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Awards, honors and fellowships

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Stat

A team from MIT has been named a co-winner of this year’s STAT Madness, a bracket-style competition for biomedical research. The team, led by visiting scientist Junwei Li and Prof. Gio Traverso, “developed a solution that, once inside the small intestine, undergoes a reaction and coats it with a temporary adhesive,” which could be used “to make drug delivery more efficient," reports Rebecca Sohn for STAT.

Stat

STAT reporter Alissa Ambrose spotlights the Koch Institute’s annual image awards, “which includes colorful images of micro needles, brain cells, and so-called mini livers.” Ambrose notes that the pictures are “stunning visualizations of life sciences and biomedical research being conducted to find treatments and cures for cancer.”

Ms.

Andrea Ghez ’87 speaks with Carol Stabile of Ms. magazine about the importance of representation in encouraging more women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM fields. Ghez recalls how her science teacher in high school encouraged her to apply to MIT, describing the experience as “'a lovely early lesson in how to persevere,’ that helped her to develop what she described as the muscle to persevere, and to turn problems into opportunities to grow and learn.”

CBS News

CBS News spotlights how two MIT researchers have been named to key roles on the Biden administration’s science team. Prof. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute, has been nominated to lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, will co-chair the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Zuber said she hopes to "restore trust in science, and pursue breakthroughs that benefit all people."

Associated Press

AP reporter Seth Borenstein writes about how President-elect Joe Biden is nominating Prof. Eric Lander of the Broad Institute to serve as his chief science officer and lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and has selected Maria Zuber, vice president for research at MIT, to co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, called Lander, “brilliant, visionary, exceptionally creative and highly effective in aspiring others. I predict he will have a profound transformational effect on American science.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter Carl Zimmer writes that Prof. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute, has been nominated to serve as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and to serve as a presidential science advisor. MIT Vice President for Research Maria Zuber will co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The Washington Post

Prof. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute, has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which Biden will make a Cabinet-level position, reports Sarah Kaplan for The Washington Post. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, will co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Wired

Prof. Giovanni Traverso has been highlighted by Wired as one of 32 innovators who are changing the world, writes Sanjana Varghese for Wired. Prof. Robert Langer notes that Traverso is “transforming how we interact with medications, for example through the development of pills that remain in the body for multiple weeks or months to address medication non-adherence, or the creation of small, swallowable devices enabling the delivery of biologics like insulin.”

National Geographic

Prof. James Fujimoto and research affiliate Eric Swanson have been named recipients of the Sanford and Sue Greenberg Prize to End Blindness, reports Sandrine Ceurstemont for National Geographic. “The winners were chosen based on the strength of their contributions to eliminate blindness, the ambitious aim set out by the prize organizers in 2012,” Ceurstemont explains.

Newsday

Danielle Grey-Stewart speaks with Robert Brodsky of Newsday about receiving a Rhodes Scholarship. “It will allow me to study how environmental policy is formed from the context of how we look at society and nature,” says Grey-Stewart. “It’s really important that when finding engineering solutions, you can connect with communities… and uplift them as equal thought partners in finding solutions to pervasive problems.”

The Boston Globe

MIT seniors Danielle Grey-Stewart and Ghadah Alshalan have been selected for the 2021 Rhodes Scholarship program, reports Gal Tziperman Lotan for The Boston Globe.

CBS Boston

CBS Boston spotlights how Andrea Ghez ’87 has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work discovering a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. “It really represents the basic research - you don’t always know how it is going to affect our lives here on Earth, but it is pushing the frontier of our knowledge forward," says Ghez, "both from the point of view of pure physics (understanding what a black hole is), and then also their astrophysical world in the formation and evolution of galaxies.”

The Boston Globe

Andrea Ghez ’87 has been selected as one of the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for her work advancing our understanding of black holes. "Black holes, because they are so hard to understand, is what makes them so appealing,'' says Ghez. “I really think of science as a big, giant puzzle.”

The Wall Street Journal

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence has awarded Prof. Regina Barzilay a $1 million prize for her work advancing the use of AI in medicine, reports John McCormick for The Wall Street Journal. "Regina is brilliant, has very high standards, and is committed to helping others,” says Prof. James Collins. “And I think her experience with—her personal experience with cancer—has motivated her to apply her intellectual talents to using AI to advance health care.”

Associated Press

The AP highlights how Prof. Regina Barzilay has been named the inaugural winner of a new award given by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence for her work “using computer science to detect cancer and discover new drugs has won a new $1 million award for artificial intelligence.”