the 4th or 6th transmembrane domain of PROKR2, which are highly conserved among G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and have been shown to impair cell surface trafficking, often causing misfolding of the receptors. The mechanisms involved in post-translational processing and trafficking of GPCRs from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the cell surface are not fully understood, but it has been shown that chaperone proteins play an important role in the intracellular trafficking of GPCRs. We hypothesize that mutations in PROKR2 that interfere with cell surface expression have impaired interactions with chaperone proteins and instead may interact with proteins targeting them to degradation pathways. The goal of our studies is to identify and compare the proteins involved in PROKR2 intracellular trafficking by performed immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of wild-type (WT) PROKR2 and trafficking defective mutants.

  1. Abreu AP, Noel SD, Xu S, Carroll RS, Latronico AC, Kaiser UB. Evidence of the importance of the first intracellular loop of prokineticin receptor 2 in receptor function. Mol Endocrinol 2012;26:1417-27.
  2. Noel SD, Kaiser UB. G protein-coupled receptors involved in GnRH regulation: Molecular insights from human disease. Mol Cell Endocrinol 2011;346:91-101. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21736917
  3. Abreu AP, Kaiser UB, Latronico AC. The role of prokineticins in the pathogenesis of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Neuroendocrinology. 2010;91(4):283-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20502053

Basic laboratory techniques including mammalian cell culture, protein isolation, western blot analysis are preferred but not mandatory.

Learning outcome: Students will have the opportunity to learn basic laboratory techniques including but not limited to mammalian cell culture, western blot, immunoprecipitation, bioimaging, and molecular cloning. In addition, they will learn how to design scientifically rigorous research experiments and perform data analysis. Students will also be given the opportunity to present their work at our laboratory meeting and/or scientific meetings.

Number of hours students are expected to work is negotiable.

Mentoring: Dr. Yong Bhum Song, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kaiser’s lab, will serve as the primary mentor.  He will meet with the student on a daily basis.

Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP, PRISE or register for a course-credit with their concentration advisers.

The student should submit their contact information as well as their curriculum vitae to Dr. Ursula Kaiser at ukaiser@bwh.harvard.edu and/or Yong Bhum Song at ysong10@partners.org.

Contact: Ursula Kaiser, M.D.
Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Email: UKaiser@partners.org
221 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

http://researchfaculty.brighamandwomens.org/BRIProfile.aspx?id=1102
https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/49220

 

Posted May 3, 2017

Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital

Advisors: Slim Sassi, Ph.D. (PI) and Victor Lelyveld, Ph.D.

Location: MGH Simches Research Center, 185 Cambridge Street, Boston

Project description: Single cell sequencing is a powerful method to study heterogeneous cell populations at the genomic and transcriptomic level. These approaches are becoming increasingly vital to understanding tumor biology and drug resistance, but the methodology to gain useful sequencing data from single tumor cells is still in its infancy. In this project, we’re working to develop and optimize biochemical tools to generate vast amounts of high quality single cell data to explore tumor heterogeneity within and among primary sarcomas.

Skills needed: The ideal candidate has had some  exposure to organic chemistry and molecular biology, including courses such as LPS A, LifeSci 1A, Chem 17/27 or Chem 10/20, or other relevant coursework. Prior laboratory experience would be an advantage.

Learning outcome: You’ll have a chance to contribute to multiple aspects of the project, including nucleic acids chemistry, DNA synthesis, sequencing, robotic automation, biomaterials, and fluidics.

Mentoring: You’ll work together with a team that

 includes a Research Fellow, an Instructor, and a technician in a collaboration that spans two groups at MGH.

Time commitment: Full time for the summer, or 6

 - 12 hours flexible per week during a semester.

Funding: Direct hourly funding is available.

To apply, please contact

lelyveld@molbio.mgh.harvard.edu

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, using fMRI and TMS to study Autism Spectrum Disorders, Harvard Center for Brain Sciences

PI: Mark Eldaief, MD meldaief@partners.org Harvard Center for Brain Sciences

Description: This project is designed to explore brain networks in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). More specifically, we are examining dynamic features of these networks by examining how they change in response to brain stimulation. This gives us a sense of network plasticity, that is, the degree to which networks are flexible or malleable in the autistic brain. Subjects attend three study visits. During their first visit they undergo brain imaging with functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) and also perform tasks which are sensitive to social cognition while in the scanner. This allows us to establish a target for brain stimulation in prefrontal cortex. Subjects then return for two additional visits during which they undergo identical scanning procedures both before and after they undergo brain stimulation. Brain stimulation is done non-invasively using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Subjects receive stimulation to either medial or lateral prefrontal cortex at the final two study visits. Network plasticity is then compared between ASD patients and controls.  

Students do not have to have prior experience in research. Basic knowledge of UNIX and Matlab is helpful. Students will gain a working understanding of fcMRI and rTMS, and may learn something about fcMRI analysis. 

Number of hours per week is variable but is expected to be on the order of 10.

Dr. Eldaief can meet with the student weekly for mentoring.

Stipend funds are not provided but we encourage students to apply to the HCRP for funds if funds are needed or to register for research course credit. 

If interested, please email Dr. Eldaief at meldaief@partners.org

 

 

 

Posted May 1, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position, Biochemistry of DNA Replication, Dr. Johannes Walter Lab, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, HMS

Harvard Medical School, 260 Longwood Avenue, Boston, SGM Building; walter.hms.harvard.edu

Description: The Walter lab studies the mechanism of vertebrate DNA replication using frog (Xenopus laevis) egg extracts as the model system. A key player in DNA replication is the CMG helicase, which unwinds DNA at the replication fork. Recently, point mutations have been identified in CMG that cause a hereditary genome instability disorder in humans.  The project will be to elucidate why these mutations cause human disease.  The approach is to purify mutant CMG complexes and examine their function using a variety of assays.

Skills Required: prior molecular biology experience is preferred (PCR, cloning, protein purification, western blotting, insect cell tissue culture)

Learning Outcome: the student will participate in planning and carrying out molecular biology and biochemistry experiments, will present results to the lab, and will participate in writing any manuscripts resulting from the work.

Time Commitment: full-time (40hr/wk) during the summer of 2017.  The candidate should also be available to work in the lab during the school year (10-20hr/week).

Mentoring: The student will be mentored and supervised by a postdoc and will interact with the PI in weekly meetings.

Funding: The lab can provide a stipend. Students are also encouraged to apply for funding through the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit.

Contact: Please contact Gheorghe Chistol (postdoc in Walter lab) at gheorghe_chistol@hms.harvard.edu with a resume listing your experience, grades in coursework taken so far, and a cover letter describing your interest in biology. Reference letters are welcome but not required.

 

Posted April 21, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Corey, Dept. of Neurobiology, HMS

David P. Corey, PhD; Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Goldenson 443, 220 Longwood Ave, Boston  http://corey.med.harvard.edu/

https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/people/faculty/david-corey

Description of the project and duties: Within the inner ear are fast, sensitive receptor cells, working on a scale of microseconds and nanometers to convert the mechanical stimulus of sound into electrical signals that the brain can understand.  In recent years, this process has become better understood, as many proteins involved in the submicroscopic mechanotransduction complex have been identified.  Our group in the Neurobiology Department at Harvard Medical School is working to understand the complex, with a combination of electrophysiology, 3D electron microscopy, biochemistry, and single-protein mechanics. We have an opening for one or two students to join this effort. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17428178;https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27798174

https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23135401   

Project 1, we need to localize candidate proteins within the receptor cells.  These cells are called hair cells, for the bundle of fine “stereocilia” emanating from the top of each cell.  The mechanotransduction complexes are at the top of each stereocilium.  Stereocilia are smaller in diameter than a wavelength of light, so we approach protein localization with antibodies conjugated to gold particles, viewed with several new methods in electron microscopy.  Students will help us with sample preparation, and participate in data collection using focused ion-beam scanning electron microscopy and similar techniques to generate serial 3D EM data sets. Data sets will be aligned and reconstructed using both commercial software packages (Amira), and custom analysis tools. Data analysis will be done in-house using our 3D reconstruction workstation.

Project 2, we need to understand how the mechanotransduction proteins assemble into a functional complex. We use state-of-the-art biochemical and biophysical techniques such as biolayer interferometry, multi-angle light scattering, microscale thermophoresis and isothermal calorimetry, as well as more conventional methods like co-immunoprecipitation, to understand how different proteins interact with each other to form the mechanotransduction apparatus. Students will help us with DNA cloning, protein synthesis, and cell culture to generate a library of proteins. Students will then participate in the collection and analysis of biophysical and biochemical interaction data to generate an interaction model.

Skills required:

Project 1:  familiarity with image-processing software is very useful; experience with tissue preparation for microscopy is a plus.

Project 2: laboratory experience with basic biochemical and molecular biological methods is very useful

Learning outcome: 

Project 1:  During the course of the work, a student will become familiar with the best tools currently available for 3D electron microscopy and will become an expert user of a 3D reconstruction software package widely used in biology and medicine, such as for CT and MRI.

Project 2: During the course of the work, a student will engage in basic research with clinical relevance to inherited deafness, and will become proficient in state-of-the-art biochemical techniques.

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project: Summer: 40 hrs/wk.  The project could be extended to a senior thesis or research course in the fall and spring

Mentoring: Students will work with a senior postdoctoral fellow on a daily basis, and meet with Dr. Corey every week or two.

Funding: A summer student could receive a stipend of about $500/week, but students are encouraged to apply for Harvard Research Fellowships.

To apply: Email a note and resume to David Corey at dcorey@hms.harvard.edu

 

 

Posted April 12, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity in human neuroimaging of meditation, in the laboratory of Dr. Gaelle Desbordes,  MGH Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.

Contact: Gaelle Desbordes, PhD, gdesbord@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-Harvard-MIT Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.

Project description: Our research team (PI: Gaelle Desbordes, http://martinos.org/~gdesbordes/) investigates meditation from a neuroscientific perspective, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and recordings of autonomic markers (cardiac, respiratory, and electrodermal). More specifically, we conduct longitudinal brain imaging studies of mindfulness and compassion training and its clinical applications to depression, chronic pain, and other conditions. We are located at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-Harvard-MIT Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Charlestown, Navyyard. The Martinos Center provides a highly collaborative and stimulating environment with exceptional training opportunities for students looking for research experience. 

Required skills: Good interpersonal skills; basic computer skills. No laboratory or research skills are required, the student will learn these skills in the lab, 

Learning outcomes: Volunteers will receive training in, and provide help with, multiple aspects of clinical research - including running MRI scans, performing psychophysiological assessments (with electrocardiogram, skin conductance recordings, etc.), administering questionnaires, phone-screening and interviewing study participants, scheduling study visits, managing communications with patients, maintaining regulatory documentation in accordance with the Good Clinical Practice federal regulations and help with basic data entry and/or analysis. 

Length of the project: negotiable, but ideally volunteers work 16-24 hours per week or as much as he/she is willing to be involved for two semesters.

Mentoring: the PI and any of the members of the lab will meet with the student regularly and will be helping the student to accomplish his/her goals. 

Compensation: this is a volunteer position. Student are encouraged to apply for HCRP and other Harvard Research Fellowships or obtain a research or thesis course credit.

To apply, email your resume to the PI together with a short statement of your goals and why you would like to join the lab to: gdesbord@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu
 

Posted March 29, 2017

Undergaduate Research Opportunity, Prof. Aristidis Veves, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School

Lab Website: https://tinyurl.com/mshqcy5

Project description: This position is in a basic science laboratory which focuses on dissecting the mechanisms of diabetic skin wound healing (recent lab publications here: https://tinyurl.com/kfla7oe).The Research Intern will initially shadow both clinical and basic laboratory researchers.

He or she will acquire the understanging about the research that is being conducted by both on-the-job learning and literature searching and reading. As the Research Intern becomes more knowledgeable and confident about 

the research conducted in the lab, he/she will learn basic laboratory techniques and become intimately involved in the everyday workings of the lab.

He or she will learn to perform histology and molecular analyses such as, western blotting, qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, etc on both animal and human skin specimens. He or she will also be involved in cell culture studies and downstream

analyses, including flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry. Additionally, the Research Intern will have the option of working with the mouse models that are selected for in vivo studies. 

Gradually, the intern will work independently and in collaboration with Research Assistants/Fellows on multiple ongoing research projects. The Research Intern will have the unique opportunity to work on our current projects, which aim 

to develop potential new therapeutic strategies for diabetic wounds and/or elucidate mechanisms of wound healing.

Mentoring: The Research Intern will be directly mentored by a postdoctoral fellow in the lab with whom they will have mentorship meetings every other week. He or she will also be part of the weekly group lab meetings where they will be expected to participate and share their findings.

Learning outcome: By the end of the opportunity, the undergraduate will have acquired a variety of laboratory skills including antibody staining, primary cell isolation and culture and animal work. In addition they will have gained experience in scientific reading and writing, as well as making presentations.

The length of the project is three months, but could be extended if needed. The student is expected to work 20 hours per week and the position is unpaid. Therefore candidates are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit.

If interested, please mail your resume to Dr George Theocharidis at gtheocha@bidmc.harvard.edu

 

Posted March 28, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Dr. Jain Lab, Department of Radiation Oncology, MGH

Massachusetts General Hospital, CNY-149, 13th Street, Charlestown, MA  steelelabs.mgh.harvard.edu

Description of the project and duties:

Dr. Rakesh Jain’s lab at the Steele Lab for Tumor Biology (https://steelelabs.mgh.harvard.edu/) at MGH is investigating how the tumor microenvironment affects cancer therapy response and resistance. This project will investigate how physical properties of the tumor microenvironment affects breast cancer growth and treatment response. Interdisciplinary approaches, such as confocal and intravital multi-photon microscopy, 2D and 3D bioengineered culture models, microfluidic devices, flow cytometry, histology, molecular biology techniques and mouse models, will be used. Students will gain first hand research experience in breast cancer biology, tumor immunology and cell mechanics. Students are expected to be a part of our research laboratory full time over the summer, with the potential to stay over subsequent semesters for term-time research.

