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The 2009 EMBS-BMES Distinguished Lecture Series
We invite you to join us for our monthly lecture series in which we explore
recent developments and stimulating topics in the field of biomedical
engineering. The series is co-sponsored by the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) Boston chapter of IEEE.
Seminars are held at MIT Room 66-110. (For directions to MIT, please visit http://whereis.mit.edu). Refreshments will be served prior to the event at 6:30 PM, with the lecture starting at 7:00 PM. * These events are free and open to the public.*
Let us know what topics YOU would like to hear about at our next lecture!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you!
Email BE-BMES executive board
Lecture Series 2009
7:00 PM, Wednesday, 6 May
Co-sponsored by the MIT BE-BMES Student Chapter
Regenerating Heart Cells
Dr. Richard Lee, Harvard Medical School
Location: MIT Building 66, Room 66-110, Cambridge, MA
The Lee Laboratory uses emerging biotechnologies to
discover and design new approaches to cardiovascular
diseases. A central theme of the laboratory is that
merging bioengineering and molecular biology approaches
can yield novel approaches. Thus, Lee Laboratory works
at this interface using a broad variety of techniques in
genomics, imaging, nanotechnology, physiology, cell
biology, and molecular biology. Current projects in the
laboratory address myocardial regeneration, heart
failure, and diabetes.
After describing his work, Dr. Lee will then open up the
floor to discussion and questions. As part of the
discussion, he will focus on pre-medical advising and a
discussion of the interface between clinical practice
Dr. Richard T. Lee is a graduate of Harvard College in
Biochemical Sciences and Cornell, University Medical
College. Dr. Lee completed his residency and cardiology
fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard
Medical School in Boston. He is an Associate Professor
of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and in Health
Sciences and Technology at MIT, and a lecturer in
Biological Engineering at MIT.
This meeting is free and open to the public. The chapter
meeting is scheduled for 7:00 PM, May 6, at MIT Building
66, Room 66-110, Cambridge, MA. Refreshments will be
served starting at 7 PM. For location of Building 66 and
directions to the campus please consulthttp://whereis.mit.edu. The
meeting is co-sponsored by the Student Chapter of the
MIT Biological and Biomedical Engineering Society
(BE-BMES). For more information contact Brian Tracey email@example.com.
6:00 PM, Thursday, 23 April
Life with Four Billion Atoms
Tom Knight, MIT CSAIL and Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc.
Today it is commonplace to design and construct single
electronic components with billions of transistors.
These are complex systems, difficult (but possible) to
design, test, and fabricate. Remarkably, simple living
systems can be assembled from a similar number of atoms,
most of them in water molecules. Key ideas of
intentional simplification, effective design tools, and
stratified designs will help us understand, engineer,
and build these simple organisms.
In this talk I will present the current status of our
attempts at full understanding and complexity reduction
of one of the simplest living systems, the free-living
bacterial species Mesoplasma florum. Our recent
experiments using transposon gene knockouts identified
354 of 683 annotated genes as inessential in laboratory
culture when inactivated individually. While a
functional redesigned genome will certainly not remove
all of those genes, this suggests that roughly half the
genome can be removed in an intentional redesign.
I will discuss our recent knockout results and
methodology, and our future plans for:
Genome re-engineering using targeted
knock-in/knock-out double recombination
Re-sequencing of additional strains of Mesoplasma
florum and close relatives
Whole cell metabolic models
Creation of plug-and-play metabolic modules for the
Inherent and engineered biosafety control mechanisms
The Knight lab is developing an engineering technology
based on biology. The manufacture of complex structures
at the atomic scale requires a fundamental change in
approach, a shift from physical to chemical processes.
Taking effective engineering control over biochemistry
allows us to engineer complex atomic level structures
with a precision unmatched by any lithographic
technology. We believe this capability is the key to
cost effective nanoscale fabrication, becoming the
dominant manufacturing technology of this century.
Engineering biological systems requires a fundamentally
different viewpoint from the science of biology. Key
engineering principles of modularity, simplicity,
separation of concerns, abstraction, flexibility,
hierarchical design, isolation, and standardization are
of critical importance. The essence of engineering is
the ability to imagine, design, model, build, and
characterize novel systems to achieve specific goals.
Current tools and components for these tasks are
primitive. Our approach is to create standard biological
parts, assembly techniques, and measurement techniques.
The MIT registry of standard biological parts, in
collaboration with the Endy Lab, is a growing collection
of DNA snippets containing transcriptional promoters,
terminators, protein coding sequences, and specialized
components in characterized, documented, and
assembly-ready form (parts.syntheticbiology.org). Using
these parts, we design, build, and test functional
biological systems. To function, these components must
be incorporated into a working biological system, a
living cell. For most of our current research, this cell
is the E. coli K-12 bacterium. With four thousand genes,
this cell is by far the most complex portion of the
system. Another laboratory effort is a long range
project to engineer a simpler chassis and power supply
for our systems. We have chosen the simple bacterium
Mesoplasma florum as a starting point for this process
on the basis of safety, fast growth, and small genome
size. We have sequenced the organism in collaboration
with the Whitehead Institute, annotated the sequence,
and are now working on the reduction and standardization
of its genome to perhaps 400 genes, creating a simple,
manageable, understandable basis for engineering life.
Tom Knight was recently nominated by the Institute of
Engineering and Technology as one of their top 25 most
influential figures in engineering and technology today:
press release <http://www.csail.mit.edu/node/552>
and news article
This joint meeting of the Boston Chapters of the IEEE
Computer and Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS)
Societies, MIT Engineering in Medicine and Biology
Student Chapter and GBC/ACM will be held in the Broad
Institute Auditorium (MIT building NE-30). The Broad
Institute is on Main St between Vassar and Ames streets.
You can see it on a map at this location.
The auditorium is on the ground floor near the entrance.
7:00 PM, Wednesday, 18 March
Co-sponsored by the MIT BMES Student Chapter and the
IEEE Society for Social Implications of Technology
Global Health Technology Development: Getting it Right
Kristian Olson, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital
transition of technological design for Global Health is
underway. The developing world has graveyards of medical
devices that were not designed for the settings where they
are found. Delivery systems are not functioning and
beleaguered health care providers cannot keep up. An
intersection of disciplines ranging from clinical, public
health, anthropology, design, engineering, and business is
needed. Insights of would-be users of equipment and those
that stand to maintain them are essential components to
develop life-saving technologies for areas where necessity
should be the mother of innovation.
Dr. Kristian Olson is an
internist/pediatrician on staff at the Massachusetts General
Hospital. Dr. Olson was a Fulbright Scholar to Australia
where he earned a Master's of Public Health degree in
Epidemiology and International Health. Dr. Olson was also
the first MGH Thomas S. Durant Fellow in Refugee Medicine
and obtained a diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene in
London. Dr. Olson has served in some of the most
resource-poor settings in the world including refugee camps
along the Thai-Burmese border, in tsunami-affected regions
of Sumatra, on health projects in Cambodia and Kenya, and
with the American Refugee Committee in Darfur. He currently
serves as a board member of the Cambodian Health Committee.
This meeting is free and open to the
public. The chapter meeting is scheduled for 7:00 PM,
March 18, at MIT Building 66, Room 66-110, Cambridge, MA.
Refreshments will be served prior to the event at 6:30 PM,
with the lecture starting at 7:00 PM. For location of
Building 66 and directions to the campus please consult
The meeting is co-sponsored by the Student Chapter of the
MIT Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the Boston
chapter of the IEEE Society for Social Implications of
Technology. For more information contact Brian Tracey