Massachusetts Medical Society: Dr. David Roach wins 2023 Information Technology Award from Massachusetts Medical Society

Dr. David Roach wins 2023 Information Technology Award from Massachusetts Medical Society

 David Roach

WALTHAM – Dr. David Roach, second-year infectious diseases fellow at Mass General Brigham, is the recipient of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s 2023 Information Technology Award.

The honor recognizes the development of an information technology tool that helps physicians practice medicine, teach medicine, or pursue clinical research and comes with a $5,000 award.

This year, the award is sponsored by Click Therapeutics, Inc., (“Click”), a leader in Digital Therapeutics™ as prescription medical treatments.

The MMS Information Technology in Medicine awards have been presented annually since 2001 and many winners have seen their projects make indelible marks on science, medicine, and patient care.

“As is the case every year, the selection committee received a wealth of outstanding submissions, making our process of identifying a winner both interesting and difficult,” said Dr. Jennifer Joe, chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Information Technology. “In the end, Dr. Roach’s vision achieves multiple goals and confronts the urgent need to detect, prevent and treat antibiotic-resistant threats in vulnerable and underserved populations.”

Roach’s winning project is the “development of a low-resource assay to profile drug-resistant K. pneumoniae in Peru.”

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause an estimated 5 million deaths annually, with the highest burden in low and middle-income countries. Frequently, the infrastructure required to diagnose these infections is not available in those areas most affected, likely leading to worse outcomes.

Roach’s goal is to build a cheap, portable diagnostic platform to identify resistant bacterial infections in low-resource settings.

Roach explained his approach.

“First, I will adapt the SHERLOCK method of nucleic acid detection, which has been shown to detect human viral infections, to identify bacterial infections of the bloodstream and urine at species-level resolution,” he said. “Second, I will modify the target gene amplification step of the assay to allow for multiplexing up to 10 gene targets simultaneously, which will increase the utility of the assay. Concurrently, I will work with well-established Peruvian collaborators who have established a large collection of K. pneumoniae isolates with associated whole genome sequencing (WGS) data.

I will utilize this dataset to identify all carbapenemase genes present within the population and develop a SHERLOCK assay that is tailored to this region, with validation done on stored samples in the collaborator’s collection. This work will serve as a model for other areas of the globe for using tailored, point-of-care gene-based detection systems in low-resource settings that are highly impacted by antibiotic-resistant organisms.”

Roach is currently doing his post-doc in the Bhattacharyya Lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is originally from Washington State and received his undergraduate degree from Carroll College in Helena, Montana before moving to Seattle for medical school and residency at the University of Washington. He subsequently spent two years working as an ICU nocturnist before moving to Boston for fellowship.

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students, supporting 25,000 members. We are dedicated to educating and advocating for the physicians of Massachusetts and patients locally and nationally. A leadership voice in health care, the MMS contributes physician and patient perspectives to influence health-related legislation at the state and federal levels, works in support of public health, provides expert advice on physician practice management, and addresses issues of physician well-being. Under the auspices of the NEJM Group, the MMS extends our mission globally by advancing medical knowledge from research to patient care through the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Catalyst, and the NEJM Journal Watch family of specialty publications, and through our education products for health care professionals: NEJM Knowledge+, NEJM Resident 360, and our accredited and comprehensive continuing medical education programs.

Click Therapeutics, Inc. develops and commercializes software as prescription medical treatments for patients with unmet medical needs. Through cognitive and neurobehavioral mechanisms, Click’s Digital Therapeutics™ enable change within individuals, and are designed to be used independently or in conjunction with biomedical treatments. The Clickometrics® adaptive data science platform continuously personalizes user experience to optimize engagement and outcomes. Click is progressing a broad pipeline of Digital Therapeutics™ across a variety of high-burden therapeutic areas, including Major Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Migraine, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, Atopic Dermatitis, Acute Coronary Syndrome, Obesity, Oncology and more. For more information on Click, visit

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