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Taplin Awards Symposium May 16

The Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) will hold the John F. and Virginia B. Taplin Awards Symposium on Wednesday, May 16 at 11am in Rm E25-119.

The annual symposium recognizes and supports faculty and students in building HST programs in biomedical engineering, physics and chemistry. The work of the Taplin Fellows enhances the effectiveness of HST's contributions to understanding the causes, prevention, treatment and cure of disease.

This year's symposium will feature presentations by the 2000 Fellows. The Fellows and their topics are:

Bertrand Delgutte, "Computational Model of Coincidence Detector Neurons in the Auditory Brainstem." Dr. Delgutte is a lecturer on health sciences and technology at HST, associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and principal research scientist at MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics. He is building an educational infrastructure in computational neuroscience by creating computer-based laboratory exercises in neural modeling.

Donald E. Ingber, "Building a Biocomplexity Initiative." An HST-affiliated faculty member and HMS professor of pathology, Dr. Ingber is establishing a new biocomplexity initiative to unify biology, physics and engineering. By focusing on how engineering affects medicine and bringing together experimental biologists, engineers and theoreticians, the initiative will address major scientific challenges in these areas.

Lucila Ohno-Machado, "Predictive Modeling in Biomedicine: Learning from Data." Dr. Ohno-Machado is an HST-affiliated faculty member and HMS assistant professor of radiology. She is building a new curriculum in biomedical informatics -- a field that integrates computer science, medicine and biology. Her curriculum seeks to recast computer science education in terms of medical and bioinformatics needs.

The Human Genome Project (HGP) has increased the need for trained investigators in functional genomics with quantitative skills to manage data generated by the HGP. Similarly, scientists and engineers need to be educated about biological and medical research in these areas. The establishment of an HST doctoral program in functional genomics and bioinformatics is the focus of Drs. Isaac S. Kohane and Gregory N. Stephanopoulos.

Dr. Kohane is an HST-affiliated faculty member and HMS associate professor of pediatrics. He will speak on "Finding the Hypotheses in Functional Genomics." Dr. Stephanopoulos, professor of chemical engineering at MIT and HMS lecturer on surgery, will speak on "DNA Microarrays and Drug Discovery."

An inventor and entrepreneur, John F. Taplin (SB 1935) developed innovative products including the Fenwal plastic blood bag (a global standard for handling blood) and rolling diaphragm seals for aircraft and automobile engines.

Since retirement, he and his wife Virginia have supported hospitals and academic institutions in transferring scientific discovery to industry. In 1997, the couple established HST's Taplin Faculty Fellows Awards program with a $2 million endowment. Since then, 13 Taplin fellows have been supported in building HST's educational and research programs.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 9, 2001.

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