Bradley Bernstein, MD, PhD, pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, was honored as the inaugural incumbent of the Bernard and Mildred Kayden Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair during a celebration on June 23, 2016, in the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation.
Made possible through the generosity of The Kayden Foundation, this is the first endowed chair established within the Mass General Research Institute. It will accelerate cutting-edge research at Mass General in perpetuity. Established just one year ago, the Research Institute is dedicated to advancing fundamental science, encouraging investigators, and developing the relationships that help to turn promising ideas into life-changing treatments for patients.
Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Mass General, emphasized how the Research Institute has created a new “front door” to the hospital’s vast research enterprise, making it easier to share information and develop partnerships with philanthropists, foundations and industry. He noted how the Research Institute chair may be considered even more prestigious because it is not tied to a particular field. “The intent of this chair is to select an outstanding scientist whose work may cross several areas and play a key role in preventing disease,” Dr. Slavin said. “It is exciting to imagine that future incumbents may work in areas that have yet to be defined or even discovered.”
The Kayden Foundation’s gift provides the kind of reliable funding difficult to secure from government agencies like the National Institutes of Health.
Research Institute Cornerstone
The Kayden Foundation’s gift provides the kind of reliable funding difficult to secure from government agencies like the National Institutes of Health. Harry Orf, PhD, senior vice president for Research at Mass General described how this chair alleviates the funding challenge and enables scientists to focus on research: “One of our cornerstone objectives for establishing the Research Institute was to find hard money support for our best and brightest scientists, both our young, rising stars and our established superstars who were working in discovery and translational science.”
Dr. Bernstein’s research group leads pioneering projects in genomics, technology development, chromatin, and stem cell and cancer biology. Dr. Bernstein’s work in this arena has illuminated how cancers are not made up of just one kind of cell, but instead contain many different types of cells that play specialized roles in the tumors. A seemingly very effective drug may work on some of these cells, but not on others.
Regarding this finding, Susan Slaugenhaupt, PhD, scientific director of the MGH Research Institute said, “Brad’s work has truly propelled the field of epigenetics over the past ten years.”
Hopes for More Endowed Chairs
“My lifelong work is to give doctors better tools to fight and treat disease,” Dr. Bernstein said. “I get up every morning with one goal in mind: to take our work in epigenetics and change the way we diagnose and treat cancer. Thanks to The Kayden Foundation I will be able to do just that.”
Dr. Bernstein is also an Institute Member of the Broad Institute at MIT and a professor in the department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. He had received numerous awards, including the MGH Howard M. Goodman Fellowship in 2006, the MGH Martin Prize for Basic Science in 2012, and in 2015 the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Furthermore, he has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications.
Closing out the evening, Jerold Kayden, representing The Kayden Foundation, recalled how excited he was upon hearing the Foundation’s gift had resulted in the appointment of Dr. Bernstein as the inaugural chair. He said, “It’s the first of what I hope creates many endowed chairs.”
The Research Institute: Saving Lives Through Science
The Massachusetts General Hospital Research Institute is the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with a community of over 8,000 people working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments.
Our researchers work side-by-side with physicians to pioneer the latest scientific advancements for curing disease and healing patients in Boston, across the United States and around the world.
To learn more about the Research Institute, please visit our website.