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Biological engineering

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WHDH 7

WHDH spotlights how MIT and Harvard researchers are creating wearable biosensors that could be used to detect Covid-19 in a person’s breath. “At the end of the day, what we wanted to do was basically to blend both to potentially produce a product that was more easily incentivized patients to both wear a mask and to get tested,” explains Luis Soenksen of the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health.

CBS Boston

A new sensor developed by MIT and Harvard researchers can be embedded in a face mask and used to alert the wearer if they have Covid-19, reports CBS Boston. “Small disposable sensors can diagnose the wearer of the mask within 90 minutes," reports CBS Boston. "The technology has been used before to detect Ebola and Zika, but now researchers are embedding it into face masks and lab coats as a new method to safeguard health care workers.”

Boston Globe

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have developed a new sensor technology that can be embedded in a face mask to detect whether the wearer has Covid-19, reports Pranshu Verma for The Boston Globe. “We worked hard, sometimes bringing nonbiological equipment home and assembling devices manually,” says Luis Soenksen of the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health. “It was definitely different from the usual lab infrastructure we’re used to working under, but everything we did has helped us ensure that the sensors would work in real-world pandemic conditions.”

Fast Company

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have developed a face mask outfitted with sensors that can detect if the wearer has Covid-19, reports Adele Peters for Fast Company. “If testing and sensing at a biological molecular level could be done in a format that can follow people around instead of people having to go to the clinic, maybe you can encourage people to get more testing done,” says Luis Soenksen, a Venture Builder at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health.

The Boston Globe

Ginkgo Bioworks founders Jason Kelly PhD ’08, S.B. ’03 and Reshma Shetty PhD ’08 speak with Boston Globe reporter Scott Kirsner about the inspiration for and growth of the company, which is focused on manipulating genetic material to get living cells to perform new jobs. Shetty notes that the Ginkgo Bioworks team is “dedicated to making biology easier to engineer."

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that MIT researchers have developed a new technique for labeling and retrieving DNA files, “a breakthrough that could help shrink the carbon footprint of the rapidly expanding digital world.”

NPR

Prof. Linda Griffith joins Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air to discuss how studying endometriosis could help unlock some of the mysteries of tissue regeneration. "The regeneration of the endometrium is weirdly not studied as much as it should be," she says. "But it's fascinating because you get about a centimeter of growth of tissue that has beautifully formed blood vessels, an immune system, all of the structures of the tissue — over a period of about two weeks."

Science

In an editorial for Science, Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia, Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins and President Emerita Susan Hockfield underscore the importance of addressing the underrepresentation of women and minorities in tech transfer. “The discoveries women and minority researchers are making today have great potential as a force for good in the world,” they write, “but reaching that potential is only possible if paths to real-world applications are open to everybody.”

New York Times

Prof. Linda Griffith is on a mission to change the conversation about endometriosis “from one of women’s pain to one of biomarkers, genetics and molecular networks,” writes Rachel E. Gross for The New York Times. “The endometrium is inherently regenerative,” says Griffith. “So studying it, you’re studying a regenerative process — and how it goes wrong, in cases.” 

Stat

Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins speaks with Rebecca Sohn of STAT about the Boston Biotech Working Group’s goal of increasing the number of women leaders and entrepreneurs in biotech and her hopes for the future of women in biotech and the sciences. “You want people to feel that they are free to participate in all the things wherever it leads them,” says Hopkins. “So I think the goal is just that people who really want to do this [pursue biotech] don’t face any greater barrier than anybody else. That everybody has equal access and education to do as they want to.”

Forbes

To better understand what gives mucus its disease-protecting properties, MIT researchers created synthetic mucins, writes Forbes contributor Jackie Rocheleau. Understanding the antimicrobial properties of mucus “could offer a whole new way of treating infectious disease,” says Prof. Laura Kiessling.

HealthCare Asia Daily

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) researchers have developed a new lab-free immune profiling assay that can be used “to better profile aggressive, rapidly changing host immune response in cases of infection, for example COVID-19,” reports HealthCare Asia Daily.

Scientific Inquirer

A new assay developed by researchers from the Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP), an Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), can profile the “rapidly changing host immune response in case of infection, in a departure from existing methods that focus on detecting the pathogens themselves,” reports the Scientific Inquirer.

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, visiting scientist Mark Trusheim and Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explore how to lower the cost of biologic drugs. “Prices of new drugs will continue to make headlines, as well they should,” they write. “But we must fix the problem that older biologic drugs have perpetually high prices, and do so by passing a law that ensures that at the appropriate time their prices fall fast, and they fall far.”

NIH

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, spotlights Prof. Ed Boyden’s work developing a new technology that “enables researchers for the first time to study an intact tissue sample and track genetic activity on the spot within a cell’s tiniest recesses, or microenvironments—areas that have been largely out of reach until now.”