fluorescent stained mega-plate

DBMI researcher Michael Baym has been named a 2018 Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering. The Packard Fellowships are among the nation’s largest nongovernmental fellowships, designed to allow maximum flexibility in how the funding is used. Since 1988, this program has supported the blue-sky thinking of scientists and engineers in the hopes that their research over time will lead to new discoveries that improve people’s lives and enhance our understanding of the universe. The award, now in its 30th year, is given annually by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.


Understanding how cellular organization influences the function of human tissues is critical for deeper insights into tissue growth, processes related to aging, and the emergence of disease.

map of UDN sites

Grants to improve and accelerate the diagnosis of rare and undiagnosed conditions were made to academic medical centers across the nation Monday. The new awards are part of the second phase of the National Institutes of Health’s Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN).

BIG students at orientation

This fall, DBMI is pleased to welcome ten new students to the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) PhD program.

Group photo of new students in Master of Biomedical Informatics program

This month the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School welcomed the next cohort of students in the Master of Biomedical Informatics (MBI) program.

Scientists have designed a way to monitor cellular decision making by measuring the rate of RNA change over time. Image: iStock

For the first time, researchers have managed to capture a cell’s decision making as a dynamic process.

Alexa McCray at Master's graduation ceremony

“You are poised to have great impact in your chosen scientific field,” keynote speaker Alexa McCray told 86 degree recipients at this year’s HMS Master’s Degree Programs Graduation Ceremony.

Open Science By Design -- graphic for phases in the research life cycle

A National Academies committee chaired by DBMI’s Alexa McCray has released the results of its study on broadening access to the results of scientific research. The report, entitled Open Science By Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research, is freely available for download from National Academies Press.

Google streetview camera car

In Google Maps, you can zoom in and see traffic jams between you and your destination, locate nearby restaurants and find out their hours. Parents Geraldine Bliss and Megan O’Boyle from the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation (PMSF), together with data scientist Paul Avillach, MD, PhD, have accomplished an analogous feat for Phelan-McDermid Syndrome.

Not many people look at a beautiful rugged mountain landscape and think of genetics. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am one of them now. How did I get here? It all started with a meeting with my soon to-be advisor, Shamil Sunyaev, at Harvard Medical School. Other than telling me that he was Tatar and “culturally muslim,” he also drew me a picture and told me a story. The mutation rate in humans is too high he said—how do we survive? He drew a histogram and drew an arrow with a big capital U pointing at it. On this histogram of mutation burden per individual, the U (representing the per-genome rate of deleterious mutations) was referring to the fact that every generation a newborn human is estimated to receive ~70 new mutations that the parents did not have. While mutations provide a source of novelty, a large fraction of them can also be damaging for the individual and the species.