Research Roundup: September 14, 2018

Looking at a brain tumor from all the angles, and what urine can teach us about heart disease risk.

Welcome to the September 14, 2018 installment of Research Roundup, a recurring snapshot of recent studies published by scientists at the Broad Institute and their collaborators.

“Ome”-field advantage

Medulloblastoma is a pediatric brain tumor with toxic treatments and unpredictable outcomes, so improved methods for determining molecular subtypes are needed. A team led by associate member Ernest Fraenkel, associate member Scott Pomeroy, senior institute fellow Jill Mesirov, and institute scientist and Proteomics Platform senior director Steven Carr, in addition to first authors Tenley Archer, Tobias Ehrenburger, and Filip Mundt, showed that a multi-omic approach including proteins and their modifications, along with DNA and RNA, can provide a deeper view of cancer subtypes than is possible from genomic methods alone. Reporting in Cancer Cell, they discovered new subtypes of medulloblastoma that could one day lead to safer treatments. Read more in a Broad news story.

Urine reveals blood pressure-kidney crosstalk

Albuminuria, or the level of albumin in one's urine, is a risk biomarker for stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other cardiovascular and metabolic conditions. But do the biological pathways behind albuminuria help cause these conditions, or are they merely bystanders? Mary Haas; Krishna Aragam; institute member, Cardiovascular Disease Initiative director, and Program in Medical and Population Genetics co-director Sekar Kathiresan; and colleagues conducted a genome-wide association study of albuminuria, using the data to develop polygenic scores for the trait. Comparing those scores with blood pressure levels, they found that albuminuria and blood pressure appear to increase each other, suggesting that albuminuria pathways could increase cardiovascular risk by affecting blood pressure levels. The reported their findings in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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