Four Women Join the Faculty of the School of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Seven new faculty members have recently joined the departments of biology and brain and cognitive sciences in the School of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Four of the new faculty members are women.

Sara Prescott is a new assistant professor of biology. She investigates how sensory inputs from within the body control mammalian physiology and behavior. Specifically, she uses mammalian airways as a model system to explore how the cells that line the surface of the body communicate with parts of the nervous system. Dr. Prescott earned her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Princeton University in 2008 followed by her Ph.D. in developmental biology from Stanford University in 2016. Prior to joining MIT, she conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Alison Ringel was appointed an assistant professor of biology. She is a T-cell immunologist with a background in biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology. She investigates how environmental factors such as aging, metabolism, and diet impact tumor progress and the immune responses that cause tumor control. By mapping the environment around a tumor on a cellular level, she seeks to gain a molecular understanding of cancer risk factors. Dr. Ringel received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, biochemistry, and physics from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She earned a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Nidhi Seethapathi was named assistant professor of brain and cognitive science. Her research focuses on understanding the objectives that govern movement decisions, the strategies used to execute movement, and how new movements are learned. By studying movement in real-world contexts using creative approaches, Seethapathi aims to make discoveries and develop tools that could improve neuromotor rehabilitation. Dr. Seethapathi earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute in Mumbai, India. She holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University.

Yadira Soto-Feliciano is a new assistant professor of biology. Most recently, she was the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Postdoctoral Fellow at Rockefeller University in New York. Dr. Soto-Feliciano studies chromatin — the complex of DNA and proteins that make up chromosomes. She combines cancer biology and epigenetics to understand how certain proteins affect gene expression and, in turn, how they impact the development of cancer and other diseases. Dr. Soto-Feliciano received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez followed by a Ph.D. in biology from MIT.



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