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Myriam Heiman

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Myriam Heiman
🏳️ Nationality
🎓 Alma materPrinceton University (BA)
Johns Hopkins University (PhD)
💼 Occupation
Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification (TRAP)
Elucidating cell-type specific mechanisms of Huntington's disease
In vivo synthetic lethality screening
🌐 Websiteheiman.mit.edu

Myriam Heiman is a molecular biologist and geneticist. She is the 2016 Latham Family Career Development Associate Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.[1] She is best known for developing the technique of translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP).[2]

Education and career[edit]

Heiman received her BA in molecular biology from Princeton University in 1998.[1] Her undergraduate thesis, advised by Austin Newton, was titled "Pseudoreversion Analysis of the Cell Division Cycle Gene divL in Caulobacter crescentus".[3] She completed her PhD in biology at Johns Hopkins University under the supervision of Kyle Cunningham, where she uncovered the important role of calcium signaling in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae unfolded protein response.[1][4][5][6] Following this, Heiman was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Paul Greengard.[7] In collaboration with Nathaniel Heintz, Heiman developed a translational profiling technique known as translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP).[2][8][9][10]

In January 2011, Heiman joined the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as a core member. She also joined the faculty of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) as assistant professor and member of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.[1][11] Heiman was appointed the Latham Family Career Development Assistant Professor in 2016.[12] In 2019, Heiman became one of four MIT professors supported by the Broderick Fund for Phytocannabinoid Research.[13][14][15]

As of November 2020, Heiman serves on the editorial board of Molecular Neurodegeneration and on the advisory editorial board of Life Science Alliance.[16][17] Heiman likewise serves on the scientific advisory board of the Hereditary Disease Foundation.[18]


The Heiman lab studies cell type-specific molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's.[19] Using TRAP, the lab has identified roles of specific innate immune signaling pathways,[20] oxidative stress-induced 3′-UTR RNA buildup,[21] and mitochondrial dysfunction in medium spiny neurons,[22] which are selectively vulnerable in Huntington's disease.

The lab is also interested in mechanisms of neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia.[23]

Awards and honors[edit]

Heiman has received the following awards for her work:

  • William N. & Bernice E. Bumpus Foundation Early Career Investigator Innovation Award (2011)[11][23]
  • NIH/NINDS EUREKA Award (2015)[11]
  • Jeptha H. and Emily V. Wade Award (2016)[11]
  • Fay/Frank Seed Grant (2016)[24]
  • Paul and Lilah Newton Brain Science Award (2017)[11][25]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Myriam Heiman". Broad Institute. April 2012. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bridger, Haley (May 9, 2011). "It's a TRAP". Broad Institute. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  3. Bonilla, Myriam (1998). Pseudoreversion Analysis of the Cell Division Cycle Gene divL in Caulobacter crescentus (BA). Princeton University. Docket 10024. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  4. "Microtree - Kyle Cunningham". Microtree. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  5. Bonilla, Myriam (2003). Endoplasmic reticulum stress linked to calcium signaling in saccharomyces cerevisiae (PhD). Johns Hopkins University. Docket 3080627. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  6. Bonilla M, Nastase KK, Cunningham KW (2002). "Essential role of calcineurin in response to endoplasmic reticulum stress". EMBO Journal. 21 (10): 2343–53. doi:10.1093/emboj/21.10.2343. PMC 126012. PMID 12006487.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. "Milestones". The Rockefeller University. May 9, 2008. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  8. "TRAP". Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation. November 14, 2008. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  9. Heiman M, Schaefer A, Gong S, Peterson JD, Day M, Ramsey KE; et al. (2008). "A translational profiling approach for the molecular characterization of CNS cell types". Cell. 135 (4): 738–48. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2008.10.028. PMC 2696821. PMID 19013281.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. Dougherty, Joseph D. (13 December 2017). "The Expanding Toolkit of Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification". Journal of Neuroscience. 37 (50): 12079–12087. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1929-17.2017. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 "Myriam Heiman". Picower Institute. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  12. Schroeder, Bendta (September 2, 2016). "Twelve School of Science faculty appointed to career development professorships". MIT News. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  13. "Alumnus gives MIT $4.5 million to establish the Broderick Fund for Phytocannabinoid Research". MIT News. April 30, 2019. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  14. Goldberg, Carey (April 30, 2019). "Marijuana Investor Gives $9 Million To Harvard And MIT For Cannabis Science". WBUR Commonhealth. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  15. "$9 million donation earmarked for cannabis research". The Harvard Gazette. April 30, 2019. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  16. "Editorial Board". Molecular Neurodegeneration. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  17. "Advisory Editorial Board". Life Science Alliance. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  18. "Scientific Advisory Board". Hereditary Disease Foundation. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  19. "Research Interests". Heiman Lab. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  20. "Immune molecule's complex role in Huntington's disease". ScienceDaily. May 26, 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  21. "MIT biologists discover an unusual hallmark of aging in neurons". Picower Institute. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  22. "Cell-Type-Specific RNA Analysis Probes Selective Vulnerability in Huntington's". Alzforum. 21 Jul 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "The MIT Project". The Natalia Mental Health Foundation. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  24. "Brain Research Foundation 2016-2017 Annual Report" (PDF). Brain Research Foundation. 2017. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  25. "Noteworthy News". MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. 2017. Retrieved 2020-11-16.

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