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Bloomberg News

Biobot Analytics, a startup founded by Mariana Matus ‘18 and Newsha Ghaeli ‘17, has raised $20 million in funding for its work with wastewater epidemiology, reports Carey Goldberg and Janet Wu for Bloomberg News. “This past year, wastewater epidemiology changed from being an obscure niche area of science to becoming a central pillar of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Matus. “And now, in the later stages of the pandemic, it’s becoming a central pillar of preparing for the next pandemic.” 

NPR

Noubar Afeyan ’87, a member of the MIT Corporation, speaks to Guy Raz of NPR’s How I Built This podcast about his journey toward co-founding Moderna and becoming a part of history through the rapid creation and production of vaccines for the Covid-19 pandemic. “The reality is when you have a pandemic and you’re a public company and you have material data, our sense was that we at a high level had to put that [information] out there,” says Afeyan. “One of these things we learned, because none of us had been in this situation before, is that we are going to get criticized no matter what we did. So, we just had to do what we thought was right.”

CBS News

Prof. Yossi Sheffi speaks with David Pogue of CBS Sunday Morning about what’s causing the current supply chain breakdowns. "The underlying cause of all of this is actually a huge increase in demand,” says Sheffi. “People did not spend during the pandemic. And then, all the government help came; trillions of dollars went to households. So, they order stuff. They order more and more stuff. And the whole global markets were not ready for this."

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Sophie Bushwick writes that MIT researchers have developed a new system that can interpret shadows that are invisible to the human eye. “The system can automatically analyze footage of a blank wall in any room in real time, determining the number of people and their actions,” writes Bushwick.

The New Yorker

Researchers at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and Commonwealth Fusion Systems speak with The New Yorker’s Rivka Galchen about the history of fusion research and the recent test of their large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet. “I feel we proved the science. I feel we can make a difference,” says MIT alumna Joy Dunn, head of manufacturing at CFS. “When people ask me, ‘Why fusion? Why not other renewables,’ my thinking is: This is a solution at the scale of the problem.”

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.”

Nature

Nature reporter Eric Bender spotlights MIT startup Kytopen, which has developed a microfluidic platform to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and other forms of cell therapy. We want to do minimally invasive surgery,” says Kytopen co-founder Prof. Cullen Buie.

WBUR

WBUR’s Erin Trahan spotlights “Space Torah,” a short film that tells the “story of former NASA astronaut Jeff Hoffman (and current MIT professor) who read from a Torah he brought onboard one of his space missions.” The film will be shown online and in-person at the Museum of Science November 7-21.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter Lynn Thomasson writes that a new study by MIT researchers explores the demographics of people who panic sell during stock market dips. “Financial advisors have long advised their clients to stay calm and weather any passing financial storm in their portfolios,” the researchers explain. “Despite this, a percentage of investors tend to freak out and sell off a large portion of their risky assets.”

Mashable

Mashable reporter Emmett Smith spotlights how MIT researchers have created a new toolkit for designing wearable devices that can be 3D printed. “The researchers used the kit to create sample devices, like a personal muscle monitor that uses augmented reality,” explains Smith, “plus a device for recognizing hand gestures and a bracelet for identifying distracted driving.”

Associated Press

A report by researchers from MIT’s International Center for Air Transportation finds that there should not be any changes to flight paths over Massachusetts towns, reports the AP. The researchers found “any alternative pattern would affect more people than the current paths, creating safety issues and a problem for air traffic controllers.”

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.

USA Today

MIT researchers are developing plants that can glow in the dark and provide light all night, reports USA Today. “The high-tech plants are embedded with nanoparticles that absorb light during the day or from other light sources like LEDs. After the lights go out, they slowly release that stored energy as luminescence over time.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter Steve Lohr spotlights the origin and history of MIT startup Gingko Bioworks, a synthetic biology company founded with a “shared belief that biology could be made more like computing with reusable code and standard tools instead of the bespoke experiments of traditional biology." Jason Kelly ’03, PhD ’08, one of the founders of MIT startup Ginkgo Bioworks and the company’s chief executive, explains that “the ultimate goal for Ginkgo is to make it as easy to program a cell as it is to program a computer.”

Boston Magazine

Boston Magazine reporter Tom McGrath spotlights Prof. Tim Berners-Lee’s crusade to rethink the Web and build a new platform that can help users control the digital data they share. Berners-Lee’s platform, Solid, is aimed at ensuring that for the “first time ever, we users—not big tech companies—will be in control of our data, which means that websites and apps will be built to benefit us and not them,” writes McGrath. “That, in turn, could mean revolutions in things that really are consequential, from healthcare and education to finance and the World Wide Web itself.”