Microfluidics symposium draws hundreds
The second annual international Wyss Symposium, Microfluidics and Medicine: Accelerating the flow from lab to clinic, drew nearly 400 academics, government representatives, and members of industry to hear some of the world's leading experts in microfluidics share their insights into the exciting advances -- and formidable commercialization challenges -- now taking place in this rapidly evolving field. More...
Boston Globe profiles the Wyss Institute
Our unique innovation and technology translation model was profiled in a lengthy article in the Boston Globe. This article nicely conveyed our emphasis on de-risking technologies by establishing early-stage product development programs and developing critical prototypes and processes internally at the Institute. The piece also highlighted some of the key technologies in the Institute's pipeline -- cancer vaccine, lung-on-a-chip, sepsis diagnostic, and neonatal apnea prevention -- and our success in bridging the gap between academia and industry.
Lung-on-a-Chip top contender for design award
The Wyss Institute's lung-on-a-chip microdevice, which could help replace animal testing and accelerate the arrival of promising and affordable new drugs on the market, has been named a finalist for a 2011 INDEX: Design for Life Award. It was one of just 61 finalists selected by an international jury from a total of 966 nominations. INDEX Awards honor designs from around the world that have the most potential to improve the lives of people everywhere. More...
Biggest Undiscovered Idea
The Wyss Institute's Rapid Pathogen IDentification (RaPID) system took first place in the "Big Undiscovered Idea" competition at the 2011 Massachusetts Life Sciences Innovation Day held June 2 in Boston. Wyss Advanced Technology Team member, Mike Super, who is leading the project, presented the winning idea, with help from postdoc Daniel Levner. At the same event, Geraldine Hamilton received a special award for having the best technology pitch. More...
Technologies in the Pipeline
Pam Silver led a team of researchers on a project published in PLoS One in which photosynthetic bacteria injected into cells of Zebrafish embryos were able to take root and survive inside the cells of the fish. Giving vertebrate cells the same ability to access the sun's energy as certain bacteria and plants has intriguing possiblilites.
Ali Khademhosseini and his team have developed a simple, cheap, and portable biosensor that analyzes the way heart cells behave when exposed to various chemicals. As described in their Lab on a Chip article, the new technology could become part of a personalized testing system that helps steer individual patients toward drug treatments that are least likely to cause negative side effects.
Now Playing: Cell cultures in 3D
A novel technology for creating complex 3D cultures in vitro could provide a more accurate model for understanding the way cells behave in the hypoxic regions of a tumor that often are resistant to cancer therapies. The technology, which is described in PLoS One, uses living cells cultured on paper to create layers of cells in a 3D culture. George Whitesides and Don Ingber led the research team, which included postdocs Sindy Tang and Bobak Mosadegh.
Out and About
Insect-sized robots abuzz in Cambridge
Radhika Nagpal and Ben Finio demonstrated their unique, insect-sized robotics at several venues during the spring, including at the Museum of Science, MIT, and Cambridge Public Library. Each event featured biologically inspired robots, such as robotic bees and groups of robots that work together like ants or termites. At the Museum of Science event, they organized a competition in which kids built their own robots out of LEGOs and raced them to a target. More...
Two new roles for Joanna Aizenberg
Joanna Aizenberg was appointed new director of the Kavli Institute for Bionanoscience and Technology at Harvard in May. The Institute brings together scientists and clinicians to address fundamental questions about the behavior and functioning of biological systems. Joanna was also named Director of the Science Program for the Radcliffe Institute's Academic Ventures program, where she will help convene scholars from across Harvard for multidisciplinary seminars and workshops and bring luminaries in academia and the professions together for conferences and talks.
Don Ingber delivers Bagrit Lecture at Imperial College
Don Ingber delivered the inaugural Bagrit Lecture at Imperial College London on May 19. His talk, which coincided with the 20-year anniversary of the founding of the school's Department of Bioengineering, explored the many exciting potential applications for organ-on-chip technology. More...
In the Media
Harvard Magazine profiles the Wyss
The Wyss Institute was featured in the May/June issue of Harvard Magazine. Describing the Institute as "taking on the ambitious task of applying the astounding capabilities of living systems to better engineer artificial ones," the story captured our unique innovation model and emphasis on technology translation.
In the war on infections, add sugar
The Boston Globe, in a front page story, covered a new discovery by Jim Collins and his team in which they have developed an effective, low-cost approach to treating chronic bacterial infections, such as strep and staph. These infections are typically caused by "persisters," bacteria that evade medications by slipping into a zombielike state, then mysteriously reawaken to cause new infections. Their solution? Add sugar...
New Scientist reports on rapid sepsis diagnostic
New Scientist highlighted the Wyss Institute's Rapid Pathogen ID (RaPID) technology in a recent article on new ways to dramatically reduce the time required to diagnose potentially fatal infections. Mike Super explained the process being developed for sepsis diagnosis, which uses magnets to identify the pathogen within just a few hours of blood collection. Current methods for sepsis detection can take two to seven days.