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Recent research and activities at Ragon

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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New MIT Class: “COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the Pandemic”

Sep 21

New MIT Class: “COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the Pandemic”

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Ragon Institute Associate Director Facundo Batista and MIT Professor Richard Young create new MIT Biology public access COVID-19 course.   Image courtesy of MIT Biology and NIAID/Wikimedia Commons   With COVID-19 sweeping the nation and the world, biomedical science simultaneously paused and accelerated in unprecedented ways. Many labs were required to shut down during the […]

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Engineered to Fight: Dual CAR T cells show promise against HIV

Aug 31

Engineered to Fight: Dual CAR T cells show promise against HIV

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Researchers from the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania developed a new Dual CAR T cell immunotherapy that combats HIV infection in humanized mice. Image: HIV infecting a human cell, courtesy of NIH Image library A recent study published in the journal Nature […]

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Single Gene, Broad Response

Aug 27

Single Gene, Broad Response

Single VH Gene Allows for Broad-Spectrum Antibody Response to LPS   Image: Immunoglobulin heavy chain variable domain, VH   Daniel Lingwood, PhD, Ragon Group Leader, recently published a paper in Cell Reports entitled, “A single human VH gene allows for a broad-spectrum antibody response targeting 2 bacterial lipopolysaccharides in the blood.” This paper, whose lead […]

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Blocked and Locked:  Unique HIV Reservoirs in Elite Controllers

Aug 26

Blocked and Locked: Unique HIV Reservoirs in Elite Controllers

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Ragon Institute researchers show elite controllers have HIV viral reservoirs in gene deserts which may help prevent viral rebound and contribute to natural control of HIV.   

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Losing the Center: COVID-19 Cytokine Storms May Prevent a Durable Immune Response

Aug 19

Losing the Center: COVID-19 Cytokine Storms May Prevent a Durable Immune Response

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Image: Germinal centers in a lymph node, courtesy of Shiv Pillai Lack of germinal centers in COVID-19 immune response may prevent patients from developing long-lasting immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus Shiv Pillai, MD, Ph.D, Member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and professor at Harvard Medical School, recently published a paper in […]

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Seeing the Forest For the Trees:   Predictive Immune Markers in COVID-19 Response

Aug 06

Seeing the Forest For the Trees:

Predictive Immune Markers in COVID-19 Response

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Results of partnership between the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and UW Medicine identify five markers of the humoral immune response that may be able to predict COVID-19 patient outcomes.   A recent study published in Immunity identifies five immune response markers which, collectively, were able to correctly classify both convalescent COVID-19 patients […]

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