High-Throughput Neurotechnology Group , Professor Mehmet Fatih Yanik
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People

Group leader

Associate Professor

Mehmet Fatih Yanik

yanikmit.edu

Prof. Yanik received his BS and MS at MIT in Engineering and Physics, and PhD at Stanford in Applied Physics, where he invented a mechanism to stop and store light pulses in microchips. He completed a short postdoctoral/sabatical work in Stanford Bioengineering and Neurosurgery Departments with Steve Quake and Theo Palmer while he was appointed as a faculty at MIT at the age of 26. He is currently tenured Associate Professor in Electrical and Biological Engineering Departments.

His studies are recognized by NIH Director's Pioneer Award (youngest recipient), NIH Director's New Innovator Award, NIH Transformative Research Award, Packard Award in Engineering and Science, Alfred Sloan Award in Neuroscience, NIH Eureka (Exceptional Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) Award, Shillman Career Award, NSF Career Award, Silicon Valley Innovator's Challenge Award, Technology Review Magazine's "World's Top 35 Innovators under age 35", Junior Chamber International's "Outstanding Young Person", and Technology Research News Magazine's "Top ten advances of the year".   His team's studies have been highlighted in ABC, The Economist, Scientific American, Nature, New Scientist, Biophotonics International, Popular Mechanics, Nature Physics, The Scientist, Genome Technology, and others.

 

 

   
Team

 

Dr. Peter Eimon, Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Eimon was the Director of Research and Development at Zygogen – a biotechnology company specializing in zebrafish assays for drug discovery and safety pharmacology. He provided overall scientific leadership on projects focused on assessing cardiac function, developing transgenic models of neurodegenerative diseases, and conducting large-scale screens for inhibitors of angiogenesis in zebrafish embryos. Prior to Zygogen, while working at Genentech, Dr. Eimon developed zebrafish as a model system for studying apoptosis signaling pathways. He has significant experience in developing and running high-throughput in vivo screens that incorporate both efficacy and toxicology endpoints and has established and managed service projects with numerous academic collaborators, governmental agencies, and major pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients.

 

 

Dr. Steven Sheridan, Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Sheridan has more than ten years experience in both academia and industry deriving, expanding, differentiating and characterizing pluripotent and multipotent stem cells and their progeny for the purposes of transgenics, cell therapy, tissue engineering, and drug discovery. Most recently, his current research is focused on the derivation and characterization of human iPSCs and iPSC-derived neural stem cells from patients of various neurological disease backgrounds in order to facilitate the development of novel cell based assays. He has also served as a Senior Project and R&D Manager leading several cross-functional teams in stem cell technology development as well as establishing and maintaining many scientific cross-institutional collaborations. In addition to his appointments at MIT in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) and at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Dr. Sheridan currently holds appointments at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School and The Broad Institute.

 

 

 

 

Zachary Wissner-Gross, PhD Candidate (now Alumni)

Zach is a Hertz and NDSEG Fellow currently pursuing PhD in Physics at Harvard University. A graduate of MIT, where he earned degrees in physics and biology along with minors in chemistry and mathematics, Zach is studying neuronal development using high-throughput protein patterning. Zach is also an alumnus of the New York City Opera, where he was a featured soloist in several productions, including "The Turn of the Screw" and "The Magic Flute." He holds lab records in both the marathon and half-marathon.


     
 

 

Mark Scott, PhD Candidate (now Alumni)

Mark obtained his B.A. and M.Eng degrees in Engineering at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, specializing in Electrical and Information Sciences. His Masters research into the energy efficiency of the nervous system earned him the AT&T Prize and he was an elected as a Thomas Ireland Scholar. After being awarded the prestigious Kennedy Scholarship, he started his PhD at the Harvard-MIT division of Health Sciences and Technology with the aim of fusing his engineering background with life sciences and  medicine. He is now developing novel lab-on--chip technologies for neurobiology.

 

     
 

 

Joseph Steinmeyer, PhD Candidate

Joseph attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for his undergraduate studies where he majored in electrical engineering. While there he conducted research in the areas of biomimetic engineering and synthetic biology. After graduating in the spring of 2008, he joined Professor Yanik's research group at MIT where he is currently developing novel technologies for brain slice cultures. He is the recipient of the NDSEG Fellowship and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. In his spare time, he enjoys repairing antique radios, feeding pigeons, and listening to vinyl. 

 

     
 

Dr. Chrysanthi Samara, Postdoctoral Fellow (now Alumni)

Chrysa obtained her BS diploma in Biology in the Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece in 2001. She conducted her graduate studies in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine in the University of Crete and the Foundation of Research and Technology (FORTH), Greece. In 2007 she completed her PhD in the Laboratory of Nematode Genetics (IMBB, FORTH, Greece) under the supervision of Prof. Nektarios Tavernarakis, during which she investigated the mechanisms of necrotic cell death in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. At present she is conducting her post-doctoral research on the mechanisms of neuronal regeneration in C. elegans, in the High-Throughput Neurotechnology Group (RLE, MIT) under the supervision of Prof. Mehmet Fatih Yanik.

