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Fast Company

Rob Morris PhD ’14 has dedicated his career to easing access to mental health services online, reports Shalene Gupta for Fast Company. “When you search for a flight on Google, you get directed to these options that make you instantly buy a flight,” he says. “The interface is beautiful. But when you look up mental health, it’s not great. I want to do for mental health what Google did for flights.”

The Wall Street Journal

InsideTracker - a personalized-nutrition company founded by scientists from MIT, Harvard, and Tufts University - utilizes blood tests to calculate biological age, reports Betsy Morris for The Wall Street Journal. The company analyzes blood samples for “markers of conditions like inflammation, heart health and liver or kidney disorder,” explains Morris. “Those who test as older than their years get recommendations to adjust diet, exercise and supplements.”

Stat

During the AI Cures Conference, Prof. Regina Barzilay spoke with Food and Drug Administration senior staff fellow Amir Khan about how the agency intends to regulate artificial intelligence in medicine, reports Casey Ross for STAT.  “’My thinking is that models should be regulated based on their functionality, and not necessarily on the input data they use,” said Barzilay. 

The Boston Globe

Satellite Bio, a startup co-founded by Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia, aims to create “tissue implants to ‘repair, restore, or even replace’ diseased or dying organs,” reports Ryan Cross for The Boston Globe.

Stat

STAT reporter Katie Palmer spotlights Principal Research Scientist Leo Anthony Celi’s research underscoring the importance of improving the diversity of datasets used to design and test clinical AI systems. “The biggest concern now is that the algorithms that we’re building are only going to benefit the population that’s contributing to the dataset,” says Celi. “And none of that will have any value to those who carry the biggest burden of disease in this country, or in the world.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Michael Blanding spotlights Prof. Hugh Herr’s work with Dr. Matthew Carty in developing a new amputation surgery called agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI) procedure, which reconnects muscles to amplify electrical signals sent along the nerves. “My dream as a scientist is that a person with an arm amputation could play a Beethoven piece at normal speeds and dexterity – and for legs, that a person could dance ballet,” says Herr.

The Guardian

Institute Prof. Robert Langer, whose “innovations have helped create more than 100 products from artificial skin to messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines,” speaks with Guardian reporter Zoë Corbyn. “I think it’s important to stress how much engineers can and have changed the world for the better,” says Langer. “It’s a thrill for me to see engineering and biology improving people’s lives; that’s been my dream from the beginning.”

TechCrunch

OPT Industries, an MIT spinoff, has created InstaSwab, a nasal swab “up to 20 times more effective in bacterial sample elution,” reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “With the ability to print around the clock, the firm also believes it can play a pivotal role in addressing supply chain concerns — a long-time goal for additive manufacturing,” writes Heater.

Stat

Researchers from MIT and journalists from STAT conducted a months long investigation and found that “subtle shifts in data fed into popular health care algorithms — used to warn caregivers of impending medical crises — can cause their accuracy to plummet over time, raising the prospect AI could do more harm than good in many hospitals,” reports Casey Ross for STAT.

PBS NOVA

PBS Nova premiered “Augmented,” a documentary film that features Prof. Hugh Herr and his research team’s work in developing brain controlled robotic limbs and reimagining amputation procedures. “Herr is teaming up with an injured climber and a surgeon at a leading Boston hospital to test a new approach to surgical amputation that allows prosthetic limbs to move and feel like the real thing,” writes PBS Nova.

Stat

STAT has named Noubar Afeyan ’87, Cornelia Bargmann PhD ’87, Prof. Regina Barzilay and Prof. Sangeeta N. Bhatia to their list of trailblazing researchers working in the life sciences. “Many of the STATUS List are well-known as change makers; others are largely unheralded heroes. But all have compelling stories to tell,” writes STAT.

Forbes

David Lucchino ’06 and Prof. Robert Langer have co-founded Frequency Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing a new approach to restoring hearing from the most common form of hearing loss, reports Jack Kelly for Forbes. “FX-322 is designed to treat the underlying cause of SNHL (sensorineural hearing loss) by regenerating sensory hair cells through activation of progenitor cells already present in the cochlea,” writes Kelly.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter John Anderson spotlights “Augmented” a new PBS documentary featuring Prof. Hugh Herr and his work in robotic limbs and surgery.

The Boston Globe

A new documentary titled “Augmented” spotlights Prof. Hugh Herr and his work developing bionic limbs at the MIT Media Lab, reports Dana Gerber for The Boston Globe. “The long-term hope for the procedure is that people with Ewing amputations will be able to further adapt to the bionic limbs shown in the film, which Herr’s team is developing at MIT,” writes Gerber.

New Scientist

MIT researchers have developed a transparent, degradable medical dressing that could be used to help gut wounds heal more quickly and efficiently without leaking bacteria, reports Alex Wilkins for New Scientist. The researchers “designed their dressing to work like duct tape, which is only sticky on one side,” writes Wilkins. “Once it covers the wound, it quickly forms a hydrogel, an adhesive layer that can help the wound to heal.”