Launched in 2005, the BRI’s overarching mission is to accelerate discoveries that improve human health; supporting strategies include fostering groundbreaking, interdepartmental, and interdisciplinary research, ranging from basic fundamental studies to clinical innovations. The BRI strives to provide a clear voice (internally and externally) for the entire BWH research community, raise the profile of research at BWH, develop mission-centric collaborations with external entities and engage the scientific community in fundraising.
The BRI supports all research activities, from fundamental bench science to clinical innovations, focusing on three broad and intertwined efforts: science, communication/outreach and resources/funding.
A History of the BRI
The Brigham Research Institute is Created
- The Brigham Research Institute (formerly known as the Brigham Biomedical Institute) was created in 2005 to accelerate the pace of discovery, increase collaboration and raise the visibility of research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
- The Research Oversight Committee (ROC) was created and began meeting monthly.
- The Brigham Research Institute created its first two BRI Centers - the Neurosciences Research Center and Connors-BRI Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology. The Research Oversight Committee (ROC) was created and began meeting monthly.
Research Centers are Established
In the first two years of the BRI, 8 thematic research centers were created, cutting across departments to inspire interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration.
- Cardiovascular, Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders
- Infectious & Immunologic Diseases
- Regenerative Medicine
- Women’s Health & Gender Biology
- Six new BRI Centers are created, including: Cancer Research Center, Genomics Research Center, Infectious & Immunologic Diseases Research Center, Musculoskeletal Research Center and Regenerative Medicine Center. BWH Research Intranet launched. Center for Faculty Development & Diversity created. BRI Services & Communications (BRISC) Meetings launched.
- Worked with Development office to hire the first Director of Development, dedicated to fundraising for research
Research Excellence Awards and Research Intranet Launched
- In 2007, the Fund to Sustain Research Excellence was designed to offer interim support, based on need and merit, to investigators who submitted a non-mentored National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant application that was reviewed by the NIH but missed the funding payline.
- This program provides grants in the amount of $50,000, renewable for a second year, to our scientific investigators while they await grant approval from the NIH.
- The Enterprise Information Portal (EIP), to assist in consolidating and presenting the intellectual capital of BWH Research and to build a cohesive identity to all those who perform biomedical research at BWH, was begun. The first phase of the BWH Research Intranet/Portal project was completed in May 2006 and delivered an integrated content management system (CMS) using Interwoven combined with page templates to distributed ‘content owners’ across the organization to help solve some of the baseline needs.
- Research Connection Newsletter launched. Fund to Sustain Research Excellence was created, offering $50,000 bridge funding awards for investigators. BWH Development launched the BRINK magazine, a publication focused on highlighting research accomplishments from BWH investigators.
- The Research Excellence Award recipients were celebrated with a poster session and awards ceremony in May 2007. These awards were made possible by a gift from the Partners HealthCare Research Accelerator Program which seeks to recognize graduate and postdoctoral fellows and related research staff whose research is deemed to be most promising and innovative.
Research Connection Launched
- In an effort to streamline research communications, the BRI worked to create the Research Connection with the Office for Research Careers, Center for Clinical Investigation and Research Administration. This series of e-newsletters provided general updates and highlighted available research resources, clinical research notices, funding opportunities and more.
- A monthly meeting, Research Connection LIVE, was developed to provide a forum for the research community to learn about resources, ask questions and provide feedback about their experiences.
- The BRI started supporting website design and development for investigators and research projects. Monthly Research Connection (RC) LIVE Lunches began, providing a forum to share resources and opportunities with the research community. The 1st BRI Program Report was published. The BWH Genomics Center and the Infectious & Immunologic Diseases Center launched the Phenogenetic Project.
Intranet Usability Study: Helped CCI Launched Harvard Catalyst
- In 2009, the BRI created BWH Find a Researcher, the first online faculty investigator directory. Modeled after BWH Find a Doctor, Find a Researcher connects with Harvard Catalyst Profiles, PubMed and Find a Doctor to provide a database of all faculty investigators with a rank of Instructor or above.
- The aim of Find a Researcher is to improve the visibility of research on the BWH website as well as streamline administrative efforts to promote the esteemed science at BWH more broadly.
