No 61
Beat the Heat, Multimedia Style

Welcome to the Koch Institute block party newsletter, featuring the sights, sounds, and stylings of KI postdocs and faculty members. Come fall, we'll be back to school with new research results, but in the meantime, these broadcasts and podcasts will educate, entertain, and inspire. Or, if you want to step away from the screen for a while, you can step up to join or support the upcoming Sisters Against Ovarian Cancer Walk in memory of founder Marie Spinale on Saturday, September 10, benefiting the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program. Happy summer!

Bhatia Shoots for the Moon
Sangeeta Bhatia at White House

KI faculty member Sangeeta Bhatia, the John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, uses tiny technology to address large scale challenges. As such, it is no surprise that she was a featured speaker at Vice President Biden’s recent summit on new initiatives for the ongoing Cancer Moonshot effort. Her talk, which focused on the combined power of computation and miniaturization, emphasized the importance of early detection and cancer prevention. Watch video

TED Live and Learn
Paula Hammond & Sangeeta Bhatia at TED Live

KI engineers Paula Hammond, a David H. Koch Professor of Engineering, and Sangeeta Bhatia made their Broadway debuts at TED Talks Live, in partnership with PBS. Hammond unveiled “a new superweapon in the fight against cancer” (watch now) while Bhatia explored how a “tiny particle could roam your body to find tumors” (watch now). Both presentations were offered as part of the two-day Science & Wonder series within the weeklong event, and preceded Bhatia’s appearance at TEDMED, during which she spoke further about her vision for the next generation of biomedical inventions (watch now).

Pleading Immunotherapy
License to Kill - T cells

In addition to being one of the KI’s five focus areas since its inception, cancer immunology and immunotherapy have been oncology’s hottest topics since being declared the "breakthrough of the year" by Science magazine in 2013. Two events hosted by the KI this spring explored recent advances in these fields. In early May, KI faculty members Darrell Irvine and Dane Wittrup brought together biological, chemical, and materials engineers for Engineering Immunity, a two-day symposium to explore how engineers, immunologists, and clinicians can work together to improve immunotherapy. Later that month, KI director Tyler Jacks presented a masterclass on the topic as part of the KI’s ongoing with/in/sight public lecture series. The evening, which included hands-on demonstrations by members of the Jacks and Irvine laboratories, was the third of five special events dedicated to the KI’s five focus areas in our fifth anniversary year. Read more, view pictures, and watch presentation here.

KISS and Tell

On June 10, 2016, researchers from Cambridge, Boston, and beyond gathered at MIT for the 15th annual Koch Institute Summer Symposium (KISS). Focusing on cancer prevention and early detection, and anchored by a thought-provoking panel discussion about the challenges associated with this work, KISS speakers described how new technologies combined with advances in understanding of the genetics and cell biology of cancer could reduce the cancer death rate worldwide. Watch all presentations here.

Do Viruses Make You Feel Funny?
You're the Expert logo

What exactly does KI faculty member Angela Belcher do all day? This was the challenge presented to three comedians on a recent episode of “You’re the Expert," which brings together academic experts and sharp-witted humorists for a deep, humorous dive into the inner workings of top research laboratories. Listen, laugh, and learn about Belcher’s work in engineering viruses and bacteria to create new technologies.

That's So Ninja
Cancer Gangster Illustration

“Fascinating and daunting” is how KI director Tyler Jacks describes tumors in Episode 10 of STAT’s SIGNAL podcast. Jacks joined his former advisor and Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus and others to talk with STAT’s Luke Timmerman and Meg Tirrell about cancer’s dirty, sneaky ability to evolve, evading both the immune system and treatment, in “Cancer is a low-down, gangster ninja.” Listen online (Jacks makes his first of several appearances around the five-minute mark).

Keeping Up with the Koehlers

As a chemist with an appointment in MIT's Department of Biological Engineering, KI faculty member Angela Koehler is no stranger to the challenges of navigating multiple worlds at once. On The Secret Life of Scientists, Koehler dives into cancer drug discovery, mentorship, and how she and her husband, fellow academic and former KI postdoc Arturo Vegas, balance life in the lab with parenting three under three. Watch now

Podcasts with Postdocs
GLIMPSE cover shots

Three episodes of a new MIT podcast offer glimpses into the wide range of Koch Institute research. Sharing insights about cancer biology, immune engineering, and biomaterials, KI postdocs Madeleine Oudin (Gertler Lab), Talar Tokatlian (Irvine Lab), and Asha Patel (Langer/Anderson Labs, and a current KI Image Awards winner) spoke with GLIMPSE podcast host Alex Albanese, himself a former Bhatia Lab member and a current KI Image Awards winner, about their personal and professional pathways, and the inspiration that drives them.

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