Skills required: Prior research experience preferred. Intermediate-level coursework or experience in molecular and cell biology recommended.

Learning outcome: Students will learn and practice a multitude of cell biology, cancer biology, bioengineering, immunology and microscopy techniques as well as data analysis using MATLAB. Students will gain first hand experience in planning and conducting research experiments and analyzing data.

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project: Minimum 20 hours/week in summer, with potential to stay on during semester with negotiable hours.

Mentoring: Students will work close with postdoctoral fellow Dr. Rosa Ng. There will be weekly group meeting with PI.

Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit.

Contact Information: Interested students should email their CV/resume to Dr. Rosa Ng (rosang@steele.mgh.harvard.edu).

 

Undergraduate Researcher, Dr. Iafrate, Center for Integrated Diagnostics, MGH

Lab Information: This is a unique opportunity to join the laboratory of Professor A. John Iafrate, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Iafrate is the Director of the Center for Integrated Diagnostics and a faculty in the Department of Molecular Pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Center for Integrated Diagnostics is the lead clinical diagnostics center for cancer patients at MGH as it aims to genetically fingerprint patient tumors at various disease sites to guide targeted therapies, thereby enhancing the efficacy of drug treatments and supporting new clinical trial designs.

Dr. Iafrate’s research lab, located in Building 149 of MGH at Charlestown, functions as the research and development arm of the CID. We aim to not only improve upon currently employed diagnostic assays, but to develop novel diagnostics tools. In addition to assay development, we also conduct functional studies of novel oncogenic events (e.g. SNVs or translocations) that are discovered on a weekly basis by CID (http://www.massgeneral.org/pathology/research/researchlab.aspx?id=1304).

Project Description: Prospective undergraduate researchers will be briefed on various projects currently conducted in the lab and will be given the option to select a project based on his/her scientific interest. Some of the current projects include: improving upon Anchored Multiplex PCR technology (nature.com/articles/nm.3729), adapting liquid biopsy-based (e.g. cfDNA) assays on NGS platforms, functional investigation of novel translocations identified in patients, and development of novel CRISPR-based diagnostics assays.

Pre-requisites: Ideal candidate should possess strong background in molecular biology and a working knowledge of Python and/or R. Previous research experience would be helpful but not required for this post. Most importantly, candidates should possess strong interest in molecular diagnostics as it pertains to cancer patients.

Learning outcomes: The student will develop and gain experimental laboratory skills, including experience in cutting edge molecular biology tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 and Next Gen Sequencing. In addition to lab skills, the student will also gain valuable research skills from study design to data presentations and scientific writing.

Number of hours: Ideal candidate should be interested in a long-term (1+ years) commitment as part of a thesis project (e.g. full-time during summer and part time during terms; negotiable hours).

Funds: We have funds to pay a student’s stipend during the summer and possibly during the term periods, depending on the candidate. Registration for research course credits may also be an option during the term research.

Mentoring: Dr. Liam Lee (Ph.D. from University of Cambridge) will be the direct mentor to the student and will be working closely with the student throughout his/her research period in the Iafrate Lab. Dr. John Iafrate will also provide mentorship during weekly lab meetings. 

Contact: Please send information regarding research interests, relevant experience, and completed courses to Dr. Liam lee (LLEE31@partners.org). We look forward to hearing back from you!

 

Summer Undergraduate Research Position, Gilmore Lab, MEEI, HMS

We are hiring an undergraduate student to conduct a summer research project in our microbiology and microbial genomics lab at Harvard University. The Gilmore Lab (http://gilmorelab.com/) uses comparative genomics to study how bacteria evolve from commensals to multidrug-resistant, deadly superbugs. We are also working to develop new treatments for multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, and are currently focused on bacteriophages as possible novel therapeutics.

We are looking for a motivated undergraduate student to help us screen a large number of bacteriophages against different bacterial strains of the genus Enterococcus, in order to identify and analyze the phages’ bacterial host range. The position is for 10 weeks beginning June 1, and will pay $400/week. The Gilmore Lab is located at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary near the Charles MGH stop on the Red Line. The lab is also affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute.

 Qualifications: rising junior or senior with relevant laboratory research experience, i.e. pipetting, sterile technique, making solutions, etc. Attention to detail, ability to follow instructions, and ability to work independently are also required. Prior experience working in a microbiology or molecular biology lab, computational skills (Matlab, Python, R), familiarity with genome sequencing, and an interest in bioinformatics and genomics are highly desirable, but not required.

 If you would like to apply for this position, please email a copy of your resume to Daria Van Tyne (vantyne@fas.harvard.edu) and Francois Lebreton (francois_lebreton@meei.harvard.edu). In your email, please explain your motivation for applying and detail your prior experience. Applications will be considered until April 15, 2017, and interviews will be conducted shortly thereafter.
 

 

Posted March 20, 2017

 

Undergraduate Research at the Laboratory of Computational Neuroimaging, Dr. Zollei, MGH

Faculty: Lilla Zöllei, PhD, Laboratory of Computational Neuroimaging, AA Martinos Center, Radiology, MGH
Bldg 149, 149 13th Street, Charlestown MA 02129      https://www.martinos.org/lab/lcn

Description of the project and duties

Pediatric Neuroimaging: the student will be responsible for analyzing infant brain MRI images as well as designing, testing, debugging and validating related algorithms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4332305/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4009075/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4966541/

Skills required: coding and / or scripting skills (MATLAB; python; csh/tcsh; C/C++ coding); familiarity with Unix; interest in neuroimaging

Learning outcome: scripting skills, data analysis, oral / written presentations

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project: minimum 4 hrs/week and commitment of at least 3 months; potentially negotiable

Mentoring: Dr. Zöllei will personally mentor the students, bimonthly meetings will be organized in order to discuss progress.

Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit

To apply: contact Dr Zöllei (lzollei@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu) with a cover letter and resume.

 

Posted March 15, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity at Schepens Eye Research Institute/Mass Eye and Ear, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

PI: Hetian Lei, Ph.D. Contact: Hetian_lei@meei.harvard.edu

Description of Projects:

1. Exploration of novel approaches to the treatment of intraocular pathological angiogenesis. VEGF plays a central role in angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels grow from pre-existing vasculature, and its receptor VEGFR2 mediates almost all known VEGF-induced output, including neovascularization. New fragile vessels are associated with a number of eye diseases such proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and neo-vascular age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). Without timely treatment, the abnormal vessels in these eye diseases leak blood into vitreous, blur vision, destroy the retina and lead to blindness. Inhibition of VEGF-stimulated activation of VEGFR2 with neutralizing VEGF antibodies (ranibizumab & bevacizumab) and a recombinant fusion protein with the partial extracellular domains of VEGFR1 & 2 (aflibercept) has become important therapy to treat abnormal angiogenesis associated with PDR and wet AMD. While these drugs can reduce vessel leakage and angiogenesis, continuous (and potentially harmful) ocular injections are required. In addition, there are number of patients with these eye diseases do not respond to the antiVEGF treatment. Thus, we are exploring a novel therapeutic approach to the intraocular pathological angiogenesis with an AAV-CRISPR/Cas9-based gene therapy. 

2. Investigation of the mechanism (s) by which growth factors drive biochemical and cellular responses  intrinsic  to  proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR)  as well as  apply  this  information  to  the  development  of  new  therapeutic options to prevent PVR.  In this research we have demonstrated that non-PDGFs in the vitreous engage their own receptors and thereby increase the level of reactive oxygen species. This change activates Src family kinases that phosphorylate PDGFR and thereby persistently trigger downstream signaling events such as P13K/Akt, which reduces the level of p53. Relaxing the p53 checkpoint potentiates the cell's ability to proliferate and survive, and facilitates the development of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. In this project we will continuously investigate the role of the signaling pathway of PI3K/Akt/MDM2/p53 in the pathogenesis of PVR.

Skills required: No previous research experience is necessary.

Learning outcome: Development of basic science laboratory skills: tissue culture, PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, work with animal models, etc. In addition, students will learn how to design experiments, write scientific papers, present the data, and analyze data. Consequently, the PI will co-publish a scientific paper with the student.

Number of hours: negotiable

Laboratory funding: The laboratory will fund all consumables, but there is no funding for a stipend.  Applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships.

Contact: please send your CV to Dr. Hetian Lei at Hetian_lei@meei.harvard.edu

 

 

Posted March 1, 2017

Undergraduate research position: Borderline Personality Disorder, McLean Hospital

This summer is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in clinical psychology and/or psychopathology to do hands-on research work at the world’s leading research center for the study of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Apply to work with Lois Choi-Kain, director of the Gunderson Residence treatment facility for women with BPD, on a project investigating a low-cost method to assess reflective functioning in patients with BPD, which in recent years has become a focus of new research and is thought to be an essential feature across all psychopathology.

Work for this project will take place at McLean Hospital at 115 Mill St., Belmont MA. The project will take place over eight weeks this summer. Hours are negotiable, but research assistants should expect to work 15-30 hours a week. The first step in this project, where RAs are most needed, is to transcribe Adult Attachment Interview audio recordings, so that the research team can test a new method of analyzing the transcripts that would be far faster and more efficient than current practice. 

This is a fantastic experience to get experience with the AAI (the gold standard for assessing reflective function in the field), get exposure to BPD theory and treatment, and work at one of the world’s leading research centers in clinical psychology. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit. No funding is available from McLean. Email your resume and contact info to EFFINCH@partners.org.

 

Posted Feb 22, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity at MGH Department of Radiology 
PI: Udo Hoffmann MD MPH Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School Division Chief, Cardiovascular Imaging Director, Cardiac MR PET CT Program Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital 165 Cambridge Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114 Phone: 617-726-1255, Fax 617-724-4152 Email: uhoffmann@partners.org
Website: Cardiac PET MR CT Program 
Description of Project and Duties: The Cardiac MR PET CT Program is a combined radiology/cardiology clinical research program at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The Program is a thriving multimodality multidisciplinary hub for patient oriented research focused on the translation and implementation of innovative advanced cardiovascular PET, MR, and CT imaging methods; including imaging of coronary atherosclerosis, myocardial structure and function, inflammation, and adipose tissues. 
The goal of this project is to determine features in the imaging domain that are associated with cardiovascular risk factors, including smoking and diabetes. The intern candidate will be assisting the mentor in reading, analyzing, segmenting and labeling of coronary artery calcium in CT coronary images as a part of a large clinical trial. 
** Students will have the opportunity to interact with the medical faculty and attend clinical conferences (2-3 hour/week) to be exposed to the clinical environment. 
Skills Required: The student will be trained to read coronary CT image however, basic knowledge of human anatomy and familiarity with medical images and basic IT understating is preferred.
Learning Outcome: Research Skills, data analysis methods, medical imaging analysis, clinical exposure, inter departmental presentations and poster presentations. 
Commitment to Project: 12-15 hours/week (negotiable) for a duration of minimum of one semester with the opportunity to extend over the summer with 15-20 hours/week commitment. 
Mentoring: The undergraduate intern will be directly mentored by Dr. Parastou Eslami and indirectly by Dr. Udo Hoffmann (Director of Cardiac PET MR CT Program). The candidate and Dr. Eslami will hold weekly one-to-one meeting to discuss the project details and progress. In addition, there will be a weekly departmental meeting to have further interaction with other members of the center and learn about their on-going projects. 
Funding: Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit. 
If you are interested or for further information, please contact Dr. Parastou Eslami at peslami1@mgh.harvard.edu with a paragraph describing your background and why you are interested in this position, along with your resume. 

 

Posted Feb 22, 2017

Summer research opportunity for undergraduate students, Dr Barteneva (BCH-HMS) in association with Department Biology, School of Science and Technology, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan.
PIs: Dr. Natasha Barteneva (BCH-HMS) and professor Ivan Vorobjev (SST, NU)

Project 1 title: Assessment of phytoplankton biodiversity in unique Kazakhstani lakes, including Lake Balkhash and lakes in Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve, included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

The aim of the project is to assess phytoplankton biodiversity of unique Kazakhstani lakes using a combination of techniques such as flow imaging cytometry, light and fluorescent microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and next-generation sequencing. Located in the middle of Eurasian continent, Kazakhstan is a landlocked country encompassing a number of unique freshwater, brackish and saline lakes. In spite of that, many of the Kazakhstani lakes are poorly studied and lack essential and reliable biological monitoring data. Phytoplankton communities are commonly used as biological indicators and their diversity and abundance provide information of the quality and state of aquatic systems. The undergraduate student may join the project in the summer for two months to participate in one of the following research components:

  1. Studying phycoplankton communities using fluorescent, light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
  2. Application of imaging cytometry (FlowCAM and Imagestream X Mark II) to evaluate phytoplankton abundance and diversity.

Dates: June 19 – August 18, 2017.
Relevant publications:
1.
Dashkova, V., Segev, E., Malashenkov, D., Kolter, R., Vorobjev, I. and Barteneva, N.S. 2016. Microalgal cytometric analysis in the presence of endogenous autofluorescent pigments. Algal Research, 19: 370-380. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2016.05.013
2. Dashkova, V., Malashenkov, D., Poulton, N., Vorobjev, I. and Barteneva, N.S. 2016. Imaging flow cytometry for phytoplankton analysis. Methods, 112: 188-200. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.05.007.

Project 2 title: Analysis of mitotic blockade and apoptosis of normal and cancer cells under the action of microtubule inhibitors.
The aim of the project is to analyze behavior of mitotic cells under the action of microtubule inhibitors. Microtubule inhibitors like paclitaxel and vinorelbine are widely used in anti-cancer chemotherapy (against breast cancer, lung cancer, acute leukemia and some other) however the mechanism(s) of their action at the cellular level is still poorly understood. One of the problems is largely unpredictable effect of such treatments for a large cohort of cancer patients. The undergraduate student may join the project in the summer for two months to participate in one of the following research components:

  1. Studying mitotic progression under the treatments with microtubule inhibitors by high-throughput time-lapse microscopy using bright-field and fluorescence approaches.
  2. Analysis of cell proliferation and apoptosis under the treatments with microtubule inhibitors by imaging flow cytometry.  

