Call for Abstracts: 2016 Discover Brigham Poster Session

We are currently accepting abstracts to participate in the Discover Brigham Poster Session. The poster session will take place from 12 to 1PM on November 10, 2016 and presenters must be present at their poster during this time. Learn more about eligibility requirements and submit your abstract. Abstracts will be accepted through Monday, September 19th at 11:59PM. You must be affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to apply and abstracts within all areas of research are encouraged.

This year, we will NOT be having any printed posters – all poster presenters will be using digital screens to display their posters and the total number of posters accepted will be 100 on a first come, first served basis, so we encourage you to submit your abstracts as early as possible.  We will not be able to accommodate more than 100 posters and anyone who submits a poster after we have reached 100 posters will be placed on a waiting list in the event of a spot opening up.

Discover Brigham is less than a week away!

Discover Brigham is less than a week away! There’s still time to register to attend Discover Brigham, the October 7th event is open to the public and will bring together our community with the broader Boston healthcare ecosystem to educate and inspire collaboration around innovative science, technology, and medicine. Sessions will highlight the work on cutting-edge topics spanning research and clinical disciplines with the opportunity to change healthcare, including sleep medicine, trauma, and consumer health. Other activities include a scientific poster session, Startup Shark Tank Challenge, and the announcement of the BRIght Futures Prize winner.

Discover Brigham will combine BWH Research Day and Clinical Innovation Day into one day celebrating the span of discovery and innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Discover Brigham is hosted by the Brigham Innovation Hub and Brigham Research Institute.

Register to Attend

Don’t Miss our Panel of Local Healthcare Innovators!

The world of consumer healthcare is expanding constantly, from wearable technology to slick smartphone applications.  Consumers are no longer at the mercy of the latest data on websites like WebMD or what happens comes up in a Google search or the morning news.  Thankfully, there are countless innovators in the field of digital healthcare who strive to make things easier for consumers, providing the information and insight they’ve been clamoring for and may never knew existed.

This is why we’re excited to have representatives from some of the most intriguing startups throughout the local community come and speak on a panel as part of Discover Brigham – October 7, 2015.  Moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winner Katie Kingsbury, a Deputy Managing Editor at The Boston Globe, the panel will gather some of the brightest minds in digital healthcare to talk about how their products actively engage consumers in their health and well-being.  And, as forward-thinking as their ideas and innovations are now, what does the future hold?  Their continued success is built upon buy-in, not just from consumers, but healthcare organizations large and small as well.  So what’s the future hold, exactly?  Swing by the Shapiro Breakout Room from 2-3 to hear all the answers from the innovators themselves.

Here are the members of the panel and brief descriptions of the cutting-edge technology they’ve pioneered:


Alaina Hanlon Adams, MS, PhD
With over 10 years of experience in preventive, self-diagnostic technology development and running technology start-ups, Alaina’s newest venture is NuPlanit.  Over the past two years, NuPlanit has been providing evidence-based nutrition advice to consumers who struggle in identifying what they should or shouldn’t eat and drink.  Or maybe it’s a question of portion control: How much is too much?  Alaina’s focus on behavior modification and adopting new habits, as opposed to straight calorie counting, is what drives Nuplanit’s value to health-conscious consumers.


John Mitchell, MBA
John has over 20 years of experience in digital consumer behaviors and psychologies, which ultimately inspired him to create Medisafe, a cloud-synched mobile medication management platform, which promises “to give people the tools, support and information they need to take their medications the way they’re supposed to.”  Medisafe recognizes that a significant number of patients in the U.S. deviate from the medication regimen that they’ve been prescribed.  One might think that its sole purpose then is to educate patients about side-effects or contraindications.  However, it’s important to mention that Medisafe is intended to be a resource for friends, families, and caregivers as well.


Derek Haswell
Derek is the Co-founder and Head of Change Collective, a Boston-based tech startup that has constructed an online class platform that promises to help consumers eat healthier, exercise more, be more productive, or even meditate.  Like NuPlanit, Change Collective combines the power of proven behavior change principles and guidance from recognized experts to ensure that consumers see through to completion the promises they make to themselves and their bodies.  Interesting fact about Derek: he helped develop Zeo, which was one of the first wearable devices that enabled people to measure and track their sleep patterns.


