Spotlight

Fifty-five students graduate as part of HST Class of 2019

 

On Friday, May 31, HST held its 2019 graduation ceremony and reception on the sixth floor of the MIT Media Lab. Fifty-five students received certificates following heartfelt remarks from Co-Director Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD; Dean of Harvard Medical School George Q. Daley, MD, PhD; and Director of the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science (IMES), HST’s home at MIT, Elazer Edelman, MD, PhD.

MD Program graduate David Joseph (DJ) Bozym gave a delightful student address describing his time at HST in moments, from the edifying to the comical.

Families, guests, and faculty gathered to commemorate the students, many of whom will soon begin internships and residencies in hospitals throughout the country or continue careers in medical research.

 

2019 MIT Awards on May 13 to honor HST MEMP Student Diversity Ambassadors

 

The HST MEMP Student Diversity Ambassadors have won the 2019 MIT Bridge Builder Award, given to students and/or groups who have exhibited a solid commitment to celebrating the array of communities represented at MIT. Aditi Gupta, Lucy Hu, Christian Landeros, Erin Byrne Rousseau, and Claudia Elena Varela were recognized for their work collaborating with other student organizations, serving as mentors, and advancing the overall conversation surrounding inclusivity within and beyond HST.

The group will be honored at the 2019 MIT Awards Convocation ceremony on Monday, May 13 at 4:00pm in the Samberg Center (E52). Faculty, students, and staff are welcome to attend!

For more information and to see a complete list of awards, click here.

Songs of KwaZulu-Natal: Reflections from HST.434

 

By Sri Gowtham Thakku and Avilash Cramer

This past January, we traveled to South Africa as part of the IAP class HST.434: Evolution of an Epidemic. The class, taught by IMES Professor Bruce Walker and Dr. Howard Heller and offered to MIT undergraduates, examines the medical, scientific, public health and policy responses to a new disease, by focusing on the evolution of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As two graduate students enrolled in HST’s Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) PhD program, our official role in the class was as Teaching Assistants, but we ended up finding ourselves more as students – listening, absorbing and learning.

Leading up to the trip, we had two days of preparatory lectures and an extensive list of readings to complete, which most of us did on our long flights to Durban. While these were helpful in building a foundation of knowledge surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, they were hardly preparation for all our interactions with the people we met — the young women living through the epidemic in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the healthcare providers working to fight it, the researchers searching for a cure — their warmth, friendliness and boundless optimism couldn’t possibly be captured in a lecture or journal article.

Microbiome milkshakes: The story behind the study

 

By Thomas Gurry, Samuel Finlayson, Travis Hughes, and Travis Zack

In the spring of 2015, a couple of researchers at the recently launched MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics & Therapeutics (CMIT), including the Center’s co-director, Prof. Eric Alm, converged on a study design to better understand the impact of individual dietary micronutrients on gut microbiome composition.

The main difficulty we faced was finding a way to measure the effect of these micronutrients against a diet background that was identical in all study participants. After several iterations and discussions with nutritionists and other experts, we converged on using Ensure, a liquid nutritional meal replacement used in clinical contexts, as the sole source of nutrition during the study period. This would guarantee that the chemical composition of every participants’ diet was identical, and addressed one of the main concerns with previous microbiome-related diet studies.

Emery N. Brown, HST Co-Director, wins 2018 Dickson Prize in Science

 

Carnegie Mellon University announced Dec. 5 that Emery N. Brown, the Associate Director of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at MIT, the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital has won the 2018 Dickson Prize in Science.

“Dr. Brown is one of the world’s leading physician-scientists,” Carnegie Mellon said in announcing the award.

Forbes 30 Under 30 lists HST alums Tyler Clites and Cheryl Cui

 

For their promising work in the life sciences, HST alums Tyler Clites '17 and Cheryl Cui '18 were two of Forbes magazine's 2019 30 Under 30 for healthcare. Congratulations Tyler and Cheryl!

Tyler Clites, 28

Postdoctoral associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"I build human cyborgs," says MIT researcher Tyler Clites. In his doctoral work, he designed a way to make prosthetic limbs that communicate sensations of joint position and movement directly to the nervous system. This involves a new way of performing amputation surgery and a robotic control system. It has been tried in 12 patients.

Cheryl Cui, 28
Co-founder, Nest. Bio

In 2017 biomedical engineer Cheryl Cui founded Nest.Bio, a venture fund that has close to $100 million under management and invested in eight life science startups. Earlier this year she also launched Nest.Bio Labs, which is a Cambridge, Massachusetts office and lab hub that now houses 12 biotech companies.

Machine-learning system could aid critical decisions in sepsis care

 

Researchers at MIT and MGH, in a new paper first-authored by HST student Varesh Prasad and co-authored by Professor Thomas Heldt, unveil a model for predicting whether ER sepsis patients need life-saving, but potentially harmful, vasopressors. Read more in the MIT News story below.

By Rob Matheson, MIT News Office

Researchers from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have developed a predictive model that could guide clinicians in deciding when to give potentially life-saving drugs to patients being treated for sepsis in the emergency room.

Sepsis is one of the most frequent causes of admission, and one of the most common causes of death, in the intensive care unit. But the vast majority of these patients first come in through the ER. Treatment usually begins with antibiotics and intravenous fluids, a couple liters at a time. If patients don’t respond well, they may go into septic shock, where their blood pressure drops dangerously low and organs fail. Then it’s often off to the ICU, where clinicians may reduce or stop the fluids and begin vasopressor medications such as norepinephrine and dopamine, to raise and maintain the patient’s blood pressure.

"Hey,Charlie" app supports those struggling with opioids

 

"Hey,Charlie" is the brainchild of HST MEMP PhD Alum Emily Lindemer. An app offering continual support via gentle reminders and words of caution, it's an ideal tool for those on the road to addiction recovery. Learn more in the MIT News story below.

By Eva Charles Anna Frederick

In the spring of 2016, while Emily Lindemer was working toward her PhD at MIT, she was also struggling with something closer to home: watching someone she knew well fall in and out of recovery from opioid addiction.

Like many people in recovery, Lindemer’s friend had his ups and downs. There were promising periods of sobriety followed by relapses into old habits. As the months went by, Lindemer began to see patterns.

For example, when he lost his driver's license — a common occurrence for people struggling with substance abuse who have run-ins with police — he had to call his friends to give him rides to work. If the friends he called for a lift were also people he used drugs with, Lindemer says, he’d relapse within a week.

“His relapses were predictable almost to a T, just based on the people he was associating with — who he was talking to, calling, texting, and hanging out with,” she says.

This realization turned out to be an inspiration. What if, she thought, there was a way to provide gentle moments of pause to people struggling with substance-abuse disorders?

Four HST alumni elected to National Academy of Medicine

 

On Oct. 15, four alumni of the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology were elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), each securing one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Benjamin Ebert, Jennifer Elisseeff, Matthew Meyerson, and Janey Wiggs were among 85 newly elected members recognized for their “outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service in science, medicine, health, and policy in the U.S. and around the globe,” according to the NAM. Ebert, Meyerson, and Wiggs are HST MD alumni, while Elisseeff is a graduate of HST's MEMP PhD program.

The NAM was founded in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, and is one of three academies comprising the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The organization is a nonprofit providing objective guidance on the topics of health, science, and technology. More than 2,000 members strong, it has distinguished itself as a reliable source for credible advice on topics related to human health, and aims to secure a healthy future for all.

First-year MEMP student Jordan Harrod recounts 2018 InCube experience

The 2018 InCube Competition

In case you were wondering why people were living in a glass cube in front of Stata

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a fishbowl?

The weekend of Sept. 21, Paolo Adajar ’21, Eswar Anandapadmanaban ’19, Sam Solomon ’20, Erica Yuen G, and I ate, slept, and worked in a glass cube on North Court for four days. This was the 2018 InCube Competition, an international hackathon/pitch competition led by ETH Zurich Entrepreneur Club. There were five cubes, each with a different challenge from its respective sponsor.

Our challenge, sponsored by Stryker, was to design the ambulance of the future. Over the four days, we met with paramedics from ProEMS, medical directors in the Boston area, engineers and designers from Stryker, and you! If you walked by the cube while we were there, there was a good chance we would come out to see what you thought of our work.

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