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Bloomberg Businessweek

Orna Therapeutics, which was co-founded by MIT researchers, is working on “programming RNA with genetic code that instructs a line to split into several strands and then repair itself in the shape of a circle,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Angelica LaVito. “Delivering those messages via circles may produce a more stable, longer-lasting signal, potentially treating cancer, autoimmune disorders, and genetic diseases.”

Inside Higher Ed

Institute Professor Paula Hammond, head of MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, has been selected to serve on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, “a group of external advisers tasked with making science, technology and innovation policy recommendations to the White House and the president,” reports Alexis Gravely for Inside Higher Ed. Professors Maria Zuber, MIT vice president for research, and Eric Lander, the president’s science adviser and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, are two of the co-chairs for the council.

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal about efforts to help repair or prevent cartilage damage before osteoarthritis sets in, Laura Landro spotlights how MIT researchers are developing “ways to get drugs into the cartilage tissue and keep them there. They are using microscopic particles called nanocarriers to deliver IGF-1, an insulin like growth factor, to the tight mesh that holds cartilage in joints.”

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.

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

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.

WHDH 7

7 News reporter Byron Barnett spotlights how MIT researchers are developing new face masks aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19. Prof. Giovanni Traverso is creating reusable masks with pop-put disposable filters, and Prof. Michael Strano is developing a mask that could “destroy the virus, using a nine-volt battery to heat the mask and kill the virus before the wearer breathes it in.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Suzanne Oliver spotlights two MIT efforts to innovate the face mask. Prof. Giovanni Traverso and his colleagues are developing a reusable, silicon-rubber mask with “sensors that give feedback on fit and functionality,” while Prof. Michael Strano has designed a version that “incorporates a copper mesh heated to about 160 degrees that traps and deactivates the virus.”

NIH

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, spotlights Prof. Ed Boyden’s work developing a new technology that “enables researchers for the first time to study an intact tissue sample and track genetic activity on the spot within a cell’s tiniest recesses, or microenvironments—areas that have been largely out of reach until now.”

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.

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.”

Stat

STAT reporter Alissa Ambrose spotlights the Koch Institute’s annual image awards, “which includes colorful images of micro needles, brain cells, and so-called mini livers.” Ambrose notes that the pictures are “stunning visualizations of life sciences and biomedical research being conducted to find treatments and cures for cancer.”

Los Angeles Times

In an opinion piece for The Los Angeles Times, Institute Professor Phillip Sharp, Ellen Sigal of the Friends of Cancer Research and Sherry Lansing of the Sherry Lansing Foundation underscore the importance of selecting an effective leader for the FDA. “In order to restore trust in the FDA, and restore morale within, a permanent leader with expansive experience, medical expertise and the confidence of agency staff and the American public needs to be nominated in short order,” they write.