The Division of Interdisciplinary Medicine and Biotechnology (IMBIO) is organized under the leadership of Dr.
Sukhatme as division director and Dr. A.
Goldberger as the associate director. The Division has both research and educational missions at BIDMC, at Harvard Medical School and its affiliated hospitals and with Harvard University, especially the Allston initiative. It anticipates many interfaces with other institutions both locally (such as MIT) and nationally.
IMBIO believes that we are at a unique juncture in medical history. The deciphering of the human genome affords an unprecedented platform for basic science discoveries in biology. This "genomics revolution" coupled to the information technology revolution and certain technological advances (such as robotic methods for high-throughput screening, developments in mass spectrometry, novel imaging modalities, etc) will make medicine an information-rich discipline in which health and disease will be assessed increasingly by multi-parameter data that will be easy to gather, transmit and mine. Such information - if properly extracted and analyzed - will inexorably shift healthcare from a "one size fits all" paradigm to "individualized care". Additionally, there will be more emphasis on preventative and predictive care and less on "symptomatic" care. In turn, biomarkers will streamline the drug development process and a subset of them will be linked to the pathophysiology of a disease process, thus providing novel therapeutic targets. Finally, the ability to view disease as a "systems problem" will lead to new insights with diagnostic and therapeutic implications. Thus "hardware" to elicit and detect "signals" from biological systems including humans ("translational technologies"), both in vivo and ex vivo, and analysis using sophisticated computational methods of the data obtained will lead to novel insights into disease pathophysiology - a central goal in IMBIO.
Moreover, IMBIO's mission is to initiate and facilitate linkage from BIDMC to university departments in engineering, computational sciences, physics, and chemistry. Insights from public health, law, and business will also be welcome. IMBIO will also facilitate interactions within the Department of Medicine by helping identify clinical or scientific problems that may benefit from such interactions or from methodologies that cross divisional lines. As detailed below, IMBIO will build a cross-departmental think-tank of fellows and faculty to accomplish this goal.
Interdisciplinary Medicine and Biotechnology Research Activities
Dr. Vikas Sukhatme's primary research interests are in vascular biology and in cancer, with projects that extend from laboratory research to clinical trials. Relevant to IMBIO, he is taking an integrated view of the cancer problem and investigating some "out-of-the-box" ideas for therapy. Drs. Junichi Hanai, Barden Chan and Pankaj Seth work closely with him.
Peng and Madalena
Costa focus on understanding nonlinear dynamics and fundamental mechanisms of complex systems. They have developed quantitative algorithms to probe some of the generic features of these systems and applied them to such diverse areas as heart rhythms in health and disease, forecasting drug toxicity, complexity analysis of coding and noncoding human DNA sequences, and gait stability.
Libermann (as director) and Drs. Xuesong Gu, Luiz
Zerbini , and Bhasin run the BIDMC Genomics Center and Cancer Proteomics Core. Their research primarily focuses on renal, prostate and ovarian cancer, utilizing state-of-the-art genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics approaches. Additionally, they have collaborated with a wide range of scientists both locally and nationally in many other areas.
Weber is a medical bioinformatician with a background in biomedical engineering, computer science, and medicine. His research interests focus on ways in which biomedical informatics can improve medical education, research and patient care. Dr. Weber has established a Biomedical Research Informatics Core (BRIC), to provide informatics services to BIDMC researchers.