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New York Times

Alumna Yue Chen has been named the chief climate risk office for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, reports Emily Flitter for The New York Times. “Dr. Chen will focus on developing a new system to assess climate-driven risks to banks, and figure out how to monitor and manage them,” says the agency.

Associated Press

Institute Professor Robert Langer has been honored as one of the recipients of this year’s Balzan Prize for his “pioneering research and advances in mRNA vaccines and tissue engineering,” the Associated Press reports. Langer has paved the way “for breakthroughs in the controlled release of macromolecules with many medical applications,” the Balzan Foundation noted in its citation.

News Medical Life Sciences

Doctoral research specialist Morteza Sarmadi speaks with Emily Henderson from News Medical Life Sciences about his work with Prof. Robert Langer and research scientist Ana Jaklenec in developing microparticles that are able to deliver self-boosting vaccines. “We believe this technique can significantly reduce the need to visit a healthcare provider to receive booster shots, a major challenge in remote areas without sophisticated healthcare resources,” says Sarmadi.

Forbes

Prof. Ariel Furst, and alumna Claire Beskin and Loewen Cavill were named the winners of the first annual MIT Female Founders Pitch, reports Stephanie MacConnell for Forbes. Furst’s company, Pharmor, has developed an inexpensive protective coating that allows microbes to be produced and transported in non-ideal conditions. Beskin’s company, Empallo, uses machine learning to unlock information on siloed patient data. And Cavill’s company, AuraBlue, has developed a wearable device that can predict hot flashes and enable a cooling pad to counteract the change in body temperature in menopausal women.

Boston Herald

Lita Nelsen BS ’64, MS ’66, MBA ’79 writes for The Boston Herald about the Bayh-Dole Act, a landmark piece of legislation that allows universities to keep the patents to their own inventions. “As the head of MIT’s Technology Licensing Office for almost three decades, I helped license thousands of technologies to the innovative companies that sprung up around campus,” writes Nelsen. “The Bayh-Dole Act has indisputably helped the U.S. life sciences sector become the envy of the world.”

Nature

Nature reporter Neil Savage spotlights Prof. Michael Strano’s work developing a new technique to use nanoparticles to alter the biology of living plants. Savage writes that the new technique can allow for "the design of nanoparticles that carry gene-editing machinery to targeted areas to rewrite the plant’s genome and imbue it with properties such as pest and disease resistance,” writes Savage.

The Washington Post

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma about the growing field of smart textiles and his work creating fabrics embedded with computational power. Fink and his colleagues “have created fibers with hundreds of silicon microchips to transmit digital signals — essential if clothes are to automatically track things like heart rate or foot swelling. These fibers are small enough to pass through a needle that can be sown into fabric and washed at least 10 times.”

Newsweek

Scientists at MIT are developing a self-boosting vaccine that can provide multiple doses of a vaccine via a single injection, reports Darko Manevski for Newsweek. The technology “could be particularly useful for administering childhood vaccinations in regions where people do not have regular access to medical care,” writes Manevski.

The Economist

MIT scientists are developing self-boosting vaccine technology that could allow people to receive all of their vaccine doses in one shot, reports The Economist. This technology “would be a game-changer, not only for future pandemics but also for vaccination programs in remote regions where it is harder to deliver boosters,” The Economist notes.

Time Magazine

Siblings Gia Schneider ‘99 and Abe Schneider SM ‘03 co-founded Natel, a company dedicated to developing sustainable, climate-resilient hydropower, reports Amy Gunia for TIME. “The siblings hope that what they’re doing can help demonstrate a more sustainable approach to renewable energy – proving that companies shouldn’t have to choose between what’s good for the environment and what works economically,” writes Gunia.

Radio Boston (WBUR)

Professor Kristala Prather speaks with Radio Boston host Tiziana Dearing about her work using synthetic biology to develop new materials that function like plastic, but don’t rely on fossil fuels and biodegrade when no longer in use. Prather also explores how the Kendall Square innovation ecosystem has helped fuel her work. “Our end goal is to try to still give us those materials, those plastics that are plasticy when we need them, but to pre design them such that at their end of life they are much more environmentally responsible,” explains Prather.

Science

Science reporter Jocelyn Kaiser spotlights Prof. Kristala Prather’s work as a scout for a new funding program that will provide her the opportunity to identify “colleagues with an intriguing research idea so embryonic it has no chance of surviving traditional peer review—and, on her own, decide to provide some funding.” Says Prather: “I’m looking forward to giving it a try. I’m a people person, and I like learning new things.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a machine learning technique for proposing new molecules for drug discovery that ensures suggested molecules can be synthesized in a lab. Coldewey also features how MIT scientists created a new method aimed at teaching robots how to interact with everyday objects.

Fortune

MIT researchers have developed a new technique that uses deep learning to improve the process of drug discovery, reports Jonathan Vanian for Fortune. “The technique addresses a common problem that researchers face when using A.I. to develop novel molecular structures: life sciences experts can often face challenges synthesizing A.I.-created molecular structures,” writes Vanian. 

The Conversation

The Conversation spotlights Institute Prof. Robert Langer ‘74 who spoke at the 2022 Imagine Solutions Conference about his academic career and work applying his chemical engineering background to his research in health sciences. “I learned that if you’re not your own champion, nobody else will be,” says Langer. “So, I got involved in patenting things, and my students were very interested in seeing their work make a difference… My story is sort of one person’s example of how you can try to use science to help relieve suffering and prolong life.”