Dr. Robert C. Green, winner of the first BRIght Futures Prize.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is routinely recognized as one of the top academic medical centers in the country. Last year, the BWH Biomedical Research Institute launched the annual $100,000 BRIght Futures Prize competition to support innovative research that is both compelling and promising to an audience that extends beyond just scientists. The competition is intended to generate excitement and motivation within the research community, while heightening the visibility of BWH research worldwide. It supports researchers as they work to answer provocative questions and better meet today’s medical needs.

The three finalists were selected through a rigorous two-step peer review process, and the winner will be determined by public voting. The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite research project by visiting bwhresearchday.partners.org. The winner will be announced during the awards ceremonies at the 2nd annual BWH Research Day on November 21. This event has the same goal of raising awareness and celebrating research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Registration is open not only to internal employees, but any individuals interested in learning more about the comprehensive science that goes on at the institution every day. Patients, local scientists, health care professionals, and industry collaborators all come together to interact with and learn more from BWH investigators and clinicians. Topics of focus this year include technology and innovation, personalized medicine, neuro-degeneration, and allergies, among others.

Last year’s BRIght Futures Prize winner, Dr. Robert C. Green has recently capitalized on his funding. Read “Will Newborn Genome Sequencing Become a Reality?” for an update on his progress.

This year’s finalists are hoping for the same success. Brief summaries of their projects are listed below. Each project will also be featured in more detail on HealthHub throughout this week.

Utkan Demirci, PhD, MS, is part of the Division of Biomedical Engineering. His project “Taking Control of Epilepsy: Designing a Lab-on-a-Chip” will be the first point-of-care test to measure blood levels of seizure drugs in epilepsy patients. Dr. Demirci hopes the device will improve the quality of life for anyone affected by this disease and can even help save lives in emergency settings, such as an ambulance ride or a hospital emergency room.

Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, and Joel Weissman, PhD, are co-chairs of the BWH Biomedical Research Institute center on Patient Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research. Their project “Power to the Patient: B-HOPE to Streamline Clinical Trials” will streamline the clinical trials recruitment process by eliminating existing barriers and better informing and empowering patients to be more proactive about their health. The educational resources within B-HOPE will help patients better understand their conditions and treatment options, bridge the gap between patients and their care providers, and allow patients to play a more active role in the research process.

Lastly, Bohdan Pomahac, MD, from the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Jeffrey Karp, PhD, from the Division of Biomedical Engineering have teamed up to create “Stuck on You: The Next Generation Adhesive.” It is a completely new way for doctors to treat damaged tissue, including severely burned skin. This innovative adhesive technology will improve patient care by reducing pain and complications, as well as speeding up tissue regeneration.

Tomorrow’s video and Q&A on HealthHub will feature our first finalist, a research project from Utkan Demirci, PhD, MS.

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