In order to be able to design synthetic organs that function autonomously, we will need to engineer artificial tissue homeostasis. To control the size of these artificial tissues, two major mechanisms will have to be engineered.
Existing methods for cloning and recombination of DNA enable construction of arbitrary sequences. However, the sequential nature of these techniques makes them time-consuming and expensive. Furthermore, while the transformation of an existing plasmid into a host strain can be reliable when a selection marker is used, there are many current limitations: the number of different plasmids that can be co-transformed is limited by the choice of markers and compatible origins of replication; plasmids are less stable than chromosomal DNA and are difficult to maintain indefinitely without mutation; and cistronic interactions cannot be designed since each new nucleotide sequence added is on an unconnected DNA molecule. To overcome these limitations, we are designing reconfigurable chromosomes consisting of both fixed and variable regions. While the fixed region is carefully optimized and tuned ahead of time, the variable region can be modified in the field, at the point-of-use, leading to rapid and on-demand realization of novel biocircuits with many different phenotypes.
We develop, parameterize, and validate a model for tumor growth inhibition using in vivo mouse data and study the effects of modeling uncertainty and inter-individual variability on drug candidate efficacy predictions.
We develop algorithms, systems and software architectures for automating reconstruction of accurate representations of neural tissue structures, such as nanometer-scale neurons' morphology and synaptic connections in the mammalian cortex.
We aim to develop a context-aware data-driven functional genomics framework that can characterize tissue-specific gene representations, provide context-aware genotype to phenotype mapping, and enable network-based exploration of disease genetics.
The goal of this project is to develop and test a wearable ultrasonic echolocation aid for people who are blind and visually impaired. We combine concepts from engineering, acoustic physics, and neuroscience to make echolocation accessible as a research tool and mobility aid.
When organic chemists identify a useful chemical compound — a new drug, for instance — it’s up to chemical engineers to determine how to mass-produce it. There could be 100 different sequences of reactions that yield the same end product. But some of them use cheaper reagents and lower temperatures than others, and perhaps most importantly, some are much easier to run continuously, with technicians occasionally topping up reagents in different reaction chambers.
In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at CSAIL, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.The new work, which the researchers are presenting this week at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, builds on a long sequence of papers on origami robots from the research group of CSAIL Director Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.