Yearly Archives: 2017

MIT brainpower highlighted in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists for 2018 Forbes calls this year’s 30 Under 30 lists an “encyclopedia of creative disruption.” Source: [Jay London | MIT Alumni Association | November 21, 2017] Forbes calls its 2018 30 Under 30 lists an “encyclopedia of creative disruption featuring 600 young stars in 20 different […]

Simons Fellow Ritchie Chen on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list ...

Source: [Spectrum, Hannah Furfaro | October 25, 2017] In people with fragile X syndrome, autism is often accompanied by seizures, trouble falling asleep and anxiety, a new study suggests1. Fragile X syndrome is an inherited form of intellectual disability. Small studies and family surveys have hinted that people who have both fragile […]

Autism in fragile X syndrome tied to seizures, sleep problems

Source: [Spectrum, Hannah Furfaro | October 11, 2017] Delivering a fragment of the Rett syndrome gene, MECP2, into neurons eases features of the syndrome in mice, according to a new study. The findings appeared today in Nature1. The MECP2 protein is a master regulator of other genes, and a lack of it leads […]

‘Mini-gene’ therapy relieves features of Rett syndrome in mice

Source: [Spectrum, Marissa Fessenden | October 2, 2017] Patches of overactive neurons in the brains of mice exposed to inflammation in the womb may lead to autism-like features in the mice, a new study suggests1. Treating pregnant mice with an antibiotic prevents these patches in their pups, a related study suggests2. The patches […]

Maternal infection may trigger autism traits via neuronal ‘patches’

Study finds infants try harder after seeing adults struggle to achieve a goal. Source: [MIT News Office, Anne Trafton | September 21, 2017] If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. A new study from MIT reveals that babies as young as 15 months can learn to follow this […]

Babies can learn that hard work pays off

Bacterial populations in mother’s GI tract may play a central role. Source: [MIT News Office, Anne Trafton | September 13, 2017] Mothers who experience an infection severe enough to require hospitalization during pregnancy are at higher risk of having a child with autism. Two new studies from MIT and the […]

Studies help explain link between autism, severe infection during pregnancy

Success rate is comparable to that of highly trained scientists performing the process manually. Source: [MIT News Office, Anne Trafton | August 30, 2017] Recording electrical signals from inside a neuron in the living brain can reveal a great deal of information about that neuron’s function and how it coordinates […]

Robotic system monitors specific neurons

Engineer brings active interest in innovation to new role. Source: [MIT News Office, Peter Dizikes | August 16, 2017] Krystyn Van Vliet, an MIT professor in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering, with wide-ranging interests in research and innovation, has been named as the Institute’s new […]

Krystyn Van Vliet named associate provost

Source: [Spectrum, Ingfei Chen | August 16, 2017] In October 2010, Lisa and Eugene Jeffers learned that their daughter Jade, then nearly 2 and a half years old, has autism. The diagnosis felt like a double whammy. The parents were soon engulfed by stress from juggling Jade’s new therapy appointments and […]

What baby siblings can teach us about autism

Tissue-expansion technique could allow scientists to map brain circuits. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, April 17, 2017] MIT researchers have developed a way to make extremely high-resolution images of tissue samples, at a fraction of the cost of other techniques that offer similar resolution. The new technique relies […]

High-resolution imaging with conventional microscopes

Source: [Spectrum, Bahar Gholipour | April 6, 2017] As many as one in three rare mutations seen in people with autism have nothing to do with the condition, a new study suggests1. Researchers looked at more than 10,000 spontaneous, or de novo, mutations identified in people with autism, intellectual disability or […]

Analysis winnows list of mutations tied to autism

MIT associate professor brings a materials scientist’s understanding to biochemical behavior in stem cells and organ tissue. Source: [Denis Paiste | Materials Processing Center, March 18, 2015]  With joint appointments in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering, MIT Associate Professor Krystyn J. Van Vliet brings a materials scientist’s understanding […]

Faculty highlight: Krystyn Van Vliet

New members have made advances in artificial skin, wireless communications, nanotechnology, hydrology, and cancer treatment. Source: [School of Engineering, February 10, 2017] Eight MIT faculty are among the 84 new members and 22 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Newly elected members for this year also include an […]

Michael S. Strano among eight MIT Faculty elected to the ...

SFARI announces 2016 Bridge to Independence Award finalists   Source: [; 13 January 2017] The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is pleased to announce that it has selected six finalists in response to the 2016 Bridge to Independence Award request for applications (RFA). Grants awarded through the Bridge to Independence […]

Yun Li, Jaenisch Laboratory, receives SFARI 2016 Bridge to Independence ...

CRISPR pioneer named to inaugural chair created by Patricia and James Poitras ’63, founders of MIT’s Poitras Center for Affective Disorders Research. Source: [Julie Pryor | McGovern Institute for Brain Research; January 13, 2017] The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT has announced the appointment of Feng Zhang as the […]

Feng Zhang named James and Patricia Poitras Professor in Neuroscience

MRI scans reveal surprising similarities in activity patterns of infant and adult visual cortex. Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, January 10, 2017] In adults, certain regions of the brain’s visual cortex respond preferentially to specific types of input, such as faces or objects — but how and when those […]

A glimpse into the workings of the baby brain