Relevant publications:
1. Balabiyev A, Kauanova S, Smirnova TA, Tvorogova AV, Vorobjev IA. 2015. Complex analysis of dose-dependent effect of microtubule inhibiting drugs on fibroblasts motility and mitotic progression. 2015 ASCB Annual Meeting abstracts. Molecular Biology of the Cell 26 (25): 920. doi:10.1091/mbc.E15-09-0674
2. Vorobjev I., Barteneva N.S. 2015. Temporal Heterogeneity Metrics in Apoptosis Induced by Anticancer Drugs. Journal Histochemistry and Cytochemistry. 63(7): 494-510. DOI: 10.1369/0022155415583534
3. Vorobjev IA, Barteneva NS. 2017. Multi-parametric imaging of cell heterogeneity in apoptosis analysis. Methods. 112 (1): 105-123. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.07.003.
Mentoring: mentoring will be mainly provided by graduate students Veronica Dashkova and Sholpan Kaunova, and Ph.D. scientist Dmitry Malashenkov. The students will also meet/discuss with PIs regularly.
Learning outcome: we are looking for ambitious, heavy-working students, and poster presentation at the end of summer semester is expected outcome.
Funding: Free housing and meals plan at NU, language lessons. All project-related traveling expenses inside Kazakhstan will be covered. May require some external funding to cover flight tickets (air-fare) to Astana.
Application: To apply, email your resume listing course work and prior lab experience, name and contact information of references, and a few sentences to explain why you are interested in the project, to Dr. N. Barteneva. Applications will be reviewed on rolling basis. We will accommodate 2-3 students.
Contact information: Natasha (Natalie) Barteneva, MD, PhD; Lecturer on Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School,                     Faculty Associate, Microbiology Initiative, Adjunct Professor, Nazarbayev University,                                 natasha.barteneva@childrens.harvard.edu


 

Posted Feb 16, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position, Viral entry and pathogenesis, Ophthalmology, MEEI
PI and Department: Jaya Rajaiya, Ph.D, Ophthalmology

The cornea is the clear and foremost tissue of the eye that encounters all agents of the environment including infectious organisms. Corneal infection induces corneal inflammation, which can sometimes be severe leading to the loss of clarity, causing blurred vision, or even perforation and loss of the eye. One type of corneal infection is epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), commonly known as “pink eye”, and caused by adenovirus. Currently there are no specific treatments available for EKC, but a combination of antibiotic and corticosteroid drops are used to prevent secondary bacterial infection and subdue inflammation.
We sought to identify specific host protein binding partners of viral structural proteins during infection, and validate their interactions through a technique called reverse proteomics. We cloned 3 adenovirus genes (penton base, pVI and pIIIa), and identified cellular binding proteins for pIIIa. We identified two high confidence interactors of pIIIa: ubiquitin-specific protease 9x (USP9x) and RAN binding protein 2 (RANBP2), that latter also known as nucleoporin 358, and a component of nuclear pore complex. These host proteins may assist in nuclear export and virus assembly. Further investigation of molecular interactions during viral infection may uncover previously undiscovered roles for viral encoded proteins in the host cellular environment. A clear understanding of the cellular mechanisms, which contribute to corneal inflammation, would help us design specific therapies for the disease.
Skills required:
Wet lab experience will be a plus, but if not we will train the candidate. An interest in biological research and problem solving, and good communications skills are required.
Learning outcome – experience with (i) routine techniques such as cloning, western blots, real time PCR, to advanced experimental techniques including immune fluorescence microscopy (ii) designing experiments and data analysis (iii) gaining presentation skills.
Number of hours – 10 per week minimum. Duration of commitment is flexible.
Mentoring – Mentoring will be primarily provided by postdoctoral fellows Dr. JiSun Lee and Dr. Mohamed Ismail. The student will also meet with the PI regularly.
Compensation: Funding options will be discussed during interview process.
Application: To apply, email your resume to Dr. Jaya Rajaiya
Contact information: Jaya_rajaiya@meei.harvard.edu Jaya Rajaiya, Ph.D; Director Post Doctoral Training; Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School
243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114  Tel: 617-573-4022

 

Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dept. of Ophtalmology, Mass Eye and Ear / Schepens Eye Research Institute
PI:  Leo A. Kim, M.D., Ph.D. Contact: leo_kim@meei.harvard.edu
Website: http://www.schepens.harvard.edu/profileleo/leo-am-kim-md-phd/profile.html

Description of Projects:
1. Cell death mechanisms underlying retinal toxicity. Our laboratory is evaluating the multiple concurrent cell death mechanisms underlying retinal toxicity due to commonly used medications such as tamoxifen and chloroquine.  By understanding regulated cell death mechanisms including apoptosis, pyroptosis, and necroptosis, we may be able to develop methods to protect these medications as well as other degenerative diseases of the retina. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4122018/

2. Novel mechanisms of aberrant retinal angiogenesis.  Using patient-derived fibrovascular membranes surgically removed from patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy, our laboratory has been able to discover novel molecular mediators of aberrant angiogenesis within diseases. Elucidating these new pathways may reveal mechanisms beyond vascular endothelial growth factor signaling, that may be potential targets to regulate pathologic ocular angiogenesis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462955/

3. Therapeutic agents for the management of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR).  PVR is a blinding complication of retinal detachment most commonly associated with eye trauma.  This disease is characterized by growth of scar tissue beneath and over the retina.  We have developed an in vitro assay using patient-derived PVR membranes to screen for potential drugs for the treatment of PVR. Additional work will attempt to understand the underlying mechanisms of PVR proliferation, growth, and migration, as well as mechanisms that can lead to drug resistance within these cells.
Skills required:  No prior research experience is necessary.
Learning outcome:  Development of basic science laboratory skills: PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, work with animal models, tissue culture, ELISA, etc.  Students will also learn how to design experiments, write scientific papers, present papers, and critically analyze data. Eventually, the PI would like to co-publish a scientific paper with the student.
Number of hours:  Negotiable.
Laboratory funding:  The laboratory will fund all consumables. However, there is no funding for a stipend.  Applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships or apply for a research credit.
Contact:  Please send your CV to Dr. Leo Kim at leo_kim@meei.harvard.edu.

 

Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity to study the transcriptional regulatory circuit that combats the generation of osteoarthritis.  Location: Lassar Lab in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School
Osteoarthritis results from the degradation of the articular cartilage in joint tissue. We are probing the transcriptional regulatory circuit that both maintains the health of the articular cartilage and that blocks the degradation of this tissue.  We are approaching this issue by identifying the transcription factors that maintain expression of key cartilage genes such as lubricin, which block degradation of this tissue.  Techniques to be employed will be bioinformatic identification of lubricin transcriptional regulators and transgenic dissection of lubricin regulatory elements.  We are looking for a highly motivated student interested in learning cutting edge molecular biology techniques to work in concert with a postdoc in my lab on this project.
Requirements: Completion of an introductory Molecular Biology laboratory course or 1+ years of prior laboratory experience. 
Goals of experience: Experimental design with a focus on good scientific method, data analysis and interpretation of results will be emphasized. Students will gain basic laboratory experience in a variety of laboratory skills including mammalian cell culture, RNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, transfection of mammalian cells, cloning in mammalian expression vehicles, luciferase assays, gel electrophoresis, and bioinformatics analysis of transcriptional regulatory sequences.
Start date: Spring 2017 semester and continuing at least into Spring 2018 (with potential for summer lab work).
Commitment: 10-12 hrs/week during the term with the potential for summer work. Student must be willing to commit 1+ years to master a variety of molecular biology/cell culture techniques.
Funding: We will both provide funds to a qualified and motivated student and help the student obtain additional stipend support via Harvard undergraduate research grant opportunities (such as  http://lifesciences.fas.harvard.edu/research-opportunities and http://seo.harvard.edu/faculty-aide-program)
Contact: Interested students should contact Andrew Lassar (Andrew_Lassar@hms.harvard.edu) with a resume listing their course work and prior lab experience (in or out of class).  The laboratory is located at Harvard Medical School in the Longwood Campus.

  

Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate research assistant opportunity for the Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, MA
PI Name:
Lotfi Merabet, OD PhD MPH
Department: Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School
Contact Information: Emma Bailin (617)573-3794 or emma_bailin@meei.harvard.edu
Location: 20 Staniford Street, 2 West Building, Boston, MA 02114
Lab Website: http://scholar.harvard.edu/merabetlab
Project Description: The lab studies how the brain adapts to blindness and visual impairment. Major research focuses include brain imaging technologies (including MRI and EEG) to investigate structural and functional neuroplasticity. The student will work closely with senior investigators in the lab on assessing performance in visually impaired adolescents using a variety of computer based software. Testing will be carried out at the laboratory as well as at collaborative sites in the Boston area. The student will be responsible for collecting and analyzing data under the guidance of senior investigators. Depending on computer proficiency and analysis skills, there is also the opportunity to participate in brain imaging experiments and data analysis.
Skills Required: Ideal candidates will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in psychology or neuroscience. An interest in working with people with disabilities would be highly desirable. Previous research experience in a neuroscience and or an experimental psychology lab would be ideal, but not required. Strong organizational and communication skills and attention to detail are an important must. The candidate should be self-motivated and able to solve problems independently while also being comfortable working with others. Applicants with a background in programming (e.g. Unix, Python, MATLAB), statistical analysis software (e.g. R, SPSS, STATA) and/or neuroimaging software (e.g. FreeSurfer, FSL, SPM, etc.) are strongly encouraged to apply.
Learning Outcomes: The position offers substantial research experience and potential for co-authorship on publications. The position is ideal for candidates looking to gain research experience in preparation for graduate level studies in neurosciences, psychology, education, or medicine in the future. The undergraduate student can expect to gain extensive experience in behavioral research methodology, psychophysical testing, statistical analysis, brain imaging, and study design experience. 
Number of hours: Expected to work about 10 hours a week, depending on the current project. There is flexibility in the expected dates, but at least one year is required (or 2 semesters) and more than one year is highly preferred.  
Payment: No funds are currently available from the lab, but students are encouraged to seek external support.
To Apply: Please send a CV and a cover letter to Emma Bailin (emma_bailin@meei.harvard.edu), with the subject line “Research Assistant position application”. The letter should describe your research experience (if you have any), interests and include why you think you would be a good fit for the lab. Please also include the name and contact information of two references. Applications will be reviewed on rolling basis until the position has been filled.

 

Posted Feb 14, 2017

Undergraduate Research Position, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, MGH
PI and Department: 
Mark C. Poznansky MD, PhD. Director Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC), MGH Bldg 149 (MGH
East) 13th Street, Charlestown, 02129  www.advancingcures.org
The aim of this project is to develop a new combination immunotherapy for cancer.
Skills required: Wet lab experience would be beneficial.
Learning outcome: (laboratory skills, research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc.)

The student has a duty to maintain a safe work environment, prepare solutions as requested and keep records in an assigned laboratory notebook. Assist with experimental setup, laboratory experiments, and data acquisition; perform image analysis and record data. 
Learn how to understand the principle of flow and mass cytometry, cell culture, animal model work and how to perform ELISA; WESTERN BLOTS; SDS-PAGE.
Learn animal handling, cryosectioning, immunohistochemistry, cell isolation, use of image analysis software, careful data recording.
Give a PowerPoint presentation to lab members on the research process and results achieved.
Hours: Either: Summer internship – 12 weeks full time Or: 10-12 hrs/week, student must be willing to commit 1+ years, as needed, to master a broad range of techniques.
Mentoring: The appropriate VIC senior scientist will be assigned to the student and there will be weekly full lab meetings, team meetings and constant access to the specific mentor.
Funding: The laboratory does not provide funding. Students are encouraged to seek alternative funding support. Undergraduates can either enroll in a course credit at Harvard or apply for funding through the Harvard College Research Program.
Contact: Interested students should contact Phoebe Ingram pingram1@mgh.harvard.edu and include a resume highlighting relevant experience as well as a brief description of their status at Harvard and two references.

 

Posted February 10, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Synho Do Lab, Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Description of the project and duties:

  • Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) has been launched in 2015 to promote development of effective tools to prevent disease and provide personalized treatments. Precision medicine requires observation of all possible health related data, such as biological, environmental, and behavioral influences, which are generated by individual’s differences in genes and lifestyles. Our lab focuses on the development of the Radiology-Pathology-Genetic (R-P-G) data machine learning platform to implement the early stage cancer diagnosis and accurate treatment planning.

The undergraduate researcher will actively play an important role to build essential components of the project: 1) digitalized big and high quality raw data repositories, 2) fast pre-processing and robust data retrieval system from secure storage, 3) intelligent algorithm to find an association map with self-learning capability, and 4) actionable information extraction and visualization of information.

Skills required:

  • No prior research experience is required. However, you must have some computer programming skills (Python will be preferred)

Learning outcome:

  • Laboratory skills: Utilizing deep learning in medical images to create the R-P-G platform.
  • Research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc.

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project: Negotiable

Mentoring: Dr. Synho Do will mentor students at least once a week.

Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit.

Email your Resume and cover letter to Ms. Catherine Park at hpark21@mgh.harvard.edu
Department: Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Contact information: Tel 617-643-0247, Ms. Catherine Park at hpark21@mgh.harvard.edu
Location: 25 New Chardon St. 4th Floor, Boston, MA, 02114
Lab website: http://lmic.mgh.harvard.edu/


 

Posted January 27, 2017

Dissecting human β-cell differentiation regulatory networks; Douglas A. Melton, Xander University Professor; Harvard Department of Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology

Pancreatic β-cells are essential regulators of glucose homeostasis whose dysfunction leads to diabetes. Diabetic patients could be cured through transplantation of new β-cells, creating an urgent clinical need for their large-scale generation. To this end, our lab has recently developed strategies for generating human stem cell-derived β-like cells (SC-β) that are glucose-responsive and mitigate diabetes in mice.

