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Faculty

  • Robert Finberg

    Robert Finberg, MD

    Category: Clinical Trials,Host Response

    The Richard M. Haidack Professor in Medicine and chair and professor of medicine

    Dr. Finberg oversees three clinical trials currently enrolling patients with COVID-19. Two are of the drug remdesivir in ICU patients: one is an NIH-funded multicenter controlled trial and the other is an expanded access trial funded by the manufacturer Gilead.

    The third trial is a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the protease inhibitor favipiravir, funded by the manufacturer Fujifilm and in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

    Four proposed clinical trials are being reviewed.

    Dr. Finberg, along with Scot Wolfe, PhD, has ongoing studies using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools to define the virus and host genetic factors that define disease susceptibility. These studies are building on cell culture platforms that have been funded by the U.S. Department of Defense for their influenza studies. Finberg’s lab has developed a platform for studying the efficacy of antiviral approaches in cell culture and animal models, which will be applied, where helpful, to the novel SARS-CoV-2 therapies.

    Finberg’s lab works on the relationships between host cell surface proteins and viruses and bacteria, and the basis of cellular activation mediated by cell surface proteins. His clinical interests include immune-compromised hosts, infections in patients after transplant and inpatient infectious diseases.

  • Katherine Fitzgerald

    Katherine Fitzgerald, PhD

    Category: Host Response

    The Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Chair, professor of medicine and co-director of the Program in Innate Immunity

    Dr. Fitzgerald is researching, with Egil Lien, PhD, how the innate immune response to the novel coronavirus causes some individuals to die from an overwhelming cytokine storm, or the release of small proteins that affect cells’ interaction.

    The Fitzgerald lab is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling the inflammatory response. Her lab’s long-term goals are to understand how dysregulation of innate immunity underlies the development of infectious, inflammatory and autoimmune disease in humans.

    Fitzgerald Lab

    The Fitzgerald lab is part of the Program in Innate Immunity (PII) an interdisciplinary group of investigators who are focused on discovering the underlying mechanisms that drive immune defenses and inflammation, in both health and disease.

  • Egil Lien

    Egil Lien, PhD

    Category: Host Response

    Professor of medicine

    Dr. Lien is researching, with Katherine Fitzgerald, PhD, how the innate immune response to the novel coronavirus causes some individuals to die from an overwhelming cytokine storm, or the release of small proteins that affect cell interaction. These approaches could lead to a better understanding of the critical illness response in profound lung injury and low blood pressure, which makes this virus fatal in some individuals.

    Lien’s research interests focus on how the body defends itself against disease-causing microbes by activation of the innate immune system. His lab also studies inflammation involved in the development of diabetes and obesity.

  • William McDougall

    William McDougall, PhD

    Category: Host Response

    Assistant professor of microbiology & physiological systems

    Dr. McDougall’s lab, funded by the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is applying tools designed to define critical host susceptibility factors for influenza infection to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    McDougall joined the lab of Abraham Brass, MD, PhD, as a postdoctoral associate in 2014. His research includes the effect of viral infection on cell division, high-content screening of organelle biogenesis in humans using whole genome CRISPR libraries, and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) whole genome CRISPR library construction and screen for increased production and antigenicity of HIV-SOSIP trimer.

    Brass Lab

  • Ann Moorman

    Ann Moorman, PhD, MPH

    Category: Host Response

    Professor of medicine

    Dr. Moormann is studying the age-specific differences in the immune responses and pathology of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    Moormann's coronavirus work builds on her prior research on pediatric immunity to infectious diseases, including malaria and Epstein Barr virus, and how these infections lead to endemic Burkitt lymphoma, the most common pediatric cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. Her expertise covers immunology and infectious diseases, pediatrics, epidemiology and global health research.

  • Scot Wolfe

    Scot Wolfe, PhD

    Category: Host Response

    Professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology

    Dr. Wolfe is working with Robert W. Finberg, MD, on studies using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools to define the virus and host genetic factors that define disease susceptibility.

    Wolfe’s research interests focus on engineering precise gene editing systems for application in gene therapy and the analysis of gene regulatory networks.

    Wolfe Lab