The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

The Importance of Being Convergent

The 2017 Koch Institute Summer Symposium, "Convergence of Science and Engineering in Cancer," was co-chaired by convergence champions and KI members Susan Hockfield (MIT President Emerita) and Phillip A. Sharp (Nobel Laureate and MIT Institute Professor)

On June 16, cancer research enthusiasts from the MIT community and beyond gathered for our 16th Annual Summer Symposium, “Convergence of Science and Engineering in Cancer" to learn about interdisciplinary new approaches and technologies to better understand, detect, monitor, and treat cancer. Bringing together leaders from various fields and co-chaired by convergence champions and KI members Susan Hockfield and Phillip A. Sharp, the program reflected the multifaceted nature of convergence — the merging of historically distinct disciplines such as engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, mathematics, and the life sciences.

Sharp, along with KI Director Tyler Jacks, kicked off the event with introductory remarks and reflections about the evolution and promise of interdisciplinary research.  Eric Lander, KI member and President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute, then set the stage with his keynote talk about his 30-year experience with convergence and its implications for the future of biomedicine. During the first two sessions, speakers Xiaowei Zhuang and Daniel Larson offered new insights into cancer biology, while Aviv Regev, Gad A. Getz, and Franziska Michor shared how genomics, cloud technology, and computational modeling can improve cancer research and patient outcomes.

Koch Institute Symposium 2017 Panelists with Moderator Susan Hockfield (MIT President Emerita) - Marc N. Casper (Thermo Fisher Scientific); Nancy Simonian (Syros); Elias Zerhouni (Sanofi); Cori Bargmann (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative); Victor Dzau (National Academy of Medicine); Tyler Jacks (Koch Institute)Koch Institute Symposium 2017 Panelists - Marc N. Casper (Thermo Fisher Scientific); Nancy Simonian (Syros); Elias Zerhouni (Sanofi); Cori Bargmann (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative); Victor Dzau (National Academy of Medicine); Tyler Jacks (Koch Institute)

Attendees were then treated to a dynamic panel on the impact of convergence on the future of medical care — moderated by Hockfield — that included top biomedical experts and industry executives Cori Bargmann (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative/Rockefeller University) Marc N. Casper (ThermoFisher Scientific), Nancy Simonian (Syros Pharmaceuticals, Inc), Elias Zerhouni (Sanofi), Victor Dzau (National Academy of Medicine), and Tyler Jacks (Koch Institute at MIT).

The final session of the day centered around the interdisciplinary advances in nanomedicine and featured engaging talks from James Collins, Paula Hammond, Chad A. Mirkin, and Bob Langer. As the day drew to a close, session chair and director of the Koch Institute Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine Sangeeta Bhatia revealed that next year's symposium will be dedicated to exploring nanomedicine in cancer and encouraged everyone to mark their calendars for Friday, June 15, 2018.

To learn more about the 2017 Koch Institute Summer Symposium and watch this year's exceptional talks, click here.