At the Koch Institute, we think about cancer differently. Our vibrant community of life scientists and engineers brings the best of MIT to cancer research, working across disciplines to ask big questions and come up with big ideas. Our research model is built on convergence—the coming together of life sciences with engineering and physical sciences—and collaboration. Collaboration isn’t news for people in the MIT community, but it’s not the norm everywhere.   

We pursue both discovery and applied science, because we know too many important cancer biology questions remain unanswered, yet we can change the numbers for cancer patients using the knowledge we already have. We have to use what we know now to address patient needs today, but we must continue building our foundational knowledge to find the solutions of tomorrow. 

While our laboratories investigate many tumor types, tissues of origin, and topics, as an institution we focus on five strategic areas that are essential across a broad range of cancers: nanotechnology-based drugs, detection and monitoring, metastasis, precision medicine, and immunology and immunotherapy. By working at these critical junctures, we aim for transformative, rather than incremental, advances—to make discoveries and build tools that can make the greatest impact on patients’ survival and improve their quality of life. 

Our researchers work at all stages of the research pipeline—from bench to bedside—moving big ideas from discovery to application to new discovery. Our state-of-the-art Robert A. Swanson (1969) Biotechnology Center and signature research programs accelerate new ideas and innovation, while our vast network of academic, clinical, and industry collaborators ensure that patient impact remains at the heart of the Koch Institute research model.  

Our Research Areas

Our Collaborations and Impact

Accelerating Research