May 15, 2018
Co-founded by Prof. Feng Zheng, Beam Therapeutics, which uses CRISPR to treat disease, has secured $87 million in initial funding, reports Clive Cookson for Financial Times. Beam is the first company to use base editing, which changes the chemical “letters” of genetic code without cutting it, similar to “moving from scissors-and-paste to editing text with a sharp pencil,” explains Cookson.
A study by MIT researchers finds that climate change is causing pollution to linger longer over cities and making summer thunderstorms more powerful, reports Tanya Rivero for CBS News. “We found a way to connect changes in temperature in humidity from climate change to changing summer weather patterns that we are experiencing at our latitude,” explains graduate student Charles Gertler.
ABC News spotlights how MIT researchers have found that a lobster’s membrane could serve as inspiration for developing new forms of body armor. “The membrane on a lobster’s underbelly is as strong as the rubber on car tires. It could be used as a guide for body armor that allows more mobility without sacrificing protection.”
A storytelling robot developed by MIT researchers could be used to help boost language skills in young children and could help prepare children for learning in school, report Donna Lu for New Scientist. “If a child doesn’t start kindergarten ready to learn, it is very difficult and very expensive for them to catch up,” explains Prof. Cynthia Breazeal.
Newsweek reporter Hannah Osborne writes that MIT researchers have found that a lobster’s membrane, which protects its underbelly, is made of one of the toughest hydrogels in the world. “Its strength and flexibility,” Osborne explains, could “make it an ideal material to use as a blueprint for body armor.”
Wired reporter Emma Bryce highlights Prof. Dina Katabi’s work developing a wireless system that can help track a person’s health and could be used to monitor Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. Katabi explains that the system “can be used to detect and understand higher level information, not just monitoring the signs and the measurements, but really being able to understand the meaning of those measurements.”