News Archive: 2013

Former MIT President Charles M. Vest dies at 72

Former MIT president Charles M. Vest — a tireless advocate for research and science, and a passionate supporter of diversity and openness — died on December 12, 2103 of pancreatic cancer at his home in the Washington, DC area. MIT’s 15th president, serving from 1990 to 2004, he led the Institute through a period of striking change and growth. A mechanical engineer by training, Vest was president of the National Academy of Engineering from 2007 until earlier this year.

Under Vest’s leadership, MIT renewed its commitment to education and research through major innovations in both areas; developed strong ties with academic, government, and industry partners around the world; broadened the diversity of its people and programs; and transformed its campus. “The knowledge we generate, the things we come to understand, and the devices we build can improve health, economies, security and the quality of life. MIT must continue to be optimistic in its vision of why we are here and what we can do,” Vest wrote in 2004. more...

Langer Receives Breakthrough Prize

David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer has been awarded the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, for his revolutionary work on the development of technologies for the controlled release of drugs and of other materials for biomedical applications.The prize, now in its second year, recognizes excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Koch Institute members Robert Weinberg and Eric Lander each received one of the inaugural prizes in 2013. more...

MetaStat Licenses KI-discovered Cancer Biomarkers

Work from the KI's Gertler and Burge laboratories has led to exclusive new worldwide patent and technology license agreements between life sciences company MetaStat and MIT, its Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and its Department of Biology, among others. The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) process contributes to tumor metastasis and therapeutic resistance for breast and other cancers. MetaStat has licensed a collection of genes that are alternatively spliced during EMT, leading to the production of distinct protein isoforms (or "variants"). Detection of these alternatively spliced mRNAs or their protein products offers a unique opportunity for improved diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of metastasis in epithelial solid tumors. Gertler’s work on the alternative splicing signature for EMT was funded through the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program by the KI Director's Anonymous Discretionary Fund. more...

Lippard Lab’s New Sensor Tracks Zinc & Cancer

Zinc, an essential nutrient found in all human tissues, is known to decrease drastically in prostate cancer cells. A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a new type of zinc-tracking sensor developed in the lab of KI faculty member Stephen Lippard. The sensor fluoresces when it binds to zinc, allowing the researchers to view where the largest concentrations of zinc exist in the cell and to track the nutrient movement. This information can shed light on the roles of zinc in the body, as well as help gain insight into how cellular zinc levels change during the progression of prostate cancer. Lippard and his team are now using similar fluorescent sensors to develop diagnostic tests for early detection of prostate cancer, which is the second most deadly cancer in American men but has positive prognoses if detected early. more...

Hemann-Lauffenburger Team Addresses Tumor Heterogeneity

Intratumor heterogeneity is often overlooked in the design of cancer treatment regimens. The laboratories of KI faculty members Michael Hemann, the Eisen and Chang Career Development Associate Professor of Biology, and engineer Douglas Lauffenburger, have developed a new approach. Their recent findings, published in Cancer Discovery, provide insights into design principles for combination therapies for cases of intratumoral diversity. The investigators showed that for many tumors, knowing the dominant subpopulation of tumor cells is insufficient to determine the best drug combination. In some cases the optimal drug combination does not include drugs that would treat any particular subpopulation most effectively.  These results challenge straightforward intuition and highlight the value of this new approach to developing drug regimens for complex tumors. more...

Langer Develops Nanoparticle Pills

Tiny particles engineered to carry specific drugs can act as targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases, but previously could only be administered in the clinic via injection. Now, researchers from the laboratory of David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer and a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which includes Harvard Medical School Professor Omid Farokhzad, have developed nanoparticles that can be taken as a pill, a more preferable method of treatment for most patients.

In a study published in Science Translational Medicine and featured in the Wall Street Journal, the team showed the successful delivery of orally administered nanoparticles carrying insulin in mice. This type of drug delivery could be useful for developing new treatments for many conditions including cancer, and the researchers are working on optimizing drug release from the nanoparticles for further animal tests. They also hope to apply the same principles that helped these nanoparticles permeate the intestine to designing ones that can cross other barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier, which prevents many drugs from reaching the brain. more...