Dulcie Madden, MBA, MPH
Dulcie is one of the pioneers behind what’s become known as the smart nursery.  Her company, Rest Devices, introduced the Mimo Baby Monitor to parents nationwide.  What sets it apart from all other Baby Monitors?  It sends information regarding your baby’s breathing pattern, body position, and skin temperature—all transmitted from sensors embedded in a onesie dubbed the Mimo Kimono—directly to your smartphone or tablet.  Functioning sort of like a kiddy FitBit, Rest Devices has taken the concept of wearable health technology for adults and applied it to infants.


Digital Innovations in a Post-Acute Care Setting, “Shark Tank” Style


Digital health harnesses the latest technologies to aid patients and medical professionals.


The focus of this year’s Start-up Shark Tank is on Coordination of Care, specifically around the transitions from acute to post-acute care settings, including home.  Improving the coordination of care at discharge is a top area of interest for Brigham and Women’s Hospital and all hospitals. These transitions can be a confusing time for patients, fraught with miscommunication and misunderstanding.  The continued coordination of care and administration of treatment outside of the controlled hospital setting is important to improve outcomes and reduce the need for readmission.


On October 7th, iHub will host the 2nd annual Brigham Innovation Shark Tank as part of Discover Brigham. During the Innovation Shark Tank, four digital health startups will present their early-stage ventures to researchers and hospital administrators.


  • Finalist:
    • Allazo Health – tackles the problem of medication non-adherence through predictive analytics and personalized interventions.


  • Meet Caregivers – a platform that enables families and clinicians to select qualified, affordable home caregivers and track the daily care of seniors and individuals with disabilities.


  • Memora Health – Personalized SMS reminders, advice, and surveys for chronic illness management, population health data, and clinical trial automation.


  • WatchRX – a medication adherence smartwatch with coordinated care helps patients self-manage their medications, saving lives and huge healthcare costs


All four teams will receive constructive feedback from the judging panel, comprised of BWH clinicians and others from the healthcare innovation community. First place prize provides one company $2500 and access through meetings with BWH leadership and Brigham Innovation Hub. Judges include Brigham and Women’s Hospital doctors Kathryn Britton, Charles Morris, Rebecca Cunningham, John Wright, and Rock Health’s Mitchell Mom.


The Innovation Shark Tank will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Shapiro Breakout room, and moderated by Boston Globe journalist Scott Kirsner who specializes in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Brain Development in Preterm Infants Video

Approximately 1 in 9 infants are born prematurely for several reasons. These infants grow up to face several physical and mental challenges later on in life, including impaired brain development and learning disabilities. In fact, about 50-60% of them have to repeat a grade in middle school. The newly formed Department of Pediatric and Newborn Medicine at BWH has several experts working towards better detection of the likelihood of developing medical complications later in life and improving outcomes for such high risk infants. Join us on October 7th to learn more about these studies including work by Terrie Inder, MD, MBChB whose research focuses on infants at high risk for brain injury; Sarbattama Sent, MD, whose work is centered on clinical trials to study dietary interventions that can improve pregnancy outcomes for obese women and their infants; Christopher McPherson, PharmD , whose lab investigates the impact of drugs on the developing brain and Cynthia Ortinau, MD whose research focuses on magnetic resonance imaging studies of the brain before and after birth to understand the nature and timing of alterations in brain development and neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants born with congential heart disease.

Wearables & Other Healthcare Innovations

What are the most promising upcoming healthcare innovations that are likely to have the biggest impact on improving patient care in 2015?

The Brigham Innovation Hub team developed a list of Top 10 Healthcare Innovations in 2015. The process began by gathering ideas from both clinical and industry perspectives with special note to current healthcare trends. A shortlist of 30 innovations was compiled and voted on by more than 450 of Brigham Innovation Hub’s subscribers, which consists of BWH clinicians in a variety of health fields and members of the healthcare innovation community . Engagement, reduced costs, and digital health were found to be the top issues for 2015.

Use of “Big Data” to reduce the costs for high-cost patients

Only 5% of patients account for a whopping half of U.S. healthcare expenditures. Using “big data” can create algorithms for identifying patients who would more likely be “high-cost,” i.e. patients with multiple co-morbidities. This information can then be applied to make actionable predictions to prevent re-admission of this patient cohort.

