NEWS

Recent research and activities at Ragon

COVID-19 Primer for the Public

Feb 23

COVID-19 Primer for the Public

The Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard is collaborating with the Cambridge Public Library on “Vaccines and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Primer for the Public,” as part of the Cambridge Public Library’s Our Path Forward Series. The event, which features Bruce Walker, MD, Director of the Ragon, and Zuri Sullivan, PhD, will take place […]

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Behind Closed Doors: Insight into stroke recovery

Feb 22

Behind Closed Doors: Insight into stroke recovery

by: Rachel Leeson. Image credit: MRI Scan, courtesy of the NIH. A stroke, like any traumatic event in the body, triggers an immune response and understanding this immune response is critical to improve patient outcomes and nominate new therapeutics. But immune responses in the brain are difficult to study in humans, because the brain is […]

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Antibody Response May Drive COVID-19 Outcomes

Feb 18

Antibody Response May Drive COVID-19 Outcomes

by: Rachel Leeson; image credit: Illustration from Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site Researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital show that levels of specific antibodies developed in the immune response may influence COVID-19 outcomes in both children and adults. COVID-19, the source of the current pandemic, may be […]

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New Insight into Antibody-Induced Protective Immunity to COVID-19

Feb 15

New Insight into Antibody-Induced Protective Immunity to COVID-19

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by: Rachel Leeson. Image credit: antibody opsonization, Maher33   While PCR testing has been used widely for COVID-19 diagnosis, it only provides information on who is currently infected. Antibody testing can tell who has been previously exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, a metric that is essential for tracking spread across a population. […]

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Natural Resistance: HIV-Infected Macrophages Resist Killer Immune Cells

Feb 10

Natural Resistance: HIV-Infected Macrophages Resist Killer Immune Cells

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by: Rachel Leeson. image credit: HIV on macrophages, Reconfirming the Traditional Model of HIV Particle Assembly. Gross L, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/12/2006, e445.   Most HIV-infected cells can be readily killed by immune cells, which recognize and attack infected cells that are making copies of the virus. Ragon postdoc Kiera Clayton, however, found that HIV-infected […]

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Facundo Batista appointed Chief Editor of The EMBO Journal

Feb 03

Facundo Batista appointed Chief Editor of The EMBO Journal

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Ragon Associate director Facundo Batista, PhD, has accepted an appointment as Chief Editor of The EMBO Journal. Batista, who is also a professor at Harvard Medical School, succeeds Bernd Pulverer, PhD, Head of Scientific Publishing at EMBO.  “I am delighted to serve the wider scientific community by joining The EMBO Journal as Chief Editor,” says Batista. “It is […]

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Mere Semantics: Natural Language Processing in Viral Evolution

Jan 14

Mere Semantics: Natural Language Processing in Viral Evolution

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by: Rachel Leeson   One of the most common metaphors used in science is the explanation of DNA as like an alphabet, with the bases of DNA like letters. Ragon Member Bryan Bryson, PhD, along with MIT professor Bonnie Berger, took this metaphor to a whole new level, using natural language processing to predict mutations […]

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Calming the storm: Dendritic Cells Regulate IL-6

Dec 22

Calming the storm: Dendritic Cells Regulate IL-6

image courtesy of the authors   Ragon scientists discover dendritic cells help regulate IL-6, a key component in cytokine storms.   The cytokine IL-6 is a major driver of immune response and, when present in high levels in the blood, can help drive cytokine storms, such as seen in severe COVID-19 disease. Recently, Ragon scientists […]

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Cellular connections found between nervous and immune systems

Dec 17

Cellular connections found between nervous and immune systems

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By Claudia Lopez Lloreda, Broad Institute   The nervous and immune systems have long been thought to be separate entities in the body, but new research has uncovered a direct cellular interaction between the two. Scientists from Harvard Medical School, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, MIT, and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT […]

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A Potent Neutralizer

Dec 15

A Potent Neutralizer

  image credit: broadly neutralizing B12 antibody (green) with an HIV target (red), courtesy of the NIH Image Library and NIAID Ragon scientists find that neutralizing antibody potency predicts severe or fatal COVID-19.  Understanding the body’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is key to developing effective treatments and long-lasting vaccines. Of […]

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Quick Change: Fast Genetic Engineering for Vaccine Research

Dec 10

Quick Change: Fast Genetic Engineering for Vaccine Research

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Ragon Institute scientists develop a one-step CRISPR technique to rapidly create mice capable of producing human antibodies To develop vaccines and investigate human immune responses, scientists rely on a variety of animal models, including mice that can produce human antibodies through genetically engineered B cell receptors, which are specialized antibodies bound to the B cell […]

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Markers of Immune Protection in COVID-19

Dec 04

Markers of Immune Protection in COVID-19

Image Credit: Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, NIH COVID-19 vaccines are on the near horizon, but many questions on COVID-19 immunity remain for researchers to answer as they work to combat the global pandemic.  One major goal is to develop a detailed understanding of what a protective immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, looks […]

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Indunas and ITEACH Combat COVID-19

Nov 13

Indunas and ITEACH Combat COVID-19

The Ragon Institute’s ITEACH program is enlisting local leaders in South Africa’s rural communities to combat COVID-19 ITEACH (Integration of TB in Education and Care for HIV/AIDS), a Ragon Institute program in South Africa, is enlisting leadership within rural communities in the country’s KwaZulu-Natal province to counter a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. By delivering […]

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Reaching the Final Stage: Antibody Evolution in COVID-19 Response

Nov 12

Reaching the Final Stage: Antibody Evolution in COVID-19 Response

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Image: SARS-CoV-2 virus, courtesy of the NIH For COVID-19, the difference between surviving and not surviving severe disease may be due to the quality, not the quantity, of the patients’ antibody development and response, a new Cell paper published by Ragon Member Galit Alter, PhD, suggests. The study, published in the journal Cell, used Alter’s […]

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Focusing In: Modeling Immunodominance in the Flu Antibody Response

Oct 06

Focusing In: Modeling Immunodominance in the Flu Antibody Response

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Image credit: Influenza virus, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health   Ragon and MIT researchers develop computational model to understand drivers of immunodominance; create vaccine strategy in mice that focuses antibody response to universal flu vaccine target.     When the body responds to an infection like the flu virus, it […]

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