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September 21, 2018

11 innovators under 35 who could transform health care, according to MIT

Daily Briefing

    MIT has released its annual list of 35 innovators under 35, and this year's list includes 11 young innovators whose findings and inventions could influence health care.

    What you need to know about this year's list

    According to MIT, this year's list is was particularly "dominat[ed]" by artificial intelligence and is the first to include more women than men.

    MIT sorted innovators into five categories: inventors, entrepreneurs, visionaries, humanitarians, and pioneers.

    Meet the 11 innovators

    Here are 11 innovators on the list who made health-related discoveries.  


    James Dahlman: James Dahlman's invention makes it possible to test hundreds of drugs at one time, according to MIS. Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies testing new cancer therapies place tumor cells in a petri dish and test drug-delivering nanoparticles one at a time. But Dahlman's process involves injecting hundreds of nanoparticles encoded with a DNA sequence into a laboratory mouse. When the researchers remove the mouse's tumor they can use gene-sequencing technology to determine the effectiveness of each bar code.

    Shinjini Kundu: Shinjini Kundu's invention can help providers properly diagnose diseases by deciphering detailed medical images, according to MIT. She developed an artificial intelligence system that detects early signs of disease by identifying disease markers and complex patterns that might be untraceable to the human eye.

    Will McLlean: After a decade of researching the human cochlea, Will McLean discovered, based on studies in mice, that a certain combination of drugs can regenerate hair cells in the inner ear, and possibly restore hearing. McLean's startup, Frequency Therapeutics, developed an injectable in-ear treatment for hearing loss that has passed human safety trials.


    Alice Zhang: Alice Zhang developed an AI system that can identify, test, and refine potential treatment compounds for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Her company, Verge Genomics, has identified seven compounds that slowed cell death from ALS. 


    Niki Bayat: Using her knowledge of chemistry and biomedical engineering, Niki Bayat created polymers that can repair eye injuries and potentially prevent blindness that could occur after eye injury. Bayat has started to commercialize her drug-delivery materials, which can be inserted into the eye and possibly spare patients from having to insert medication into the tear duct several times daily.

    Marzyeh Ghassemi: Hospitals are burdened by an excess of patient information, but Marzyeh Ghassemi created a machine-learning method that could help predict how patients will do while in the hospital, according to MIT. The algorithms predict aspects of a patient's hospital stay such as length of stay, chance of death, and whether they will need medical interventions.

    Adam Marblestone: Adam Marblestone, chief strategy officer at tech startup Kernel, used a mouse brain to identify barriers to measuring the activity of every neuron in the human brain. His research could make the human brain "machine-readable," according to MIT, which would researchers identify treatments for neurological diseases.

    Mustafa Suleyman: With the goal of having a positive impact on society, Mustafa Suleyman founded AI company DeepMind Health to create AI systems that can read mammogram results and detect eye disease.

    Minmin Yen: Minmin Yen developed bacteriophages that could kill the bacteria that cause diseases such as Cholera. Her intervention is an alternative to antibiotics, which can eliminate good bacteria in the gut.

    Nabiha Saklayen: Physicist Nabiha Saklayen created a quicker way to edit genes and correct mutations. She designed nanostructured add-ons for gene-editing lasers, which allow the systems to deliver pulses of laser light to cells faster speed.

    Humsa Venkatesh: After her uncle passed from kidney cancer, Humsa Venkatesh decided to dedicate her research to studying the growth of cancerous tumors. Her research discovered how cancers take over neural networks to grow, paving the way for potential treatment options, according to MIT (35 Innovators under 35, MIT Technology Review, accessed 9/19).

    Here are 8 innovative technologies with the potential to transform health care

    This research report explores the clinical technology pipeline to help health care leaders become more conversant in the major vectors of innovation, leading applications of new technologies, and the business implications for established providers.

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