Financial incentivizing of healthy behavior by employers

Although half of all U.S. employers offer some kind of wellness program, it is not usually taken advantage of by employees. To lower their own costs, employers are now seeing that they have to be more active in helping their employees be healthier. Companies are spending more on healthcare than they did 5 years ago and that’s because a healthier workplace means increased productivity.

Innovations for managing outpatient behavioral health

Up to 30% of Americans have a mental health condition but less than a quarter of them seek help. Hospitals partnering with outpatient mental health agencies create a teamwork approach to patients in crisis. The link can seamlessly transition patients in and out of the appropriate facilities when an episode occurs. The use of telepsychiatry is also on the rise, providing counseling services to remote patients.

Better reimbursement for telemedicine leading to greater use of telehealth and digital health by clinicians in their daily practice

The expansion of telehealth services being covered by Medicare and the increase in coverage of patient distance is making telemedicine a more viable option for clinicians’ plans of care. The addition of imaging and monitoring offered in digital health services also adds value to these visits making them comparable to physical clinical encounters.

Healthcare delivery goes retail to increase patient engagement

Retail giants like Walmart and CVS want to get out of our medicine cabinets and into our lives. The call for providing deeper services to its customers comes from the belief that better health outcomes can be fostered in community settings like at your local pharmacy.

The use of “wearables” increasing in hospitals to detect continuous biomarkers

The use of wearables allows for inexpensive continuous physiological monitoring with little manual intervention. On busy inpatient units, sensors serve as the eyes and ears to alert clinicians of safety issues and sudden medical emergencies.

Increased prescription of health apps

Mobile apps connect care from home to hospital and allow patients to take more responsibility and interest in their own health. Apps that can reduce costs through remote consultation will be the most valuable for hospitals.

Care delivery innovation for end-of-life patients

The goal of end-of-life care is to reduce suffering and respect the wishes of the dying. These patients require more care coordination, continuity of care and timely care encounters. The use of telemedicine and digital health could enhance the care delivery of this sensitive patient population.

Increased use of 3-D printing

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is using 3-D printing to better map out the techniques of face transplantation pre-operatively and to follow the progress of patients post-operatively.  This provides better visualization for surgeons and better satisfaction with appearances for patients.

Better care delivery and engagement for the large number of newly insured and millenials

The number of millennial (people born in the 80s and 90s) Americans now surpass the Baby Boomers. They are more culturally diverse than any other generation and more budget-conscious. They are also more difficult to engage with traditional marketing campaigns and will surpass their parents’ earnings by 2018. Health plans that can succeed at influencing this group will reap the benefits of retaining this demographic.

As part of the ‘Innovation Track’ at Discover Brigham, wearables will be one of many interesting topics for discussion. Patients and consumers are starting to incorporate wearables into their everyday lives and even bring them into their medical visits. As stated, the use of wearables allows for inexpensive continuous physiological monitoring with little manual intervention. The panel will discuss the rapid changes of wearables and how BWH clinicians might consider incorporating wearables into the care they provide. Join us on Wednesday, October 7th from 9AM-6PM to learn more about wearables, and other top 10 innovations including consumer and mental health.


The Stepping Strong Innovator Awards

The Stepping Strong Innovator Awards program is part of the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund that was established by the Reny family following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which left Gillian Reny, a student and aspiring dancer, with severe injuries to both of her legs. The fund’s goal is to support and advance clinical and research efforts related to trauma, enabling patients who have suffered from traumatic, athletic, military or disease-related limb injuries to return to their highest level of function and mobility. This award seeks to inspire innovative research addressing clinical problems in areas related to limb reconstruction, limb transplant, advanced stem cell technology, orthopedic and plastic surgery, bioengineering and rehabilitation.

You can learn more about the three finalists—BWH researchers and clinicians Omid Farokhzad, MD, Su-Ryon Shin, PhD, and Bohdan Pomahac, MD—and their projects, view a video about their work below and cast your vote here. The Stepping Strong Innovator Awards winner will also be announced at Discover Brigham.

Creating a BRIght Future for Medicine

The 4th Annual BRIght Futures Prize competition is currently underway.  Launching on Friday, August 7th, the competition will run until October 7th, where the winner will be announced at Discover Brigham.  After a scientific review, three finalists were determined and now it’s up to you – the winner of the $100,000 BRIght Futures Prize will be determined by votes from BWH and beyond.