Yaffe Finds New Target for Cancer Combination Treatment

Mutation of the p53 gene occurs in about half of all cancer patients, and tumors with the mutation continue growing even after intense chemotherapy. Previously, the lab of Michael Yaffe, David H. Koch Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering, discovered that blocking a gene called MK2 can overcome the effects of the p53 mutation and make these tumors more vulnerable to chemotherapy in vitro. In a new study published in Cell Reports, Yaffe lab researchers collaborated with KI Director Tyler Jacks to create mice with MK2 genes that can be turned on and off and test the process in vivo. They found that in p53-deficient tumor-bearing mice with MK2 turned off, tumors shrank successfully upon treatment with the DNA-damaging therapeutic cisplatin, whereas tumors in mice with unblocked MK2 genes continued growing. This study suggests potential for new cancer treatments combining MK2 inhibitors with DNA-damaging drugs. Drugs that inhibit MK2 are in the works for other diseases such as arthritis, but this is the first time they are being considered for cancer therapy. The research was primarily funded by a TRANSCEND grant from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
 
The study was profiled in MIT Technology Review. more...

Lippard's Chemistry Overcomes Cisplatin Resistance

KI faculty member Stephen Lippard and his lab have found a possible way to overcome tumor resistance to cisplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapy drug given to more than half of all cancer patients. In a study published in Chemistry & Biology, the researchers described a modified version of cisplatin tagged with a protein fragment that specifically targets mitochondria, a cellular structure that generates energy. This is the first study ever to look at the DNA damage effects of cisplatin in parts of the cell other than the nucleus. The mitochondrial DNA damage caused by this targeted version of the drug is highly toxic to cancer cells, and kills equal numbers of resistant and nonresistant cells. The mitochondria-targeted drug could thus overcome cisplatin resistance and also be effective at lower doses than regular cisplatin, helping to avoid some of the severe side effects associated with the drug. Future in vivo studies should reveal its clinical potential. more...

KI's Robert Langer and BIND Therapeutics Win RUSNANOPRIZE2013

The first human clinical trials of targeted polymeric nanoparticles for cancer treatment are currently underway, featuring nanoparticles developed in part at MIT in the laboratory of the Koch Institute's Bob Langer. Designed to carry the chemotherapy drug docetaxel - which is used to treat lung, prostate and breast cancers, among others – the nanoparticles recently entered Phase II human clinical trials.

For this work, Professor Langer and colleague, Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Omid Farokhzad, a former trainee of Langer's, were recently awarded the 2013 RUSNANOPRIZE for "the development and industrialization of nanoparticle technologies for medical applications."  The award also recognized BIND Therapeutics, cofounded by Langer and Farokhzad, for the implementation of the winning research. Established in 2009 by the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO) and the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, the three million ruble ($94,000) prize recognizes leading scientific developments in nanotechnology that have been applied in industrial production and proven their practical significance. more...

Hammond Knocks Breast Cancer Down, Then Out

To help overcome chemotherapy resistance, David H. Koch Professor in Engineering Paula Hammond and her team have created targeted, multi-layer nanoparticles that codeliver the cancer drug doxorubicin, alongside RNA that can shut off a gene that cancer cells use to escape the drug. This strategy disables tumors' defenses and makes them much more vulnerable to chemotherapy. Using these nanoparticles, the researchers were able to shrink agressive triple-negative breast tumors in mice, as reported in the journal ACS Nano. The team is now testing the therapy in a more complex model of the cancer, and they are also working on adapting it to treat ovarian and lung cancers. The research was funded by a TRANSCEND grant from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the National Cancer Institute.

The study has been profiled in media outlets including MIT News, The Economist, Chicago Tribune, Chemical and Engineering News, Science Daily, and Computer World. more...

Bhatia Develops Urine Test To Detect Blood Clots

KI faculty member Sangeeta Bhatia and her lab have created a simple urine test to detect blood clots, based on the same nanoparticle technology the lab first developed for early detection of cancers. The new diagnostic test is described in ACS Nano. For this application, the injectable nanoparticles' coating is sensitive to the presence of thrombin, a key blood-clotting factor. When the particles encounter thrombin, their surface coating releases peptides that are excreted and detectable in urine. Such a system could be used to monitor patients at high risk for blood clots or to rapidly triage patients in the emergency room. This research was funded by the Koch Institute Frontier Research Fund through the Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund, the Mazumdar-Shaw International Oncology Fellows Program, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and MIT's Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Bhatia plans to launch a company to commercialize this technology with funding from the Deshpande Center. Other applications for the nanoparticle system include the tracking of liver, pulmonary, and kidney fibrosis. more...