We are now looking for a highly motivated, independent, and committed student to help us identify the key genes and signals needed to obtain functionally mature SC-β cells useful for replacement therapy. Specifically, we aim to (i) dissect such regulatory networks using epigenomic tools, (ii) test their drivers for roles in β-cell specification and maturation using functional studies in vitro and in vivo, and (iii) elucidate their function mechanisms using biochemical and cell biological techniques.

The ideal candidate would be a student primarily interested in Molecular/Developmental Biology who also has a general interest in human disease treatment.

Requirements: Completion of an introductory Molecular Biology laboratory course or 1+ years of prior laboratory experience.

Start date: Spring 2017 semester and continuing at least into Spring 2018.

Commitment: 10-12 hrs/week during the term. Student must be willing to commit 1+ years as needed to master a broad range of biological techniques.

Contact: Interested students should contact Juan R. Alvarez (juanralvarez@fas.harvard.edu) and include a resume highlighting relevant experience as well as a brief description of their status at Harvard.

 

Posted January 27, 2017

Summer Research in Panama, with Harvard Pfister Lab & Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

The aim of this project is to assess phylogenetic relationships between species of laboulbenialean fungi that occur on bat flies (Diptera). Laboulbeniales are parasitic fungi that are microscopic in size and occur at the outside of the integument of arthropod hosts. Questions to be addressed include: How diverse are Laboulbeniales fungi on neotropical bat flies? Does morphological identification always match up with molecular data? Do bat fly-associated Laboulbeniales form a monophyletic clade in the order-wide phylogeny? This project is an excellent research opportunity for an undergraduate who wants to gain more lab experience and who is considering going to graduate school. 

Skills required: Some experience with DNA extraction protocols and PCR amplification techniques.

Learning outcome: Molecular lab experience; fieldwork; advanced microscopy; concepts in evolution and speciation. There will be an opportunity to present at a Pfister Lab meeting.

Dates: June 1 - July 31 (flexible dates). This is a full-time position.

Location: The research will take place in Gamboa, a small town that is only reachable by a single-lane iron and wood bridge. Many Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facilities are available here, among them the Bat Lab. The Principal Investigator of this lab, and close collaborator for the project, is Dr. Rachel Page. 

Mentoring: The student will work directly with a fifth-year graduate student at the Pfister Lab, Danny Haelewaters.

Applying for (external) support is required. 

Relevant publications:

Haelewaters D, Gorczak M, Pfliegler WP, Tartally A, Tischer M, Wrzosek M, Pfister DH. 2015. Bringing Laboulbeniales into the 21st century: enhanced techniques for extraction and PCR amplification of DNA from minute ectoparasitic fungi. IMA Fungus 6 (2): 363-372.

Haelewaters D, Pfliegler WP, Szentiványi T, Földvári M, Sándor AD, Barti L, Camacho JJ, Gort G, Estók P, Hiller T, Dick CW, Pfister DH. Laboulbeniales (Fungi, Ascomycota) ectoparasites of Central European bat flies (Diptera, Nycteribiidae): distributional data and host associations. [available upon request]

Haelewaters D, van Wielink P, van Zuijlen JW, Verbeken A, De Kesel A. 2012. New records of Laboulbeniales (Fungi, Ascomycota) for The Netherlands. Entomologische Berichten 72 (3): 175-183.

Please email CV, unofficial transcript, brief description of interests, and one reference to Dr. Donald H. Pfister (dpfister@oeb.harvard.edu) and Danny Haelewaters (danny.haelewaters@gmail.com).

 

 

Posted January 24, 2017

 

Summer research in the genetics of neuron shape, Dr. Maxwell Heiman lab, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital

The aim of this project is to use genetic screens in C. elegans to identify factors that shape the nervous system. Questions to be addressed include, How do neurons extend dendrites of the correct length?  How do neurons attach to the right neuronal and glial partners?  What controls the specificity and positioning of neuron-glia attachments?  This project would be an excellent research opportunity for an undergraduate who is considering going to graduate school.  Examples of relevant publications include:

Yip Z. C. and Heiman M. G. (2016) Duplication of a single neuron in C. elegans reveals a pathway for dendrite tiling by mutual repulsion.  Cell Reports.  15:2109-2117.

Mizeracka K. and Heiman M. G.  (2015) The many glia of a tiny nematode: Studying glial diversity using Caenorhabditis elegans.  Wiley Interdiscip. Rev. Dev. Biol. 4: 151-160.

Gilleland C. L., Falls A. T., Noraky J., Heiman M. G.*, Yanik M.F.* (2015) Computer-assisted transgenesis of C. elegans for deep phenotyping. Genetics. 201: 39-46. *, co-corresponding.

Heiman M. G. and Shaham S. (2009)  DEX-1 and DYF-7 establish sensory dendrite length by anchoring dendritic tips during cell migration. Cell.  137: 344-355.

Skills required. Previous experience with molecular biology methods.

Learning outcome: Methods for genetic manipulation of C. elegans; advanced microscopy; concepts in developmental biology and neurodevelopment.  There will also be an opportunity to present at a Heiman lab meeting.

Expected dates are Jun 1 - Aug 14, with some flexibility available. This is a full-time position.

Mentoring: The student will work directly with a fourth-year graduate student, Elizabeth Lamkin.

Applying for external support or course credit is encouraged, but a stipend can be made available.

Please email CV, unofficial transcript, brief description of interests, and two references to heiman@genetics.med.harvard.edu

CLS 14047, 3 Blackfan Cir, Boston MA

http://heimanlab.com

 

 

Posted January 9, 2017

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Howard Berg Lab, MCB and Dept. of Physics.

BL 3063A. The Biological Labs http://www.rowland.harvard.edu/labs/bacteria/

Email: hberg@mcb.harvard.edu Phone: 617-495-0924

The goal of this project is to develop biosensors to measure the concentration of the signaling molecule cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) inside individual bacterial cells. c-di-GMP is involved in regulating several important cellular processes, most notably biofilm formation. Biofilms are the leading cause of infections acquired in hospitals and biofilm-based chronic infections are a growing cause of concern for modern medicine. This project will provide fundamental understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying biofilm formation in bacteria. The undergraduate researcher will work independently on all aspects of this exploratory project, including finding relevant literature, selecting promising approaches, developing strains, setting up imaging apparatus, and carrying out experiments to measure c-di-GMP concentrations in cells under various conditions.

The ideal candidate will be independent, self-driven, and interested in learning about the biophysics of bacterial locomotion and sensing. Previous research experience is not required but exposure to bacterial genetics and/or molecular biophysics is a plus. Familiarity with MATLAB (or other similar programming languages) is beneficial.

Through this project, the student will gain experience in study design, bacterial genetics, methods in single molecule biophysics, data analysis, presentations, and scientific writing. The student will be closely mentored by postdoctoral researcher Dr. Navish Wadhwa and Prof. Howard Berg. Weekly research meetings and biweekly lab meetings will be held to track the research progress. Expected duration of the project is 1 term, with an option to continue in the following terms. Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships.

Interested candidates should send their resume, and a cover letter highlighting their background and interests to Dr. Navish Wadhwa at navish_wadhwa@fas.harvard.edu.

 

Posted January 5, 2017

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Bumble Bee Behavior, Ben de Bivort’s lab, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

The bumble bee species Bombus impatiens is a crucial pollinator of many Angiosperm species in North America. Bumble bees are highly social insects that live in small colonies (hundreds of individuals). While worker bees often appear interchangeable, our recent work has shown that individual workers within colonies show strong individual differences in behavior, i.e. “personality”. Our lab uses computer vision and machine learning techniques to study the collective behavior of bumblebee colonies and the role of individual personality in social insect colonies. We’re also interested in how environmental stressors such as pesticides affect individual behavior and group success. http://debivort.org/

Project opportunities:

-       Short-term project (2-3 months). The student should be available to begin work in January 2017. The project will be woven into a master thesis on the evolution of personalities in bumble bees.

-       Long-term project (Spring semester 2017, potentially extensible over Summer, extension into senior thesis research also possible). The project will mainly focus on the impact of neonicotinoids (pesticides) on the foraging behavior of bumble bees. Students may also have the opportunity to develop an independent research program.

Skills required: The student is expected to be highly motivated, committed and reliable, as well as eager to learn about research in behavior. Prior research experience preferred, but not required. Students with a foundation in biology or ecology are encouraged to apply.

Number of hours: 5-10 hours per week

Funding: The laboratory does not provide funding. Students are encouraged to seek alternative funding support. Undergraduates can either enroll in a course credit at Harvard or apply for funding through the Harvard College Research Program.

http://lifesciences.fas.harvard.edu/undergraduate-fellowships

Contact Information. Send resume to Claire Guérin and Dr James Crall:

James Crall, PhD; Rockefeller Fdn. Planetary Health Alliance; Postdoctoral Fellow; jcrall@oeb.harvard.edu

Claire Guérin, MSc; Erasmus Mundus Association; claire.guerin@evobio.eu

 

 

Posted December 19, 2016

Research assistants needed for project on global health quality, Harvard Global Health Institute, Harvard Initiative on Global Health Quality, Cambridge, MA

Duties & Responsibilities       

The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), through its strategic initiative on quality, The Harvard Initiative on Global Health Quality (HIGHQ), is committed to advancing our understanding of how to improve quality within diverse health systems. HIGHQ partners with health systems to design policies and metrics that drive high-quality healthcare and advance the field of global health quality through 1) advising partnerships, 2) research, 3) policy and 4) education. Our vision is that health systems everywhere are intelligently designed to improve population health.

The Research Assistant will assist in a seminal project to benchmark the state of healthcare quality globally.  In collaboration with others, the Research Assistant will conduct thorough reviews of the scientific, peer-reviewed literature on topics such as the quality of care for acute myocardial infarction or stroke in hospitals and the quality of care for hypertension and diabetes in the outpatient setting.  The Research Assistant will abstract data from these studies into a large database and will be involved with data compilation and visualization.

Time Status: Part-time / $20.00 per hour;  Schedule: 15-20 hours per week

Basic Qualifications: Medical or public health school students preferred, although exceptional undergraduates with an interest in medicine or health policy will also be considered.

Additional Information: This is a 3-6 month appointment with the possibility of renewal.

Contact: Interested candidates should submit their resume to HGHI Executive Director, Ethlyn O’Garro at ethlyn_ogarro@harvard.edu.

 

Posted December 12, 2016

Undergraduate Research in Computational Biology opportunity, Duraisingh lab, Harvard School of Public Health

Malaria impacts human evolution in geographical areas where the disease is endemic. Examples include the sickle cell trait, a mutation in a hemoglobin gene that inhibits growth of the malaria parasite in host cells, and the duffy-negative trait, which renders host erythrocytes resistant to invasion by Plasmodium vivax by preventing expression of the Duffy antigen on their surface.

An undergraduate student will assist us in identifying novel factors that might be under selective pressure from malaria by leveraging the thousand genomes project (http://www.internationalgenome.org) and the human exome project (http://evs.gs.washington.edu). The thousand genomes project provides whole genome sequences of individuals from around the world from including regions where malaria is, and is not, endemic. The human exome project provides broader and deeper sampling for the subset of the human genome that is expressed as protein. Enrichment of specific genetic variants in parts of the world where malaria is endemic may reveal novel factors involved in host/parasite interactions. This strategy was employed to provide evidence that CD55, a potential novel malaria receptor, is under selective pressure (Egan et al. Science, 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25954012), and we wish to extend this analysis to the rest of the proteins present in red blood cells.

No prior research experience is required. We are looking for a student with a demonstrated interest in computational problem solving and a basic understanding of biology. The student will develop skills in the unix operating system, the R programming language, and in the use of online bioinformatics resources. The student will be supervised by Jonathan Goldberg, a computational biologist with experience from The Boston Biomedical Research Institute, The Broad Institute and the Duraisingh lab at HTHCSPH, and author of the software packages Kinnanote, Protdraw and Corealyze, which are published at https://sourceforge.net.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Email your resume to Dr. Jon Goldberg – goldberg.jm@gmail.com
https://sites.sph.harvard.edu/duraisingh-lab/

Undergraduate Research in Molecular & Cell Biology opportunity in the Duraisingh Lab, Harvard School of Public Health

With 250 million infections and 500,000 deaths attributed to malaria each year, malaria is a significant burden on public health in the developing world. The blood stage of infection is responsible for all symptoms of disease. In the Duraisingh lab we investigate the influence red cell physiology has on the virulence of blood stage malaria. Upon infecting a host red cell, the malaria parasite need the host red cell to remain intact for the two days required for the parasite to produce progeny that will initiate the next round of blood stage infection. A growing body of evidence suggests that the malaria parasites excessive digestion of host hemoglobin and new permeability pathways (NPPs) are responsible for maintaining the osmotic stability of the infected red cell. The impact host red cell physiology has on the osmotic stability of malaria infected red cells is not known. It is our aim to identify red cell factors that determine the osmotic stability of malaria infected red cells. This project has the potential to reveal a novel host antimalarial mechanism as well as therapeutic targets for the virulent blood stage of malaria infection.

We are looking for a student who is interested in gaining research experience (or expanding existing experience), can commit 5-10 hours per week in the lab, and has good communication skills.

Skills required – No previously laboratory experience required. An interest in biological research and problem solving, and good communications skills are all that are needed.

Learning outcome – experience with (i) advanced experimental techniques including immune fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry (ii) experimental design and trouble shooting and (iii) data analysis and presentation.

Number of hours – 5-10 per week. Duration of commitment is flexible.

Mentoring – Mentoring will be primarily provided by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Martha Clark. Formal meetings with Martha will occur once a week. The student will also have the opportunity to engage with PI Dr. Manoj Duraisingh.

Compensation – Compensation options will be discussed during interview process.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Email resume to Dr. Martha Clark – maclark@hsph.harvard.edu

 

Posted November 29, 2016

Evolution and Ecology of Underwater Cave Organisms (Big & Small!)

General description:

In dark caves in which landlocked marine layer flows beneath a freshwater layer, there are generally few animals. Yet, some of these extreme caves have inexplicably large biomasses of shrimp and members of the Remipedia, a rare crustacean class discovered in 1981. The cave system studied in the Cavanaugh Lab by postdoctoral researcher Joey Pakes is one of these systems having mysteriously high densities of crustaceans. Why and what is feeding all of these animals? Microbes!!

            Field and laboratory studies by Pakes combine both microbial and animal evolutionary ecology to better understand the relationships between microbes and crustaceans in these largely inaccessible habitats across Mexico and the Caribbean. In addition, new projects in the lab have developed around United States freshwater cave systems.

Selected students will be trained by and work closely with Postdoctoral Fellow Joey Pakes, who received her AB at Harvard (Winthrop) and PhD at UC Berkeley. Techniques used in the laboratory are shared by many environmental, microbial and medical laboratories. Past students who have worked with Pakes have gone on to graduate school in biology, veterinary, and medical schools. Most recently, her Harvard mentees have presented work at Harvard, Radcliffe, and international conferences!

Selected students may work on one or a combination of the following projects:

1)      Genetic and morphological Biodiversity of cave micro-eukaryotes:  Requires

a.      preparing slides of micro-eukaryotes (e.g., protists) with fluorescent dyes and/or

b.      using PCR and sequencing to assess the biodiversity of cave organisms.

2)      Biogeography of cave crustaceans: Requires

a.      DNA extraction, PCR, sequence generation for analysis of shrimp phylogeography and rates of dispersal.

b.      Work in excel, ArchGIS/GOOGLE EARTH, genbank and literature searches are likely. (The student may also learn phylogenetic and population genetic analysis. )

3)      Are cave environments stable? A micro-climate study: Requires

a.      Using your programming knowledge to analyze long term environmental data collected in underwater caves.

4)      History of Cave Science: While cave diving has only been popular since the 1970s and safe diving practices were not developed until much later, caves has been appreciated as biological hotspots since the Voyage of the Beagle. This project aims to combine early and recent research to answer questions about known caves like, Where are they? What geologic and chemical characteristics do they share? Who lives inside of them?

a.      Help us create and catalogue the history of cave research using library science in person and on line.

b.      Then, mine data from these historical works to put current knowledge into context.

Specific qualifications applicants should have

Availability to begin work in 2017 Winter Session or Spring Semester:

For projects 1 and 2: Life Sciences 1a or Life and Physical Science A required. Coursework covering the following topics is desirable but not essential: evolution, invertebrate biology, microbial diversity, biological oceanography, geochemistry, or ecology.

For projects 3 and 4: Have you used google scholar, pubmed or Hollis for a class assignment or taken CS50? Anyone with these skills and an interest in caves is encouraged to apply!  

For all projects, a background in one or more of the following would be preferred: Excel, ArchGIS, Adobe product suite, a programming language (e.g., R).

Time Commitment: 6-9 hours per week. This commitment includes an hour of weekly meeting and an hour to read literature or prepare new protocols at home.

If interested: Please send pakes@fas.harvard.edu an email with subject line “Interest in Undergraduate Research.” In the body of the email, please let me know why this research interests you and how your background might help our research team.

Should you care to see some pictures of an anchialine cave animals and learn more about Joey's PhD field research, check out this narrated slideshow hosted by the UC Museum of Paleontology http://ucmp.berkeley.edu/blog/archives/1731

 

Posted November 21, 2016

Undergraduate Research Fellow in Alzheimer’s Disease Lab, MGH

Our research uses advanced brain imaging technology to the understand degenerative changes that occur in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Skill required: Students are expected to be self-motivated and eager to learn about neuroscience research. No prior research experience is required. Students with a foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, or engineering are encouraged to apply.

The undergraduate student fellow can expect to gain valuable knowledge in clinical research, data analysis methods, and study design in addition to presentation and laboratory skills.

The Principle Investigator will work with the student to determine appropriate mentorship, which will be tailored to the interests and needs of the student. 

The length of the project and number of hours per week dedicated to the lab are negotiable.

To apply, please send your resume and a brief description of your scientific interested  to the study coordinator at rlalvarado@mgh.harvard.edu and brainstudy@mgh.harvard.edu
David Salat
Massachusetts General Hospital
Martinos Center, Brain Aging and Dementia (BAnD) Laboratory
149 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129
Phone: 617-643-7721; Email: brainstudy@mgh.harvard.edu

Undergraduate research opportunity, Division Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, BWH.

Students will gain an understanding of the normal physiology of puberty and reproduction through the use of various basic and translational models to understand the underlying mechanisms leading to disordered pubertal timing and altered reproduction. Current projects focus on the mechanism of Makorin Ring Finger Protein 3 (MKRN3), the first loss-of-function mutation described in children with central precocious (early) puberty, by Dr. Kaiser’s lab in 2013. Using a recombinant adeno-associated virus overexpressing Mkrn3, the goal of the current project is to attempt to delay pubertal onset in prepubertal rodents and cause suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis in postpubertal rodents. In vitro studies using various cell lines will also be used to understand the impact of Mkrn3 on other important neuroendocrine players in the HPG axis.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1302160#t=article

Skills required: No prior laboratory skills required.

Goals of experience: Experimental design with a focus on good scientific method, data analysis and interpretation of results will be emphasized. Students will gain basic laboratory experience in a variety of laboratory skills including mammalian cell culture, RNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, gel electrophoresis, western blot, immunohistochemistry as well as experience in rodents through animal handling and husbandry, reproductive phenotyping, tissue collection and surgical procedures.

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project:

The number of hours students are expected to work is flexible. The length of the project can be modified to fit the needs of the student, it can range from a semester to a full year commitment.

Mentoring: Dr. Kaiser provides mentoring and oversight for the overall project while direct mentoring will be conducted by a post-doctoral research fellow (Stephanie Roberts, MD).

Does laboratory provide any funds to pay student’s stipend? No, students are encouraged to either enroll in a course credit at Harvard (see your concentration advisor) or apply to student fellowships (HCRP, PRISE, etc.)

Application: To apply send resume directly to Dr. Kaiser at ukaiser@partners.org.

Contact information: Ursula B. Kaiser, M.D.

Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
221 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Ph: 617-525-8867
Fax: 617-264-5273
Email: UKaiser@partners.org

 

Undergraduate research opportunity, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, BWH.

Dr. Kaiser’s laboratory research focuses on understanding the neural network controlling puberty onset. Puberty is triggered by the central increase in secretion of a neuropeptide, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which stimulates pituitary gonadotropin secretion necessary for activation of gonadal function. Our group recently reported loss-of-function mutations in the makorin ring finger protein 3 (MKRN3) gene in association with central precocious puberty. The aim of this project is to determine the role and mechanisms of action of Mkrn3 in puberty onset. For these studies, we are using a combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches. A genetically modified mouse model will be used to determine the physiological role of Mkrn3 in the regulation of puberty onset. The mechanism of action of Mkrn3 will be studied by using hypothalamic-like neurons differentiated from genetically manipulated human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs).

Skills required: No prior research experience is required.

Learning outcome:  The student will be involved in both in vivo and in vitro approaches to answering important biological questions. They will learn basic molecular and biochemical techniques (PCR, RT-qPCR, Western blot analysis, immunohistochemistry), mammalian cell culture techniques (including hiPSCs, hiPSCs cell differentiation) and reproductive physiology analysis in mice. They will also learn how to design a research experiments, analyze data and present their results. They will have the opportunity to attend weekly lab meeting and Endocrine division conferences.

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project:

Number of hours students are expected to work is flexible, depending of the student’s availability.

Mentoring: The student will be directly mentored by a post-doctoral research fellow (Lydie Naule, PhD) on a daily basis and will receive overall supervision by Dr. Ursula Kaiser.

Does laboratory provide any funds to pay student’s stipend? No. Students are encourage to apply for research course credit (see your concentration advisor) or research fellowships (HCRP, PRISE, etc).

Application: To apply, email your resume to Dr. Ursula Kaiser at UKaiser@partners.org.

Contact information: Ursula B. Kaiser, M.D.

Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
221 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Ph: 617-525-8867
Fax: 617-264-5273
Email: UKaiser@partners.org

 

Posted November 18, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunities in translational genetics and neurodevelopment (Yu Lab)

The Yu lab (Division of Genetics and Genomics, Boston Children's Hospital) is seeking talented undergraduate students interested in genomics and neurobiology research.

Our group studies the genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. For example, we have conducted the largest screen to date for gene knockouts in humans that lead to autism, mining whole exome and genome data from tens of thousands of autistic individuals and controls. Students will have the opportunity to work on a range of projects, ranging from in silico bioinformatics and gene hunting to bench-based neurobiological studies of candidate genes (involved in nitric oxide signaling, axon guidance, neurotransmitter signaling) arising from these analyses. We are also conducting a clinical translational research study of the use of genome sequencing in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Skills required: Projects are available for students with experience and/or interest in genetics, molecular biology, neurobiology, bioinformatics/computational biology, and translational medicine. Techniques include molecular biology, biochemistry, cell culture, neuronal culture, in situ hybridization, ChIP-seq, genome engineering, next-generation sequencing (NGS), NGS analysis and interpretation. Students will be mentored directly by a postdoctoral fellow and supervised by the PI.

Interested candidates can send a cover letter, resume/CV, and two references to Dr. Yu. Students are encouraged to apply for course credit, work-study, and fellowships; laboratory covers summer stipends not covered by Harvard summer research awards. Salaried positions may be available depending on experience.

Contact: Tim W. Yu, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School | Division of Genetics and Genomics, Boston Children's Hospital | Member, Kirby Program in Neurobiology | Associate Member, Broad Institute
Email: timothy.yu@childrens.harvard.edu
Center for Life Sciences Building, Room 14048
http://www.childrenshospital.org/researchers/timothy-yu

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Dr. Bonmassar lab, AA. Martinos Center, MGH

The project consists in designing, building and testing microscopic coils (size of neurons) for magnetic stimulation for investigating nervous system functions. Previous work can be found in:

http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms1914http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms1914http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms1914

http://www.ijbem.org/volume16/number1/ijbem_vol16_no1_pp1-31.pdfhttp://www.ijbem.org/volume16/number1/ijbem_vol16_no1_pp1-31.pdf

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stimulating-the-brain-with-microsco/https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stimulating-the-brain-with-microsco/

http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3463http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3463

No prior research experience is required. Duties include complete training and manufacture full functional microcoils for neuroscience research.

Learning outcome:  The student will have access to the state-of-the-art facilities in the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) at Harvard University and learn different techniques for manufacturing biomedical devices at micro and nano scale , the skills learned will include clean room operations, photolithography, reactive ionic etching, deposition techniques, and metrology techniques such as scanning electron microscope, etc.. The student will also acquire research skills such as study design, numerical simulations with the Finite Element Method to study the electromagnetic fields generated by the microscopic coils, presentations at weekly meetings, scientific writing of manuscripts in biomedical engineering journals, etc.

Mentoring: Dr. Bonmassar will be mentoring the HU student through weekly mentorship meetings.

Please send a resume to Prof. Bonmassar at giorgio.bonmassar@mgh.harvard.edu.

Location: AA Martinos Center, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129

Hours: Negotiable

Giorgio Bonmassar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
AA. Martinos Center | Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Building 75, Third Ave
Charlestown, MA 02129
Tel. (617) 726-0962
 

Posted November 16, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Neurodegeneration, Dr. Walsh lab

The Walsh lab has been at the forefront of studies on the role of soluble protein aggregates in neurodegenerative disease. Currently, we are working to establish a knowledge base that will allow the development of rationally designed interventions to slow or halt Alzheimer’s disease. In line with this, the student will have the opportunity to work on a number of exciting and translational projects aimed at understanding nervous system degeneration from a proteinopathic standpoint. Duties: From day one, the student will work closely with a postdoctoral fellow to develop research skills necessary to function independently. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, cell culture and aseptic technique, recombinant protein purification and aggregation, agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, plate-based immunoassays, immunochemistry and protein chromatography. References: Soluble Tau Protein Fragments, Soluble β-Amyloid Protein in Alzheimer’s BrainsMediator of β-Amyloid Protein Neurotoxicity.

Skills Required:There are no specific skill requirements per se, but prior wet lab research experience and/or an understanding of basic biochemistry is preferred. However, all applications will be considered.

Learning Outcome: With the aid of senior research staff, the student will be expected to i) establish proficiency with various cell, molecular and biochemical methods, ii) develop experimental design skills, iii) analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data, iv) organize and present data in a coherent manner, and v) work closely with other students and scientists in a collaborative environment.

Time Dedication: The student is expected to spend a minimum of 12 hours/week in lab. The duration of the opportunity will depend on a number of factors and is open to discussion.

Mentor: The student will have the opportunity to work closely with postdoctoral fellows on a day-to-day basis. Additional weekly meetings with the PI will also be organized.

Compensation: Funding is not available during the school term, but stipend may be available for students who wish to work during the summer months.

Contact Information: Interested students should submit a resume and statement of interest to Grant Corbett, Ph.D. at gtcorbett@partners.org. Please include ‘Undergraduate Research Opportunity’ in the title of your message. Thank you.

Dominic M. Walsh, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology
Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Research
Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases
Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Building for Transformative Medicine (10002O)
60 Fenwood Road
Boston, MA 02115

Undergraduate research opportunity, Dr. Walker Lab, Center for Human Genetic Research, MGH

Projects involving fruit flies (Drosophila) to study neurological diseases including neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), schwannomatosis and Alzheimer’s Disease are available. Will include maintenance of fly stocks and genetic crosses, microscopy, molecular biology and protein techniques including: DNA/RNA isolation, PCR and sequencing, western blotting.

Skills required: some laboratory experience is preferred (molecular/protein and/or Drosophila genetics), but full training will be given. Must be self-motivated with attention to detail and excellent verbal and written communication skills.  

Learning outcome: students will learn laboratory skills in genetics, dissection, microscopy, DNA and protein analysis, statistical analyses, preparing data for publication

Hours are negotiable and flexible – depending on the experiments being conducted at the time. Minimum expected: 2-3 hours, 2-3 days a week. Length of project: minimum of 6 months but can be extended.

