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Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES)

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Science

In an editorial for Science, Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia, Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins and President Emerita Susan Hockfield underscore the importance of addressing the underrepresentation of women and minorities in tech transfer. “The discoveries women and minority researchers are making today have great potential as a force for good in the world,” they write, “but reaching that potential is only possible if paths to real-world applications are open to everybody.”

Stat

Principal research scientist Leo Anthony Celi speaks with STAT reporter Katie Palmer about the importance of open data sharing in medical research, his new role as editor of PLOS Digital Health, and the challenges facing machine learning in medicine. “With digitization, we’re hoping each country will have an opportunity to create their own medical knowledge system,” says Celi.

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.”

Wired

Wired reporter Will Knight spotlights how MIT researchers built a machine learning system that can help predict which patients are most likely to develop breast cancer. “What the AI tools are doing is they're extracting information that my eye and my brain can't,” says Constance Lehman, a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and division chief of breast imaging at MGH.

The New York Times

A new study by MIT researchers finds that “changes in coronavirus levels in wastewater preceded rises and falls in positive test results by four to 10 days,” reports Kim Tingley for The New York Times. The findings suggest that “sewage surveillance could play an important role in helping contain the pandemic.”

WCVB

Reporting for WCVB-TV, Katie Thompson highlights a new study by MIT researchers that examines the role of super-spreading events in the Covid-19 pandemic. "The main idea is that most people generate zero or one cases, but it's the people generating hundreds of cases that we should perhaps be worried about," says postdoc Felix Wong said.

Boston 25 News

Prof. James Collins speaks with Boston 25 reporter Julianne Lima about the growing issue of antibiotic resistant bacteria and his work using AI to identify new antibiotics. Collins explains that a new platform he developed with Prof. Regina Barzilay uncovered “a host of new antibiotics including one that we call halicin that has remarkable activity against multi drug-resistant pathogens.”

WBUR

A new study by MIT researchers finds that super-spreading events are larger drivers of the Covid-19 pandemic than originally thought, reports Carey Goldberg for WBUR. “We found in our study that super-spreading events can indeed be a major driver of the current pandemic,” says postdoc Felix Wong. “Most people generate zero or one cases, but it's the people generating hundreds of cases that we really should be worried about.”

The Wall Street Journal

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence has awarded Prof. Regina Barzilay a $1 million prize for her work advancing the use of AI in medicine, reports John McCormick for The Wall Street Journal. "Regina is brilliant, has very high standards, and is committed to helping others,” says Prof. James Collins. “And I think her experience with—her personal experience with cancer—has motivated her to apply her intellectual talents to using AI to advance health care.”

Stat

Prof. Regina Barzilay has been named the inaugural recipient of the Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Humanity for her work developing new AI techniques to help improve health care, reports Rebecca Robbins for STAT. Robbins writes that Barzilay is focused on turning the “abundance of research on AI in health care into tools that can improve care.”

Scientific American

Writing for Scientific American, Carolyn Barber spotlights how researchers from MIT are developing cheap, fast and easy to use diagnostics for Covid-19 that can deliver results in minutes. “They are called lateral flow assays, but manifestly they are paper-strip tests that have an antibody embedded on filter paper,” writes Barber. “If a saliva sample has coronavirus present, the antibody will bind that viral antigen, turning the test positive, much like a pregnancy test works.”

WHDH 7

WHDH spotlights MIT startup E25Bio, which is developing a new rapid test to diagnose Covid-19. The test being developed by E25Bio is a paper strip that can deliver test results in 15 minutes, WHDH explains.

Marketplace

Prof. James Collins speaks with Molly Wood of Marketplace about his work developing a faster, cheaper and more accurate Covid-19 diagnostic. Collins explains that his research group is “using synthetic biology to create highly sensitive, low-cost diagnostics, some that are now approved for use in clinical diagnostics labs, and now we’re moving towards point-of-care diagnostics, as well as at-home diagnostics.”

Stat

Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia and senior postdoctoral associate Leslie Chan discuss their work developing a synthetic biosensor to diagnose lung disease. Chan explains that “instead of relying on naturally occurring breath volatiles, we wanted to be able to engineer the breath signal that we could use to monitor lung disease.”