MGH Researcher Leverages Award into Patents, New Funding

Galit Alter, PhD, really knows how to make a good thing better.  A primary investigator at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, she was named the Kristine and Bob Higgins MGH Research Scholar in 2012. In one year, Dr. Alter leveraged the $500,000 award that comes with that honor into three new patents and more than $18 million in additional funding.

Research Scholars: Pursuing New Frontiers

The Mass General Research Scholars Program, supported by visionary philanthropists, provides the best and brightest researchers with unrestricted funds to pursue riskier concepts and explore new frontiers in science. Unexpected advancements often result. Traditional funding sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, rarely fund projects without preliminary data.

This flexible funding has given Dr. Alter, an expert in clinical immunology, the academic freedom to advance her work on understanding the immune system’s response to chronic viral infections. Dr. Alter believes the vaccines and gene therapies she is developing will help the body make its own “protective” antibodies to block viral infections such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

Challenging Dogma in Science

Thanks to the proof of concept she developed with the Research Scholar funds, Dr. Alter’s research team has attracted the attention of major funding agencies. In 2013, she was part of a team that received $16.5 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and $2.5 million from the NIH.

Dr. Alter says that this additional funding was made possible by the initial $500,000 grant she received through the Research Scholars Program: “The Research Scholar funds have been transformative in accelerating the pace of my research agenda,” she says. “They have allowed me to follow tangents, new lines of thinking and even challenge dogma in science.”

 

New building to serve as “entryway” to Kimmel Cancer Center The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer...
Ron Katz’s quest to deliver top-notch medical care to military service members wounded in Iraq and...
From an art exhibit to a round of golf, these fall fundraisers offer exclusive experiences in...
Photo by Rafael L G Motta
This fall, Napa Valley’s Staglin Family Vineyard will host one of the season’s most meaningful and...
WHAT: The Annual Dinner Gala launches The Society for Women’s Health Research’s (SWHR) public...
Photo by Vince Bucci
WHAT: The Kaleidoscope Ball benefits the UCLA Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute (CDI)...
Photo by Jeff Gale, Niche Media
 In February 1995, on the one-year anniversary of his father’s death from Alzheimer’s disease,...
WHAT: The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Gala is one of Cleveland’s premier events, honoring pediatric...
Photo by Annie Watt
WHAT:
 The Greening Our Children benefit provides funding for the Mount Sinai Children’s...
WHAT: D.R.E.a.M.S. (Diabetes Research, Elegance, and Modern Sophistication) in the City is an...