Mentoring: the PI will be responsible for mentoring. Will meet formally on a weekly basis to discuss project, planning, data etc. and PI will be on hand throughout working day. Will also be expected to occasionally work with other lab members (to learn/demonstrate techniques and discuss experiments).

Funding: possible stipend, but student would be strongly encouraged to apply to the HCRP and other fellowships or register for a research course credit.

To apply, email your resume to Dr. Walker  jwalker@helix.mgh.harvard.edu

Dr. James (Jim) Walker
Center for Human Genetic Research (CHGR)
Massachusetts General Hospital
Simches Research Building
185 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-569-4671
Email: jwalker@helix.mgh.harvard.edu
CHGR Web site: http://chgr.org/index-faculty_walker.html

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in the Laboratory of Ronald Neppl, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, HMS

In healthy individuals, lean muscle accounts for 38 – 54% and 28 – 39% of total body mass in men and women respectively. These ranges are quite broad and are dependent upon multiple factors including age, physical activity level, overall health, and genetic makeup. In addition to its clear role in movement and locomotion, muscle is also a reservoir of glucose acting to buffer blood-glucose levels, a source of lactate and alanine for gluconeogenesis in the liver, as well as a major endocrine organ regulating the metabolic demands of adipose tissue, brain and bone. An ever increasing body of evidence links physical activity and the maintenance of lean muscle mass with a decreased risk of chronic disease as well as premature morbidity and mortality. A gradual loss of muscle mass with advancing age is physiologically normal. However, in a subset of individuals its increasingly rapid progression results in Sarcopenia, a major contributor to Frailty Syndrome. Effecting upwards of 5 million Americans per year, Cachexia is characterized by an excessive loss of muscle mass and increased mortality. It is now recognized as a complex metabolic condition associated with an underlying illness or chronic disease such as renal failure, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and AIDS. The Neppl Research Group is focused on the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle homeostasis in health and disease. Our overarching goal is to understand how ncRNAs control the essential processes of myogenesis and hypertrophic growth, and how perturbations in these processes may lead to a disease state resulting in muscle atrophy. Using traditional biochemical and molecular biology techniques, in vivo and in vitro model systems, as well as next generation RNA sequencing, we seek to discover and understand the biological roles these ncRNAs play in the maintenance of lean muscle mass.

Skills Required: No prior research experience is required. Only a desire to learn and work as a part of a team. Students with basic laboratory skills (e.g. DNA or protein gel electrophoresis, buffer preparation, etc.) are encouraged to apply.

Hours: The number of hours per week is negotiable.

Learning Outcome: The student will learn laboratory and research skills, project and study design, as well as data analysis methodologies and presentation skills.

Mentoring: The student will have a weekly mentorship meeting with the PI, and will work closely with Postdoctoral Fellows in the lab. The PI has an open door policy, and actively performs experiments with the Fellows.

Required information: Please email your resume/CV along with a brief statement regarding your interest in musculoskeletal research and what you hope to learn.

The PI will work with you and the appropriate institution (e.g. HMS, BWH, etc.) in securing stipend funds.

Ronald L Neppl, Ph.D.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
60 Fenwood Rd. Building for Transformational Medicine, Rm 5016J, Boston MA  02115
Email: rneppl@bwh.harvard.edu
Lab webpage: www.nepplresearchgroup.org

 

Posted November 14, 2016

Undergraduate research opportunity Dr. Ursula Kaiser Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital

An increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that several G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)–ligand pairs are critical for normal human reproductive development and function. Patients harboring genetic insults in either the receptors or their cognate ligands have presented with reproductive disorders characterized by varying degrees of GnRH deficiency. These disorders include idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) and Kallmann Syndrome (KS). Mutations in PROKR2 have been identified in patients with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism or Kallmann syndrome, characterized by GnRH deficiency. However, the molecular mechanisms through which these mutations cause disease are not fully understood. Several of these mutations are in amino acids in the 4th or 6th transmembrane domain of PROKR2, which are highly conserved among G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and have been shown to impair cell surface trafficking, often causing misfolding of the receptors. The mechanisms involved in post-translational processing and trafficking of GPCRs from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the cell surface are not fully understood, but it has been shown that chaperone proteins play an important role in the intracellular trafficking of GPCRs. We hypothesize that mutations in PROKR2 that interfere with cell surface expression have impaired interactions with chaperone proteins and instead may interact with proteins targeting them to degradation pathways. The goal of our studies is to identify and compare the proteins involved in PROKR2 intracellular trafficking by performed immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of wild-type (WT) PROKR2 and trafficking defective mutants.

  1. Abreu AP, Noel SD, Xu S, Carroll RS, Latronico AC, Kaiser UB. Evidence of the importance of the first intracellular loop of prokineticin receptor 2 in receptor function. Mol Endocrinol 2012;26:1417-27.
  2. Noel SD, Kaiser UB. G protein-coupled receptors involved in GnRH regulation: Molecular insights from human disease. Mol Cell Endocrinol 2011;346:91-101. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21736917
  3. Abreu AP, Kaiser UB, Latronico AC. The role of prokineticins in the pathogenesis of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Neuroendocrinology. 2010;91(4):283-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20502053

Basic laboratory techniques including mammalian cell culture, protein isolation, western blot analysis are preferred but not mandatory.

Learning outcome: Students will have the opportunity to learn basic laboratory techniques including but not limited to mammalian cell culture, western blot, immunoprecipitation, bioimaging, and molecular cloning. In addition, they will learn how to design scientifically rigorous research experiments and perform data analysis. Students will also be given the opportunity to present their work at our laboratory meeting and/or scientific meetings.

Number of hours students are expected to work is negotiable.

Mentoring: Dr. Yong Bhum Song, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kaiser’s lab, will serve as the primary mentor.  He will meet with the student on a daily basis.

Students are encouraged to apply to the HCRP, PRISE or register for a course-credit with their concentration advisers.

The student should submit their contact information as well as their curriculum vitae to Dr. Ursula Kaiser at ukaiser@bwh.harvard.edu and/or Yong Bhum Song at ysong10@partners.org.

Contact: Ursula Kaiser, M.D.
Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Email: UKaiser@partners.org
221 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

http://researchfaculty.brighamandwomens.org/BRIProfile.aspx?id=1102
https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/49220

Undergraduate Student Internships for 2017 at the Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics Imaging

The Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics Imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA is seeking highly motivated undergraduate students interested in oncology research.

Our research is based on simultaneously targeting cell death and proliferation pathways in tumor cells in an effort to eradicate both primary and metastatic tumors in the brain using therapeutically engineered stem cells. We have engineered different adult stem cells types to release (i) pro-apoptotic proteins to specifically induce apoptosis in tumor cells; (ii) anti-proliferative nanobodies (ENb) to inhibit tumor cell proliferation; (iii) anti-angiogenic proteins to target blood vessels supplying the tumor; (iv) oncolytic viruses to induce viral oncolysis; and demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of these engineered stem cells both in vitro and in vivo. Inherently linked to our tumor therapy paradigm, we employ fluorescent/bioluminescent imaging markers and optical imaging techniques to track the fate of stem cells and tumor cells in real time in vivo. In an effort to translate these therapeutics into clinical settings, we have developed and utilized immuno-deficient and -competent mouse tumor models that mimic clinical settings of primary tumors and their secondary micro-invasive deposits in the brain.

We offer an excellent training program in a collaborative research environment including molecular biology, stem cell biology, gene delivery to brain tumors, and imaging disciplines. The student interns will be working under guidance from a senior lab member on a research project and will be supervised by the Director.

Requirements:

Applicants should be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program within the Greater Boston area, with experience in one or more of the following techniques: stem cell biology, gene cloning, viral vector construction and/or animal surgeries. The student interns are expected to commit at least 15-hours/week during regular academic year and apply for full-time summer internship. They will receive training in various scientific areas including but not limited to experimental design, conduct, data interpretation and analysis, writing scientific reports and manuscripts.

Interested candidates can email the Center Director, Dr. Khalid Shah with a copy of their most recent resume and two letters of recommendation at kshah@mgh.harvard.edu . http://www.shahmnil.mgh.harvard.edu                       

Location: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Department: Neurosurgery Research

Work Location: 60 Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115

Duration of Internship: 2 years

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Bacterial Biophysics, Rowland Institute at Harvard

In nature, bacteria often move through complex media like soil or mucus which are very different from the aqueous solutions typically used in laboratory experiments. The aim of the project is to learn whether the different kinds of motility appendages of bacteria are advantageous for traversing specific kinds of media.

The undergraduate researcher will use a newly developed automated imaging setup to quantify how colonies of bacterial with different types of motility appendages explore new territories consisting of various complex media in Petri dishes. Duties include preparing bacterial cultures and Petri dishes with complex media, setting up automated imaging experiments, and analyzing the resulting data.         

Skills involved in the research are: 

-       culturing bacteria

-       general wet bench work

-       imaging

-       some ImageJ and Matlab-based data analysis

It would be advantageous for the undergraduate researcher to bring along some experience related to some of these skills.

 

Learning outcome:

-       lab skills as above

-       data presentation

 

Number of hours students are expected to work: 8-10h per week for the spring term initially.

We encourage students to explore opportunities for course credit, work-study, and fellowships, but can offer a salary.

To apply: please email a resume along with a brief statement explaining why you would like to join the lab, which skills you bring along, and which you would like to learn. 

Contact: Katja Taute taute@rowland.harvard.edu 100 Edwin H. Land Blvd, Cambridge, MA 02142  www.tautelab.org

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Host Microbiome and Toxicity, Rowland Institute at Harvard

Projects are related to looking at environmental toxins effect on the microbiome, using honey bees and wasps.

Skills required: Comfort with insects, ideal candidate would have microbiology or computer programing experience.

Learning outcome: opportunities to present work at scientific conferences as well as author scientific publications

Number of hours students are expected to work: 10-20hr/week

Does laboratory provide any funds to pay student’s stipend? yes

To apply send CV and a cover letter regarding your interest in science and science research as well as highlighting their longterm career goals.

Contact: Robert Brucker lab, brucker@rowland.harvard.edu, Bruckerlab.org

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rowland Institute at Harvard

Our lab is primarily focused in studying learning and memory using innovative imaging and optogenetic techniques in larval zebrafish. In particular, we are looking for a student interested in understanding how an animal learns to assemble complex motor sequences.

Expectations and Responsibilities: Responsibilities can include designing and conducting behavioral and imaging experiments, as well as zebrafish genetics and husbandry. The student will be immersed in a multidisciplinary lab that utilizes expertise from a diverse array of fields, and given ample opportunities to expand his/her knowledge and skills. To provide mentorship and support, each student will be paired with either a postdoc in the lab or work directly with the Principal Investigators.

Ideal candidates are driven, independent and interested in obtaining a deeper understanding of the neural basis of learning and memory. Programming skills and previous lab experience are preferred, but not required.

Learning outcome: all aspects of scientific work including laboratory skills, scientific writing and presentation

Students are expected to work at least 8 hours per week during semesters.

Partial funding possible; candidates encouraged to apply for HCRP, PRISE, etc.

Please send your CV and one-page motivation letter to Dr Jennifer Li (jli@rowland.harvard.edu). Please specify whether you are interested in a volunteer or work-study position.

Contact: Dr. Jennifer Li and Dr. Drew Robson jli@rowland.harvard.edu, http://www.rolilab.org/

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Renewable Energy Materials, Rowland Institute at Harvard

To developing highly efficient artificial photosynthesis system

No prior research experience required. Looking for highly motivated students.

Learning outcome: problem-solving, oral presentations, writing

Number of hours students are expected to work: depends on the student's schedule, very flexible

Partial funding possible; candidates encouraged to apply for HCRP, PRISE, etc.

To apply send Resume and cover letter would be fine.

Contact: Mentor: Kun Jiang, jiang@rowland.harvard.edu, PI: Haotian Wang, Rowland Institute, hwang@rowland.harvard.edu, Rowland room 328, http://www.rowland.harvard.edu/rjf/hwang/

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Excitonic Materials and Devices, Rowland Institute at Harvard

Upconversion is the process of converting low energy (infrared) light into high energy (visible) light. This has a number of very useful applications, from building higher efficiency solar cells, to better imaging cameras, to infrared and night vision, to three dimensional displays. Critical to the process, however, are the materials used. Here, the undergraduate researcher will examine a set of materials to find the most successful combinations and build effective devices. See doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2015.226 for more information.

The student is expected to have experience in a scientific lab and good scientific hygiene. Specific skills, including but not limited to spin coating, thermal evaporation, packaging, lasers, spectrometers, etc, will be taught by the PI.

Learning outcome: The student will learn how to plan and execute a scientific experiment, from design to fabrication to testing and compiling the results. The student will present their work to the PI and others and gain experience with technical presentations. The student will publish their results, if applicable, in a peer-reviewed journal with assistance from the PI.

5-10 hours per week, January - May with extensions over the summer possible.

Partial funding possible; Candidates encouraged to apply for HCRP, PRISE, etc.

Submit a resume and cover letter to congreve@rowland.harvard.edu.

Mentor: Dan Congreve, congreve@rowland.harvard.edu; PI Dan Congreve, congreve@rowland.harvard.edu, Rowland Institute, congrevelab.org

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Nanoscale MRI, Rowland Institute at Harvard

The Tao Lab seeks structure-property relationships in nanoscale, heterogeneous matter through the development of single-nucleon magnetic resonance imaging.   On this journey toward direct, 3D imaging of atomic structures, we are compelled to lift the performances of force-sensing and magnetic gradient-generating systems to new heights.   We expand the tool boxes of nanofabrication and material synthesis, for the existing arsenal of sample preparation methods usually proves inadequate to support this nano-engineering tour de force.   This multidisciplinary adventure will continue to enable discoveries and understanding of new physical phenomena and chemical processes. 