Cancer Metabolism: On or Off?

The pyruvate kinase M2 isoform (PKM2) is expressed in cancer and plays a role in regulating cell metabolism. In a recent featured article and podcast by Cell, KI biologist Matthew Vander Heiden, Howard S. and Linda Stern Career Development Assistant Professor, showed that PKM2 hyperactivity may not be a marker of tumor cell proliferation as previously thought. In fact, Vander Heiden's results in an in vivo model of PKM2 activity in tumor cells suggest that expression of the enzyme is not necessary for tumor cell proliferation. This implies that the inactive state of PKM2 is associated with tumor cell proliferation, whereas nonproliferating tumor cells require active pyruvate kinase. Consistent with these findings, variable PKM2 expression and recurrent mutations disrupting pyruvate kinase are found in human cancers. The study highlights the importance of understanding the context-dependent metabolic needs of tumor cells in order to therapeutically target cancer metabolism. KI Director Tyler Jacks is also an author of this paper. more...

Jacks Recognized by Hope Funds for Cancer Research

Congratulations to KI Director Tyler Jacks for receiving the 2014 Award of Excellence for basic science from The Hope Funds for Cancer Research. Each year, The Hope Funds honors individuals that have made notable contributions in the areas of cancer-related basic science, philanthropy, clinical development, or medicine. Professor Jacks has pioneered the use of gene-targeting technology for studying cancer-associated genes in mice and creating valuable mouse models of many different human cancer types. more...

Love Team Receives $10.4M Grant

KI professor J. Christopher Love received a two-year award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to lead a new program to develop novel technologies for its Biologically-derived Medicines On Demand (BioMOD) program. Currently, making an industrial-scale batch of one of these biologic drugs involves growing cells in large reactors and takes six to twelve months.  Love's group is tasked with engineering robust, flexible microbes that can synthesize small quantities of multiple protein-based therapeutics in just 24 hours using portable device platforms.  

The DARPA-funded program has the potential to transform access for patient access across the globe to effective drugs for cancer treatment, and will also accelerate drug development for the disease. New methods like these microbes can help make treatment more widely accessible for patients for whom refrigeration, transportation, or geographic isolation pose serious challenges, and showcase how engineering can impact cancer patient care. more...

Irvine Wraps Up Vaccines for Improved Response

In a recent study published in Science Translational Medicine, the Irvine lab showed how formulation of protein or peptide vaccines in lipid nanocapsules makes them much more durable inside the body and protects the vaccine content long enough to generate a strong immune response at mucosal surfaces. The nanoparticle packaging enhances the efficacy of vaccines designed to block respiratory infection in the lungs or infection at other mucosal sites such as the gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts. In addition, the particles show promise for the delivery of therapeutic cancer vaccines, which stimulate the body’s own immune system to destroy tumors. more...

Top Honors for Bhatia

The KI congratulates intramural faculty member Sangeeta Bhatia on being named among the top 10 most influential women in biotech by The Boston Globe. Bhatia, the John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, oversees the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies where, among other things, researchers develop sophisticated new nanoparticles for targeted cancer treatment. And if that weren't enough to keep them busy, they've also crowd-sourced the refinement of these targeting strategies through their online social-media-based game, NanoDoc. more...

Hammond Sets Sights on Ovarian Cancer

KI faculty member Paula Hammond has been awarded the Department of Defense's Fiscal Year 2012 Ovarian Cancer Teal Innovator Award.  The five-year, single investigator research award supports a visionary individual from any field principally outside of ovarian cancer to focus his/her creativity, innovation, and leadership on ovarian cancer research. The disease has proved one of the most intractable cancers, and Hammond plans to use her expertise in creating highly targeted, multi-layer, and multi-cargo nanoparticles, along with new understandings of ovarian cancer biology, to design tailored drug delivery systems. more...

