Research

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  • Bioscience (including both fundamental biology and medicine) is arguably the most important engineering system that mankind wishes to model, understand, and engineer.  EECS provides a rich set of analytical tools to tackle these systems.

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  • Sangeeta Bhatia, was interviewed recently by Jeremey Hobson on Boston NPR radio station WBUR's noon news program "Here and Now" about her work creating miniature livers for testing drugs. Listen to the podcast.
  • Rahul Sarpeshkar, professor in the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and head of the Analog Circuits and Biological Systems Group in MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) is featured by the Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) at MIT for his work that blends both biological (wet) and electronic analog circuits (dry) in research that could lead to newly engineered immune cells that could detect cancer cells and kill them, for example. Read more.
  • Dennis Freeman, professor of electrical engineering, and a team of researchers in MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics has reported findings in the Biophysical Journal that our selective ability to distinguish sounds depends on the size and distribution of pores just a few nanometers wide in the inner ear's tectorial membrane. The work may ultimately lead to biochemical manipulation or other means to aid in improving hearing. Read more.
  • Researchers at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory (MTL) including Anantha Chandrakasan, the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering, recent EECS PhD graduate Marcus Yip, EECS graduate student Rui Jin and research scientist Nathan Ickes, together with physicians from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), have developed a new, low-power signal-processing chip that could lead to a cochlear implant that requires no external hardware. The implant would be wirelessly recharged -- taking just two minutes -- and would run for about eight hours on each charge. Read more.
  • Timothy K. Lu, Assistant Professor leading the Synthetic Biology Group in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Biological Engineering and principal investigator in MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), has been selected for a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in support of work to understand biological cells as state machines leading to insights into natural biological systems and synthetic gene circuits. Read more.
  • Sangeeta Bhatia, professor in MIT's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and the Harvard MIT Health Sciences and Technology, has developed a noninvasive and quick test for the presence of blood clots using nanoparticles. This test could potentially be used in detecting other health threatening issues such as cancer. Read more.
  • Manolis Kellis, associate professor of computer science at MIT has teamed with a former CSAIL postdoc to combine work developing algorithms that predict how strands of RNA are likely to unfold with a team of computational biologists at MIT and with experimental biologists at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to identify biologically meaningful RNA folds within living cells. Published in Nature this week, this work shows promised for understanding RNA machinery -- a major avenue towards understanding genetic and biological function in living cells.
  • Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) Principal Research Scientist Luis Velasquez-Garcia, with members of his research group has developed a new way to perform x-rays that not only includes soft tissue, but is streamlined to portable dimension cutting the dose and overall expense typical for current x-ray machines. The Velasquez-Garcia group is presenting their work at the 13th International Workshop on Micro and Nanotechnology for Power Generation and Energy Conversion Applications (PowerMEMS 2013), being held Dec. 3 to 6 in London. Read more
  • Along with 9 other finalists, EECS graduate student Cody Gilleland presented his dream research proposal in April to Regeneron. He was named inaugural recipient, based on his presentation to essentially bring Moore's law to early stage drug delivery by designing a new system for developing and validating drug targets (prior to mouse model trials).
  • Timothy Lu, assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department with EECS graduate student Samuel Perli and Fahim Farzadfard, MIT Biology Department graduate student have developed a technique that can turn genes on or off inside yeast and human cells -- a potential window on understanding the function of those genes and also leading to engineering genes that could perform useful functions. Read more.
  • Detecting early-stage malarial infection of blood cells is a diagnostic that has recently come closer to reality through the work of MIT's Anantha Chandrakasan, EECS Department Head, and Subra Suresh, former MIT Dean of Engineering, now president of Carnegie Mellon University. The work, which has been published Aug. 8 in the journal Lab on a Chip, is potentially applicable to detecting other infections and diseases.
  • Mehmet Fatih Yanik, associate professor of electrical engineering and biological engineering at MIT and head of the High-Throughput Neurotechnology Group based in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) has created his life's work by combining his training in physics and engineering with his passion for understanding the complexities of the human nervous system and how to determine therapeutics for neurological disorders. Read more...
