Tip Sheet: Latest research on COVID-19, health disparities, antibodies to parainfluenza, and neuron function

Summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news

SEATTLE — May 4, 2021 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news.

If you are covering news at the upcoming American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy, American Society of Clinical Oncology, or other conferences, feel free to reach out to our media team for help sourcing experts: media@fredhutch.org.


Latest Fred Hutch research on COVID-19
In the past month, our scientists have published findings on how SARS-CoV-2 mutates and what that may mean for vaccine efficacy, how machine learning may help dampen the cytokine storm from COVID-19 and comparing immune responses from infection versus vaccination.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Health disparities

Event: Pathways to Equity Symposium
Fred Hutch’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement will be hosting their annual Pathways to Equity Symposium on Friday, May 2, 8:30am-12:30pm PT. Speakers will discuss racial/social justice, health equity and community engagement. Registration is free. RSVP here.

Vaccine and infectious diseases

Hutch researchers discover neutralizing antibodies to parainfluenza
A team of researchers led by Dr. Justin Taylor describes how they isolated five different antibodies that, in lab dish studies, potently protect against human parainfluenza virus type III, or HPIV3. Their work was published on April 20 in the open access journal mAbs.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Dr. Julie Overbaugh elected to National Academy of Sciences
Virologist Dr. Julie Overbaugh, who studies factors that shape HIV transmission, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Overbaugh is one of 120 new members, including a record number of women, elected by their peers in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in research.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Basic Sciences

Careful pruning guides neuron function
Dr. Aakanksha Singhvi used tiny worms with well-mapped nervous systems in her latest work that was published in the journal eLife. She and a graduate student, Stephan Raiders, collaborated to learn how the role of accessory brain cells called glial cells support neuron function.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Cancer research

Seeking to expand targeted therapy for lung cancer
Lung cancer researcher Dr. Alice Berger received a National Institutes of Health MERIT Award that will support her efforts to extend advances to more patients with this cancer. Berger’s MERIT Award will fund seven years of investigations into a gene that’s mutated in a subset of non-small cell lung cancer and other tumors, including some leukemias. Her ultimate goal is to extend the power of targeted therapy to more patients with lung cancer.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Event: B+T = Immunotherapy
Drs. Jim Boonyaratanakornkit, Stan Riddell and Shivani Srivastava joined Dr. Bruce Clurman, Fred Hutch executive vice president and deputy director, to discuss their work studying immune cells to develop treatments for cancers and infectious diseases. Dr. Rachel Bender Ignacio also gave us an update on COVID-19 treatments happening at the Hutch’s COVID-19 Clinical Research Center. The event is part of the Hutch public science series, Science Says. Our next Science Says, on the importance of diversity and equity in science, will be June 15. Register here.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Other notable news

Obliteride 2021 gears up for second virtual season

Fred Hutch’s Statement on the Derek Chauvin Verdict

Essential workers illustrate the Heart of the Hutch


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At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.