Tribute to a Friend

The Koch Institute gratefully remembers notable biologist Tony Pawson, who served as a member of the KI's Scientific Advisory Board for several years. Tony is perhaps best known for clarifying key protein interactions involved in cell signaling. Specifically, he identified the SH2 domain, a protein structure found on the surface of each cell that serves as the landing site for signaling proteins. From there information is carried to the cell nucleus and sets off a chain reaction telling cells what to do and when. Tony's discoveries fundamentally changed the understanding of cell processes and of diseases, like cancer, that occur when cell communication is disrupted. Launching an entirely new field of study, his work helped spur the development of drugs for cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. We thank Tony for his inspiring contributions to science, and for his dedicated friendship and service. more...

Yaffe Attempts Special Engineering Feat For KI

Michael Yaffe, David H. Koch Professor in Biology and Biological Engineering, is a notable biologist, engineer, entrepreneur, physician, military trauma surgeon, and dad. On September 16, 2013 from 6-8PM, Professor Yaffe will publicly test whether all his skills are enough to construct that biologically heterogeneous, composite-layered cylindrical marvel known as the burrito. Yaffe will roll as part of the Anna's Taqueria Celebrity Burrito Roller Series at Anna's MIT location in the Stratton Student Center. Burritos are $10 each, with the full amount going to benefit KI programs and research.  This may be the tastiest way ever to support the KI! more...

Sisters Are Doin' It For Ovarian Cancer

Everyone plans to take action this September for Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, right?  Well so does Sisters Against Ovarian Cancer (SAOC), who is hosting their sixth annual ovarian cancer walk on Saturday, September 7 at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Massachusetts.  The five-mile walk honors the memory of SAOC founder Marie Spinale, raises awareness about the difficult challenges of ovarian cancer detection and treatment, and raises research funding for the Koch Institute.  All proceeds from the walk go to the SAOC Koch Institute Frontier Research Fund and support the KI's boldest initiatives, so sign up, lace up, and show up, or make a gift now. more...

Engineering-Biology Collaboration Explains Tumor Drug Resistance

Cancer drugs known as ErbB inhibitors have shown great success in treating many patients with lung, breast, colon and other types of cancer. Yet, some patients do not respond to this treatment and even among those who initially do, tumors commonly become resistant. A new collaborative study, funded initially by the KI Frontier Research Program and led by KI members Doug Lauffenburger and co-author Frank Gertler, reveals that drug resistance to ErbB inhibitors develops because of a protein called AXL. This protein helps cancer cells to circumvent the effects of ErbB inhibitors. The findings, published in Science Signaling, suggest that combining drugs that target AXL and ErbB receptors could offer a better way to fight tumors. more...

Sequence Matters: mTORC1 Phosphorylation Sites and Rapamycin

The drug rapamycin, a partial inhibitor of the kinase subunit of the protein complex mTORC1, can slow cancer cell growth and prolong life span. In a new Science publication, a collaborative team led by KI members David Sabatini and Michael Yaffe shows that the characteristics, including sequence composition, of the sites that are phosphorylated by mTORC1 determine how efficient the phosphorylation is and the sensitivity of the process to rapamycin inhibition and starvation within cells; the more efficient the phosphorylation, the more resistant it is to rapamycin inhibition and starvation.  These results may explain the weak efficacy of the drug in several early cancer clinical trials. more...

KI Collaborators Link Cell Growth and Shape Changes


Work by KI faculty members, engineer Scott Manalis and biologist Angelika Amon, appeared in the July 22 issue of Current Biology. The team demonstrated that extended periods of certain changes in cell morphology hamper protein synthesis, mass accumulation, and increase in cell size by inhibiting the TORC1 pathway. more...

Cruel Summer:  Cancer Hijacks Heat Shock Factor 1

A new study published in Science and led by Koch Institute member Susan Lindquist provides insights into how cells' stress regulating networks are co-opted by cancer cells to support their survival. The primary regulator of stress response, a protein called heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), helps normal cells adapt to harsh environments and increased temperatures. The Lindquist team's findings show that HSF1 activity is intimately connected to protein synthesis, which is increased in cancer. Targeting this link may offer a strategy for reversing HSF1 activation and controlling cancer cells’ overactive heat shock response. KI faculty member Angelika Amon, the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor in Cancer Research, is also among the authors of this work.  Initial work on this study was supported in part by the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program and the Kathy and Curt Marble Fund for Cancer Research. more...

