Living Machines (LM) allows you to apply engineering principles and concepts to problems in the Life and Medical Sciences, through various biotechnology innovations. As a Living Machines scholar, you have the opportunity to work on projects spanning synthetic biology, immuno-engineering, tissue engineering, microfluidics, and computational biology and other disruptive research areas, united by a theme of improving our understanding of and therapies for human disease. The thread aims to engage you with frontier challenges in biotech no matter what your background is - course 6, interested in applying your skills to bio/medical problems; course 2 who wants to design the next cutting-edge biotech platforms, perhaps integrating robotics; or a course 20 who wants to gain greater depth in one of the tracks. The most important problems in biotech require interdisciplinary teamwork, a skill Living Machines emphasizes through projects and professional development.
As an LM scholar, you choose one (or more) technical track you would like to pursue at your own pace. Tracks offer flexibility and modularity and give you the technical skills to be highly competitive in your next career steps. Most importantly, you will be part of a diverse and interdisciplinary community of undergrads, graduate students, staff researchers, faculty, and industry partners where you establish long-term personal and professional relationships through a variety of personal and career development opportunities.
20.051: Intro to NEET - Living Machines
A gateway to the NEET Living Machines thread, which has the focus on “Physiomimetics: Transforming Therapeutic Strategy and Development”. The development of therapies for complex diseases relies on understanding disease mechanisms in heterogeneous patient populations, developing therapeutic strategies for patient subgroups, modeling these in vitro, and testing the therapies. Five essential technological contributions to this process comprise tracks in the LM thread: computational systems biology, synthetic biology, immuno-engineering, microphysiological systems devices/tissue engineering, and microfluidic device engineering for in vitro models and analysis. This subject introduces students to the disease modeling, patient stratification, and drug development processes and how these fields work together, includes extensive examples from industry, and provides context for students to choose a concentration track (or tracks) for further study in the Living Machines thread. The format is weekly topical lectures from experts in the field, with structured short projects in each topic area. Required for all NEET - Living Machines students. This is a 6-unit class.
20.054: NEET - Living Machines Research Immersion
A structured lab research experience in a specific Living Machines track. Students identify a project in a participating research lab, on a topic related to the five tracks in the NEET Living Machines program, propose a project related to the drug development theme, and prepare interim and final presentations and reports while conducting the project. Links to industry-sponsored research projects at MIT are encouraged. A project proposal must be submitted and approved in the term prior to enrollment. It can be used to fulfill the optional research immersion requirement for NEET - Living Machines tracks. This 3-unit class is for NEET - LM students only and is designed to accompany a for-credit or for-pay UROP.
20.053: NEET - Living Machines Advanced Research Immersion
For students who have completed 20.052 and wish to carry out additional research on the chosen topic, or shift to another Living Machines Track area for breadth. Requirements are the same as those for 20.052, including approval of a pre-proposal in the term prior to enrollment Students identify a project in a participating research lab, on a topic related to the five tracks in the NEET Living Machines program, propose a project related to the drug development theme, and prepare interim and final presentations and reports while conducting the project. Links to industry-sponsored research projects at MIT are encouraged. A project proposal must be submitted and approved in the term prior to enrollment. It can be used to fulfill the optional research immersion requirement for NEET - Living Machines tracks. This 12-unit class is for NEET students only.
Using their interdisciplinary expertise spanning mechanical, biological and chemical engineering as well a computer science, LM scholars designed, built and validated a human gut micro-physiological system that houses epithelial, vascular and fibroblast cells. The chip is being utilized by multiple scientific collaborators for real-world experiments.
Exabyte-scale Molecular Data Storage, Recovery, and Computing
DNA offers the highest information storage density compared to all current storage solutions. The project aims to 1) Optimize a microfluidics system for DNA manipulation, 2) Devise improved synthesis or retrieval methods and 3) Integrate methods with device automation
Analysis of Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Data
Various machine learning and computational biology approaches were applied on single-cell RNA-Seq datasets which revealed differences in cell populations and molecular features of Endometriosis and Adenomyosis.
Prof. Linda Griffith
Founding Faculty Co-Lead
Prof. Eric Alm
Founding Faculty Co-Lead
Dr. Mehdi Salek
Lead Instructor, NEET
School of Engineering
Industry Liaison Officer
Academic Liaison Officer
Juan Ibarra Arriaga
Community Building Officer
MIT/NEET Liaison Officer
Computation and Cognition
Community Building Committee Member
Computer Science and Molecular Biology