Seeding the next generation of biomedical visionaries.

Whether it's bringing single-cell technologies to tackle HIV or launching a breast cancer research initiative, BroadIgnite supports the ideas that lead to biomedical breakthroughs.
New Award Recipients
We are thrilled to announce our new 2020 BroadIgnite awardees! Thanks to the incredible generosity of this community, we recently funded five scientists who are blazing new paths in critical areas of biomedicine. Below we have highlighted two of these grantees: Kiran Garimella and Diane Genereux. To see the full list of award winners and their projects, please visit the BroadIgnite website.
Kiran Garimella: Data Sciences Platform

Malaria infects more than 230 million people every year, and drug-resistant strains are rising. To stop this deadly endemic, researchers need new diagnostics—current tests are not sensitive enough to detect new strains or require expensive laboratory setups. Kiran has a solution. He’s developing a method that amplifies the genetic material of malaria so that it can be sequenced using 1/500th of the usual amount of required DNA. Unlike conventional techniques, Kiran’s method requires no special equipment, making it especially useful in remote, resource-limited areas. Kiran will use his BroadIgnite funds to hone this new technology and test its effectiveness on various strains of malaria. His hope is to develop a new frontline diagnostic test to aid malaria surveillance efforts in Africa. 
Diane Genereux: Vertebrate Genomics Group 

How are bats able to harbor coronaviruses—like SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2—without getting sick? Diane plans to shed light on this mystery by using her BroadIgnite award to compare gene expression patterns in human, ferret, and bat cells experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2. Drawing on the genomic similarities and shared evolutionary history of mammals, Diane aims to identify genetic features that allow bats to tolerate this deadly pathogen, potentially pointing to new therapeutic insights for Covid-19.
Project Update
Progress Update from Katie Geiger-Schuller 

Katie received a BroadIgnite award in 2019 to investigate how the cells that mediate immune response—called antigen-presenting cells—recognize and sense invaders, such as allergens and carcinogens. Although her project was temporarily halted for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Katie used this time to strategize on which extracts and compounds to expose to antigen-presenting cells. She now has a list of nearly 96 “invaders,” and is beginning pilot experiments using a new single-cell screening technology that allows her to test multiple compounds at once. Her hope is that these screens will capture new pathways involved in immune response that could potentially be leveraged for new drug targets.
Expanded BroadIgnite Committee
BroadIgnite is expanding! Thanks to your support, this initiative has been remarkably successful in its first six years: We have raised more than $2 million, from nearly 150 donors, and have awarded 43 Broad scientists. To amplify this success, we recently launched an expanded scientific committee, the BroadIgnite Committee (BIC), that will engage a more diverse group of Broad scientific leaders and awardees. The group will help evaluate candidates from a wider array of scientific areas; serve as mentors to awardees; and assist with project ideas, research planning, and professional development. The BIC is chaired by Todd Golub, chief scientific officer and director of the Cancer Program at the Broad; co-chaired by Jesse Boehm, the scientific director of the Broad’s Cancer Dependency Map Initiative, and Anna Greka, the director of the Kidney Disease Initiative at the Broad; and comprised of eight additional institutional leaders. 
Many of our BroadIgnite award recipients have become deeply involved in Covid-19 research—from modeling possible trajectories for the pandemic to pitching into global efforts to find treatments. We shared some of these efforts during two virtual events—which are available exclusively for BroadIgnite community members here and here
In the Media
Roby Bhattacharyya, a 2016 awardee, spoke with WBUR about research he led on asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2, and their risk of transmitting the virus.
Jesse Boehm, co-chair of the BroadIgnite Scientific Leadership Team, also recently spoke with WBUR about organizing COVID-19 testing for public school students.
Andres Colubri, of the 2018 BroadIgnite cohort, spoke with Forbes magazine about Operation Outbreak, an educational platform that he and other members of the Sabeti lab developed to simulate disease spread. 
Sonia Vallabh and Eric Minikel, a husband-and-wife team who received BroadIgnite funding in 2015, spoke with The New York Times about their research into Sonia’s rare neurodegenerative disease.
Eric Lander, the Broad’s founding director, recently launched a podcast, called Brave New Planet, about remarkable technologies with great potential upsides that also pose significant risks, and wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe about the importance of renewing the compact between science and society.
Abby Kussell Hopper