The BRIght Futures Prize supports BWH investigators as they work to answer provocative questions or solve vexing problems in medicine. The fourth annual BRIght Futures Prize competition features three projects that have the potential to make a difference in patients’ lives.  The three finalists are Christopher Fanta, MD, Wilfred Ngwa, MD, PhD, and William Savage, MD.  

Watch the video, read the Q&As and decide which project you want to receive the $100,000 BRIght Futures Prize.

Venture Capital: Show Me the Money

One of the largest Venture Capital investment trends today is in the health care sector. VCs are looking for promising areas and opportunities in health care and are directly shaping clinical innovation. Countless VCs are specifically interested in investing in products associated with areas ranging from immunology to reproductive health to the leading cause of death in the US. These investments are steadily rising due to an all time high of clinical innovation, healthcare startups, and industry collaborations. The landscape of digital health is also shifting, with a record high $1.4 billion invested in the field last year. On October 7, at Discover Brigham a panel of leading capital investors will discuss the newest investment trends and promising areas of funding opportunities for clinical innovators and visionaries alike.

Featured speakers will include Paulina Hill, PhD (Polaris Partners), Stephen Kraus, MBA (Bessemer Venture Partners), Eddie Martucci, PhD (PureTech Health), and Mitchell Mom (Rock Health), and the session will be moderated by the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Gormley.

Hill has been with Polaris for four years and focuses on investments in health care. She is a board member on the Capital Network, lead mentor for Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England and a coach at the MIT community catalyst Leadership Program.

Kraus of Bassemer Venture Partners has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the leading healthcare investors in the industry. He sits on numerous boards and is the chair of the New England Venture Capital Association and the Achievement Network.

Martucci is a Vice President of PureTech Health and part of the founding team of Akili interactive Labs, Appeering, Vedanta Biosciences and The Sync Project. He was previously a Kauffman Entrepreneur Fellow.

Mom of Rock Health manages deal flow and connects digital health entrepreneurs and companies to Rock Health and their resources. He is passionate about the intersection between products, design and health.

The moderator of the panel, Brian Gormley is a distinguished writer who covers life sciences for the Wall Street Journal. He has written many pieces about the intersection between VC and health care.


Sign up for Discover Brigham, here!

Prescriptions to Reactions

It’s one of the first questions any patient is asked at a doctor’s office visit.

“Are you allergic to any medications?”

When a drug enters our bodies, in some cases our immune system reacts as if the drug is a threat and produces chemicals to fight the given threat. This reaction can result in a person breaking out in hives, developing a rash, spiking a fever or going into anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that can result in death.

Every year in the United States, more than 3 million people develop allergic reactions after taking certain medications. Because of allergy prevalence and severity, clinicians and researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are rigorously conducting research to find ways to reduce allergic reactions and better understand allergies to drugs ranging from aspirin to chemotherapy.

At Discover Brigham, doctors Mariana Castells, MD, PhD, Tanya Laidlaw, MD, and Paige Wickner, MD, MPH, will discuss their work to make sure that patients are given the opportunity to safely receive much-needed medications without causing severe allergic reactions.

Castells’s research focuses mainly on cancer drugs and adverse reactions. She hopes to desensitize patients to medications that cause dizziness and fainting, and try to put patients back on the medications to fight their cancer. She is also doing this with other illnesses including cystic fibrosis.

Laidlaw’s research focuses mainly on understanding Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD), exploring treatments and desensitization options. She is extremely passionate about making a difference.

“Up until now, our only advice to patients with drug allergies has been to avoid the drugs they are allergic to,” said Laidlaw. “We are now pushing the field forward and making real progress to help treat these patients, and allow them to safely take medications that they previously thought were too dangerous to try.”

Lastly, Wickner’s particular interest is in electronic health records and listed drug allergies, and their impact on patient care. “With universally mandated electronic health records, listed drug allergies can impact the quality, safety and cost of patient prescriptions,” said Wickner. “We assess different methods to clarify these listed drug allergies in order to safely prescribe medications, especially antibiotics, for the optimal care of the patient.”

The work of all three researchers and their colleagues in BWH’s Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy is now allowing patients with infections to take penicillin, to take life-saving chemotherapies, and to take anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen when previous they could not.

To find out more please join us at Discover Brigham on October 7th for a day full of discovery, innovation and science.

Sign up here!