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BWH launches a new research division focused on integrating systems biology and medicine

BOSTON, MABrigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) announces the launch of the Channing Division of Network Medicine, a newly created research division within the Department of Medicine. The Channing Division of Network Medicine will use an integrated, network-based, systems biology-driven approach to define the causes of complex diseases. The research division plans to use this information to develop new ways to classify and treat those diseases.

This new division is led by Edwin K. Silverman, MD, PhD, chief of the Channing Division of Network Medicine. The Division includes the faculty and staff of the Chronic Disease Epidemiology Unit and the Respiratory, Genetic and Environmental Epidemiology Unit of the former Channing Laboratory, as well as a newly formed Systems Pathobiology Unit.

"By combining our clinical databases housing multiple research studies with genetic and epidemiological information on more than 300,000 people together with new systems biology capabilities, we will be able to combine multiple types of genetic and biochemical data using computational biology," said Silverman. "This will help us to understand the causes of disease and develop new biomarkers for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. I look forward to working with my colleagues to foster a collaborative environment in which new discoveries about diseases are made that will benefit our patients."

Among the many ongoing research projects in the Division, the Nurses' Health Studythe largest, longest running study of women's healthhas provided important information documenting the health risks of smoking, obesity, trans fat and sugary beverages, as well as the benefits of physical activity, dietary fiber, healthy fats, fish and the complex relation of alcohol to health risks and benefits. The Systems Genetics and Genomics Unit has multiple ongoing research projects, which are primarily focused on respiratory disease. Recent highlights include the identification of genetic factors associated with therapeutic response to inhaled steroid medications in people with asthma and the identification of novel genetic risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"The Channing Laboratory has been performing ground-breaking research since 1958, and there has been a strong tradition of attracting investigators of the highest caliber. In its new form, the Channing Division of Network Medicine is poised to continue this rich legacy and flourish under Dr. Silverman's leadership," said Joseph Loscalzo, MD, chairman of the Department of Medicine and director of the BWH Biomedical Research Institute.

The Channing Division of Network Medicine is comprised of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Systems Genetics and Genomics, and Systems Pathobiology Units. It is home to world-renowned and long-running epidemiological studies. There are approximately 300 researchers and staff in this new Division of BWH. For more information, please visit


Contact: Marjorie Montemayor-Quellenberg
Brigham and Women's Hospital

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