FAQ

Look through the answers to the most popular student questions.

  • Who is eligible for the Living Machines thread?

    The thread is open to all MIT rising sophomores who plan on majoring in courses 6, 2, 20 and 10C. Students from other technical degree programs within any of the MIT Schools may also join by petition.

  • Will I get a certificate?

    Yes, upon completing your SB degree you will also gain a NEET Certificate in Living Machines from the School of Engineering.

  • What benefits may I expect from being in Living Machines?

    The thread emphasizes interdisciplinary team-work, research output and individual mentoring. As such, you will benefit from exposure to a variety of interesting work being carried out by research labs from across all participating majors.

  • How many students are you planning to take?

    New enrollments will be capped at 35 students/year.

  • What is NEET?

    NEET is an umbrella program run by the School of Engineering under which there are four threads to choose from, Living Machines being one of them. Click here for more information about NEET.

  • What requirements do I have to fulfill?

    There are three main requirements. 1) Take the three Living Machines classes. 2) Fulfill the LM Intellectual Diversity Requirement. 3) Complete two semesters of undergraduate UROPs during junior year.

Extended FAQ

  • What are the Living Machines classes?

    These are for-letter-grade classes and are a combination of hands-on projects, lab training, guest speakers, technical lectures, field trips, professional development workshops, assignments, presentations and other intellectual activities. Each class is 12 credits/year taken as 6-unit class every semester (for a total of 36 credits). Learn more here.
  • What projects will I be working on in the Living Machines thread?

    Each year you will take the 12-unit project-centered Living Machines class (20.051/2/3). The LM thread emphasizes novel research output as a fundamental part of the projects. You will complete project classes in sophomore, junior, and senior years. Projects are 12-unit subjects each year (36 units total).
    While the gut-microbiome theme remains the same, the projects might vary depending on the cohort year, but generally:

    Sophomore year: students will develop a basic microfluidic design and wet lab skills in addition to introductory lectures addressing various aspects of the organ-on-chip field. These range from basic human physiology to understanding how the microbiome can be targeted as a medical therapeutic. Students will work in small groups structured as small biotech startups on an interdisciplinary year-long project to develop a simplified gut-microbiome microphysiological system with scientific and clinical relevance.

    Junior year: students with the help of the thread instructors, will focus on one aspect of a more sophisticated system based on their major and interests. Research in this year will be conducted in the context of UROPs in Living Machines approved MIT labs. The type of project will highly depend on the student’s individual interests, the lab they choose and their career goals. Additionally, juniors will be working on small projects during the 20.052 class. These vary by year. For 2019 students can choose between three projects: 1) Investigating the endometrial microbiome, 2) Optimizing fiber composition for healthy gut outcomes and 3) a tri-culture microfluidic gut model.

    Senior year: students will integrate what they have developed and learned during their first two years into the wider more complex gut-microbiome microphysiological system.
  • Should I speak with my Academic Advisor?

    We recommend that you first speak with your Living Machines Lead Instructor, Timothy Kassis and Prof. Linda Griffith and subsequently with your Academic Advisor before deciding to commit to the Living Machines thread.
  • What are some career options for a student who participates in the Living Machines thread?

    Students participating in the LM thread have the same career options as their peers in their major, in addition to gaining highly sought-after skills such as team-work, project management and interdisciplinary collaboration. We tailor the individual projects you work on depending on your career goals. For example, if you want to apply to grad school, we try to help you work on a project that has publication potential that will help with your grad school application. If you are interested in establishing your own startup, we will help you choose a project that might have some commercialization potential. Similarly, if you are interested in medical school, we will work on emphasizing the clinical aspects of your project. The combination of your major engineering/science degree and the knowledge you gain from the projects will also make you a highly competitive candidate for the biotech and pharma industry, medical device industry and technical consulting.
  • What is the LM Intellectual Diversity Requirement?

    The Living Machines Intellectual Diversity Requirement is a core class from outside your major that is decided upon on an individual basis with Prof. Linda Griffith depending on your interests and future career path. These classes usually include 20.110, 10.10 or 2.001. Classes typically fall under courses 20, 10 or 2. Additionally, in certain cases you might be required to fulfill two of these classes.