Sneak Peek: Discover Brigham 2020 Goes Virtual
Let curiosity get the better of you as part of the annual Discover Brigham event. This year’s speakers, competitions, and poster presentations will all be virtual for the Nov. 12 showcase. No matter your age or scientific expertise, Discover Brigham offers an approachable, fun look into the Brigham’s most exciting recent accomplishments. Free and easily accessible from computers and smart phones alike, Discover Brigham presenters this year will cover a wide range of interesting topics from the pandemic to peanut allergies to patient care with AI. In its new virtual delivery, the Brigham extends an invitation beyond the Greater Boston area, as the potential for a global audience becomes reality.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Discover Brigham to our audience virtually this year,” said Jacqueline Slavik, PhD, executive director of the Brigham Research Institute. “COVID-19 has challenged us to reimagine the ways we host events, but we are truly excited for this extraordinary opportunity to reach an even broader population of global citizens, clinicians, budding scientists and family members.”
There will be four facets to the Discover Brigham online extravaganza: sessions, demos, poster presentations, and the postdoc fast pitch competition. There are six scientific sessions and eight interactive demos, each individually rich with information presented by a range of passionate Brigham investigators. The poster session will include over 100 individual posters, each offering a deep dive into the dynamic life of a single research project. The riveting competition amongst postdocs will showcase postdoctoral fellows presenting four-minute research proposals competing for a cash reward—with the winner decided by audience members in a live poll.
Discover Brigham will broadcast from 11:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. ET. Registration is open and available here.
Throughout the event, talented Brigham researchers and clinicians will communicate the details of their recent research — sharing the Brigham’s flourishing scientific ecosystem with the outside world. Check out highlights below for a closer look at a sampling of what is to come.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brigham’s infectious disease experts have worked tirelessly to develop vaccines and immunotherapies while simultaneously investigating the cause of, response to, and management of the virus. Hear more from those who are hard at work to understand the science of SARS-CoV-2.
“We’ve been working around the clock at the Brigham in order to push the boundaries of science to provide the best clinical care for our patients with COVID-19,” said Ann Woolley, MD, an infectious disease physician who will be one of the panelists for the session What We Know About COVID-19. “During this session, along with my other infectious disease colleagues Dr. Gerald Pier and Dr. Athe Tsibris, I will try to synthesize the clinical science of COVID-19 for you.”
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The racial inequities that sit firmly in both America’s past and present have come to a head in 2020. Health care inequities in the face of the pandemic create more strain than ever on the relationship between the American health care system and minority populations. Representation of such populations in clinical trials is necessary, but what are the barriers to inclusion that investigators must confront? In this presentation, Barbara Bierer, MD, faculty director of the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center, and Bisola Ojikutu, MD, an infectious disease physician, will outline some barriers and, importantly, potential solutions to promote inclusion and diversity.
Food and Drug Allergy
Plant, animal, food and drug allergies affect more than 50 million Americans. Brigham experts have two huge projects they have worked tirelessly on to address the overwhelming number of Americans with allergies.
Hannah Martin, MD, will be one of three researchers presenting in this session. “Activation of mast cells causes food allergic patients to have serious food reactions called anaphylaxis,” said Martin. “While mature mast cells reside in tissue, precursor cells known as mast cell progenitors circulate in the blood. Our goal at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Food Allergy Center is to learn more about the mast cell progenitor, with the hope that inhibiting mast cell progenitors could be a treatment to prevent food allergies in the future.”
Another member of the food allergy team is researcher Joyce Hsu, MD. “We are trying to make the world a better place, where babies can get a treatment to prevent the development of peanut allergy, and where kids who have peanut allergy can live safer lives with less worry,” said Hsu.