Read about Kevin Tracey, M.D., in the September 2010 issue.
Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Kevin Tracey first met an infant named Janice in 1985, when he was training to become a neurosurgeon. After weeks of setbacks and recoveries, Janice suddenly died. Ever since, Tracey has worked to understand why—and prevent the same thing from happening to anyone else.
In the search to solve her death, Tracey discovered that the brain influences the human immune system. When the body has an infection, the brain stimulates production of a protein that’s responsible for repairing the infected areas. Too much of the protein, however, can cause fatal conditions. Tracey is studying how drugs and even electrical devices interfere with the process, potentially saving lives.