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Med school team dominates in 1st round of STAT Madness

Guilak lab's team facing Carnegie Mellon in tourney's 2nd round

March 5, 2018

Matt Miller

One of two research teams at Washington University School of Medicine has made the second round of the March Madness of science and medicine — STAT Madness, a competition aimed at finding the best biomedical innovations of 2017. The 64-team tournament is hosted by STAT, an online publication focused on medicine, health and scientific discovery.

The surviving team is led by Farshid Guilak, PhD, a professor of orthopedic surgery. His group vanquished a team led by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the University of Massachusetts. The second WashU team — co-led by Katherine N. Weilbaecher, MD, the Oliver M. Langenberg Distinguished Professor of the Science and Practice of Medicine, and Gregory M. Lanza, MD, PhD, the James R. Hornsby Family Professor of Biomedical Sciences — was, up to the last minute, neck and neck up with a team from Yale University and Yale School of Medicine.

The winner of each round is determined by popular vote. Online voting is underway in the second round and will continue until 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday, March 8. There will be voting with each subsequent round, all the way to the national title … and you can vote more than once (hint!).

Guilak’s lab earned a spot in the bracket after his team rewired stem cells to produce an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug when the cells encounter inflammation. The eventual goal is to create a vaccine that targets inflammation in joints.

To read more about the competition and sign up for STAT Madness alerts, see STAT’s writeup on the second annual battle.