- The Research Oversight Committee developed strategic themes for the Brigham Research Institute. The BRI conducted a Partners-wide usability study in collaboration with MGH Research to improve hospital research intranets and inform future web and communication endeavors. The BRI worked alongside the Center for Clinical Investigation to launch the Harvard Catalyst at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
BRI Flagship Project Launched
- In 2010, the pilot phase of a BRI flagship project, OurGenes, OurHealth, OurCommunity, was launched.
- OurGenes aims to advance personalized medicine by creating a state-of-the-art biorepository containing genetic & health information (lifestyle & environmental variables, personal & family health histories) from every BWH patient over 18 who consents to participate.
- The launch of OurGenes was also featured in a front page story in The Boston Globe.
- OurGenes, OurHealth, OurCommunity, a state-of-the-art tissue and data bank storing genetic information from thousands of patients, launched, growing to more than 30,000 patients enrolled. Find a Researcher, the first faculty profiles system at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was developed, linking with Harvard Catalyst Profiles and BWH Find a Doctor.
Shark Tank Innovation Program Launched
- The BRI’s Technology and Innovation Program (Shark Tank) issued an RFA in FY12 to solicit grants that facilitate solutions to important diagnostic, therapeutic or care delivery issues by supporting innovative research projects at BWH that are likely to be rapidly translatable to the clinic, and which bring together experts, tools and technologies from diverse fields including medicine, life sciences, physical sciences and engineering. Four $50,000 grants were awarded to the top 4 teams for their pioneering work in a range of exciting research projects.
- To further enhance the presence of research on the web, the BRI launched Find a Researcher in February 2011. Find a Researcher is BWH’s first web-based directory of faculty researchers on the BWH website. As of August 2011, Find a Researcher houses over 1000 researcher profiles, approximately 600 of which also link to the Brighams physician directory, Find a Doctor. Visitors to the site may discover research faculty by entering generic search terms, names or they can filter by department or BRI research center affiliation.
PCOR and PCERC Launched
- A ninth center focused on patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) was created – the Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research Center (PCERC) launched in 2012.
- The launch of PCERC was marked by a highly successful July 2012 workshop that brought together BWH researchers working on PCOR.
- PCERC would later go on to develop HOPE (Health Online Patient Enrichment - now called Rally), an online portal launched in 2015 linked to Patient Gateway that connects patients with available clinical research studies relevant to them.
- In 2012, the BRI established BWH Research Day, an annual event highlighting and celebrating the groundbreaking research efforts of the BWH research community. Each year, Research Day attracts more than 1200 attendees. In 2013, #BWHResearchDay trended on Twitter in Boston
- The BRI, in collaboration with the CFDD’s ORC supported 2 x 30K Faculty Career Development Awards and launched a pilot microgrant program in March 2012 to support seed funding for projects and career development (grants $1-2K). Through this program, more than 40 recipients have been awarded a grand total of nearly $75K to launch new scientific projects.
- The Fund to Sustain Research Excellence supported new applications for one year of bridge funding ($50K each), bringing the total number of bridge fund recipients up to 62 with more than $4 million awarded. OUTCOMES/METRICS AS OF April 2012: Funds brought in by grantees since bridge fund award = $59,569,428.00, funds brought in by non-grantees since FSRE application = $28,174,511.00; 4/58 awardees left = 6.8%, 6/48 non-awardees left = 12.5%
- The Center for Human Genetics OurGenes initiative recruited a total of nearly 2800 BWH patients as of Sept 2012 and expanded recruitment to three more Brigham clinics. Working with Partners Business Development, the OurGenes study also received a philanthropic gift of $50,000 from Hewlett Packard’s Global Social Innovation arm.
- The Technology and Innovation Program launched an ‘Innovation Grand Rounds’ in 2012 which hosts monthly seminars and workshops with the aim of promoting broad perspective dialogue on opportunities and approaches relevant to innovation at BWH.
- The BRI established a Patient Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research Center (PCERC), with more than 60 people attending a highly successful June BRI workshop on patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) organized with the goals of bringing together investigators across BWH who are currently working on PCOR.
- The first BWH Research Day was held in November, celebrating and highlighting the outstanding work of the research community at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The first $100,000 BRIght Futures Prize was awarded based on a world-wide public vote. The Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research Center (PCERC) launched. In collaboration with BWH Communication & Public Affairs, the BRI developed the BRIght Ideas campaign to encourage researchers to share their work more broadly. The Principal Investigator Input & Ideas (PI3) Lunches began as part of the BRI’s outreach to investigators as a way to share resources and receive feedback.
