Building on Excellence: Labs Meet Clinics on Fenwood Road
When the new building at 60 Fenwood Road opens this fall, it will be a hub for state-of-the-art labs, outpatient clinical space and advanced imaging facilities. It will also be home to researchers and clinicians from across many disciplines with a shared vision for collaboration, acceleration and translation of laboratory discoveries into novel treatments for patients. In the months leading up to the opening, this series has featured several major research areas that will be brought together in the new space. The story below highlights what the building will mean for researchers in some of the labs moving into it.
In addition to the larger departments, divisions and clinical centers moving into the new building at 60 Fenwood Road, the new building will also house many of the standalone labs where some of BWH’s most exciting discoveries take place. While not a comprehensive look at all of the labs moving over, the following represents a brief snapshot of three that are: the Serhan lab, Karp lab and the TIMI Study Group.
Whenever Charles Serhan, PhD, DSc, sees a look of defeat on a young researcher’s face after an experiment hasn’t delivered the expected results, he suggests a simple exercise: Visit the hospital’s lobby.
Taking to a few minutes to get out of the lab and see the people who will one day benefit from research done at the Brigham can help put the bench work back in perspective, says Serhan, director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine.
The opportunity to do so will be even easier for Serhan and his team as their lab moves this fall from the Harvard Institute of Medicine to the Brigham’s new building at 60 Fenwood Road, where patients will be seen a few floors down from their lab.
“You witness all sorts of emotions going on at any given time in the hospital—the joy of birth or the stress of a serious illness,” said Serhan, whose lab works to discover molecules that are critical for terminating and resolving acute inflammation. “It is a constant reminder of how important it is for us to stay focused on making new discoveries that improve human health.”
As researchers, they will have more opportunities to directly interact not only with patients, but also their care providers, he added.
Meanwhile, being in close proximity to other research groups will likely expedite the pace of discovery, Serhan said.
“This building is truly a mosaic of multidisciplinary research, which is going to help us ignite new collaborations,” he said. “Also, being in closer proximity to the hospital means we’ll be able to collaborate more on patient samples and do more translational work.”
Almost a decade has passed since BWH bioengineer Jeff Karp, PhD, opened his BWH lab to study medical therapies and biomaterials inspired by nature—turning to geckos, jellyfish and spiders, among other creatures, to improve health care. Since that time, Karp has been based in Cambridge, Mass., in a space that BWH leases near MIT.
Now, Karp and his team are looking forward to moving the lab to the new building at 60 Fenwood Road this fall, with the hope that being closer to other BWH scientists and clinicians will further their creativity and innovation.
“Being in the heart of the Brigham community will be a great experience for us by providing more access to world-class collaborators, tools and technology,” said Karp, of the Division of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Medicine. “Our goal is to improve quality of life for patients, and thus it is critical for us to be close to the patients and the clinicians who care for them.”
In particular, Karp says he looks forward to sharing lab space with researchers such as nanotechnology expert Jinjun Shi, PhD, and Omid Farokhzad, MD, of the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, as well as other labs and outpatient clinics.
“We haven’t had any specific limitations impeding our work in our current location, but distance can create barriers,” Karp said. “It will be great to be within the hospital, where conversations will be a lot easier to start and advance.”
TIMI Study Group
Since its founding in 1984 by Eugene Braunwald, MD, the Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group has conducted numerous clinical trials, partnering with patients who are at risk for cardiovascular disease. As the oldest cardiovascular academic research organization in North America, the TIMI group is no stranger to performing ground-breaking research that translates into medical advances.
Founded with support from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the TIMI Study Group has conducted more than 65 clinical trials in patients with, or at risk for, cardiovascular disease. Over the past three decades, more than 300,000 patients have participated in TIMI trials across 52 countries.
That rich heritage will make the TIMI’s clinicians and investigators—made up of BWH cardiologists and Harvard Medical School scientists—feel right at home when they move to the new building at 60 Fenwood Road this fall, according to Marc Sabatine, MD, MPH, chair of the TIMI Study Group and the Lewis Dexter, MD, distinguished chair in Cardiovascular Medicine at BWH.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to be in a state-of-the-art building that really is at the intersection of what we do, in terms of thinking about patient care and clinical research,” Sabatine said.
Currently, the group’s staff members are split between two locations: the Longwood Galleria and an office several miles south in Quincy. Physicians and biostatisticians will move into the new building; all other staff will remain at the Galleria location. The Quincy office will be vacated.
Being closer to the Shapiro building will make it easier for TIMI’s clinicians and investigators to move more seamlessly between patient care and research, Sabatine said. Additionally, sharing a building with researchers from other disciplines, such as Neurology, may lead to new collaborations and insights in overlapping areas, he added. One of TIMI’s recently completed clinical trials, for example, looked at whether a particular therapy designed to treat cardiovascular disease could also prevent strokes.
“The most unexpected and fruitful collaborations can come from interacting with people whom you normally wouldn’t work with on a regular basis,” Sabatine said.