Postdoctoral Symposium

Executive summary:
The Postdoctoral Inaugural Symposium was organized by the PDA in order to bring the MIT postdoctoral community together and disseminate the brilliant work of our fellow postdocs. Among over 70 submissions 9 finalists were chosen to present at the live virtual event (held on the 21st of July 2021, 4pm ET) in the presence of a judging panel composed of 4 MIT alumni who selected 3 winners, based on the impact and the novelty of their work and their communication skills. The winners received monetary prizes of up to $1000.

1. Eugenia Inda, EECS, Synthetic Microbes As Next-Generation IBD Diagnostics
2. Neelkanth Bardhan, KI, Deep vision: near-infrared imaging-guided surgery toimprove survival in ovarian cancer
3. Sooyeon Cho, ChemE, Nanosensor Chemical Cytometry
4. Ethan Pickering, MechE, Active learning of nonlinear operators for forecasting extreme and rare events
5. Ilya Charaev, RLE, Detecting Sub-GeV Dark Matter with Superconducting Nanowires
6. Chris Akers, Physics, How space might emerge from quantum entanglement
7. Julie Rorrer, ChemE, Conversion of Waste Plastic to High-Quality Liquids Under Mild
8. Edwin Pedrozo Penafiel, RLE, Breaking Quantum Limits with Entanglement-Enhanced Devices
9. Benjia Dou, RLE, Roll to roll printing of perovskite solar cells

All finalists received certificates of participation.

Organizing Committee:
Maria Kanelli, Alumni Committee Chair
Christopher W Kinsley, Treasurer
Moustafa Ragab Khalil Ali, Community Building Chair



Vincent Liu, lead software engineer at Nike Inc., focusing on projects that use data science and artificial intelligence to streamline logistical operations. Prior to Nike, Vincent worked as an automation engineer at Ginkgo Bioworks, building integrated robotic platforms and software to make engineering biology easier and more efficient. Vincent earned his Ph.D. degree at MIT in 2014 under the guidance of Professor Michael Cima, where he worked on developing novel materials and measurement methods for magnetic resonance based oxygen sensors.

Flavia Libonati, Associate Professor at the University of Genoa, Italy and Research Affiliate at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Italy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US. Before she was Assistant Professor at Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, where she also received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Her primary research interests lie in the field of biological composites and biomimetic materials, with a special focus on the design and manufacturing of bio-inspired multifunctional materials for advanced engineering applications, through a multiscale numerical and experimental approach. She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships and a member of renowned scientific societies.

Michael SegalHead of Open Innovation at Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a Boston-area energy startup. He has served as senior editor at Nature Nanotechnology and was founding editor in chief of Nautilus magazine. 

Alba Luengo, Senior Scientist at Toran Therapeutics, an early stage biotechnology company founded by Flagship Pioneering. Alba joined Toran Therapeutics as its first employee, and investigates how transporter proteins contribute to disease biology. Alba received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. She completed her Ph.D. in Biology at MIT where she studied cancer metabolism in the Vander Heiden lab at the Koch Institute. 

Organizing Committee:

Maria Kanelli, Alumni Committee Chair
Christopher W Kinsley, Treasurer
Moustafa Ragab Khalil Ali, Community Building Chair