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Category: Chemical engineering

Synthesis too slow? Let this robot do it. | MIT News
January 12, 2022

Researchers in the lab of Bradley Pentelute, MIT professor of chemistry, have invented a fully automated fast-flow instrument that can synthesize peptide-nucleic acids in a single shot. By automating the process of synthesizing CPP-conjugated peptide-nucleic acids (PPNAs) using the robot dubbed “Tiny Tides” by the research team, typical PPNA synthesis time was reduced from multiple days to just two hours. “This new...

Method for delivering immune system-stimulating drugs may enhance cancer immunotherapy | MIT News
January 10, 2022

Stimulating the body’s immune system to attack tumors is a promising way to treat cancer. Scientists are working on two complementary strategies to achieve that: taking off the brakes that tumors put on the immune system; and “stepping on the gas,” or delivering molecules that jumpstart immune cells. However, when jumpstarting the immune system, researchers have to be careful not to overstimulate it, which can...

Compassionate mentorship both inside and outside the lab | MIT News
January 4, 2022

Although his professional expertise lies in developing chemical catalysts, MIT Visiting Professor Karthish Manthiram also makes sure to catalyze positive relationships with his graduate students. Manthiram is concluding his appointment as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at MIT. He is the principal investigator for the Manthiram Lab, which focuses on developing and producing key catalysts that are essential...

A step toward “living biotherapeutics”
December 10, 2021

The human gut is home to thousands of species of bacteria, and some of those bacteria have the potential to treat a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. Some species may help to combat colon cancer, while others could help treat or prevent infections such as C. difficile. One of the obstacles to developing these “living biotherapeutics” is that many of the species that could be beneficial are harmed by oxygen, making it difficult to...

Six MIT students named 2023 Schwarzman Scholars | MIT News
December 6, 2021

Five MIT seniors — Sihao Huang, William Kuhl, Giramnah Peña-Alcántara, Sreya Vangara, and Kelly Wu — and graduate student Tingyu Li have been awarded 2022-23 Schwarzman Scholarships. They will head to Tsinghua University in Beijing next August to pursue a one-year master’s degree in global affairs. The students will also receive leadership training, career development, and opportunities to gain a greater...

Taking some of the guesswork out of drug discovery | MIT News
December 6, 2021

In their quest to discover effective new medicines, scientists search for drug-like molecules that can attach to disease-causing proteins and change their functionality. It is crucial that they know the 3D shape of a molecule to understand how it will attach to specific surfaces of the protein. But a single molecule can fold in thousands of different ways, so solving that puzzle experimentally is a time consuming and...

MIT Future Founders Initiative announces prize competition to promote female entrepreneurs in biotech | MIT News
November 30, 2021

In a fitting sequel to its entrepreneurship “boot camp” educational lecture series last fall, the MIT Future Founders Initiative has announced the MIT Future Founders Prize Competition, supported by Northpond Ventures, and named the MIT faculty cohort that will participate in this year’s competition. The Future Founders Initiative was established in 2020 to promote female entrepreneurship in biotech. Despite...

New 10-minute test detects Covid-19 immunity | MIT News
November 23, 2021

Researchers have successfully developed a rapid point-of-care test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). This simple test, only requiring a drop of blood from a fingertip, can be performed within 10 minutes without the need for a laboratory or specially trained personnel. Currently, no similar NAb tests are commercially available within Singapore or elsewhere. The work was led by the...

Diagnosing cancer with a barcode-inspired test | MIT News
November 14, 2021

As Dana Al-Sulaiman peers into a microscope, a row of dots appears on a slide. These dots can help provide a cancer diagnosis. Al-Sulaiman was inspired by barcodes found on consumer products. “I got the idea from my PhD supervisor, who said, ‘in the future you’ll be able to scan a diagnostic test like you’re scanning a barcode.’ I initially thought it was the far future, but it’s closer than I thought,” says...

Hunting a “Jekyll-and-Hyde” molecule | MIT News
November 13, 2021

MIT chemical engineers have developed a way of swiftly screening compounds to determine their therapeutic potential for certain kinds of cancers. With a genetically engineered sensor and high-throughput technology, their method probes for changes in cellular concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a specialized molecule known as an oxidant. “The regulatory pathways of some tumors depend on elevated levels of...

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