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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.
Help from an unlikely source

Help from an unlikely source

Today’s Spotlight uses a scanning electron micrograph ‑ by Anne Weston, LRI, CRUK. Wellcome Images ‑ of a squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. The cell has been frozen and split open to reveal its nucleus. The nucleus of the cell holds the DNA where mutations build up.

A typical cancer cell has thousands of mutations scattered throughout its genome and hundreds of mutated genes. However, only a handful of those genes, known as drivers, are responsible for cancerous traits such as uncontrolled growth. Cancer biologists have largely ignored the other mutations, believing they had little or no impact on cancer progression.

But a new study from MIT, Harvard University, the Broad Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals, for the first time, that these so‑called passenger mutations are not just along for the ride.

Read full article.