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The iconic MIT home page Spotlight features a daily-changing image and design that focuses on advances in research, technology and education taking place at the Institute. Though some Spotlights do run multiple days - for example Friday's spot usually runs through the weekend, we work very hard to maintain the daily-changing tradition. We've combed our servers and have compiled a digital archive of the Institute home page through the years - well over 2000 images. Enjoy!
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Brain imaging pioneerToday’s Spotlight features a photograph, taken by Bryce Vickmark, of Edward Boyden, an associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT.

How is the mind formed, and what does it mean to be human?

These are the questions that intrigue Edward Boyden, an associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT.

To answer them, we will need a much deeper understanding of how the brain works, according to Boyden, who leads the synthetic neurobiology research group at the MIT Media Laboratory and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

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The MIT home page Spotlight showcases the research, technology and education advances taking place at the Institute every day.

What makes it as a Spotlight image is an editorial decision by the MIT News Office based on factors that include timeliness, promotion of MIT's mission, the balance of interest to both internal and external audiences, and appropriateness.

We do welcome ideas and submissions for spotlights from community members, but please note we are not able to accommodate all requests. We are unable to run event previews or promotions as spotlights; for those looking to promote an event, we are happy to include your listing as an event headline on the homepage (when space is available). For more information, e-mail the spotlight team.

Request a Spotlight or Event Headline, here.
Stopping the flow

Stopping the flow

Today’s Spotlight uses an image, by Hsieh Chen, of a plug which is the first stage of blood clotting. The plug is made up of platelets (seen in gold) and structures called von Willebrand Factor (vWF), seen in red. The background image, by David Gregory and Debbie Marshall/Wellcome Images, shows an electron micrograph of a blood clot.

When you get a cut, blood starts to flow from the wound. But very quickly, complex biochemical processes spring into action, creating a scaffolding of molecules to block the hole, and then building up an impervious clot to stanch the flow.

That process relies on a set of molecules that constantly flow through the body’s veins and arteries, just waiting to spring into action when needed. When their job is done, they dissolve back into the blood, awaiting their next repair job.

A team of MIT researchers has analyzed the process and found, for the first time, exactly how the different molecular components work together to block the flow of blood from a cut.

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