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Investigating cellular pathways driving severe COVID-19: Fresh insights from longitudinal plasma proteomics

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Investigating cellular pathways driving severe COVID-19: Fresh insights from longitudinal plasma proteomics

18 November 2020

12:00 p.m. ET

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COVID-19 has caused more than 1 million deaths worldwide. Extraordinary research efforts are being made at the lab bench and in the clinic, aided by initiatives such as diverted funding, accelerated publication channels, increased collaboration, and open sharing of data. In order to accelerate research into the pandemic, the “COVID-19 Technology Access Framework” was set up by Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University, to pool resources and ensure that research findings and data are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response. Within this framework, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital recently collaborated with Olink Proteomics to carry out one of the largest longitudinal COVID-19 studies to date. This study aimed to generate new insights into the mechanisms underlying immune responses and disease severity in infected patients by serial measurements of over 1,400 proteins in a cohort of ~400 SARS-CoV-2–infected patients and symptomatic controls. Hundreds of plasma proteins were found to be differentially expressed between COVID-19 patients and controls, as well as between those with mild and severe forms of the disease. Together with cellular and RNA expression analyses, the study also enabled a detailed dissection of both systemic and tissue-specific responses to SARS-CoV-2. This rich dataset of over 1.3 million protein measurements and essential clinical data has been made freely available to the scientific community to facilitate further investigation of pathways underlying severe disease—which may be the basis for early diagnosis of COVID-19 and subsequent clinical intervention.

During the webinar, viewers will:

  • Learn how the levels of over 600 plasma proteins differ between infected patients and controls, with a “viral response signature” of multiple cytokines and other proteins identified
  • Discover that more than 200 proteins also discriminate between severe and non-severe COVID-19, and that specific proteins are associated with survival or death in those with severe disease
  • Hear about the differential molecular and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection at the tissue and systemic level, and gain new insights into tissue-specific cell death signatures and cell-to-cell communication
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions during the live broadcast.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Speaker bios

Michael Filbin, M.D., M.Sc.

Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Dr. Filbin is an emergency physician and director of clinical research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston and an associated member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His research involves early detection and management of septic shock. Over the past decade, Dr. Filbin has been a key investigator in U.S. National Institutes of Health–funded multicenter clinical trials, led sepsis quality improvement efforts, and investigated early sepsis detection strategies. He cochairs the Sepsis Early Detection Think Tank at MGH with the mission of joining translational researchers and clinical investigators within the Harvard community to encourage novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in sepsis. Dr. Filbin received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and aerospace engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle. He embarked on a career in engineering at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Houston, Texas, before attending medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He completed a residency in emergency medicine at the combined Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency program and received a Master’s in clinical epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Arnav Mehta, M.D., Ph.D.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Boston, MA

Dr. Mehta is an oncologist, immunologist, and mathematician who is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Nir Hacohen and Eric Lander’s labs at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a clinical fellow in hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Partners CancerCare. Prior to his current position, he obtained his undergraduate degrees at Duke University studying mathematics and chemistry, his M.D. at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. in biology and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology under the guidance of Nobel laureate David Baltimore. He completed his internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Stanbury Physician-Scientist Pathway program. His current interests lie at the intersection of tumor immunology and computational biology, with a focus on building new tools for single-cell genomics studies in tumors.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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