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Recent research and activities at Ragon

Maternal Protection: COVID-19 vaccines induce robust immune response in pregnant individuals

Mar 25

Maternal Protection: COVID-19 vaccines induce robust immune response in pregnant individuals

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by: Julie Cunningham, MGH. Image credit: Galit Alter/Cell   Pregnant women show robust immune response to COVID vaccines, pass antibodies to newborns   In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have found the new mRNA […]

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Ragon Institute to Participate in Cambridge Science Festival 2021

Mar 16

Ragon Institute to Participate in Cambridge Science Festival 2021

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Image courtesy of: Cambridge Science Festival The Ragon Institute, as part of its educational and community-building initiatives, is participating in Cambridge Science Festival 2021, a virtual event held throughout the month of April. The Science Festival is a celebration showcasing the leading edge in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Based out of the MIT Museum, the festival, […]

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Vaccine-induced antibodies may be less effective against several new SARS-CoV-2 variants

Mar 12

Vaccine-induced antibodies may be less effective against several new SARS-CoV-2 variants

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by: Rachel Leeson. Image courtesy of: iSO-FORM LLC     Researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and at Massachusetts General Hospital find that neutralizing antibodies raised by COVID-19 vaccines are not as effective at neutralizing some new, circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has mutated throughout the pandemic. […]

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Ragon Institute and Cambridge Public Library Host COVID-19 Seminar

Mar 10

Ragon Institute and Cambridge Public Library Host COVID-19 Seminar

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image credit: Lisa Ferdinando, Office of the Secretary of Defense As part of its commitment to science education, the Ragon Institute had the unique opportunity of working with the Cambridge Public Library to bring COVID-19 information straight from researchers to the public. Ragon Director Bruce Walker, MD; Harvard postdoctoral fellow Zuri Sullivan, PhD; and Josefine […]

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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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