 

     
 

Cody Gilleland, PhD Candidate

Cody is an NSF and NIH fellow conducting PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He joined the High-Throughput Neurotechnology Group in 2007 and completed the SM degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2009. Cody has been working on large-scale in vivo laser neurosurgery screens employing high-throughput microfluidics to identify chemicals that enhance neuronal regeneration. Prior to MIT, Cody was an expat in Asia with Texas Instruments where he managed the technical development and deployment of automated MEMS-based technolgies for semiconductor wafer testing. He received the TI Breakthrough Award for leading the successful production ramp of over one billion units enabling the widely acclaimed "LoCosto" chip (the $10 cell phone distributed in developing economies). As a Kauffman Entrepreneurship Foundation Fellow at Stanford, Cody developed a consulting model that provides cost-effective consulting to innovative nonprofits at critical early stage in their development and was invited to present at the First World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford. He received the BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas where his work in photonic crystals, artificial blood cell technology, and digital design received the top undergraduate research prizes in 2005 and 2006.

     
 

 

Carlos Pardo-Martin, PhD Candidate (now Alumni)

Carlos obtained his Bachelor and Master in Science in Physics in the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. He also holds a Master in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Navarra, where he worked in the Centre for Applied Medical Research on fluorescence mediated optical tomography. He has obtained several awards in scientific research contests both at national and international levels, including Bronze Medal in the International Physics and Science Olympiads, and the European Contest for Young Scientists. He is currently a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT joint department of Health Sciences and Technology studying towards a PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics at the High-throughput Neurotechnology Group. He currently holds a LaCaixa fellowship and a Neuroimaging Training Fellowship from the Martinos Centre for Biomedical Imaging.

     
 

 

Tsung-Yao (Mike) Chang, PhD Candidate (now Alumni)

Mike received his MS and BS degrees in biomedical engineering from National Taiwan University in 2005 and electro-mechanical engineering from National Sun Yet-sen University in 2007, Taiwan, respectively. For his undergraduate studies, he won the “2004 National Best Paper Award in Biomedical Engineering” as the 1st author and also the “2005 Best Paper Award in Fulidic Mechanics” from National Chinese Mechanic Society. For his MS studies, he won the “2006 Best Paper Award in Biomedical Engineering” from Society of Chinese Biomedical Engineering. After he graduated from NTU, he joined the Foxconn Inc. In Foxconn, he solved a common failure problem costing millions of dollars per year. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D in electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2008. His primary research interests include design and development of large-scale chemical screening platforms, point-of-care diagnostic technologies, MEMS and plasmonics.

     
 

 

Peng Shi, Postdoctoral Fellow (now Alumni)

Dr. Shi received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, where he worked on multicomponent interfaces to modulate neuronal development in vitro. Prior to that, he had received his MS in Bioengineering at University of Illinous at Chicago, where he had worked on Peptide-directed binding of quantum dots to cellular integrins. Peng is currently a Simons Autism Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT.

     
 

 

Naiyan Chen, PhD Candidate (now Alumni)

Naiyan majored in Biomedical Engineering for her undergraduate studies at Imperial College London, where she had conducted research in biomedical sensors for monitoring patients with traumatic brain injuries. After graduation, she spent a year working in A*STAR, Singapore as a lab officer where she developed DNA biosensors for influenza detection. In MIT, she works under the supervision of both Prof. Fatih Yanik and Prof. Mriganka Sur, where she is focused on studying the cholinergic neuromodulatory systems in the visual cortex.

     
Peter Chiarelli   Peter Chiarelli, Postdoctoral Fellow (Harvard Medical School) (now Alumni)
     
 

Luigi Warren, Postdoctoral Fellow (now Alumni)

Luigi graduated with an EE/CS degree from University College London in 1982 and was for many years a software developer, working in areas as diverse as scientific computing, film and video post production, gaming, and finance. Changing gears, he took on a second Bachelors degree in Biology, graduating valedictorian of his class at Columbia University's School of General Studies in 2001. He obtained a doctorate in Biology from Caltech in 2008, completing thesis work focused on single-cell gene expression analysis in Stephen Quake's lab at Stanford. While in graduate school, impressed by insights into the properties of transcriptional networks provided by Eric Davidson and Stuart Kauffman, he conceived the idea of using cocktails of messenger RNA to perturb these networks and direct cell fate. In postdoctoral research at the Immune Disease Institute, Harvard Medical School, he put this idea to the test by attempting to recapitulate Shinya Yamanaka's breakthrough work on induced pluripotent stem cells using mRNA as a non-integrating vector. Paralleling Matthew Angel's findings in the Yanik lab, he quickly identified melioration of innate immune response to exogenous RNA as the key to sustained delivery of reprogramming factors. His subsequent development of an efficient method for reprogramming cells to pluripotency by mRNA transfection has been hailed as a major advance in the field of regenerative medicine.

 

 

Mohammed Azimi, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Azimi received his BSc degree in Electronics Engineering from Shiraz University in 1999. He then started his career in automotive industry, where he worked as a technical expert in R&D section working on new hybrid cars. In 2004 he attended graduate school to seek his goals in a more academic area. He completed his MPhil in 2007 and his PhD in 2010, both in Bioengineering from Brunel University, London. For his master degree, he developed a novel magnetic sensor for DNA hybridization detection. His PhD research was focused on the development of pathogenic DNA extraction from whole blood using switching magnetic field. In both of these projects he excelled in developing computer models and carried out simulation studies. His PhD programme was involved in mastering theory of microfluidics, magnetic field simulation of varying current carrying conductors, and soft lithographic techniques to fabricate polymeric microchip. After completeing his PhD, Dr Azimi joined High-throughput Neurotechnology Group at MIT as a PostDoctoral Associate to design and develop an automated system in order to conduct a high-throughput screening of transcription factors aiming to extract optimum combinatorial factors for making tissue specific cell types.

ALUMNI  

 

Fred Zeng, Postdoctral Fellow

Thomas Diefenbach, Research Associate

Billy Putnam , Graduate Student

 

 

 

 

 
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