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The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Castellanos spotlights Prof. Markus Buehler’s work combining virtual reality with sound waves to help detect subtle changes in molecular motions. Castellanos notes that Buehler and his team recently found, “coronaviruses can be more lethal or infectious depending on the vibrations within the spike proteins that are found on the surface of the virus.”

Boston Herald

Boston Herald reporter Rick Sobey writes that a new drug combination has shown potential in treating pancreatic cancer. “The trio drug combination is a CD40 agonist antibody, a PD-1 inhibitor and a TIGIT inhibitor. The researchers found that this combination led to pancreatic tumors shrinking in about 50% of the animals that were given this treatment,” writes Sobey.

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brian Dunleavy writes that MIT researchers have developed a new way to potentially expand sources of biofuel to include straw and woody plants. "Our goal is to extend this technology to other organisms that are better suited for the production of these heavy fuels, like oils, diesel and jet fuel," explains Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos.

The Washington Post

Prof. Eric Lander will be sworn into his new post as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on a 500-year-old Jewish text, reports Jack Jenkins for The Washington Post. The question of what book to use for the swearing-in ceremony made him think of the choice as “a statement of what’s in my mind and what’s in my heart.”

7 News

Prof. Troy Littleton and graduate student Karen Cunningham speak with 7 News about how Littleton placed a crib in his lab for Cunningham’s young daughter to help create a safe place for her if she needs to accompany her mother to work. Cunningham says Littleton “has a long history of supporting parents and just generally has a history of supporting parents in the lab with whatever their needs are.”

Good Morning America

Reporting for Good Morning America, Kate Kindelan spotlights how Prof. Troy Littleton has placed a travel crib in one of his lab’s offices so his graduate student, Karen Cunningham, can bring her 10-month-old child to work with her when needed. “These sort of local ways that people in positions of power can protect parents against the systemic things, like what Troy's been doing in creating a really supportive and inclusive lab, I think that does make a really big difference and it's great to have an example of that,” says Cunningham.

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that a new tool developed by researchers from MIT and other institutions can precisely control gene expression without altering the underlying gene sequence. “Scientists hope this new ability to silence any part of the human genome will lead to powerful insights into functionality of the human genome, as well as inspire new therapies for a variety of diseases and genetic disorders,” writes Hays.

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.”

Boston Globe

A group of MIT scientists has announced a new plan, called the Future Founders Initiative, aimed at addressing gender inequities in the biotech industry, reports Anissa Gardizy for The Boston Globe. “If we can’t advance discoveries at the same rate for women and men, that means there are drugs, therapies, devices, and diagnostics that are not getting to where they can actually benefit people,” says President Emerita Susan Hockfield. “If as a region we want to continue to lead the world, the best thing to do is not squander our resources.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Matthew Vander Heiden has been selected to serve as the new director of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, reports Anissa Gardizy for The Boston Globe. “We have broken down all these barriers, these traditional silos of fields, and I think that uniquely positions us to answer the big questions about cancer going forward," says Vander Heiden of the Koch Institute's work.

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Layal Liverpool writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that “synthetic cells made by combining components of Mycoplasma bacteria with a chemically synthesised genome can grow and divide into cells of uniform shape and size, just like most natural bacterial cells.”

Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian reporter Theresa Machemer writes that a new study by MIT researchers shows that C. elegans are able to sense and avoid the color blue.

Stat

Prof. Ruth Lehmann, director of the Whitehead Institute, speaks with STAT reporter Elizabeth Cooney about the importance of fundamental scientific research. “There are so many areas that are so important for science,” says Lehmann. “One is supporting fundamental research. But then there are other areas like diversity and disparities.”

New York Times

A new study by MIT researchers investigates how roundworms are able to sense the color blue to avoid dangerous bacteria that secrete toxins, reports Veronique Greenwood for The New York Times. Greenwood found that “some roundworms respond clearly to that distinctive pigment, perceiving it — and fleeing from it — without the benefit of any known visual system.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that MIT researchers have developed a new machine learning algorithm that can anticipate and recognize a protein’s varied structures. “The new AI-system,” writes Hays, “does more than image a diversity of conformations, it can also predict the varied motions of different protein structures.”