Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) has named Margaret McCormick, PhD, as its executive director/chief operating officer and Virginia Mason Medical Center vice president of Research. Dr. McCormick previously served as BRI’s chief administrative officer, with direct oversight of operational functions including human resources, finance, facilities and safety. “In her fourteen months with BRI, Dr. McCormick has already made…
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Shortly after she was diagnosed with melanoma in January, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan found herself in a Seattle Cancer Care Alliance waiting room. She anxiously glanced around. Her fellow patients spanned all ages and spoke multiple languages, but they all had the same look in their eyes: a mixture of hope and fear. On Wednesday, March 13, Durkan visited Fred…
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Meet PNRI Scientist: Rick McLaughlin

Rick McLaughlin, PhD spent his childhood observing nature. “Even though I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, I had collections of insects and rocks,” he says. “When we visited family in rural areas, I spent my time exploring at the creek.” As an adult, he turned that love of nature into an exciting research career at the Pacific Northwest Research…
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Most people use a map to understand the physical world around them. Now, genetic researchers have a map of their own to understand how developmental diseases work at the genetic level. In a recent study, UW graduate student Junyue Cao and Dr. Malte Spielmann from the Max Planck Institute profiled approximately 2 million cells from 61 mice embryos between 9 and 14 days old,…
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Using catheter ablation instead of standard drug therapy to treat the heart rhythm abnormality known as atrial fibrillation results in important favorable patient outcomes, according to two papers published March 15. Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure in which areas of vessels are purposely deadened so they cannot conduct erratic electrical currents within the heart. The new research, published in JAMA,associated the…
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When asked to describe what he works on, computational neuroscientist Stefan Mihalas, Ph.D., covers one of his eyes with his hand. “Pretend I walked into the room like this. Could you tell what’s behind my hand?” he asks. It’s not a trick question. But for the viewer to arrive at the obvious answer — Mihalas’ right eye — requires a…
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Among the 1.7 million patients implanted globally every year with heart defibrillators and pacemakers, postoperative infections are a major concern. Although studies have reported low infection rates with these devices – between 1 percent and 4 percent of patients – the consequences are profound in terms of death and injury. “Patients require a complete extraction of their device system when it becomes…
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Research Spotlight: Dr. Jerry Nepom

Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Nepom, who founded BRI’s Diabetes Research Program in the 1980’s, and who led BRI’s growth as a world-class research institute for 3 decades, now devotes his time to a laser-focused effort on getting experimental therapies to patients.  As the leader of the Immune Tolerance Network—an international organization of scientific and clinical experts in immunological diseases—Jerry directs teams…
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