Hammond's Improved 'Sandwich' Approach Makes Customized, Reproducible Nanoparticles

The KI's Paula Hammond is well known for the layer-by-layer approach she uses to successfully coat nanoparticles with impossibly thin films of drugs, RNA, targeting components and other molecules. Her lab recently developed a spray-based technique that allows each layer to be applied in a few seconds, rather than a whole hour. Paired with a nanoparticle mass production system developed by a collaborator at the University of North Carolina, Hammond's new sprayed multi-layer coatings are part of a new, industrial-scale process that yields large quantities of high quality, uniform nanoparticles while dramatically reducing production time. The process, which the research team tested first against breast cancer cells, can incorporate a wide variety of materials into both the nanoparticle core and coating and can be used for a number of applications. more...

Direction, Direction, Direction: Sharp Lab Discovers How Cells Read Genes Only in the Right Direction

KI member Phillip Sharp and his team have discovered how cells read their own DNA in the correct direction. In their Nature publication, the KI team describes for the first time how cells are able to halt the reading process when it goes in the wrong direction and thus avoid copying most of the non-protein-coding genes (so-called 'junk DNA'). more...

KI Team Deciphers Mechanisms of Nanoparticle-Mediated RNA Interference 

A new study published in Nature Biotechnology and led by KI faculty member Dan Anderson in collaboration with Robert Langer will help scientists design more efficient nanoparticles to shut down malfunctioning genes in cancer.  The work provides, for the first time, insights into how nanoparticles carrying short RNA strands are processed inside the cell and how the delivery of their payloads could be improved. Among the team's findings was the identification of a protein that helps cells excrete the particles faster. With the protein knocked out, the particles achieved a level of gene silencing 10 to 15 times greater than in normal cells. The team is now looking for other targets to slow cellular 'recycling' of the nanoparticles and potentially improve potency. Gaurav Sahay, postdoc in the Langer lab, is the first author of this work. more...

Lemelson-MIT Honors KI Professor Angela Belcher

Koch Institute engineer Angela Belcher has been awarded this year's Lemelson-MIT Prize, which recognizes outstanding mid-career inventors dedicated to improving the world through technological invention and innovation.  Belcher's original devices include a new imaging system that detects tiny, deep seated tumors in their earliest and most treatable stages.  In addition to her cancer research, the $500,000 prize acknowledges other innovations such as biodegradable batteries, alternative fuels, and high-efficiency solar cells, as well as her outreach efforts to foster science education. In the history of the Lemelson-MIT Prize, which spans nearly two decades, Belcher is the second woman recipient and the third associated with MIT as a faculty member or alumnus.  KI member Robert Langer is also a previous winner.

Belcher's award is profiled in a video from the Lemelson-MIT program, as well as in media outlets including MIT News, the Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, and NBC News.

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David Benjamin Receives Competitive Research Grant

The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation presented KI graduate student David Benjamin, a member of the Hynes laboratory,with one of ten nationally competitive 2013 Research Scholar Awards.  The $10,000 grants support exceptional graduate student melanoma research and also provide distinction to lab directors, universities and cancer research institutions across the U.S. more...

Lippard Honored with MIT's Killian Award

Established in 1971 to honor MIT’s 10th president, the Killian Award recognizes extraordinary professional achievements by an MIT faculty member.  KI member Stephen Lippard has made pioneering contributions in understanding the mechanism of the cancer drug cisplatin and in designing new variants to combat drug resistance and side effects. more...

Key Protein Cell Death Identified: A New Approach to Killing Cancer Cells?

KI member Leona Samson and her team have identified a key protein involved in controlling a cell death pathway known as programmed necrosis. Their findings, published in the May 10 online edition of Genes and Development, could offer a way to enhance the toxic effects of chemotherapeutic agents or an alternative route to eradicate cancer cells altogether. more...

KILC's Terry McGuire Named Top Life Sciences Investor

Forbes magazine named Koch Institute Leadership Council member Terry McGuire one of the top three life sciences investors of 2013. McGuire is a co-founder and general partner of Polaris Partners, and has served on the KILC for several years. more...

