No. 76
From Origami to Organoids: 2018 Image Awards Exhibition Opens

From tissues to tumors, dendrites to diabetes, vacuoles to vaccines, 10 dynamic images from eleven MIT laboratories were unveiled on March 8, marking the opening of the eighth annual Image Awards exhibition in the Koch Institute Public Galleries. This year's winning visuals, also featured in STAT and Nature, encompass a wide range of imaging techniques and subject matters, shining light on the processes and progress of today's biomedical research endeavors. Learn more.

Hammond Wins ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science

In March, Paula Hammond, KI member and David H. Koch Professor of Engineering, received the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Applied Polymer Science at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans. Hammond, also the head of MIT's Department of Chemical Engineering, was honored for her contributions to the fields of polymer and polymer materials research. Also recognized at the ACS National Meeting was KI member Angela Belcher, who gave the Fred Kavli Innovations in Chemistry Lecture at the event.

Bridge Projects in Bloom

Weather aside, a sure sign of spring at the Koch Institute is the announcement of the latest cohort of research teams supported by the Bridge Project, the Koch Institute’s collaborative partnership with Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. This year, nine new projects seek improved understandings and test novel approaches, from exploring a new target for brain cancer treatment, to understanding how obesity may help colon cancer evade the immune system, to developing personalized therapeutic vaccines for metastatic cancers. Also included is a foray into a new disease area, ileal carcinoids. This neuroendocrine cancer is hard to treat and to study, partly due to a lack of reliable models. Combining advances in modeling, drug delivery, and highly sensitive analysis, the team aims to better understand and predict the tumors’ therapeutic response. See the 2018 Bridge Projects

Roots of Success

KI member and MIT Institute Professor Phillip Sharp will be honored at this year's American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting with the 2018 AACR Distinguished Award for Extraordinary Scientific Innovation and Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research and Biomedical Science, the latest in a long line of commendations. However, cancer research is not the only "field" that shaped Sharp's career. In March, Sharp returned to his Bluegrass State roots to speak at a "Kentucky to the World" event where he stopped by Louisville's NPR Station, WFPL, to discuss his journey from growing up on a farm in rural Kentucky to his 1993 Nobel Prize win and beyond.

Advancing New Bodies of Knowledge

Researchers from the laboratory of KI member Linda Griffith have engineered a new "body on a chip" technology that could be used to accurately test the efficacy of drugs before they're administered to humans. The technology, a microfluidic platform that connects engineered tissues from organs, can replicate human organ interactions for an extended period of time, allowing researchers to learn how various parts of the body react to the drug being tested. An image of previous work from this project was showcased in the 2017 Koch Institute Image Awards Exhibition. Read more.

Yilmaz Wins AAAS Award

Congratulations to KI member and Assistant Professor of Biology Ömer Yilmaz for being named a winner of the 2018 AAAS Martin and Rose Wachtel Cancer Research Award! The award honors early-career investigators who have performed outstanding work in the field of cancer research. Yilmaz will deliver a public lecture on his research and have his essay on his award-winning work published in Science Translational Medicine. Read more.

Science Festival Double Header

Pardon the mixing of sports metaphors, but the KI is going for gold in the Cambridge Science Festival this April. First up, the triumphant return of Putt-ing Cancer in its Place — the pop-up cancer research-themed mini-golf course — on Thursday, April 19 from 10:00am - 3:00am in MIT North Court (rain date Friday, April 20). Mark your calendars to swing by (it's free!) and be sure to share the event on Facebook be-fore-hand. Then, on Friday, April 20 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm, stop by the KI Public Galleries for Cell Lines to Street Signs, a "Behind the Images" event centered on the Festival's new look thanks to the inclusion of KI Image Award winners and runners-up! The program will include light refreshments and relay-style lightning talks about the featured images.

KI Alumna Named Gates Cambridge Scholar

From Cambridge Mass to Cambridge UK — former Langer Lab UROP June Park has been selected as a 2018 Gates Cambridge Scholar and will be heading across the pond to earn a PhD in bioengineering at Cambridge University. During her time in the Langer Lab, Park helped develop an ultrasound-mediated colonic drug-delivery device, which became the platform technology behind KI startup Suono Bio. She is currently an associate consultant at Putnam Associates, where she helps generate and deliver strategic recommendations for global biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. We're sure that she'll be applying her keen senses of both business and engineering as she takes on this next opportunity. Congratulations! Read more.

A Day in the Langer Life

Juggling his roles as engineer, professor, entrepreneur, and inventor, KI member and David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer is always on the go. In this day-in-the-life video, produced by MIT's School of Engineering and Department of Chemical Engineering, Langer takes viewers behind the curtain to find out about how his interest in chemistry and fascination with magic propels him to keep learning and discovering through chemical engineering.

KI Community Highlights

Kick up your heels and swing into spring — join our friends, Sisters Against Ovarian Cancer, at their 11th Annual Ovarian Cancer Fundraiser! The event will be held on Friday, April 27 at the Irish American Club in Malden, MA from 7:00pm - 11:00pm. Proceeds from the event will benefit the SAOC Koch Institute Frontier Research Fund.

Congratulations to KI member Michael Birnbaum, the Eugene Bell Career Development Professor in Tissue Engineering, for receiving a V Scholar Grant from the V Foundation.

Former KI postdoc Madeleine Oudin, now an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Tufts University, spoke with TuftsNow about becoming the first cancer biologist to join the department's faculty.

KI member Ed Boyden has been named a recipient of the 2018 Canada Gairdner International Award — Canada’s most prestigious scientific prize — for his role in the discovery of light-gated ion channels and optogenetics, a technology to control brain activity with light.

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