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Harvard’s Wyss Institute welcomes Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a new collaborating institution

First collaborative initiative will focus on synthetic biology

(BOSTON) — The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University announced today that MIT has joined the Wyss Institute collaborative consortium. MIT, a world leader in scientific and technological research, becomes the Wyss Institute’s 12th collaborating institution, joining Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Tufts University, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and University of Zurich.

“The Boston-Cambridge technology ecosystem is one of the most dynamic breeding grounds for innovation in the world,” said Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber, Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “MITs participation will allow us to work together to produce disruptive technologies for medicine and the environment, and accelerate their translation into products that will have near-term impact.”

The key initial focus will be led by James Collins, Ph.D., a Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute and a Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, where he is also a core member of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. Collins, who is also Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute, will work on improving rationality and practicality in the design and application of synthetic biology technologies. Wyss and others at MIT will jointly develop new strategies for biologic drug design, gene therapies, stem cell engineering and development of novel diagnostics using engineered gene circuits, with the goal of moving synthetic biology from the confines of the laboratory to the marketplace.

“This new relationship with the Wyss Institute allows MIT to build on our strengths at the intersection of engineering, science, and clinical medicine,” says Arup K. Chakraborty, Director of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science at MIT. “There is no greater concentration of activity and research on this topic anywhere else in the world. These kinds of collaborations will bring solutions to problems weve never been able to address before.”

MIT will gain access to the Wyss Institute’s key technology platforms, including Anticipatory Medical and Cellular Devices, Synthetic Biology, Adaptive Material Technologies, Biomimetic Microsystems, Bioinspired Robotics, and Programmable Nanomaterials, as well as the Wyss Institute’s unique technology translation model, which takes lead high-value technologies that emerge from Wyss faculty efforts, and de-risks them both technically and commercially to increase their likelihood for real-world translation.

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