Tag: Profile

Making each vote count

Graduate student Jacob Jaffe wants to improve the administration of American elections. To do that, he is posing “questions in political science that we haven’t been asking enough,” he says, “and solving them with methods we haven’t been using enough.” Considerable research has been devoted to understanding “who votes, and what makes people vote or […]

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Providing new pathways for neuroscience research and education

Payton Dupuis’s interest in biology research began where it does for many future scientists — witnessing a relative struggling with an incurable medical condition. For Dupuis, that family member was her uncle, who suffered from complications from diabetes. Dupuis, a senior at Montana State University, says that diabetes is prominent on the Flathead Reservation in […]

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Investigating at the interface of data science and computing

A visual model of Guy Bresler’s research would probably look something like a Venn diagram. He works at the four-way intersection where theoretical computer science, statistics, probability, and information theory collide. “There are always new things to do be done at the interface. There are always opportunities for entirely new questions to ask,” says Bresler, […]

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Understanding reality through algorithms

Although Fernanda De La Torre still has several years left in her graduate studies, she’s already dreaming big when it comes to what the future has in store for her. “I dream of opening up a school one day where I could bring this world of understanding of cognition and perception into places that would […]

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Through mentorship, a deeper understanding of brain cancer metabolism grows

Alejandra Rosario’s enthusiasm for research is infectious. When she talks about studying cancer cells, or the possibility of getting a PhD, her face lights up. “It’s something I’m really passionate about,” she says. As a Bernard S. and Sophie G. Gould MIT Summer Research Program in Biology (BSG-MSRP-Bio) student this past summer in the lab […]

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A “golden era” to study the brain

As an undergraduate, Mitch Murdock was a rare science-humanities double major, specializing in both English and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale University. Today, as a doctoral student in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, he sees obvious ways that his English education expanded his horizons as a neuroscientist.  “One of my […]

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Between two universes

When Mohammad Javad Khojasteh arrived at MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) in 2020 to begin his postdoc appointment, he was introduced to an entirely new universe. The domain he knew best could be explained by “classical” physics that predicts the behavior of ordinary objects with near-perfect accuracy (think Newton’s three laws of […]

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A musician-turned-anthropologist studies venture capitalism in China

As a teenager, Jamie Wong was a professional pop songwriter. Now, she’s an anthropologist studying venture capitalism in China. Her key turning point? Coaching a prison band in Hong Kong. “When I tell people this, they’re always quite surprised,” she says. “But [my journey] feels so natural to me.” Wong grew up in Hong Kong […]

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“Kids are people too!”

Professor Hal Abelson has dedicated his career to making information technology more accessible to all and empowering people — kids, in particular — through computer science. But his storied career in computer science began with Abelson coming to MIT in 1969 to pursue his interest in mathematics. “The thing I like to remind students of […]

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The economics of missed opportunities

Pharmaceutical companies make some remarkable advances. Could they make significantly more of them? It’s possible, but for that to happen, the industry would likely have to change some of its core habits, according to the research of Danielle Li, an associate professor of economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In a recent paper, […]

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A lasting — and valuable — legacy

Betar Gallant, MIT associate professor and Class of 1922 Career Development Chair in Mechanical Engineering, grew up in a curious, independently minded family. Her mother had multiple jobs over the years, including in urban planning and in the geospatial field. Her father, although formally trained in English, read textbooks of all kinds from cover to […]

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Jung Jae Kwon: Questioning the nuclear umbrella

Many of America’s allies have little faith that huddling under America’s nuclear umbrella will keep them safe. “The conventional wisdom has been that the threat of nuclear retaliation by the U.S. is enough to defend our junior non-nuclear allies,” says Jung Jae Kwon, a political science doctoral student at MIT. “But this threat is not […]

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Modeling the social mind

Typically, it would take two graduate students to do the research that Setayesh Radkani is doing. Driven by an insatiable curiosity about the human mind, she is working on two PhD thesis projects in two different cognitive neuroscience labs at MIT. For one, she is studying punishment as a social tool to influence others. For […]

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Forging political alliances through supply chains

The bustling coastal city of Wenzhou made its mark early on Hao Zhang. “It is considered the birthplace of Chinese capitalism, and living there, with many relatives involved in startups, I was exposed to all kinds of business,” says Zhang, a rising fifth-year graduate student in political science. He also gained a close-up view of […]

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High energy and hungry for the hardest problems

A high school track star and valedictorian, Anne White has always relished moving fast and clearing high hurdles. Since joining the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) in 2009 she has produced path-breaking fusion research, helped attract a more diverse cohort of students and scholars into the discipline, and, during a worldwide pandemic, assumed the role […]

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Tipping the balance between global rivals