First Clinical Innovation Day Held
- At the second BWH Research Day, the #bwhresearchday hashtag trended on Twitter in Boston marking the first time Brigham and Women’s Hospital has trended on social media. The Brigham Innovation Hub was launched and hosted the first Brigham Hackathon in collaboration with the BRI and MIT’s Hacking Medicine.
External Scientific Advisory Board Formed
- In 2014, the BRI established an external Scientific Advisory Board of six highly accomplished scientific and industry leaders.
- The Scientific Advisory Board was engaged to provide guidance to enrich our strategies and promote biomedical advances and discoveries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
- Launched Regenerative Medicine center under leadership of Richard T Lee.
- Funded the Infectious Disease and Immunology (IID) Center’s proposal to develop a user toolkit for the new CytoF instrument as well as an iPS cell core through the Regenerative Medicine Center
- Launched various research websites for labs and events, including the Research Day, Clinical Innovation Day, and iHub websites, that utilize a more modern platform, resulting in higher traffic for these sites, better positioning in Google search, and more engagement with website visitors.
- Archived all relevant research news and press releases under their related BRI center/program, providing a more in-depth look at the history of research in those areas.
- Rebranded the Research Connection e-mail newsletter and switched to a more modern platform that streamlined the process for administrative staff to send the emails each week and created a newsletter that is mobile-device friendly, with a sign-up process that is more accessible for subscribers.
- The BRI published its 3rd Program Report. The Partners Research Navigator was launched, consolidating research resources across Partners, including the BWH Research Intranet, into a single platform. The BWH Shark Tank was held, hosted by TV’s Kevin O’Leary from the show ‘Shark Tank’ and #BWHSharkTank trended on Twitter, marking the second time BWH has trended on social media. The BWH Scientific Advisory Board was formed and had its inaugural meeting in spring 2014 with a second in December.
HOPE (Rally); Discover Brigham (research day & clinical innovation day); BDTA; Lung Center; endowment
- In 2015, we combined Research Day with Clinical Innovation Day, another highly successful event, to reflect the true continuum of research, innovation and discovery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Welcome to Discover Brigham!
- The first ever BRI Director’s Transformative Awards provided two $500,000 grants to outstanding research projects with the potential to change the future of medicine. A tenth BRI center, the Lung Research Center, was launched. HOPE (Health Online Patient Enrichment) launched as an online portal developed by the Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research Center connecting patients and investigators conducting clinical research. BWH Research Day and BWH Clinical Innovation Day were combined into a single event, Discover Brigham, focused on celebrating and highlighting the continuum of discovery and innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
- The BRI Director’s Transformative Awards were established this year. The awards of $500,000 are the single largest funding opportunities ever sponsored by the Brigham Research Institute. With nearly 40 applicants, finalists were first narrowed down by scientific review before our Scientific Advisory Board was engaged to select the recipients.
- Find out the recipients of these awards at our Awards Ceremony from 4PM – 5PM in the Bornstein Amphitheater.
- Establishment of a $10MM BRI endowment, with a goal of $100MM, through the Life.Giving.Breakthroughs campaign
- In collaboration with Development, launched Stepping Strong Innovator Awards – in FY15 two $100,000 prizes were awarded. A third project was funded with a spontaneous $100,000 philanthropic gift.
- Convened the nascent external Scientific Advisory Board twice
- Issued an RFA for the BRI Director’s $500,000 Transformative Awards and engaged the external SAB in selecting the recipients
- Published the first annual Research Report, showcasing the BRI’s leadership and provides impressive data about the size and scope of the BWH research enterprise, including a synopsis of Partners Innovation activity at BWH. It highlights the BRI’s thematic research centers and their efforts to foster interdisciplinary research that transcends departmental barriers and promote career development and education, as well as community outreach and fundraising activities
- Launched bi-annual Senior Principal Investigators lunches which provide opportunities for principal investigators ranking Professor from across departments to meet with the BRI Executive Committee and provide feedback directly.
