Monthly Archives: April 2016

April 25, 2016

Grad students develop method for early detection of Leukemia

A unique pitch competition hosted by the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research on Friday awarded a team of researchers $300,000 to further develop — and potentially commercialize — a diagnostic platform that promises to catch leukemic cells in blood tests at very early stages of the disease. The “Shark Tank”-style competition, dubbed “Mission: Possible,” called upon Koch Institute researchers to develop innovations that aid in the prevention and early detection of cancer, for a shot at a one-year $300,000 research grant. Teams of professors, students, and postdocs submitted ideas in January.

Winning team IllumiRNA pitched an idea for a diagnostic platform that profiles individual cells in blood tests, to identify single leukemic cells among a sea of normal cells — like finding a needle in a haystack. “Ultimately, cancer is a disease of single cells gone awry, so we have to meet it at a single-cell level,” said team member Salil Garg, a postdoc in the lab of Institute Professor Phillip Sharp, who was also part of the team.

The other IllumiRNA team members were: Andrew Bader, a PhD student in the Langer and Anderson labs; Anthony Chiu, a PhD student in the Sharp lab; Courtney JnBaptiste, a PhD student in the Sharp lab; Vikash Chauhan, a postdoc in the Langer and Sharp labs and Suman Bose, a postdoc fellow in the labs of David H. Koch (1962) Institute Professor Robert Langer and chemical engineering professor Dan Anderson, who were both part of the team.

April 22, 2016

Katzschmann helps make first-ever 3-D printed solid and liquid robots

One reason we don’t yet have robot personal assistants buzzing around doing our chores is because making them is hard. Assembling robots by hand is time-consuming, while automation — robots building other robots — is not yet fine-tuned enough to make robots that can do complex tasks. But if humans and robots can’t do the trick, what about 3-D printers? In a new paper, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory(CSAIL) present the first-ever technique for 3-D printing robots that involves printing solid and liquid materials at the same time.

The paper, which was recently accepted to this summer’s IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), was co-written by MIT postdoc Robert MacCurdy and PhD candidate Robert Katzschmann, as well as Harvard University undergraduate Youbin Kim. Read more at MIT News…

April 21, 2016

Activist Research Methods in Science and Technology, Apr. 22

Sometimes our research is driven by wanting to do good in the world, make an impact, and create social or material change. Dr. Max Liboiron will lead a talk and discussion about how research can foster change during the entire research and development process on April 22, 2016 at 4PM in E51-345a. Dr. Liboiron is an Assistant Professor in Sociology, Geography, and Environmental Sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Liboiron’s research focuses on how harmful yet invisible threats such as toxicants and marine plastics become visible in science and activism. This event is made possible with the support of Graduate Student Life Grants and the GSC Collaboration Fund. Contact: aregitsky@mit.edu

April 20, 2016

How to Negotiate your First Job, Apr. 21

Join us on April 21st, 2016 in Sidney Pacific Seminar Room for an interactive conversation about job offer negotiations with Paul Levy and Farzana Mohamed about their book How to Negotiate Your First Job. Learn to navigate the first important negotiation when transitioning to the world of work. Paul Levy ’72 has led several complex organizations during a multi-faceted career and now advises corporations throughout the world on negotiation. Farzana Mohamed ’99 is founder and principal of a consulting practice that advises organizations on change management, employee engagement. RSVP today! Contact: jzan@mit.edu.

April 19, 2016

Grad students honored with Lemelson-MIT prize

The prize of up to $15,000 apiece honors undergraduate and graduate students’ inventions in health care, transportation, food and agriculture, and consumer devices. The competition awarded a total of $90,000 to the makers of seven inventions. Inventors from 77 universities entered the competition, and MIT students placed in all but one category.

