MIT Senior relishes challenges in stem cells and symphonies

From the MIT Homepage:
MIT-Orchestra-5-9-13-182Under the microscope, they look like art: a red dapple with green crescents, deep blue and purple spots, angular green dabs. But these are actually cells, highlighted with fluorescent dyes and antibodies, that MIT senior Nathan Kipniss grows and studies.

Kipniss — a biological engineering major — does synthetic biology research in the laboratory of Ron Weiss, an associate professor of computer science and biological engineering. There, he and other researchers manipulate genetic code to “program” stem cells in order to create more complex structures, such as liver and pancreatic tissues.

Also a cellist in the MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO), and former house chair of Simmons Hall, Kipniss grew up in Schenectady, N.Y., with his mother and twin brother. His mother, a nurse, fostered Kipniss’ early interest in science. When he was 8, she gave him a microscope kit complete with glass slides of real human tissues, carefully prepared by a histologist in the hospital where she worked. Peering through the lens, Kipniss was in awe. “It was fascinating to see tissues from the body in such detail,” Kipniss recalls.

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