A detailed description of our philosophy regarding undergraduate laboratory education:

http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/taolab/undergraduate-scientists-welcome

Learning outcome: Instrumentation development; Material Synthesis; Presentation skills; Computer graphics
10h during term time and full-time during summers and winter semesters.

Partial funding possible; candidates encouraged to apply for HCRP, PRISE, etc.

Please email a CV along with a brief statement explaining why you would like to join this particular lab, which skills you bring along, which you would like to learn, and what your long-term career plans are.  We are especially interested in your extracurricular interests as well!

Contact: PI: Ye Tao tao@rowland.harvard.edu 100 Edwin H. Land Blvd, Cambridge, MA 02142 http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/taolab

Undergraduate research opportunity, Department of Ophthalmology at MEEI-HMS

Description of the project and duties: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 1.7 million individuals in the US and it will reach 3 million by 2020. Current therapies can improve vision only in some patients with advanced AMD; unfortunately, there is no effective therapy that prevents disease progression in patients with early disease or genetic predisposition. Our aim is to create a cell-based model using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)- derived retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells carrying AMD risk variants in complement genes. The mutations will be generated by genomic engineering with CRISPR/Cas 9. So the student will learn this technique, which includes cloning and molecular biology techniques.  The student will also learn cell cultures, specifically iPSC cultures. Our final aim is to discover the primary mechanisms activated by the combination of aging and genetic variants in complement genes in patients with early AMD. 

Skills required: No prior research experience is required. Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors are encouraged to apply

Learning outcome: you will learn typical laboratory skills: cell biology and molecular biology skills (including genomic engineering, stem cell cultures and primary cell cultures), and research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc. Also, you will have the chance to attend interesting lab meetings and lectures from international researchers. 

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project: this is an ongoing project, so the student can join us for a variable amount of time (at least 3 months). We can discuss every case.

Mentoring: The student will be under the supervision of Dr. Fernandez-Godino, but Dr. Pierce will be available eventually as a mentor.

We do not have funds for stipend. Students are encouraged to apply to HCRP, other Harvard fellowships or register for a course credit.

Email your resume and a cover letter to rosario_godino@meei.harvard.edu.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rosario Fernández Godino, Instructor in Ophthalmology
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Ocular Genomics Insitute- Harvard Medical School, 243 Charles st, Boston, MA
Lab website: https://oculargenomics.meei.harvard.edu/index.php/pierce-home

Undergraduate research opportunity, Kirby Center for Neurobiology, HMS

Project duties: The goal of this project is to develop new viral based tools that remove the need of transgenic animals and eventually open up experimental possibilities in higher vertebrate species that are currently impossible. The workflow currently consists of adeno-associated virus production, injection of virus into mice by tail vein, perfusion of mice, dissection and tissue section of brain and spinal cord, immunofluorescence staining of sections, and confocal microscopy of stained samples. In the coming months we hope to expand experiments into areas of flow cytometry, DNAse hypersensity screening and next generation sequencing.

No prior research experience is required.

Learning outcome: Depth of involvement is entirely up to the individual. Students can participate in any of the procedures currently involved in these experiments that they may be interested in gaining expertise. For example a range of techniques are involved including viral production, histology, microscopy and data analysis. If cell type specific enhancers elements are identified, functional experiments could also be undertaken for a more in depth project (ie. examine how stimulating labeled neurons effects animal behavior). A motivated student could also undertake projects to set up new techniques to apply to these experiments like sample clearing and whole brain imaging by light sheet microscopy, for example.

Opportunities for practicing scientific writing and presentation would be available and strongly encouraged for students that wish to continue in academic research in their future.

Working hours are flexible but would need to be at least 5 hr on most weeks but more hours would certainly be available. Length of the current iteration of this project is expected to be at least 1 year, but ‘next generation’ techniques are currently being designed for future experiments to reach the overall goal.

Mentoring: The primary mentor for this project is Dr. Philip Williams, and Instructor in the lab. He has over 17 years of laboratory experience and has strong expertise in histological and microscopy techniques, as well as a depth of knowledge about both developmental and degenerative neurobiology. The lab has lab meetings once a week on Friday mornings that students are encouraged to attend if they do not conflict with coursework. Project meetings are scheduled every few months.

The laboratory can provide a stipend for interested students.

Application: Please send a brief description of what your scientific interests are and what you hope to achieve through undergraduate research to: Philip.williams@childrens.harvard.edu  and   Zhigang.he@childrens.harvard.edu 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Zhigang He, Department: Neurology Research
Kirby Center for Neurobiology, 13060; Center for Life Sciences; 3 Blackfan Circle, Boston 02115
Website: https://www.hms.harvard.edu/dms/neuroscience/fac/He.php

Posted November 4, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH

The Sepulcre lab focuses on brain imaging studies aiming at the understanding of large-scale brain networks implicated in human cognition and neurodegenerative disorders. We also devote a substantial part of our work developing cutting-edge network methodologies for different brain imaging modalities such as functional connectivity MRI and PET imaging. We currently have several line in which students can enroll depending on their interest, including working with functional connectivity MRI in blind children, PET tracers and MRI in Alzheimer disease, fMRI of language networks and the developing of graph theory analyses to get a better understanding of the relationships of the brain networks.

No laboratory skills are required, the student will learn all the skills needed in the lab, also no prior research experience is needed, just enthusiasm.

Learning outcome: Depending on the project the student wish to enroll he will learn how to design a study, write a proposal, process data and any laboratory skill that would be needed for the work.

Number of hours students are expected to work: As much as he/she is willing to be involved.

Length of the project: is variable, but if data is already collected it takes a 3 months for the analysis and 3 more for further elaborations.

Mentoring: the PI and any of the members of the lab will be helping the student to accomplish his/her needs. Lab meetings are help every other Friday, but the PI's door is always open for any questions or concerns.

Compensation: this is a volunteer position. Student are encouraged to apply for HCRP and other Harvard Research Fellowships or obtain a research or thesis course credit.

To apply, email your resume to the PI and a small statement on why you would like to join the lab as well as the students expectations. sepulcre@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

Contact: Jorge Sepulcre MD PhD
Asst Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Gordon Center for Medical Imaging
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Mind/Brain/Behavior, Harvard University
149 13th St, Suite 5.209, Charlestown 02129
http://gordon.mgh.harvard.edu/sepulcre_lab/

Undergraduate Research Opportunity – Laboratory for Affective and Translational Neuroscience, McLean Hospital

Volunteer positions are available in the Laboratory for Affective and Translational Neuroscience (LATN), at McLean Hospital, directed by Diego A. Pizzagalli, Ph.D. LATN is part of McLean’s Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research, which embraces a multi-disciplinary approach to improve our understanding of the psychological, environmental, and neurobiological factors associated with affective disorders (http://cdasr.mclean.harvard.edu/). Among our current research projects are an exploration of the psychological and neurobiological traits associated with resilience; an assessment of the role of early adversities such as maltreatment and trauma as precursors to depression and anxiety; and investigation of the cognitive and emotional processes that contribute to incentive-guided decision making, emotion regulation, and psychopathology.

Responsibilities: Volunteers will participate in all phases of our research utilizing multiple methodologies such as MRI, fMRI, EEG, and behavioral testing, to study emotional and cognitive processing in both healthy and psychiatric populations. Volunteers will assist with recruiting, interviewing participants, behavioral and cognitive testing, and administration of EEG and MRI experiments. Volunteers will also work with LATN researchers to analyze data and prepare results.

Expectations and Qualifications: Volunteers work 10 to 15 hours per week for two semesters, and may apply for course credit in PSY 910r or Neurobio 98r. Candidates must be highly motivated and reliable. Both undergraduate students and recent college graduates can be research volunteers.

Supervising Professor: Diego Pizzagalli, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, is the supervising professor. Dr. Pizzagalli is a Board of Honors Tutor member in the Psychology Department at FAS.

Location: This lab is located at McLean Hospital, in Belmont MA, which is easily accessible via the T (a 25-minute bus ride from Harvard). McLean is the principal psychiatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, and is ranked as the nation’s #1 Psychiatric Hospital in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-2015 survey. See http://www.mclean.harvard.edu/ for more information.

To Apply: Please visit the lab web site at http://cdasr.mclean.harvard.edu/index.php/about-us/current-openings to download an application form, and then send the completed form along with a copy of your CV to Dave Crowley at djcrowley@mclean.harvard.edu.

Undergraduate research opportunity “Aggression in the Fruit Fly Fight Club”, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

Our laboratory studies aggression using a fruit fly model system. The studies link quantitative behavioral experiments with powerful genetic methods in explorations of how higher-level aggression is generated in the nervous system. We are interested in having 1-2 undergraduate students work with us part time (possibly for academic credit) during the academic year and full time during summers. While we are mainly interested in students looking for a senior honors thesis project, but will consider all applications.  References: 1. Review: Fernández MP and Kravitz EA. (2015) Aggression in Drosophila. Behav Neurosci. 2015 Oct;129(5):549-563. 2. Article: Alekseyenko OV, Chan Y-B, Fernandez MP, Bülow T, Pankratz M and Kravitz EA (2014) Single serotonergic neurons that modulate aggression in Drosophila. Curr Biol 24: 2700-2707.

Skills required: We prefer students who have had introductory Neurobiology and Genetics courses. Laboratory experience is helpful but not required.

Learning outcome: Hopefully an honors thesis in a concentration field. Detailed understanding of state of the art genetic methods applied to the understanding of an important biological problem.

Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project: These are negotiable during the academic year. Hopefully full time during summers. Sophomores and Juniors are encouraged to apply and the ultimate goal will be an honors thesis in a specialty area.

Mentoring: Student will be trained and working under close supervision of a post-doctoral fellow at start.  Then student will carry out project on his/her own with guidance and input from lab head and other members of lab. There are weekly laboratory meetings that all laboratory members attend during which ongoing research of lab members are presented.

Compensation: Students are encouraged to apply for various Harvard Funds for salary during summers—Laboratory covers all summer stipends that are not covered by Harvard summer research awards. During Academic year, students are encouraged to take concentration Research Classes for academic credit.

To apply email resume (cv) to Dr. Kravitz with contact names for recommendation letters.

Contact:

Edward A. Kravitz, PhD
George Packer Berry Professor of Neurobiology
Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
Email: edward_kravitz@hms.harvard.edu
Goldenson Building, room 353
http://www.hms.harvard.edu/bss/neuro/kravitz/

Undergraduate research opportunity in Cancer Immunology, Department of Dermatology and MGH Cancer Center

The focus of the Demehri laboratory is to determine the role of the immune system in regulating the early stages of cancer development in order to harness its anti-tumor potential for cancer therapy. To date, several cancer immunotherapies have been developed with proven efficacy against late-stage cancers; however, the role of the immune system in preventing the early development of cancer remains uncertain. The research in our laboratory is focused on identifying the immune mechanisms that drive an immune activation sufficient to prevent cancer formation from pre-cancerous lesions. This approach raises a great opportunity to discover novel immune pathways that can be leveraged in cancer therapy and prevention.
The student is expected to focus on project oriented research. The magnitude of duties and responsibilities depends largely on the student’s ability to learn and intellectually contribute to the research project on hand.
Skills required: no prior research experience is required.
Learning outcome: research skills: laboratory techniques, study design, data analysis and project oriented research leading to presentations and publications
Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project: Negotiable depending on students classwork but in an ideal case, student will continue his or her work on the project over 2-3yrs to be able to produce publications etc.
Mentoring: Student will be directly mentored by a graduate student or postdoc on daily basis and meet with the PI on at least weekly basis
Compensation: Funding depends on the student’s contribution level to research and other sources of funding available.
To apply, email CV to Dr. Shawn Demehri

Contact:

Shadmehr (Shawn) Demehri, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Dermatology and MGH Cancer Center
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Center for Cancer Immunology
Cutaneous Biology Research Center
Building 149 13th Street, 3rd floor
Charlestown MA 02129
Phone: 617-643-6436, Fax: 617-726-4453
Email: sdemehri1@mgh.harvard.edu
Webpage: http://www.massgeneral.org/cancer/research/researchlab.aspx?id=1648

Undergraduate Research Opportunity, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Basic Neurosciences, McLean Hospital

The project is focused on extracellular matrix abnormalities in the brain of people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Human postmortem investigations include tissue preparation, quantitative microscopy, protein and gene expression, data collection and analysis. No prior research experience is required. Training will be provided.
Learning outcome: Laboratory skills including processing of human brain tissue,immunocytochemistry, Western blotting, RNAscope, quantitative microscopy. Research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing. Number of hours and length of stay are negotiable. However, there is a minimum required of 16 hr/week (during regular office hours) for at least 3 months. Mentoring will be provided by the PI as well as senior researchers in the laboratory. In addition to regular lab meeting once a week, students will meet with the PI on a regular basis and will be trained and mentored daily by senior lab members.
Compensation: A stipend may be available depending on the student's time commitment. 
Email your resume to Dr. Berretta at s.berretta@mclean.harvard.edu
Contact: Sabina Berretta, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, Division of Basic Neuroscience, McLean Hospital
s.berretta@mclean.harvard.edu
http://www.mcleanhospital.org/research-programs/sabina-berretta-translational-neuroscience-laboratory

Posted November 3, 2016

Research position with Dr. Gidon Eshel, Radcliffe Institute

The Radcliffe Institute’s Radcliffe Research Partnership Program has a new project with Gidon Eshel, who is best known for his work quantifying the geophysical consequences of agriculture and diet.  In the Degree of Human Impact Project, he and Harvard College students that he hires will collaborate with scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, to set out to 1) devise a defensible index capturing the degree of human impact at a particular location at a specific time, taking note of a long and expanding list of impacts; and 2) derive a global dataset of this index now and, later, at various other times. 
Compensation: $14/hr. 
https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/fellowship-program/harvard-student-research-partnerships/how-to-apply

Posted November 2, 2016

Position Available (on-going) for New World Primate Caregiver/Documentarian at Pacific Primate Sanctuary, Maui, Hawaii