John David Minnich was under the spell of political philosophy until he took a trip across a bridge in China. The doctoral student in political science vividly recalls this life-changing 2009 journey, undertaken as part of a summer research fellowship program.  “Driving in from the airport, I was overwhelmed by my first glimpse of the […]

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Tech in translation

The Sony Walkman and virtual reality headsets are not just prominent examples of personal technology. In the hands of Paul Roquet, they’re also vehicles for learning more about Japan, the U.S., global technology trends — and ourselves. Roquet is an associate professor in MIT’s program in Comparative Media Studies/Writing, and his forte is analyzing how […]

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Building better batteries, faster

To help combat climate change, many car manufacturers are racing to add more electric vehicles in their lineups. But to convince prospective buyers, manufacturers need to improve how far these cars can go on a single charge. One of their main challenges? Figuring out how to make extremely powerful but lightweight batteries. Typically, however, it […]

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Bridging careers in aerospace manufacturing and fusion energy, with a focus on intentional inclusion

“A big theme of my life has been focusing on intentional inclusion and how I can create environments where people can really bring their whole authentic selves to work,” says Joy Dunn ’08. As the head of operations at Commonwealth Fusion Systems, an MIT spinout working to achieve commercial fusion energy, Dunn looks for solutions […]

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Bringing lessons from cybersecurity to the fight against disinformation

Mary Ellen Zurko remembers the feeling of disappointment. Not long after earning her bachelor’s degree from MIT, she was working her first job of evaluating secure computer systems for the U.S. government. The goal was to determine whether systems were compliant with the “Orange Book,” the government’s authoritative manual on cybersecurity at the time. Were […]

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From bridges to DNA: civil engineering across disciplines

How is DNA like a bridge? This question is not a riddle or logic game, it is a concern of Johannes Kalliauer’s doctoral thesis. As a student at TU Wien in Austria, Kalliauer was faced with a monumental task: combining approaches from civil engineering and theoretical physics to better understand the forces that act on […]

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On the front lines of space innovation

George Lordos is not your typical graduate student. A degree in economics from Oxford University, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a 20-year professional career were not the end of his learning journey. His longtime passion for space, particularly the prospect of making a sustainable society on Mars a reality, drew […]

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Leveraging computational tools to enhance product design

As an undergraduate at MIT, Jana Saadi had to find a way to fulfill her humanities class requirements. Little did she know that her decision would heavily shape her academic career. On a whim, Saadi had joined a friend in a class offered through MIT D-Lab, a project-based program aimed at helping poor communities around […]

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Solving a longstanding conundrum in heat transfer

It is a problem that has beguiled scientists for a century. But, buoyed by a $625,000 Distinguished Early Career Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), Matteo Bucci, an associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE), hopes to be close to an answer. Tackling the boiling crisis Whether you’re heating a […]

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For Danna Freedman, an impasse is an invitation

Asked once about the most difficult part of her research, Danna Freedman could not stop referring to obstacles as opportunities, and to challenges as excitement. “Every time we hit a barrier it enables us to discover new science,” she told an interviewer at Northwestern University in 2017, describing difficulties encountered in her research as among […]

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Emma Gibson: Optimizing health care logistics in Africa

Growing up in South Africa at the turn of the century, Emma Gibson saw the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its devastating impact on her home country, where many people lacked life-saving health care. At the time, Gibson was too young to understand what a sexually transmitted infection was, but she knew that HIV […]

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When cells’ tiny differences have far-reaching implications

Within a given tissue or organ, cells may appear very similar or even identical. But at the molecular level, these cells can have small differences that lead to wide variations in their functions. Alex K. Shalek, an MIT associate professor of chemistry, relishes the challenge of uncovering those small distinctions. In his lab, researchers develop […]

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Your friendly neighborhood architect

Justin Brazier didn’t always know that his path in life would take him right back home. Brazier grew up with two brothers in a tight-knit family in Randolph, Massachusetts, two cities south of Boston. His parents, who are Haitian immigrants, had also grown up in the Boston area and met each other there. From a […]

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The challenges and triumphs of the graduate experience

For many graduate students, the first time they enter MIT’s campus as a student is a momentous occasion. Standing among the pillars and domes for the first time as an MIT student elicited a moment of quiet reflection for recent graduate Hilary Johnson SM ’18, PhD ’22. “It was this moment of awe and kind […]

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Charting the landscape at MIT

Norman Magnuson’s MIT career — culminating in his role as manager of grounds services in the Department of Facilities for the past 20 years — started in 1974 with a summer job. Fresh out of high school and unsure of his next step, Magnuson’s father, Norman Sr., a housing manager at MIT, encouraged him to […]

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