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Biological engineering

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The Boston Globe

Graduate student Karenna Groff ‘22 has been named NCAA Woman of the Year, an honor presented to a graduating female student-athlete who has distinguished herself in athletics, academics, leadership and community service, reports Matt Doherty for The Boston Globe. “I think the award is the first recognition I’ve gotten that looks into who I am and who I want to be,” says Groff. “I think it will help me frame the direction towards what I want the next chapter in my life to look like.”

CBS Boston

Graduate student Karenna Groff ’22 speaks with CBS Boston reporter Mike UVA about her academic and athletic accomplishments. “Groff become just the sixth Division III student-athlete ever to be recognized as the NCAA Woman of the Year,” says Uva. “An honor that celebrates excellence both on and off the field for all divisions.”

GBH

GBH reporter Esteban Bustillos spotlights graduate student Karenna Groff '22, the NCAA Woman of the Year, and her efforts to make a difference both on and off the field, from her work as an EMT at MIT to her efforts to reduce maternal mortality in southern India. “Using sports as a platform to drive forward equity in all these different walks of life has always been something that I want to be a part of,” explains Groff. 

Forbes

Asimov - an MIT spinout co-founded by Prof. Christopher Voigt, Alec Nielsen PhD ’16, Raja Srinivas PhD ’16, and Boston University Prof. Douglas Densmore - is a biotechnology company developing tools to design living systems, reports John Cumbers for Forbes. “Every cell is capable of computing. Perceiving environmental signals, information processing, turning genes on and off,” says Nielsen. “The ability to engineer this gift of evolution is, in my view, going to be the most meaningful and impactful technology that humans have ever developed.”

Forbes

Harry McNamara PhD ’19, David Heller ’18, and Shara Ticku co-founded C16 Biosciences, a biotechnology company that uses synthetic biology to address environmental concerns, reports John Cumbers for Forbes. The company “wants to replace conflict palm oil with a sustainable alternative made in yeast using precision fermentation,” writes Cumbers.

Bloomberg

Cognito Therapeutics, founded by Prof. Ed Boyden and Prof. Li-Huei Tsai, has secured a large-scale trial to test a new device aimed at treating Alzheimer’s disease, reports Sarah McBride for Bloomberg.

The Boston Globe

Jake Becraft PhD ’19 and former postdoctoral associate Tasuku Kitada co-founded Strand Therapeutics, a biotech firm developing mRNA therapies for cancer, reports Ryan Cross for The Boston Globe. They created “a way to activate mRNA in the presence of particular microRNAs – a much more useful application for therapies,” writes Cross. 

Wired

Research from Synlogic, a biotech company founded by Profs James Collins and Timothy Lu, has found that it’s the company’s engineered bacteria could provide some benefit to patients with a rare genetic disease, reports Emily Mullin for Wired. “Similar to how you might program a computer, we can tinker with the DNA of bacteria and have them do things like produce a drug at the right time and the right place, or in this case, break down a toxic metabolite,” says Lu.

CNBC

CNBC reporter Catherine Clifford spotlights C16 Biosciences, a startup co-founded by MIT alumni that is developing a palm oil alternative called Palmless. “What we are building is a platform technology that can produce all different kinds of microbial oils,” explains David Heller ’18, co-founder and head of operations at C16 Biosciences. “It’s definitely possible that we’re able to make other kinds of vegetable oil replacements in the future.” 

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Linda Griffith underscores the pressing need to invest in studying women’s health and menstruation science. “These were the attitudes society had about breast cancer decades ago; we didn’t talk about it. But then we finally focused on the science, and overcame the squeamishness about mentioning ‘breasts’ by creating a technical language that could be spoken without hesitation by anyone,” writes Griffith. “We need a similar scientific push for menstruation science, and a comfort level with the language that goes with it. It’s time.”

Fortune

Researchers from MIT’s Research Laboratory for Electronics have developed a portable desalinator that can turn seawater into safe drinking water, reports Ian Mount for Fortune. Research scientist Jongyoon Han and graduate student Bruce Crawford have created Nona Technologies to commercialize the product, writes Mount.

NIH

Lawrence A. Tabak, who is currently performing the duties of the NIH Director, spotlights a new study by Prof. James Collins and his colleagues aimed at exploring the potential of AI to streamline the process of selecting new antibiotics. “In future studies, the Collins lab will continue to incorporate and train the computers on even more biochemical and biophysical data to help with the predictive process," Tabak writes. "That’s why this study should be interpreted as an interim progress report on an area of science that will only get better with time.”

CNN

MIT researchers have “developed a free-floating desalination unit consisting of a multilayer evaporator that recycles the heat generated when the water vapor condenses, boosting its overall efficiency,” reports Nell Lewis for CNN. “Researchers suggested it could be configured as a floating panel on the sea, delivering freshwater through pipes to the shore, or it could be designed to serve a single household, using it atop a tank of seawater,” writes Lewis.

Economist

Prof. Edward Boyden has developed a new imaging technique called expansion-revealing microscopy that can reveal tiny protein structures in tissues, reports The Economist. “Already his team at MIT has used it to reveal detail in synapses, the nanometer-sized junctions between nerve cells, and also to shed light on the mechanisms at play in Alzheimer’s disease, revealing occasional spirals of amyloid-beta protein around axons, which are the threadlike parts of nerve cells that carry electrical impulses.”

New Scientist

Professor Eric Alm speaks with Claire Ainsworth at New Scientist about studying wastewater to better understand the health, wealth and environment of various communities. “It’s not about going in and taking a measurement,” said Alm. “It’s about developing a platform that can help you reach insights about what’s going on.”