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Recognizes Paula Hammond

KI faculty member Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering, was elected this year to the prestigious national society.  The AAAS recognizes leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.  For more than 200 years the Academy has honored leaders from various disciplines, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill.  It counts more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners among its current membership. more...

Master Gene Regulators of Normal and Cancer Cells Discovered

KI member Richard Young and his lab have discovered powerful gene regulators, or “super-enhancers,” that control the state and identity of healthy cells. However, cancer cells are also able to assemble their own super-enhancers to overexpress oncogenes that lead to aggressive tumors. The findings are described in two back-to-back papers published in Cell.  Super-enhancers could become new cancer biomarkers as well as novel targets for cancer therapy. more...

KI Researchers Named Fellows of the Inaugural Class of the AACR Academy

KI members Tyler Jacks, H. Robert Horvitz, Phillip Sharp, and Bob Weinberg have been elected as members of the inaugural class of Fellows of the AACR Academy, which recognizes and celebrates distinguished scientists whose stellar scientific contributions in cancer research have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. David Baltimore, a founding faculty member of the KI's predecessor, the MIT Center for Cancer Research, is also among the elected Fellows. The AACR Academy will be inducting its inaugural class of illustrious Fellows at the 2013 Annual Meeting this April. more...

A Sharp Eye on Kendall Square

Co-founder of Biogen, now Biogen Idec, KI member Phil Sharp opened the company's first US office in Kendall Square in 1983.  Three decades later, the perspectives of the MIT Institute Professor, Nobel Laureate, and biotech pioneer feature prominently in a recent news series exploring the neighborhood's evolution, from a traditional manufacturing district to an international center for life sciences, biotech and high-tech firms. In Professor Sharp's opinion, Kendall's innovation hub is just hitting its stride.

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The KI at The Leading-edge of Nanomedicine

The nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems being developed at the KI are a revolutionary gateway to new, more targeted disease treatments. An  MIT News article published on March 11 nicely featured the exciting work of KI members Dan Anderson, Paula Hammond, Michael Cima, and Robert Langer, who are engineering new nanoscale therapeutic agents that selectively target and destroy cancer cells or help monitor tumor response to treatment. “We’re doing this because we can do some cool technology, but more importantly, we’re doing it because there’s a clinically meaningful need,” says Cima.

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KI Member Receives One of Europe’s Most Prestigious Medical Awards

KI member Angelika Amon, the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor of Cancer Research, has been awarded the 2013 Ernst Jung Prize for medicine, one of Europe’s most prestigious and generous medical awards. The Jung Foundation for Science and Research has honored Prof. Amon with this award for her pioneering work on the control of chromosomal segregation and the potential her research holds for the development of new cancer therapies. Amon shares this year’s prize with Ivan Đikić (Goethe University), who is being recognized for his contributions to understanding the role of ubiquitin in cellular signal regulation. Worth € 300,000, the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine has been awarded annually since 1976 to support biomedical research that paves the way for the development of novel medical therapies. This year’s award ceremony will be held on May 3 in Hamburg, where the Jung Foundation is based. more...

$3 Million Prizes Awarded to Two KI Members

Robert Weinberg, founding member of the Whitehead Institute, and Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute, were both awarded the new Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. They were among eleven scientists to receive the world’s richest academic prize for medicine and biology. The prize was awarded by four internet giants for outstanding achievements in science.  Both Weinberg  and Lander are also members of the KI. more...

Manipulating Cells May Improve Monitoring

MIT engineers, including Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, successfully found a new way to move materials through cell membranes by squeezing through a narrow constriction that opens tiny temporary holes. That allows proteins, DNA, and nanoparticles to enter the cells that could be used for many applications. The scientists see a potential for improved imaging,  reprogramming proteins, and generating pluripotent stem cells. more...

Prestigious Wolf Prize Awarded to KI Member

Koch Institute Professor Bob Langer was awarded the prestigious 2013 Wolf Prize. The Israeli-based Wolf Foundation honors Langer for his contributions to chemistry.  Wolf winners are considered strong candidates to receive the Nobel Prize. more...