Bridging the Distance
On December 20th, 2020, TEDxMIT hosted the virtual Fall 2020 conference “Bridging the Distance.” The conference featured student, faculty, and alum speakers whose talks spanned the interdisciplinary nature of their research and experiences.
Mohsen Mosleh is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the Science, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship Department, University of Exeter Business School and an affiliate researcher at MIT. Mohsen was a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Sloan School of Management as well as the Department of Psychology at Yale University. Prior to his post-doctoral studies, Mohsen received his PhD from Stevens Institute of Technology in Systems Engineering with a minor in data science. Mohsen’s research interests lie at the intersection of computational/data science and cognitive/social science. In particular, he studies how information and misinformation spread on social media, collective decision-making, and cooperation.
Onur Yüce Gün
Onur Yüce Gün is a seasoned computational designer and lecturer. His expertise helped him bring non-standard designs in extreme scales, from skyscrapers to minuscule 3D printed lattices in athletic performance shoes into life. Onur instituted the Computational Geometry Group at Kohn Pedersen Fox New York (KPF) in 2006. His computational architecture work got published in Elements of Parametric Design. In 2009, he developed the curriculum and directed İstanbul Bilgi University’s undergraduate program in architecture. He taught at MIT, RISD and Adolfo Ibáñez University in Chile, and acted as a mentor at numerous schools and workshops around the globe. Trained as an architect, Onur holds a Ph.D. and a Masters in Design and Computation, both earned at MIT. He is currently the Creative Manager of Computational Design at New Balance. He develops computational design workflows and futuristic concepts with a specific concentration on dfAM (design for additive manufacturing).
Matthew Baldwin is a senior (Class of 2021) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying Physics and Mathematics, and is originally from the UK. Over the past three years, he has worked on development projects across the world. Whether in Beijing, developing urban relocation plans for communities in informal settlements, or in Kathmandu, designing bamboo greenhouses for smallholder farmers, he is fixated by solving complex problems in international development. In February 2020, he co-founded an initiative aiming to bring English language learning to South Sudanese refugee children in Uganda, which is now the focus of his work, with MIT D-Lab. Away from development, Matthew has worked at CERN performing particle detector simulations, and is currently working with the Engineering Quantum Systems Group, researching superconducting qubits. He is a teaching assistant for four quantum computing courses taught through MIT, and is training for a marathon in his spare time.
Gabriel Kozlowski is a Brazilian architect and curator. He is currently Assistant Curator for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2021. Gabriel has held teaching and research positions at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning; the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism; and the Senseable City Lab. He is also a PhD student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Past curated exhibitions include “Walls of Air” (the Brazilian Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale) and “Housing+” (the 3rd Biennial Exhibit of the MIT L. Center for Advanced Urbanism). Gabriel’s recent books include: The World as an Architectural Project (MIT Press, 2020); 8 Reactions for Afterwards (RioBooks, 2019); and Walls of Air: Brazilian Pavilion 2018 (Bienal de São Paulo, 2018). Gabriel is the founder of TomorrowAnew.org, a philanthropic response to the Covid-19 crisis that gathers thoughts and donations to both help those impacted by the virus, and collectively imagine our future post-pandemic.
Clemens Bauer is a Research Scientist Affiliate @ the Gabrieli Lab at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. He received his MD from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara and his PhD from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Clemens has had a long time interest in understanding the neural correlates of subjective first person experience, in particular, the mechanisms underlying the interactions between mind/brain and body. Before joining MIT he conducted research with experienced meditators, assessing subjective phenomenology of bodily sensations that yielded specific brain activity correlates. This inspired him to further search for correlates of subjective first person experiences with neuronal activations of different networks (e.g. Default Mode Network) in the brain during controlled and sustained attentional periods, especially during meditation. Using novel real-time functional magnetic imaging methods he now can obtain a personalized fingerprint of brain networks with particular spatiotemporal signatures of brain activity, which then can be used as feedback in real time through a virtual mirror of specific mind/brain states (e.g. meditation vs distraction). This has led to the development of a personalized neuro-template for efficient neurofeedback protocols in psychopathology. In particular, it has enabled patients with schizophrenia to enhance the learning of meditation to consequently reduce their auditory hallucinations. Now he wants to extend this research to other areas of mental health (e.g. anxiety, depression, dementia) as well as find accurate electroencephalographic markers to make this technique more accessible.
