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Broad@15

In 2004, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard launched with a mission to improve human health. Since that time, biology and medicine have evolved in astonishing ways, and so have we. Our community now includes more than four thousand scientists, software engineers, and more, with collaborations in more than three dozen countries.

We think the amazing pace of scientific progress is a story worth sharing. In celebration of our 15th anniversary, in 2019 and 2020 we hosted a series of public talks tracing the evolution of key fields of science and medicine over those 15 years, and looking ahead to how they might continue to evolve in the future.

We invite you to experience the entire series of Broad@15 talks, and to share them with your family and friends.

Topics

The human genomic revolution: Past, present, and future
Eric Lander 
August 1, 2019

Over 15 years ago, the scientific community celebrated the sequencing of the first human genome. It’s time to ask how this monumental effort has transformed biomedical science, from basic research to the understanding and treatment of disease. Eric Lander, Broad Institute president and founding director and one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project, will survey the impact — what we’ve learned, and what lies ahead.

This lecture was presented in memory of Eliana Hechter and was supported by the Eliana Hechter Memorial Fund.

 

The march toward cancer precision medicine
Todd Golub
September 19, 2019

The idea that you could take a piece of a patient's tumor, sequence it, and use that knowledge to guide treatment used to sound like science fiction. Today, says Broad chief scientific officer and Cancer Program director Todd Golub, that idea is starting to become reality. Golub will trace the science of cancer precision medicine, how it's evolved over the last 15 years, and where that path could take us.

 

What genetics and biology are teaching us about mental illness
Benjamin Neale and Beth Stevens
October 7, 2019

The genomic revolution gave scientists a new foothold for understanding the origins of psychiatric disorders. Geneticist Benjamin Neale and neuroscientist Beth Stevens, both members of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, will follow modern psychiatry's development over the decades, and discuss how science at the intersection of genetics and biology is opening new directions and giving new hope.

 

From genes to mechanisms to medicines: Reflections on the past, present and future of drug discovery
Anna Greka and Florence Wagner
November 14, 2019

Since the Human Genome Project, our understanding of the genetic basis of human diseases has grown by leaps and bounds. But how close are we to translating these genetic insights into much-needed therapies? Physician-scientist Anna Greka and chemist Florence Wagner will reflect on how new tools and approaches in biology and chemistry have helped unlock new paradigms for the development of medicines in the genomic era, and look ahead to what the future might hold.

 

The extraordinary evolution of genome editing
David Liu and Feng Zhang
January 21, 2020

In less than a decade, CRISPR has transformed biology and galvanized public debate. But the history of scientists' efforts to edit the DNA of living cells goes back much further. Chemist David Liu and molecular biologist Feng Zhang will explore the ways scientists have turned bacteria's natural immune systems into technologies that allow them to explore and edit the genome with unprecedented power and precision, and the questions these technologies raise.

 

From patients to populations: The battle to fight infectious diseases continues
Deborah Hung and Pardis Sabeti
February 13, 2020

Infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, and Lassa fever impact hundreds of millions of people every year. Patients around the world continue to face challenges with antibiotic resistance. Physician scientist Deb Hung and computational geneticist Pardis Sabeti will tell the story of how researchers are using advanced chemical and genomic tools to tackle drug resistance and infectious diseases by working with individual patients and global communities.

 

From bases to bytes: How massive sequencing and machine learning are bringing new insights to disease
Puneet Batra, Danielle Ciofani, and Stacey Gabriel
March 4, 2020

Genome sequencing technologies are getting faster while costing less, fueling a surge in the volume of data produced worldwide and sending engineers and data scientists scrambling to create the infrastructure that can store, share, and analyze it all at an unprecedented scale. Sequencing leader Stacey Gabriel, data strategist Danielle Ciofani, and machine learning scientist Puneet Batra will discuss the beginnings of this new era in biomedicine, one where sequencing and data sciences hold the potential to push our understanding of human disease in unforeseen directions.

 

The Human Cell Atlas: “Google Maps” to navigate the human body in health and disease
Aviv Regev
April 28, 2020

The average adult human has 37 trillion cells, but, despite centuries of study, we don’t know how many different cell types there are, their properties in health and disease, and how they work together. Computational and systems biologist and Klarman Cell Observatory director Aviv Regev will discuss how the recent breakthroughs in single cell genomics, which allow us to characterize millions of cells at a time by the active genes in each individual cell, have fueled efforts to build a Google Map of every cell in the body. She will also show how these maps are being used to shed light on rare disease, cancer, and COVID-19.