Each month, we ask people from across the Brigham to answer a question for our “Look Who’s Talking” feature. This issue, we are asking past winners of the Brigham Research Institute’s BRIght Futures Prize about the impact that the $100,0000 award has had on their work and careers. Since 2012, $1 million has been distributed to Brigham investigators through these awards, leading to more than $24 million in additional research funding. Learn more here.
“The BRIght Futures prize jumpstarted Home Hospital at the Brigham. Since then, we have been fortunate to expand the operational model across the enterprise and launch many new investigations worldwide. Our work has helped change national policy, creating a new payment and regulatory pathway for home hospital care!”—David Levine, MD, MPH, MA, clinical director of Research & Development for Healthcare @ Home, Mass General Brigham, and 2016 BRIght Futures Prize winner
“As a starting faculty member in 2014, with a limited research budget of tens of thousands of dollars, receiving the support through the BRIght Futures Prize meant the whole world to me. The past eight years have been quite rocky, but the journey was worth it as I learned so much and made great friends along the way. I consider myself so lucky that great people appeared in my life and made this difficult journey possible. We learned so much from each other and I’m eternally grateful for that.”—Hadi Shafiee, PhD, principal investigator, Division of Engineering in Medicine and Renal Division of Medicine, and 2014 BRIght Futures Prize winner
“In 2019, our hydrogel drug delivery platform for immunotherapies was just an idea. We were learning more and more about the biological mechanisms associated with the disease and why biomaterials might help realize the potential of emerging therapies, but we had no funding to make it a reality. Before you can apply for any large-scale external grant, you need to have a foundation of data. This is where support from the Brigham came into play. The BRIght Futures Prize helped fund experiments that allowed us to generate proof-of-concept data. This set the stage for us to apply for and receive future grants from outside of the Brigham to generate a data package to bring this technology to patients.”—Natalie Artzi, PhD, principal investigator, Division of Bioengineering in Medicine, and 2019 BRIght Futures Prize winner
“In 2012, we were delighted to be the very first winners of the BRIght Futures award, which provided our research team with $100,000 to investigate genome sequencing in newborns (NBSeq). Since then, we have won two major awards from the National Institutes of Health, totaling $11 million to implement NBSeq in diverse cohorts of newborns and have launched the International Consortium on Newborn Sequencing, bringing together the world’s leaders in this space. We have critically studied the medical, behavioral and economic outcomes of NBSeq. Amazingly, we discovered that 11% of apparently healthy babies carry a genetic variant that significantly increases their risk of developing a genetic condition. This information has a direct impact on the current and future healthcare of these babies and their family members who are also at risk, allowing medical care to be proactive, rather than reactive. Currently we are working to expand equity in the field of NBSeq by studying its use in a cohort of over 600 infants from diverse ethnic and geographic backgrounds, and our ultimate goal is to make the life-saving innovation of NBSeq available to all babies across the world.”—Robert Green, MD, MPH, director of the Genomes2People Research Program, Division of Genetics, and 2012 BRIght Futures Prize winner