Clio is an undergraduate at MIT (’21) finishing up her degree in Materials Science and Engineering. With a zeal for transdisciplinary thinking, she ties together her interests in human cognition and historiography with the physical world through her minors in Chemistry and History of Architecture, Art, and Design. She joins intuitive teaching in both technical and creative topics through her work managing the film darkroom on campus, as well as her food chemistry curriculum development that she teaches for high school students through MIT ESP. Her research interests include optoelectronics, and has been a member of the MIT PV Lab for the majority of her undergraduate career.
Dr. Tyler DeWitt is a research scientist, high school teacher, and digital content author. He is the creator of one of the most popular educational channels on YouTube and is a frequent speaker on science topics, science communucation, and STEM education.
Tyler has taught high school Chemistry, Biology, and English at schools in both the United States and South Korea, and he has worked as a project manager developing new K-12 science curricula for the state of Florida.
Tyler holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from MIT, where he served as student coordinator for the new MIT+K12 video outreach project. At MIT, he was a National Science Foundation Fellow and a Graduate Resident Tutor.
Julian Zulueta is an undergraduate student in the MIT Department of Biological Engineering with a minor in the history of art, architecture, and design (Class of 2023). On campus, Julian engages with research in the Spranger Lab, where he specializes in immunology to study the tumor microenvironment with computer software—analyzing cell trends in relation to their form, motility, and dimensions. As a Miami native, Julian seeks to connect his city’s artistic components with his work in biological engineering. He finds it important to understand science from beyond the numbers, and strives to expand its perspective in order to incorporate the intrinsic patterns and cross-cultural connections that has defined his approach as a scientist. These developments have been essential with biomimicry and architectural design, and he hopes to further include this ideology in immunology while simultaneously sharing his ideas with others.
Erika DeBenedictis is a postdoctoral researcher with David Baker’s group at the University of Washington. During her PhD in biological engineering at MIT, she developed a platform for high-throughout continuous directed evolution and applied it to engineering biomolecules for genetic code expansion. She graduated cum laude from the California Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science where she worked on topics in computational physics including space mission orbit design at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, quantum computer compilation at Sandia National Laboratories, and computational protein design at D. E. Shaw Research. Erika was awarded first prize at the Intel Science Talent Search, the Davidson Fellowship, and the Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowship.
Marwa Abdulhai works in the space of robotics, artificial intelligence, religion, and interfaith dialogue and is a Masters Student in the Laboratory for Information & Decision Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She hopes to build tools at the intersection of human and robot decision-making and design artificial agents that can learn how to learn and build cooperative, long term relationships with other artificial agents. Marwa joined the interfaith community at MIT to foster dialogue, understanding, and dispel misconceptions about Islam. She is deeply inspired by Islamic Renaissance polymaths such as Ibn Sina (father of early medicine) and Al Khawarizmi (founder of modern algebra) who understood their religion deeply, engaged in conversations with scholars of other disciplines and faiths, and leveraged these ideas into their contributions to medicine, algebra, and the sciences. Marwa is constantly inspired by her interfaith friendships and conversations, where she sees opportunity for growth, bridge-building, and re-evaluation of perspectives. Marwa is the campus-recruitment chair for MIT’s Interfaith Dialogue Program Addir, member of the Muslim Student Association, member of the EECS Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and co-founder of the Indian Muslim Relief & Charities NJ Chapter. Abdulhai holds an undergraduate degree from MIT in computer science focusing on robotics and machine learning. She has interned at Amazon Robotics, Uber Advanced Technologies Group, and IBM. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading, and long discussions on faith & technology with friends.
Having lost his grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease, Or Shemesh decided to study diseases of the nervous system. While completing his PhD in neuroscience, Or realized that he could not answer basic questions about the seeding cellular and molecular events that lead to pathology, due to the lack of proper technologies and methodologies to study the brain. To develop expertise in creating technologies, he joined MIT as a postdoc and learned the nuts and bolts of tool-building in the Synthetic Neurobiology Group. Nowadays, Or is starting his group as an Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh, where he leads a team to invent novel technologies to study and reverse brain disease. In his talk, Or will describe the magnitude of the problem Alzheimer’s disease poses, why we failed in understanding the root causes of Alzheimer’s disease, and how technology can solve this looming threat to society.
Syncopasian is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s co-ed East Asian music a cappella group. We celebrate East Asian pop culture at MIT through our eclectic a cappella repertoire featuring songs in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other East Asian languages. Synco is a close-knit family of friends and lovers of music, and we’re proud to be able to share our interest in East Asian pop music with the community.