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MIT startup Volta Labs is developing a new instrument that can automate the processes used to prepare genetic samples, reports Emma Betuel for TechCrunch. CEO and co-founder Udayan Umapathi ’17 is confident that with the right programming, the platform could allow “liquids to be manipulated in even more complex ways, like using magnetic fields to draw certain molecules out of samples for further analysis,” writes Betuel.


Writing for STAT, Prof. Kevin Esvelt explores how we can stop the spread of the B-117, a variant of SARS-CoV-2. Going forward, Esvelt and his co-author argue that “over the next few years we must build a genomic monitoring system to detect evolutionary changes in viral, bacterial, and other pathogens that could require new measures to protect public health, and that could detect new pandemic pathogens of any provenance early enough to intervene.”


Research affiliate Fei Chen and his colleagues have developed a new method that could be used to uncover the organization and sequence of DNA inside intact cells, reports Nature. The new method could be used to “help to reveal how genome organization changes with disease.”

Boston Globe

Broad Institute research affiliate Theresa Oei, who is also a cheerleader for the Patriots, speaks with Boston Globe reporter Steve Annear about her passion for science and for dance. Oei, who currently works in Prof. Feng Zhang’s lab developing genome editing techniques, explains that while she has enjoyed cheerleading, “in the end, I see science as my vocation.”


In an article for Slate, Prof. Kevin Esvelt argues for the importance of keeping scientific research open and publically accessible, in particular when it comes to gene editing. “Scientific journals, funders, policymakers, and intellectual property holders should change the incentives to ensure that all proposed gene drive experiments are open and responsive,” writes Esvelt.


Appearing on WCVB-TV’s Chronicle, Provost Marty Schmidt explains why Kendall Square is a hub for innovation, highlighting how the region brings together organizations working on everything from computer science and biotech to brain and cognitive sciences. Schmidt explains that Kendall Square’s innovation ecosystem means research “coming out of MIT (can) be immediately translated to impact.”


The Broad Institute is teaming up with Google to “create a simpler way to help far-flung scientists pursue their own research online,” reports Robert Weisman for BetaBoston. “Our mission is to empower the biomedical revolution that’s happening around the world,” explains Prof. Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute.