MIT News

New Technique Reveals Internal Characteristics of Photonic Crystals

November 29, 2016

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A New Method for Analyzing Crystal Structure

Scientists at MIT have developed a new technique that reveals the inner details of photonic crystals, synthetic materials whose exotic optical properties are the subject of widespread research. Photonic crystals are generally made by drilling millions of closely spaced, minuscule holes in a slab of transparent material, using variations of microchip-fabrication methods. Depending on the […]

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MIT Engineers Create Synthetic Cells to Isolate Genetic Circuits

November 17, 2016

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Engineers Create Synthetic Cells to Isolate Genetic Circuits

Engineers from MIT have developed a way to isolate genetic circuits within individual synthetic “cells,” preventing the circuits from disrupting each other. Synthetic biology allows scientists to design genetic circuits that can be placed in cells, giving them new functions such as producing drugs or other useful molecules. However, as these circuits become more complex, […]

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MIT Chemists Reveal Bacterial Enzyme That Can Produce Biodegradable Plastics

November 15, 2016

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Chemists Discover Structure of Bacterial Enzyme That Generates Useful Polymers

Researchers at MIT have determined the structure of a bacterial enzyme that can produce biodegradable plastics, an advance that could help chemical engineers tweak the enzyme to make it even more industrially useful. The enzyme generates long polymer chains that can form either hard or soft plastics, depending on the starting materials that go into […]

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New Catalyst Promotes Carbon Dioxide Conversion into Fuels

November 15, 2016

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Turning Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline

Scientists at MIT have developed a new catalyst material that provides design principles for producing fuels from carbon dioxide emissions. The findings suggest a route toward using the world’s existing infrastructure for fuel storage and distribution, without adding net greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere. The new catalyst takes the process only through its first stage […]

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Researchers Develop a New Approach Against Pathogens

November 8, 2016

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Researchers Develop a New Approach Against Salmonella and Other Pathogens

A newly developed immunization strategy may someday offer an alternative to antibiotics against microbes that invade the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers from MIT and the University of California at Irvine have developed a new strategy to immunize against microbes that invade the gastrointestinal tract, including Salmonella, which causes more foodborne illness in the United States than […]

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MIT Develops Nanobionic Plants That Can Detect Explosives

November 3, 2016

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Nanobionic Plants Can Detect Explosives

By embedding spinach leaves with carbon nanotubes, engineers transformed spinach plants into sensors that can detect explosives and wirelessly relay that information to a handheld device similar to a smartphone. Spinach is no longer just a superfood: By embedding leaves with carbon nanotubes, MIT engineers have transformed spinach plants into sensors that can detect explosives […]

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New “Morphing” Wing Could Enable More Efficient Plane Flight

November 3, 2016

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Morphing Wing Could Enable More Efficient Plane Manufacturing and Flight

Engineers at MIT and NASA have developed a new kind of bendable, “morphing” wing that could enable more efficient plane manufacturing and flight. When the Wright brothers accomplished their first powered flight more than a century ago, they controlled the motion of their Flyer 1 aircraft using wires and pulleys that bent and twisted the […]

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MIT Engineers Design a New Weapon Against Bacteria

November 2, 2016

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Engineers Design a New Weapon Against Bacteria

An international team of engineers has developed an antimicrobial peptide that can destroy many types of bacteria, including some that are resistant to most antibiotics. Over the past few decades, many bacteria have become resistant to existing antibiotics, and few new drugs have emerged. A recent study from a U.K. commission on antimicrobial resistance estimated […]

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Two-Pronged Immune Response Destroys Tumors

October 24, 2016

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New Treatment Elicits Two-Pronged Immune Response That Destroys Tumors in Mice

Using a combination of four different therapies, researchers from MIT reveal a new treatment that destroys tumors in mice. Harnessing the body’s own immune system to destroy tumors is a tantalizing prospect that has yet to realize its full potential. However, a new advance from MIT may bring this strategy, known as cancer immunotherapy, closer […]

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Neuroscientists Identify Two Key Groups of Neurons That Help Regulate Appetite

October 21, 2016

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Scientists Identify Two Key Groups of Neurons That Help Regulate Appetite

In a newly published study, Scientists from MIT have identify two key groups of neurons within the hypothalamus that help regulate appetite. MIT neuroscientists have discovered that brain cells called glial cells play a critical role in controlling appetite and feeding behavior. In a study of mice, the researchers found that activating these cells stimulates […]

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MIT’s Alcator C-Mod Tokamak Nuclear Fusion Reactor Sets World Record

October 14, 2016

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Alcator C-Mod Tokamak Nuclear Fusion Reactor Sets World Record

MIT’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak nuclear fusion reactor set a new world record, achieving over 2 atmospheres of pressure for the first time. On Friday, September 30, at 9:25 p.m. EDT, scientists and engineers at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center made a leap forward in the pursuit of clean energy. The team set a new […]

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MIT Physicists Simulate a Magnetar to Seek Dark Matter Particle

October 11, 2016

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MIT Physicists Seek Dark Matter Particle

Physicists from MIT are proposing a new experiment to detect a dark matter particle called the axion. If successful, the effort could crack one of the most perplexing unsolved mysteries in particle physics, as well as finally yield a glimpse of dark matter. Axions are hypothetical elementary particles that are thought to be among the […]

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New Beaver-Inspired Wetsuits May Help Keep Surfers Warm

October 5, 2016

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Beaver-Inspired Wetsuits

Inspired by semiaquatic mammals such as beavers and sea otters, MIT engineers are fabricating fur-like rubbery hair-lined wetsuits that may help keep surfers warm. Beavers and sea otters lack the thick layer of blubber that insulates walruses and whales. And yet these small, semiaquatic mammals can keep warm and even dry while diving, by trapping […]

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MIT Develops Nanosensors That Can Profile Tumors

September 29, 2016

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New Nanosensors Can Profile Tumors

Engineers at MIT have developed new nanosensors that can profile tumors and may yield insight into how they will respond to certain therapies. MIT researchers have designed nanosensors that can profile tumors and may yield insight into how they will respond to certain therapies. The system is based on levels of enzymes called proteases, which […]

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MIT Researchers Develop a New Way of Managing Memory on Computer Chips

September 26, 2016

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MIT Improves Cache Management

Engineers from MIT have found a new way of managing memory on computer chips, using circuit space much more efficiently and more consistent with existing chip designs. A year ago, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory unveiled a fundamentally new way of managing memory on computer chips, one that would use circuit […]

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New MIT Gene Therapy Technique May Help Prevent Cancer Metastasis

September 21, 2016

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New Gene Therapy Technique May Help Prevent Cancer Metastasis

MIT researchers have developed a new gene therapy technique that uses microRNAs — small noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression — to control breast cancer metastasis. The spread of malignant cells around the body, known as metastasis, is the leading cause of mortality in women with breast cancer. Now, a new gene therapy technique […]

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MIT Scientists Develop New Method to Deliver Beneficial Bacteria to the GI Tract

September 20, 2016

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Researchers Develop New Method to Deliver Beneficial Bacteria to the GI Tract

By coating bacteria with polymer layers that protect them from the acids and bile salts found in the digestive tract, scientists from MIT have developed a new strategy for delivering large numbers of beneficial bacterial to the human gut. The human digestive tract contains trillions of bacteria, many of which help digest food and fight […]

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MIT Biologists Reveal How lncRNA Helps to Control Cell Fate

September 12, 2016

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Biologists Discover How RNA Helps Control Cell Fate

New research details how biologists from MIT deciphered the structure of one type of long noncoding RNA and used that information to figure out how it interacts with a cellular protein to control the development of heart muscle cells. Several years ago, biologists discovered a new type of genetic material known as long noncoding RNA. […]

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