- Redesigned the BRI public website, deploying a more modern platform to allow increased functionality and engagement
- Officially launched the HOPE program, an online patient community, as a collaboration between BWH/MGH and transitioned support of the project over to the Center for Clinical Investigation
- Launched the Lung Research Center, the tenth BRI research center, which aims to highlight the exciting current research activities of lung researchers at BWH and to encourage future advances in our understanding of lung biology and disease
- Continued developing relationships with industry partners through increased PI meetings, participation in industry association events (e.g., MassBio), and attendance at industry conferences and by working closely with Partners Innovation.
- Expanded efforts around planning for the Translational Accelerator, which secured institutional funding and support from BWH Research Administration
- Launched the Research Navigator, a PHS supported portal that centralizes access to all research management resources. The Navigator replaces the retired research intranet.
- Implemented upgrades and enhancements to the Find A Researcher tool, including the ability for researchers to assign a proxy editor.
- Launched BRINK, an online quarterly e-newsletter that highlights BRI activities, metrics and updates.
Lung Research Center Established
- This year, we established the Lung Research Center, our tenth BRI center, which aims to highlight the exciting research activities of BWH lung researchers and encourage future advances in the understanding of lung biology and disease.
- The Lung Research Center hosted an inaugural event this spring and also participated in World Asthma Day with the local Mission Hill community.
BRI Undergraduate Internship Program Expanded
- Expanded the BRI Undergraduate Internship Program CVDM, IID, MSK and Neuro centers
- Helped the Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation launch two funding mechanisms: the 2018 Innovator Award & the 2018 Spinal Cord Research Innovator Award
- Created a monthly newsletter, “Petri Dishes,” to highlight research events and awards, migrated to a new and better equipped email platform, and continued to effectively promote the many resources that the BRI has
ORC Faculty Director Hired and BRI Pilot Grants
- The BRI hired a new Faculty Director and Project Coordinator to manage the Office for Research Careers (ORC), now housed under the BRI.
- Pilot Grants The Brigham Research Institute (BRI) has made funds (up to $400,000) available in 2018 to support basic, clinical and translational projects/activities related to any scientific theme with the goal of obtaining preliminary data that will be used to apply for new funding from the National Institutes of Health, other federal and state grantors, foundations, industry and other granting agencies
- In recognition of the Hale Family transformative gift. The Brigham will name their new building the Hale Building for Transformative Medicine. With its innovative construction and state-of-the-art research and clinical space brings together leading clinicians and scientists to promote, collaborate and advance care for patients suffering from neurologic, orthopaedic and rheumatologic conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The new 383,250-square-foot facility at BWH includes three outpatient floors, eight research floors, and an administrative and imaging floor.
Research Roundtables Opioid & Pain Innovation Program
- 2019 President’s Scholars Awardees:
- Ana C. Anderson, PhD, Department of Neurology
- Georg Gerber, MD, PhD, MPH, Department of Pathology
- Jessica Lasky-Su, ScD, Department of Pathology
- Tracy Young-Pearse, PhD, Department of Neurology
- Resources were allocated in FY19 to activities defined through a BRI-wide strategic assessment and planning process last year. We continued to host thematic research roundtable discussions focused on thematic areas aligned with centers/programs to define priorities in those areas and foster innovation and collaboration.
- Distributed ~$3.2MM in internal awards in FY2019. These awards ranged from $500 awards to the BRI Director’s $500,000 Transformative Awards. The BRI handled the solicitation and selection process for the newly launched President Scholar Awards, intended to support/recognize Assistant or Associate Professors at the hospital who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen field of research and who have exceptional potential.
- Added a new member to our illustrious external Brigham Health Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), now composed of nine highly accomplished scientific and industry leaders who provide guidance to enrich our strategies to promote biomedical advances at BWH. The SAB meets annually in the fall.
- Launched a new monthly e-newsletter, “Science Spotlight” to celebrate BWH faculty publications in high impact journals and keep our community informed about their peers’ research
- BWH researchers published more than 9,400 publications in 2019 (ranking second among healthcare institutions in the world in terms of total article count according to Nature Index), with ~490 of these in top-rated journals).
- BWH research revenue was ~$698M in FY2019, representing nearly a quarter of the hospital’s revenue.
MGB Center for COVID Innovation and Funding Paper
- The Mass General Brigham Center for COVID Innovation (MGB CCI) was established to fight the COVID pandemic. The Center facilitates the development of new diagnostic, device, data-related and therapeutic innovations with the potential to mitigate the pronounced rise in COVID-19 cases and the impact thereof in the communities served by MGB and beyond.
- Funding paper published (more info)