February 13, 2018
Co-founded by three alumni and a former professor, startup Ginkgo Bioworks uses genetic engineering to create an array of consumer and corporate products – all relying on socially conscious GMOs. The company, which is now partnering with Bayer, is “trying to reset the conversation around biotechnology: by foregrounding the benefits to consumers and advocating for transparency,” writes Sarah Zhang for The Atlantic.
In a recent blog post, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, referenced research by MIT graduate student Joy Buolamwini in his argument for government to regulate the use of facial recognition software. Buolamwini’s work “showed error rates of as much as 35% for systems classifying darker skinned women,” reports Dina Bass for Bloomberg.
MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab collaborated with Swiss designer Christoph Guberan on a collection of 4D-printed “functional inflatable lamps, vases, and vessels,” which are now for sale at a New York gallery. “Rather than setting out to create a preconceived set of products, the resulting works were organically formed as an extension of the research process itself,” writes Aileen Kwun for Fast Company.
Carey Goldberg writes for WBUR’s CommonHealth about this year’s USA Memory Championship, which is taking place at MIT. “[M]emory is a skill, it's not an innate capacity," says Robert Ajemian, a research scientist at MIT’s McGovern Institute. "And that's the message that we want to get out, both to the scientific community and to the lay community."
MIT researchers found that the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug methotrexate increases when supplemented with a common dietary amino acid, writes Victoria Forster of Forbes. Prof. David Sabatini, a co-author on the study, “is hopeful about the prospects for supplementation improving the therapy in the future,” says Forster.
MIT graduate students Ellen Shakespear and Stephanie Lee are opening “an artist workspace and exhibition pop-up,” known as Spaceus, in the historic Roslindale substation, reports Jules Struck for Boston Magazine. The startup, which is partly funded by MIT, “provides a sustainable service to local artists, but also serves as a neighborhood gathering place,” according to Lee.
A new paper by Assistant Prof. Salvatore Vitale finds that studying the rare pairing of a neutron star and a spiraling black hole could allow researchers to determine the universe’s rate of expansion, writes Jeremy Fox of The Boston Globe. The positive detection of a collision could “potentially give a dramatic contribution to our understanding of the universe,” says Vitale.