  • James Fujimoto, the Elihu Thomson Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT has been selected for the 2014 IEEE Photonics Award. The award, which is sponsored by the IEEE Photonics Society, is given in recognition of outstanding achievements in photonics. Prof. Fujimoto is cited “for pioneering the development and commercialization of optical coherence tomography for medical diagnostics.”
  • Joel Voldman engineers cutting-edge approaches to stem cell signaling, point of care therapeutics, and neuroengineering. In the never-ending mega study of how biological systems work, Joel Voldman’s mission is to understand the most basic interactions between single cells. To achieve that, he applies the power of microfluidics to isolate the actions and behaviors of single cells and the interactions between cells.
  • In a paper they are presenting this summer at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference, EECS graduate student Guha Balakrishnan and his advisors, both faculty members in the MIT EECS Department, John Guttag and Fredo Durand, describe a new algorithm they developed to measure the heart rates of people in video. The algorithm allows for analyzing the digital data for small imperceptible movements that are caused by the rush of blood from the heart's contractions. Data could ultimately aid in predicting heart disease.
  • Sangeeta Bhatia, has teamed with colleagues to identify twelve chemicals which make it possible to grow liver tissue in a lab dish, making future liver tissue to treat many of the 500 million people suffering from chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis C much closer to reality. Their work is reported in the June 2 issue of Nature Chemical Biology.
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty members and principal investigators in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) Tim Lu and Rahul Sarpeshkar have designed cells that exploit natural integral biochemical functions to make analog circuits to perform calculations and potentially act as pathogen sensors. The researchers, including lead author MIT postdoc Ramiz Daniel and microbiology graduate student Jacob Rubens have published their work in the May 15 online edition of Nature Biotechnology.
  • A new mechanism that could help explain the remarkable sensitivity and exquisite frequency selectivity of our sense of hearing has been discovered by Dennis Freeman, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) Principal Investigator in the Micromechanics Group, in collaboration with Dr. Roozbeh Ghaffari, post-doctoral associate in the RLE.
  • Collin Stultz, faculty member of both the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology and MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has lead a recent study of one of the proteins associated with neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Using computational modeling, Stultz has proposed solutions to a controversy over the structure of alpha synuclein that could lead to development of new more effective treatments. Read more...
  • Professor Timothy K. Lu, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT is one of 16 young researchers selected by the Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) as a Young Investigator. The ONR Young Investigator Prize (YIP) program is designed to attract young scientists and engineers who show exceptional promise for outstanding research and teaching careers. Read more...
  • Professor Peter Szolovits has been named the recipient of the 2013 Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence. The award is presented annually by the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) in honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field. According to the ACMI, the award is the "highest honor in informatics that is presented by the American College of Medical Informatics to an individual whose personal commitment and dedication to biomedical informatics has made a lasting impression on healthcare and biomedicine.”
  • Researchers at the High Throughput Neurotechnology Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) have built an automated system that can rapidly produce 3-D, micron-resolution images of thousands of zebrafish larvae and precisely analyze their physical traits. The system, described in the Feb. 12 edition of Nature Communications, offers a comprehensive view of how potential drugs affect vertebrates, says Professor Mehmet Fatih Yanik, senior author of the paper.
  • Timothy Lu, MIT assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science and biological engineering working with members of the Synthetic Biology Group in the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), has successfully created new synthetic biology circuits that combine memory and logic allowing potential control over production of cells to generate biofuels, drugs or other useful compounds. Read more...
  • With the fall 2012 launch of the bigdata@csail center, which represents a focused effort to understand and put to good use the huge amounts of data generated all the time, a handful of members of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at MIT are contributing specifically to medical applications. The MIT News Office has featured the work of Peter Szolovits, John Guttag, Alan Willsky and -- perhaps at the heart of abstractly looking at big data and medicine -- former EECS undergraduate and masters degree student David Rashef, now an MD/PhD student with the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program. Read more...
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department Head Anantha Chandrakasan announced on Jan. 21, 2013, the appointment of Professor Gregory Wornell for the Sumitomo Electric Industries Professorship of Engineering. Greg Wornell is a recognized leader in the fields of signal processing and information theory.