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MIT student inventor honored for transformative work in genomics and linguistics
Date:3/3/2010

scoveries. First, they found that the genome is organized into separate active and inactive compartments; chromosomes weave in and out of these compartments, turning the individual genes along their length on and off. When they examined this process more closely, they found evidence that the genome adapts into a never-before-seen state called a fractal globule. This allows cells to pack DNA extraordinarily tightly without knotting, and to easily access genes when the information they contain is needed.

Technological, Mathematical, and Linguistic Breakthroughs

Lieberman-Aiden's pioneering work on genome sequencing is the latest in a long line of innovations. In addition to three-dimensional genome sequencing, he also invented the iShoe, a sensor-laden shoe insole that enables early diagnosis and rehabilitation of deteriorating balance for the elderly. iShoe technology can help reduce the risk of broken hips due to falling, which often results in death for senior citizens. Lieberman-Aiden and his team are currently engaged in clinical trials of the iShoe technology.

Lieberman-Aiden and Harvard mathematics professor Martin Nowak developed evolutionary graph theory, a field which lies at the interface between graph theory, mathematics and evolutionary biology. The theory provides a quantitative language to describe replication of entities such as organisms or ideas along networks, and can be applied to a variety of fields ranging from cancer biology to social networks.

Working with Jean-Baptiste Michel, Lieberman-Aiden also made major contributions to the study of the evolution of language. The duo demonstrated that languages follow the laws of natural selection in predictable ways, leading to specific equations that describe and predict how irregular verbs are disappearing from the English language and gradually transforming into regular verbs. They showed that, like radioactive atoms, irregular verbs have a half-life and t
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Contact: Julie Staadecker
jstaadecker@coneinc.com
617-939-8427
Lemelson-MIT Program
Source:Eurekalert  

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MIT student inventor honored for transformative work in genomics and linguistics
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