Dr. Bry Directs the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center and has held a longstanding interest in host-commensal interactions, particularly through using genetically tenable microbes to probe host responses. Her group actively develops commensal microbial consortia for experimental and clinical applications, including therapeutic uses as immunomodulators, and to provide defenses against gut pathogens. In addition, she oversees a multi-institutional pathogen genomic sequencing program that monitors genomic causes of multi-drug resistance in patient isolates. The program was the first CLIA lab to join the FDA GenomeTrakr program and has developed real-time sequencing and functional studies to define host range and risks for pathogen transmission in carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) through to dynamics of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitalized patients.
Dr. Bry did her undergraduate work at Cornell University, studying classical bacterial genetics in Bacillus subtitles. She completed medical and graduate work in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Pathogenesis at Washington University in St. Louis and was the first microbiology student to work in Dr. Jeffery Gordon’s laboratory, developing the host-microbial symbiotic model between Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and its capacity to induce gut epithelial fucosyltransfases. After completing the Clinical Pathology residency program at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, she was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship to study mucosal immunology in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Brenner where she defined mucosal and systemic immune responses needed to control infections with attaching and effacing pathogens.
Dr. Bry has since served as a Medical Director in the BWH Clinical Microbiology Laboratory and Associate Pathologist in the Center for Advanced Molecular Diagnostics. As a member of the College of American Pathologists she also serves on the next generation sequencing (NGS) lab accreditation committee and has served on national committees for FDA on use of NGS in diagnostics for human germline and cancer testing, and for pathogen surveillance in clinical settings.
In addition, Dr. Bry and Center Corporate Manager, Neil Herring, developed the Crimson method for high-throughput, IRB-compliant collection of discarded clinical materials for use in research. The methodology greatly increased the throughput of materials at a fraction of the cost, enabling many genomic population studies. The Crimson core operates across multiple clinical laboratories and has supported >500 studies at multiple institutions. Supported studies have developed improved diagnostic tests and identified novel genes and variants involved in diseases including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. In 2010 she was part of the first place team for the Harvard Business School New Ventures competition to expand the concept, which has since been realized in the Boston-area startup, iSpecimen.
Dr. Bry also founded the MAD Scientist Network while at WashU, an Ask-A-Scientist site that has received and answered science questions from all 7 continents on subjects from Astronomy to Zoology.