MIT PhD candidate, Achuta Kadambi, invented two camera systems that won in the “Use It!” category for inventions to improve consumer devices. His first invention uses inexpensive optics paired with complex algorithms to track light as it moves through space. PhD candidate Dan Dorsch invented an automatic transmission that shifts gears using two electric motors instead of the traditional clutch- optimal for high-performance hybrid vehicles. Read more at the Boston Globe…

April 19, 2016

How Uber is Changing the Transportation Landscape, Apr.21

Join us for a presentation in 1-190 on Thursday, April 21st, 11:45-1 pm by Andrew Salzberg – Global Mobility Policy Lead at Uber. He will discuss the effect of transportation network companies (esp. Uber) on transportation in cities in the US and around the globe. Lunch provided at 11:45. Seminar begins at noon. Visit our site for more information. Event sponsored by the GSC FB. Contact: t-club@mit.edu

April 18, 2016

Stepner and Abrahams: Rich, poor have huge mortality gap in U.S.

Poverty in the U.S. is often associated with deprivation, in areas including housing, employment, and education. Now a study co-authored by two MIT researchers has shown, in unprecedented geographic detail, another stark reality: Poor people live shorter lives, too. More precisely, the study shows that in the U.S., the richest 1 percent of men lives 14.6 years longer on average than the poorest 1 percent of men, while among women in those wealth percentiles, the difference is 10.1 years on average.

Michael Stepner and Sarah Abraham, PhD candidates in MIT’s Department of Economics, are among the co-authors of a newly published paper summarizing the study’s findings, and have played central roles in a three-year research project establishing the results. Read more at MIT News.

April 15, 2016

Pitch To the Public: 4 Session Workshop, Apr. 18 & 25

Join us for the last two sessions of Pitch to the Public! Pitch your research to the Public at the MIT Museum! Prizes for the people’s choice.

  • Session 3: The Art of the Talk with Practice Session (April 18th at 6pm)
  • Session 4: The Art of the Slide with Practice Session (April 25th at 6pm)

Both sessions will be in 4-237. Contact drolnick@mit.edu with any questions.

 

April 11, 2016

Growth Mindset at MIT, Apr. 13

As part of Graduate Student Appreciation Week, join us for a session on Growth Mindset at MIT on Wednesday, April 13, from 2-3pm in the student center, W20, Private Dining Rooms 1 and 2. Many students arrive at MIT riding on years of academic success and praise from teachers, parents, and colleagues. But what happens when you encounter uncertainty and failure? Have you encountered challenging situations when you worry about how others will perceive you if don’t sound smart enough? When you fail to achieve a specific goal, how do you manage and overcome discouragement and self-doubt? In this short talk, we will examine how our own notions of potential and ability can have a fundamental impact on how we approach our work, how much we learn, and how successful we can be in achieving our goals. The talk will focus on recent, evidence-based insights regarding human performance, neuroplastictiy, motivation and on how deliberately cultivating a “growth-mindset” can improve our willingness and ability to face challenges and to innovate, despite the risk of failure. Read more

April 8, 2016

Faculty on Resilience: Cathy Drennan‏, Apr. 14

As part of Graduate Student Appreciation Week, join us on Thursday, April 14  at 2-3pm in 32-155 to hear from Professor  Drennan about the parts of her career path that don’t make it on to her biographical sketch. Based on official biographies, it is easy to assume that success requires professional perfection at every career step. The truth is that success often derives from the learned ability to bounce back from failure and set-backs.  Professor Drennan’s official Bio is below, but come hear about the details that are missing. Warning: Content may contain learning disabilities, stereotype threat, and hogs. Faculty talk will be followed by Q and A, and light refreshments.

Catherine Drennan is a professor of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a professor and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is the only individual to be both an HHMI professor and an HHMI investigator. Drennan received an A.B. in chemistry from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan, working in the laboratory of the late Professor Martha L. Ludwig. She was also a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Douglas C. Rees at the California Institute of Technology. In 1999, Drennan joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she has risen through the ranks to full Professor. Her research interests lie at the interface of chemistry and biology, combining X-ray crystallography with other biophysical methods in order to “visualize” molecular processes by obtaining snapshots of metalloproteins in action.

April 8, 2016

Planting Seeds with the Chancellor, Apr. 11

Need a quick pick-me-up? As part of Graduate Student Appreciation Week, join Chancellor Cindy Barnhart on Monday, April 11  at 5:15-6:16pm in Lobby 10. Plant some spring flowers to take with you to warm your lab or home! Stop in for 5 minutes or stay and chat for a bit. Feel free to bring a friend or family members.

