Science then & now: Progress that you can see

Click and drag to compare and contrast archive photos from the lab with current-day images of research at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Then, 1986: Stuart H. Orkin, MD, examines the DNA sequence of a gene.

Now, 2017: Today, Orkin is associate chief of Hematology/Oncology and chairman of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center (DF/BC). In this photo, he examines a rendering of a gene regulatory molecule’s structure. Orkin’s lab investigates gene regulation of stem cell development, genetic vulnerabilities to cancer and gene and other therapies for treating hemoglobin disorders. 

Then, 1942: The work of Louis K. Diamond (far right) and members of the Blood Grouping Laboratory led to advances in hematology, immunology and genetics. Diamond’s work helped establish the field of pediatric hematology. He was widely recognized for his research focused on anemias. A rare anemia discovered by Diamond and Kenneth Blackfan, now known as Diamond-Blackfan anemia, impairs red blood cell production due to an absence of proper precursors in the bone marrow.

Now, 2017: While investigating the genetic underpinnings responsible for Diamond-Blackfan anemia, Vijay Sankaran, MD, PhD (far right), a physician in Hematology/Oncology, discovered a new, even rarer form of anemia. The findings by Sankaran and his lab members at DF/BC came just in time to save the life of an infant with the newly-identified blood disorder. 

Then, 1930: A researcher in the Laboratory Study Building. This research facility, constructed in 1921 behind the Hunnewell Building, provided working space for some of the most distinguished researchers in chemistry, hematology, nutrition and bacteriology until it was razed in 1964.

Now, 2017: HMS medical student Elise DeRoo (foreground) and principal investigator Denisa Wagner, PhD, of the Program for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Division of Hematology/Oncology, review tissue imaging from their research on age-related organ fibrosis, which indicates therapies to prevent fibrosis could be on the horizon. Wagner’s lab space in the state-of-the-art Center for Life Science Building is just a stone’s throw from the Boston Children’s main campus.

Then, 1988: S. Ted Treves, MD, then the chief of the Division of Nuclear Medicine, uses nuclear imaging to search for signs of disease. 

Now, 2017: Darren Orbach, MD, PhD, chief of Neurointerventional Radiology and co-director of the Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center, performs image-guided therapy on a vein of Galen malformation (VOGM). He snakes a catheter into the brain to safely close off abnormal blood vessels. Orbach uses image-guided therapy to treat a variety of conditions, such as juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma and other tumors or vascular anomalies.