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SCIENCE: THE "MIT" ISSUE

MIT featured prominently in the February 2 issue of Science. Research by Professor Gerald Fink and Todd Reynolds made the cover, and four of the 11 stories in the journal's News This Week section were about Institute research results or activities.

The cover photo by MIT's Felice Frankel, a research scientist in electrical engineering and computer science, showed a gauzy white "flower" that was actually a fungal growth. In the technical article inside, Drs. Fink and Reynolds described their discovery of a key gene that allows fungi to stick to plastic surfaces and form thin coatings called biofilms.

The work, which lays the groundwork for preventing the formation of dangerous biofilms on medical implants, was also the focus of a second story that ran in the journal's news section. Dr. Fink is a professor of biology and director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Dr. Reynolds is a postdoctoral fellow in his lab.

"Sweet success" began the caption for a photo accompanying a second news story about a machine used by Assistant Professor Peter Seeberger of chemistry to create a wide range of complex sugars. The work "may dramatically ease the synthesis of these complex chains," wrote Robert Service.

Immediately following that story was another about a meeting held at MIT on gender equity in science and engineering. Presidents, chancellors, provosts and 25 women professors of nine top research universities -- including MIT -- met for a full day to discuss the topic. "Institutions of higher education have an obligation, both for themselves and for the nation, to fully develop and utilize all the creative talent available," the leaders said in a unanimous statement. "We recognize that barriers still exist" for women faculty.

A fourth news story reported an advance in AIDS research by an MIT/Whitehead team led by then-Professor of Biology Peter Kim. Dr. Kim, now at Merck Research Laboratories, and colleagues designed a protein that blocks HIV entry into human cells.

THE ULTIMATE 10 ...

Cog, MIT's humanoid robot, was featured in a one-hour episode of a documentary series on the Learning Channel that aired February 14. Each episode of The Ultimate 10..., said Associate Producer Susie Delava, "focuses on a certain topic and counts down what we think are the ultimate 10 examples of that topic." Cog appears in the episode on machines. Video of Cog was supplied by MIT Video Productions through the News Office.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 4, 2001.


Topics: Education, teaching, academics

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