Photovoltaics and solar power
Tonio Buonassisi, the PI at MIT’s Photovoltaics Lab, recently took a trip to the Folgefonna National Park in Norway. There, he hiked across nearly 200 square km of glaciers. Under the crunch of snow with each step he took, he could hear the water rushing below him — more water than was normal for the ebbs and flows of a glacier’s natural lifetime — a constant reminder that his time to act was running out.
Optimizing the human brain
After a prolific residence in MIT's Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which included developing a super-resolution microscope to look at nanoscale resolution of building blocks of brain, Deblina Sarkar is seeking out a new challenge in forming the Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek research group to engineer nanoelectronics for the human brain.
Preparing for disaster
The Urban Risk Lab, led by Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism Miho Mazereeuw, aims to develop and provide integrated solutions for disaster preparedness, focusing on natural disasters and environmental impact research.
The next generation of materials
The Electrochemical Materials Lab focuses on finding new ways to process ceramic and glass, leveraging new methods and design paradigms towards new device functionalities that have the potential to make our phones and computers smaller, faster, and smarter than ever before.
Understanding diseases at the nanoscale
Researchers at the Nanomechanics Laboratory strive to utilize the mechanical properties of nanomaterials to study the progression and to understand the mechanisms of sickle cell disease and other life-threatening diseases.
Towards the future of nuclear energy: materials
The Mesoscale Nuclear Materials Group, built in 2013 and led by Michael P. Short, aims to address problems of material performance by reinventing our understanding and measurement techniques of nuclear materials degradation.
‘Watch, perturb, and map’
The Synthetic Neurobiology Group, led by neurotechnology professor Ed Boyden, takes an interdisciplinary approach to uncovering, mapping, and perturbing the mysteries of the brain.
Taking advantage of the human genome
Manolis Kellis, professor of computer science, applies his computer science background to find unique solutions to problems in biology.
Molding medicine with materials
The Anderson Lab designs original materials to deliver biological therapies for various disease models.
How mathematicians study wave equations
“Best breakthroughs are done by people who bring ideas from different fields into the one they think they are expert on,” said Staffilani.
Uncovering bacterial evolution in our microbiome
The Lieberman Lab works to understand the evolution of bacteria in the human ecosystem.
Navigating our cities
With new advancements in technology and the abundance of data, we can better understand the interactions between people and their urban environments. As a result, improvements in urban planning can pave the way for more efficient and environmentally cleaner cities. Researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab aim to predict and study these improvements from a critical point of view. As conducting research to learn about people’s habits in their urban environment requires members of the lab to consider many diverse viewpoints, the Senseable City Lab is made up of a multidisciplinary team of designers, engineers, computer scientists, biologists, and social scientists. With this diversity of researchers comes a diversity of technologies being utilized in the lab. “Reflecting the diversity of the lab, and the Urban issues, we use big data analysis, machine learning techniques, but also robotics and design,” says the director of the lab, Professor Carlo Ratti.
Targeting tumors with nanoparticles
Since its founding in 1995, the Hammond Lab has been an integral part of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, developing nanoparticles that encapsulate and release drugs to reprogram cancer cells. Chemical engineering department head Paula Hammond ’84, Ph.D ’94 leads research initiatives that range from designing thin films for tissue regeneration to embedding nucleic acids into nanomaterials to silence cancer cell expression.
Thinking about other people’s thoughts
Consider the following thought experiment: Person A and Person B, on a tour of a chemical factory, stop to take a coffee break. Person A finds a pot containing white powder — a powder which is actually sugar, but is labeled “deadly poison.” Person A put some of this powder into Person B’s coffee; Person B drinks it and remains perfectly healthy.
Unraveling the intricacies of American elections
These issues of voter registration and the lack of security in the election process caught the attention of MIT Professor Charles Stewart, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science and the Founding Director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab (MEDSL). “The thing that I learned, as well as everybody else in America at the time,” said Stewart, “was that it was possible for you to be active and to vote, and for that vote not to count.”
Starving cancer by controlling cell proliferation
According to Matthew Vander Heiden, associate professor of biology, the key to addressing the challenge of cancer treatment is understanding the metabolism of mammalian cells.
Creating compounds with catalysts
Imagine a world where toxic chemicals abound in the air in the form of unfiltered carbon monoxide from car exhaust. Imagine a world without paper because the pulp cannot be refined into the crisp white sheets we have today. Imagine a world without fertilizer, gasoline, or even plastic. Imagine a world without life because the processes to replicate DNA now take 2.3 billion years. This is the reality of a world without catalysts, which are used to propel reactions in manufacturing, petrochemicals, the human body, and many other areas of life.
The Holten-Andersen Group’s approach to bio-inspired materials
There is no question that nature is the best engineer. As hard as material scientists try, replicating nature’s intricate processes and networks is a holy grail that often seems nearly unattainable. Instead of attempting to copy nature, some scientists draw inspiration from nature’s mechanisms and apply them to the synthesis of goods for human use. The field of producing materials using design principles from nature is known as bio-inspired material research.
Engineering nuclear policy
Interdisciplinary symbiosis inspires Scott Kemp’s work in MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy (LNSP).
Fighting coronavirus through research
As one of the few labs authorized to conduct research on biosafety level three (BSL-3) viruses, the Gehrke Lab is studying pathologies of SARS-CoV-2 at the Ragon Institute.
Simulating galactic formation
The Caterpillar Project is made to simulate the formation of a large number of Milky Way-like galaxies at a high resolution from a statistical standpoint. The Caterpillar Project aims to understand galaxy formations by using dark-matter-only simulations.
Biosensing with fluorescent emulsions
Moreover, while the published work on this Janus detection system was for Listeria, this method is hardly limited to Listeria. By switching out the antibody from one to another, this system can be applied to practically any pathogen, whether bacterial or viral.
What’s it like to design a meal that floats?
What happens to astronauts when dinners, normally served off plates here on Earth, are instead squirted from shriveled plastic packages fitted with sphincters and tubes? When the movement and music of cooking is replaced with the injection of warm water into said packages?
Discovering nature’s properties through nonlinear solid mechanics
The study of nonlinear solid mechanics subjects materials to extreme stress or strain to observe their properties and behavior. Examining these extremes enables a more complete understanding of these materials.
Data-driven policy for a better world
Developing strategies to lower the kidney discard rate and improve the kidney placement rate is one of the many problems MIT’s Blueprint Labs focuses on — it's an interdisciplinary group that uses economics- and data-oriented approaches to tackle problems in healthcare, education, and workforce policy.