April 7, 2016

Michael Taussig‏, “Mooning Texas” Apr. 7th

Join us this Thursday, April 7 @ 4:30 pm in MIT Building 32 (Stata Center), Room 155  for “Mooning Texas” – an adventure story involving social energy + art + Emile Durkheim’s “take” on Mauss + Hubert’s “take” on mana + the creativity of gossip. Michael Taussig, professor of anthropology at Columbia University, was dubbed by the New York Times as “Anthropology’s Alternative Radical.” Taussig has been doing fieldwork since 1969. He has written on the commercialization of peasant agriculture; slavery; hunger; the working of commodity fetishism; colonialism on “shamanism” and folk healing; the relevance of modernism and post-modernist aesthetics for the understanding of ritual; the making, talking, and writing of terror; and mimesis. He has also written “a study of exciting substance loaded with seduction and evil, gold and cocaine, in a montage-ethnography of the Pacific Coast of Colombia.”

April 6, 2016

Faculty on Resilience: John Belcher‏, Apr. 12

As part of Graduate Student Appreciation Week, join us on Tuesday, April 12, 2-3pm in 32-155 to hear from Professor Belcher about his path from the West Texas oil fields to a spacecraft going to the stars, and how going to the stars is a breeze compared to reforming freshmen physics. He has been clinically depressed and has been on anti-depressants for 27 years, and he will reflect on that experience. Faculty talk will be followed by Q and A, and light refreshments.

Born in Louisiana and raised in Texas, John Belcher was the Principal Investigator on the Voyager Plasma Science Experiment during the Voyager Neptune Encounter (“the end of the Grand Tour”), and is now a Co-Investigator on the Plasma Science Experiment onboard the Voyager Interstellar Mission. Professor Belcher has also been involved in the teaching of freshmen physics at MIT, and was awarded the 2016 Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers for that effort.

April 1, 2016

Workshop for International Students on US Financial Literacy, Apr. 5‏

On Tuesday, April 5 from 12:00-1:30 in 68-180, the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) will be offering a workshop on Navigating the U.S. Financial System. This workshop is open to international graduate students only. Some of the topics that will be covered include choosing a bank, types of bank accounts, ATMs and debit cards, credit cards, transferring money, budgeting, apartment hunting, ways to plan financially if they are planning on staying in the US, and more. We will be offering a presentation with plenty of opportunities for discussion. Along with members of the ODGE team, we will also have Dana Reichman, International Student Programing administrator and Advisor from the International Student’s Office on hand as well as representatives from the MIT Federal Credit Union.  Free pizza!

For the purpose of ordering enough food, we request that interested students RSVP by 2pm on Monday, April 4th. Feel free to read more information on the ODGE Financial Literacy Initiative and the MIT iGrad Financial Literacy platform offered for free to the entire MIT community. Photo courtesy of Chris Potter

April 1, 2016

Celebrating a Century in Cambridge‏, Apr. 2nd

Join us for a concert by MIT Music and Theater Arts on Saturday April 2, 2016 at 7pm in the Kresge Auditorium as we Celebrate a Century in Cambridge! Free admission! The concert will feature: the MIT Symphony Orchestra, Adam K. Boyles, director; MIT Concert Choir and MIT Chamber Chorus, William Cutter, director; Members of the MIT Chamber Music Society, Prof. Marcus Thompson, director: Miriam Nussbaum (G), flute; Austen Yueh ’17, clarinet; Henry Love ‘18, violin; Taylor Safrit ’18, cello; Joonwon Choi (G), piano; Michael Choi ‘16, clarinet; Divya Pillai (G), soprano. 

The program will include: The National Anthem (arr. William Cutter); the world premiere of a blessed unrest by William Cutter; Seeing the Unseen and The Reason Why the World by Prof. Peter Child; Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock; the world premiere of Nocturne: On the River by Charles Shadle; Copland’s Symphony No. 3; and the MIT song Arise, all ye of MIT.