About the Channing Division of Network Medicine

Research in the Channing Division of Network Medicine (CDNM) focuses on identifying the causes of diseases and developing new biomarkers for prevention, diagnosis, progression, and therapeutic intervention.

CDNM’s research applies novel systems biology capabilities to vast clinical databases and research studies with genetic, clinical, and epidemiological information on more than 300,000 subjects.

CDNM currently has more than 80 Harvard Medical School (HMS) faculty and 42 fellows and is supported by 160 non-faculty Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) employees, who are primarily in research and administration.

In fiscal year 2019, CDNM investigators received 54 new funding awards with an estimated total annual budget of more than $13 million, resulting in a total of 173 active grants. CDNM’s FY18 total research expenditures were $51 million.

Channing Division Achievements

The Channing Division of Network Medicine has a long and rich history of achievements and is renowned as the site for the Nurses' Health Study and other ongoing epidemiologic investigations that have influenced health policy and practice nationally and internationally.

The work of CDNM researchers has resulted in many important scientific advances, including:

  • Demonstrating that consumption of trans-unsaturated fatty acids in foods increases risk of coronary heart disease and overall mortality
  • Showing that sex hormone levels in plasma predict risk of breast cancer development
  • Demonstrating that aspirin use lowers risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma, and the effect is mediated by the cyclooxygenase-2 pathway
  • Finding that fine-particulate air pollution levels are associated with increased mortality
  • Identifying more than 80 genomic regions that have been associated with COPD. Also, CDNM molecular studies have identified important new biological pathways in COPD
  • Highlighting the importance of vitamin D in the development of asthma, which resulted from CDNM studies that began with genetics and culminated in clinical trials
  • Identifying in utero smoke exposure as a cause of childhood asthma
  • Identifying how dietary factors and patterns influence health