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Biological engineering

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Stat

STAT reporters Katie Palmer and Casey Ross spotlight how Prof. Regina Barzilay has developed an AI tool called Mirai that can identify early signs of breast cancer from mammograms. “Mirai’s predictions were rolled into a screening tool called Tempo, which resulted in earlier detection compared to a standard annual screening,” writes Palmer and Ross.

The Washington Post

MIT researchers are developing innovations aimed at improving Covid-19 diagnostics, including an atomic-level test designed to increase testing accuracy, reports Steven Zeitchik for The Washington Post. Professor James Collins and his team are developing “a mask that uses freeze-dried technology to detect the coronavirus.”

Good Morning America

Prof. Regina Barzilay speaks with Good Morning America about her work developing a new AI tool that could “revolutionize early breast cancer detection” by identifying patients at high risk of developing the disease. “If this technology is used in a uniform way,” says Barzilay, “we can identify early who are high-risk patients and intervene.”

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Steve Zeitchik spotlights Prof. Regina Barzilay and graduate student Adam Yala’s work developing a new AI system, called Mirai, that could transform how breast cancer is diagnosed, “an innovation that could seriously disrupt how we think about the disease.” Zeitchik writes: “Mirai could transform how mammograms are used, open up a whole new world of testing and prevention, allow patients to avoid aggressive treatments and even save the lives of countless people who get breast cancer.”

Reuters

Prof. Timothy Lu, Prof. Jim Collins and Philip Lee ’03 co-founded Senti Bio, a biotechnology company that uses gene circuit technology to create cell and gene therapies that can sense and respond to ailments inside the body, reports Sohini Podder for Reuters. “The way I like to think about it – just like you can program a computer with different programs or different maps, we can do the same thing with medicines,” says Lu.

Smithsonian Magazine

MIT scientists have discovered a way to watch and record the development of butterfly scales from the inside of a butterfly’s chrysalis, reports Elizabeth Gamillo for Smithsonian Magazine. “The team plans on further exploring the structure of butterfly wings and the reasoning behind the ridged design,” writes Gamillo.

USA Today

Marcos Berríos ‘06, Christina Birch PhD ’15, and Christopher Williams PhD ’12 are among the ten selected to be a part of NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class, reports Emre Kelly for USA Today. “Flanked by T-38 Talon jets to be used over their two-year training course at Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA officials introduces the 2021 class of six men and four women in front of their families, friends, and soon-to-be colleagues,” writes Kelly.  

WBUR

Marcos Berríos ‘06, Christina Birch PhD ‘15 and Christopher Williams PhD ’12 have been selected as part of NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class, reports WBUR’s Bill Chappell. “Alone, each candidate has ‘the right stuff,’ but together they represent the creed of our country: E pluribus unum – out of many, one,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The Boston Globe

Marcos Berríos ‘06, Christina Birch PhD ‘15, Christopher Williams PhD ‘12 are among the ten astronauts selected for the 2021 NASA astronaut class, reports Breanna Kovatch for The Boston Globe. “The class of astronauts were selected from among 12,000 candidates and is the first class in four years,” writes Kovatch.

Newsweek

Researchers from MIT and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology have found a vaccine ingredient that may strengthen immune response, reports Natalie Colarossi for Newsweek. This combination-style vaccine ingredient “may boost the effectiveness of inoculations ranging from HIV to Covid-19,” writes Colarossi.

GBH

Edgar Herwick of GBH News visits the lab of Prof. Mathias Kolle to explore the science behind what causes rainbows to arc across the sky. “The sun has to be behind you. Then water in the atmosphere in front of you. And that's usually when it rains, you get that condition,” says Kolle. “Then what you also want to do is you want to look at the right spot.”

CNET

CNET science writer Monisha Ravisetti spotlights MIT researchers who have successfully recorded the scale formation of butterfly wings during its transformation. “Understanding their schematics could ultimately benefit constructed materials like windows and thermal systems and even bring an ethereal quality to textiles,” writes Ravisetti.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Hannah Seo writes that MIT researchers have developed a way to watch and record how the microscopic scales on a butterfly’s wings grow and tile themselves as the butterfly develops inside its chrysalis. The researchers hope to “use butterfly scales as inspiration for the design of new materials,” writes Seo. “Butterfly scales have other fascinating properties such as water repellency and the ability to regulate temperature.”

Ars Technica

ARS Technica senior writer Jennifer Ouellette spotlights MIT researchers who have successfully recorded the structural growth of butterfly wings inside its chrysalis for the first time. “A lot of these stages were understood and seen before, but now we can stitch them all together and watch continuously what’s happening, which gives us more information on the detail of how scales form,” says research assistant Anthony McDougal. 

Smithsonian Magazine

Researchers from MIT and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are developing a probiotic to cure amphibian chytrid fungus in frogs, reports Jennifer Zoon for Smithsonian Magazine.