This is truly a Sanctuary, a beautiful place for someone with a background and interest in animal husbandry, welfare and conservation, exotic veterinary medicine, biology, and related fields, who is a mature team player with respect for others. We need a good, clear communicator (written and spoken English), and coordinator with a minimal personal agenda, who seeks mutual growth for all and is able to make a long-term commitment to the primates and the staff. The Pacific Primate Sanctuary Internship is an in-depth, all encompassing, immersion experience. This is more than a full-time position and includes on-call duties. A one-year commitment is requested.
The residency requires a self-starter and hard worker, someone who is humble, compassionate, self-reliant, organized, professional, computer literate (Mac), open to learning, capable of problem solving and completing a task. We need someone who can function independently as well as in a group. Our Resident Intern would need to be physically fit, with no communicable diseases or criminal record, who would enjoy a rural lifestyle with simple amenities. Citizens of foreign countries must secure their own visas and permits independently.
The internship is organized into three training modules. The first module focuses on animal care giving (providing daily care, preparing food, cleaning enclosures, administering medications, providing enrichment, and nurturing to 45+/- monkeys), an introduction to primate behavior, facility maintenance, and documentation.  Documentation responsibilities include: data entry (Mac- Excel, Word, Mail), PPS Manual updates, detailed record-keeping, literature review and research, and providing shift reports utilizing the SOAP format to report on the medical status of each animal.  In the second module, the concentration is on emergency care and behavioral conditioning, and the third on colony management, volunteer training, and an Independent project.  The Independent Intern Project is an opportunity for advanced study in a chosen area, depending on an Intern’s interests and skills. For those interns wanting to remain at PPS, a fourth module, in sanctuary management, may be offered. 
Pacific Primate Sanctuary is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. Our staff is made up of 3-7 local volunteer caregivers, 1- 4 resident Interns, and an off-site support system of veterinary and other professionals. Since the wellbeing of the monkeys is our primary focus, they are not on exhibit, the facility is not open to the public and they are not subjected to any medical research. 
As a result, our organization is not eligible for funding from any governmental agencies nor do we receive funds from admission, as would a public zoo. Therefore, we must rely solely upon donations from compassionate individuals and organizations. Our operating budget is extremely small. Financial independence for personal expenses is required (estimated by interns to be as low as $25-$35 a week). 
We provide a fully furnished and equipped 24-foot Yurt or a 16-foot Yurt (traditional round structures designed specifically for tropical living) and utilities. An organic garden and fruit orchard are available on-site. The Yurt is adjacent to the Sanctuary on a large piece of rainforest property with its own bathroom facilities. You would be trained by experienced members of our staff in all aspects of New World primate care (Callitrichidae, Cebus, and Ateles) and may become eligible for certification as a Primary Animal Caregiver. 
Please begin making application for the position by submitting the following: your letter of intent in making application, your resume/CV, and three Letters of reference (from instructors, employers etc.).  All documents should be sent via email as they become available.  The PPS Team looks forward to hearing from you.
Me Ke Aloha No Na Holoholona [With Love For The Animals]
Pacific Primate Sanctuary, Inc. Sanctuary Phone & Fax: 808. 572.8089 
E-Mail: [pacificprimatesanctuary@gmail.com]pacificprimatesanctuary@gmail.com 
Blog: http://pacificprimate.blogspot.com  Internet: http://www.pacificprimate.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PacificPrimateSanctuary 
 

Research Opportunity: Surgery Meets Molecular Biology in Mice.

This project involves implementing CRISPR/Cas-9 to produce transgenic wild mice to test hypotheses about morphological and behavioral traits. Appropriate for students interested in learning about gene editing techniques in whole organisms, as well as the physiology and reproductive biology of rodents. The student would primarily be helping with the surgical component of the project, with the possibility of expanding to molecular work later on. Availability for a whole morning or afternoon (~4 hrs) per week and an additional 6 hours distributed through the week is needed.
Contact Brock Wooldridge <twooldridge@g.harvard.edu>, Hoekstra Lab, OEB

Posted on October 21, 2016

Research Technician- Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research

The Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research (ACCCR) of the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine (DACCPM) of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School is recruiting a highly-motivated Research Technician with experience in chemistry and biochemistry. 

PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: 

The ACCR is an exciting and fast-paced research laboratory. The Research Technician will work on a number of ongoing and projected projects within the ACCCR. 

He/she will conduct laboratory experiments under the supervision of staff PI’s, research fellows and medical students. Duties and Responsibilities include but are not limited to: 

· handle chemicals, blood samples, measure function of blood proteins and cells using biochemical and biophysical techniques. 

· assist in the data collection and analysis of the data during laboratory experiments. 

· maintain a clear and cohesive laboratory notebook so that he/she may report the status of ongoing research projects; note the technical procedures, results, and possible conclusions. 

· maintain written research protocols, data and results accurately and securely. 

· attend/report updates at laboratory meetings and work-related lectures. 

· assist in maintenance of lab/bench areas and equipment to maintain an overall safe and clean environment.

· assist in ordering lab supplies. 

Interested? Contact Dr. Donald Bloch at Dbloch@partners.org

Posted October 3, 2016

Research Assistant - Population & Family Health (PFH) cluster, Department of Global Health & Population (GHP)

The PFH cluster at the GHP is seeking a paid Student Research Assistant for the 2016-2017 academic year beginning immediately and working through the end of May 2017. In collaboration with Dr. Ana Langer, faculty and staff of the Department and the Women and Health Initiative, the Student Research Assistant will contribute to multiple activities planned for this year, as described below: 1. A continuous scan of the literature on urban health, with a special focus on women and children and the last 5 years 2. Identification of global or regional conferences on urban health in connection with our most relevant topics 3. A scan of other academic institutions (In the US and elsewhere) active in this field and the events and activities they hold. 4. Identification of faculty, students, projects and initiatives at HSPH and other Harvard schools focused on areas of interest, including those that offer opportunities for students to participate in them as paid and unpaid research assistants, in winter session courses and as summer interns. 5. Organization and implementation of key activities, especially a symposium in the spring of 2017 focused on women and children’s health in urban areas; development of the agenda and logistics for regular meetings of the cluster; interviews of key players and other activities, as required.

Qualifications − Excellent verbal and written communication skills − Previous experience with literature reviews and organization of events − Experience in web site management and/or familiarity with WordPress preferred − Attention to detail, excellent organizational skills − Demonstrated interest in the topic area − Knowledge of women and children’s health and/or urban health

Time commitment: up to 20 hours per week

Duration: October 2016-May 2017 If you are a current student at the Harvard Chan School and are interested in working in a dynamic, action-oriented environment, please submit your resume and a cover letter describing how your skills and background relate to the scope of work to whi@hsph.harvard.edu.

 

Posted September 29, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity - Bischoff Laboratory, Boston Children's Hospital

We are recruiting undergraduate students who are interested in conducting independent study, summer research or those who have federal work-study. 

Our lab studies the role of endothelial cells and pericytes in vasculogenic and/or angiogenic diseases.  We have three main areas: (1) vascular tumors (infantile hemangioma) and vascular malformations (e.g., capillary malformation), (2) endothelial to mesenchymal transition in mitral valve endothelium after myocardial infarction, and (3) how to use endothelial cells isolated from blood to build new vascular networks in diseased tissues to restore blood flow and also stimulate tissue regeneration. 

For more information check our website. Students interested in learning more about potential projects should contact Dr. Bischoff at joyce.bischoff@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Posted August 30, 2016

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Eric Lander Laboratory

Project Description: This computational biology project is a unique opportunity to join the laboratory of Professor Eric Lander (Founder and Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard) to study genome biology. The Lander Lab seeks to understand fundamental mechanisms of genome regulation and apply these insights to transform the treatment of human disease.

With the sequencing of the human genome, we discovered that protein-coding genes comprise only 2% of our genome sequence and that much of the critical regulatory information resides in the remaining 98%. These noncoding regulatory regions control gene expression and thereby human phenotypes including susceptibility to disease. Yet, our understanding of this regulatory information is preliminary: for example, we do not know which noncoding regulatory elements control any given gene or set of genes. Answering this question would provide critical insight into how our genomes control cellular behavior and human disease.

In this project, we aim to decode this fundamental regulatory wiring and define the principles that guide the connections between regulatory elements and the genes they control. The successful UROP will apply statistical and computational approaches to integrate massive datasets derived of DNA sequencing, RNA sequencing, and CRISPR/Cas9-derived experimental datasets to predict how the noncoding genome controls gene expression. Predictions will be validated in collaboration with a team of experimental and computational biologists in the Lander Lab.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have a strong background in programming, statistics, and/or molecular biology, and working knowledge of one or more of the following: Unix/Bash, R, Python, Java.

Contact: Please send information regarding relevant experience, completed courses, and interests to Jesse Engreitz (engreitz@broadinstitute.org). We look forward to hearing from you. 

 

Human Thyroid Cancers Preclinical and Translational Research Laboratory, Dr. Carmelo Nucera

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,  Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 

See the description here.

 

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH POSITIONS AT HARVARD’S ARNOLD ARBORETUM

Two undergraduate research positions are open for Summer 2016 at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.
 
We are seeking assistance with a project aimed at understanding the role of pollinator behavior in divergence among plant lineages. Research examines how the behavior of butterfly pollinators causes floral trait divergence and reproductive isolation in plants.
 
Project Goals
(1) Determine how pollinator preference contributes to trait evolution and speciation in plants
(2) Determine how learning facilitates adaptive foraging and results in trait divergence and reproductive isolation in plants.
 
These objectives will be addressed using the wildflower Phlox drummondii and its predominant butterfly pollinator Battus philenor (pipevine swallowtail).
 
 • Research assistants will gain experience with pollination experimentation, propagation and maintenance of greenhouse plants, and statistical approaches for ecological experiments. We especially welcome students interested in speciation, ecology and evolution of plants, or pollination.
 
 • The positions have flexible hours, but students must be able to be present at least 15 hours per week, in blocks of at least three hours. Students in all years of their undergraduate degree are welcome.
 
To apply, please send the following information to Dr. Heather Briggs (hbriggs@fas.harvard.edu)
 • A resume or CV listing courses taken, GPA, Research experience etc.
 
 • Your expected availability for the summer
 

African Ant Population Genetics

Posted: April 21, 2016

Naomi Pierce’s lab is looking for a student to work on a population genetics project with the invasive ant Pheidole megacephala.  P. megacephala has recently arrived in the savannahs of East Africa, where it parasitizes a common ant-plant mutualist relationship.  Unlike most ants, which form colonies of a single queen and her daughters, this ant forms enormous colonies consisting of many unrelated queens and their worker offspring.  We are interested in how this unusual behavior affects the dynamics of the spread of this invasive species across central Kenya, and are looking for a student to use next-generation sequencing techniques to investigate this question.  For further information, please contact Jack Boyle -- john.h.boyle@gmail.com
 


Undergraduate research position: Synthesis of Flexible Nanowires with Defined Aspect Ratio and Their DNA Self-Assembly

Mentor: Moha Shahjamali, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, working at Prof. Vinny Manoharan lab. @ 9 Oxford Street, Gordon Mckay 530

Project description: The main goal of this project is to study the DNA-mediated self-assembly of flexible high aspect ratio nanowires for electronic applications including ultra-low loss radio-frequency (RF) components.

Prerequisites: Background on nanotechnology, DNA fuctionalization, self-assembly, lithography and soft lithography will be useful but not necessary. Each applicant will have complete training on the related instruments and methods before starting the project individually. Feel free to contact Moha Shahjamali (shahjamali@fas.harvard.edu)to arrange a short meeting if you are interested to know more about this project.

This is a one-year project with roughly 10-15 hours per week commitment (except exam period and midterm periods of semester) but depending on the interest of the applicant the time commitment can be modified. This position may be suitable for students who are interested in a Senior Thesis, depending on departmental requirements. Candidates with Harvard College Research Program funding or Federal Work Study Program funding are encouraged to apply for this position.

Posted: April 6, 2016

 


Undergraduate research position: Human Genetics

Undergraduate research position available for human genetics research in the lab of Dr. Christopher Walsh in the Longwood Medical Area. Learn genetic analysis and cell culture techniques to identify new mutations in patients with a Rasopathy phenotype which includes autism-like features, intellectual disability, and dysmorphisms. Work directly under supervision of a Harvard M.D./Ph.D. graduate and premedical advisor currently conducting this exciting postdoctoral research, and interact with scientists and physicians in the laboratory. Must have at least 6 months prior research experience. Ideally suited to students interested in research applications to medical problems who would like a longitudinal experience. Must be available full time 6 weeks 7/18-8/26, and intend to work 2-3 partial days (2-6 hours) per week over the following year. I am very accomodating of schedule flexibility, but student must be interested in achieving results. I am happy to support applications to fund this research through undergraduate grants, and this position may include a stipend depending on funding. If interested, please email Diane.Shao@childrens.harvard.edu.

Posted: April 5, 2016

 

Research Assistant Positions: Sensory, Motor, and Cognitive Processing
Professor John Assad, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
Start in Spring 2016 semester

We are looking for highly motivated undergraduate students to participate in experiments in John Assad’s lab at the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Our lab uses a variety of experimental approaches to study sensory, motor and cognitive processing in the brain, in both animal models and human subjects. We also have projects ongoing at the Research Imaging Center at Harvard College in Cambridge. Our lab provides an engaging environment with a strong emphasis on training of students. We don’t plan to “plug you into a project”, but rather to find the right fit for your interests, ranging from electrophysiology to fMRI to computational neuroscience. Qualifications: Some basic background in neuroscience would be helpful, as well as experience with computer programming (especially Matlab) — but we’ll "teach you up” otherwise. Students in many areas or majors are welcome, including neuroscience, biology, computer science, physics and engineering. Expectations: Expected hours per week will vary with the particular project, but we’ll of course be flexible to accommodate class schedules, etc. We hope that the undergraduate projects can develop into summer research and/or senior theses. Course Credit: Can be arranged through MBB before the start of the winter/spring semester.

Additional Information, and To Apply: Please send a brief resume (or any questions) to jassad@hms.harvard.edu, or call John at 617-432-2804.