Tag: Biological engineering

Peeking into a chrysalis, videos reveal growth of butterfly wing scales

If you brush against the wings of a butterfly, you will likely come away with a fine sprinkling of powder. This lepidopteran dust is made up of tiny microscopic scales, hundreds of thousands of which paper a butterfly’s wings like shingles on a wafer-thin roof. The structure and arrangement of these scales give a butterfly […]

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Investigating pathogens and their life cycles, for the benefit of society

Desmond Edwards was a little kid when first learned about typhoid fever. Fortunately, he didn’t have the disease. He was looking at a cartoon public health announcement. The cartoon, produced by the Pan American Health Organization, was designed to educate people in his home country of Jamaica about the importance of immunizations for diseases like […]

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Modeling the mechanisms of metastasis

Metastatic cancer is responsible for the vast majority of cancer mortality, but it is difficult for scientists to predict which cells will successfully complete their migration from primary tumor to eventual recolonization in a far-flung region of the body. Subject to a wide range of mechanical and physical forces in the bloodstream, circulating tumor cells […]

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Exploring the human stories behind the data

Shaking in the back of a police cruiser, handcuffs digging into his wrists, Brian Williams was overwhelmed with fear. He had been pulled over, but before he was asked for his name, license, or registration, a police officer ordered him out of his car and into back of the police cruiser, saying into his radio, […]

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Engineers devise a way to selectively turn on RNA therapies in human cells

Researchers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a way to selectively turn on gene therapies in target cells, including human cells. Their technology can detect specific messenger RNA sequences in cells, and that detection then triggers production of a specific protein from a transgene, or artificial gene. Because transgenes can have negative and even […]

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Five with MIT ties elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2021

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has announced the election of 100 new members for 2021, including two MIT faculty members and three additional Institute affiliates. Faculty honorees include Linda G. Griffith, a professor in the MIT departments of Biological Engineering and Mechanical Engineering; and Feng Zhang, a professor in the MIT departments of Brain […]

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New cancer treatment may reawaken the immune system

Immunotherapy is a promising strategy to treat cancer by stimulating the body’s own immune system to destroy tumor cells, but it only works for a handful of cancers. MIT researchers have now discovered a new way to jump-start the immune system to attack tumors, which they hope could allow immunotherapy to be used against more […]

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Weighing cancer cells to personalize drug choices

Researchers at MIT and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have developed a new way to determine whether individual patients will respond to a specific cancer drug or not. This kind of test could help doctors to choose alternative therapies for patients who don’t respond to the therapies normally used to treat their cancer. The new technique, which […]

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School of Engineering third quarter 2021 awards

Members of the MIT engineering faculty receive many awards in recognition of their scholarship, service, and overall excellence. The School of Engineering periodically recognizes their achievements by highlighting the honors, prizes, and medals won by faculty working in our academic departments, labs, and centers.

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Counting cells may shed light on how cancer spreads

As tumors grow within an organ, they also release cells that enter the bloodstream. These cells can travel to other organs, seeding new tumors called metastases. MIT engineers have now developed a technique that, for the first time, allows them to measure the generation rate of these circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in mice. Their approach, […]

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New bionics center established at MIT with $24 million gift

A deepening understanding of the brain has created unprecedented opportunities to alleviate the challenges posed by disability. Scientists and engineers are taking design cues from biology itself to create revolutionary technologies that restore the function of bodies affected by injury, aging, or disease — from prosthetic limbs that effortlessly navigate tricky terrain to digital nervous […]

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New programmable gene editing proteins found outside of CRISPR systems

Within the last decade, scientists have adapted CRISPR systems from microbes into gene editing technology, a precise and programmable system for modifying DNA. Now, scientists at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have discovered a new class of programmable DNA modifying systems called OMEGAs (Obligate Mobile Element […]

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Engineers grow pancreatic “organoids” that mimic the real thing

MIT engineers, in collaboration with scientists at Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, have developed a new way to grow tiny replicas of the pancreas, using either healthy or cancerous pancreatic cells. Their new models could help researchers develop and test potential drugs for pancreatic cancer, which is currently one of the most difficult types of […]

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