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

In the News

illustration of the gastrointestinal tract, molecules, with pink and blue wave renderings behind them

Suono Bio Makes Waves

KI startup Suono Bio is teaching an old technology new tricks. Beginning with treatment for ulcerative colitis, the team is using ultrasound waves to enhance drug delivery and promote localized absorption into the GI tract. Such an approach could one day make cancer therapy more precise and effective. more...

two men looking at slides on a lab bench

One Step at a Time

Cancer metabolism pioneer Matthew Vander Heiden didn't set out to be a pioneer; he just wanted to understand how mitochondria worked. However, one question led to another and he soon found himself revisiting fundamental questions about cell metabolism and applying his discoveries to cancer biology. Now, as director of the Koch Institute, Vander Heiden continues to catalyze discoveries and interactions across the cancer research field. more...

schematic view of multimodal nanosensors with a urine cup and a tumor module, highlighted to show a heat map of cancer locations

Staking Out Cancer

Bhatia Lab engineers, in collaboration with biologists in the Gertler Lab, have created diagnostic nanoparticles that detect cancer cells and pinpoint their location anywhere in the body. A study published in Nature Materials tracked the progression and spread of metastatic colon cancer in mouse models before and after chemotherapy, suggesting that the platform could be used to diagnose and monitor cancer, as well as evaluate treatment response. The team is optimistic about the new platform's eventual use as a routine screening tool in annual health exams.

This project was supported in part by the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine and a KI Quinquennial Cancer Research Fellowship, with earlier work supported by the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program. more...

image of a white person's back with moles highlighted by rectanglular overlys

Moles Meet Machine Learning

KI member Regina Barzilay continues her work to improve early cancer detection through machine learning algorithms. In an article published in Science Translational Medicine, Barzilay and colleagues describe the training and use of a deep convolutional neural network to compare markings on patients' skin to identify signs of pre-cancerous lesions. more...

mRNA Vaccines Beyond Covid

Covid-19 has brought substantial attention to the use of messenger RNA, or mRNA, as a tool for training the body to fight disease. KI member Daniel Anderson speaks with National Geographic about the application of this technology in cancer therapy—a longstanding research interest in his lab. His message? Therapeutic mRNA vaccines delivered via nanoparticles could offer great flexibility in helping the immune system identify and attack tumor cells across a wide range of cancer types. more...

Peter Karches

2021 Karches Mentorship Prize Open for Nominations

The Peter Karches Mentorship Prize is awarded annually to up to four trainees or early career technicians serving as mentors to high school and undergraduate students while working in KI laboratories.

Nominations must be submitted to ki-fellowships@mit.edu by Wednesday, September 1, 2021.   more...

Koch Institute building at twilight

Promoter Sequence

Congratulations to Scott Manalis, Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering and Associate Department Head Biological Engineering, who has been appointed a David H. Koch Professor of Engineering. Manalis is the second person to hold the David H. Koch (1962) Inaugural Chair in Engineering; he succeeds Paula Hammond, who was recently named an Institute Professor, the highest honor bestowed on MIT faculty members. Though the timing is coincidental, it is fitting that the transition of this chair—created for the dedication of the Koch Institute in 2011—should take place during our anniversary year.

The KI is also pleased to congratulate several more faculty members on their promotions and new appointments: Alex Shalek has been granted tenure in the Department of Chemistry. Michael Birnbaum has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Biological Engineering and Bradley Pentelute to full professor in the Department of Chemistry. In addition to his recent promotion to full professor, Matthew Vander Heiden has been appointed as the Lester Wolfe (1919) Professor of Molecular Biology.     more...

tissue specimen in a tray of liquid

Parsing Paraffin-Embedded Tissue Samples

By combining bench and computational methods, the White Lab has created powerful techniques for analyzing cell signaling processes and identifying potential cancer therapy targets and drug combinations. Yet these techniques often require more tissue than is available in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples, one of the most widely available forms of preserved biopsy and tumor tissue. However, the researchers have developed an approach, published in Cancer Research, that collects data from FFPE samples with the same sensitivity as from less common, but larger frozen samples. With Mayo Clinic collaborators, the team was also able to identify patient-specific, cancer-driving signaling molecules in FFPE samples of breast and lung tumors. These findings suggest that this method can provide direct translational insight from analysis of FFPE specimens, and open huge repositories of patient samples to further study. more...

Anders Hansen

A Genetic Enhancer and a Scholar

KI member Anders Hansen joins the 2021 class of the Pew-Stewart Scholars Program for Cancer Research. This early-stage career award honors and promotes cutting-edge research into the development, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Hansen’s work will explore the interactions between genetic elements known as enhancers and their target genes, focusing on c-Myc, a gene commonly overexpressed in cancer.   more...

Jane Wilkinson. Credit: Emily Wheeler Photography

KI Welcomes New Executive Director

Jane Wilkinson is the new Executive Director of the Koch Institute. Building on her 20+ years of experience in scientific operations and alliance management at the Broad Institute, Cereon Genomics/Monsanto, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Genome Center, Wilkinson will oversee the KI's overall outreach program, helping to build and manage collaborative interactions between the KI and academic, industry, and clinical institutions within and outside of MIT. She looks forward to meeting and working with the Koch Institute's talented community of researchers, collaborators, administrators, and friends. more...