Catalyst projects

Developing the people and ideas that will drive healthcare innovation

Catalyst projects involve Fellows and their international teams of collaborators. They focus on identifying unmet medical needs that can be addressed by new biomedical technologies. Successful Catalyst projects demonstrate a real potential for healthcare impact.

Catalyst projects are shaped by the MIT linQ Innovation Method. This unique method accelerates and heightens the potential for innovation impact by—

  • Helping teams to identify and precisely define medical needs
  • Compressing development time by engaging diverse lifecycle expertise (such as businesspeople, healthcare professionals, and public leaders as well as academic researchers)
  • Encouraging strategic decisions about actions and resources
  • Enabling project teams to become agents of change

Projects since 2012


Projects that can enable earlier, better responses to disease and injury

Team Cell Reinventing cytometry to find rare cells in blood and to provide a wider reach for leukemia/lymphoma diagnosis

Team Colo Improving colonoscopy screening to reduce colorectal cancer mortality

Team Fetal Detecting an insufficient placenta that may put a fetus at risk and indicate the need for early delivery

Team neuroQWERTY Creating a new transparent technology to detect early signs of neurodegenerative disorders via finger interaction with electronic devices

Team Skin Developing a new technol- ogy to help primary care physicians to quickly identify potentially malignant skin lesions


Projects that can help people achieve and maintain better health

Team Brain Using imaging to find bio- markers that help distinguish bipolar disorder from major depressive disorder

Team Eye An affordable and accurate device, the “QuickSee,” to prescribe eye- glasses at the push of a button—increas- ing accessibility to eye care in low-re- source settings

Team Hydration Developing a non-in- vasive monitor that mitigates the wide- spread problem of dehydration in elderly care homes by directly sensing physio- logical hydration

Team Leuko Enabling non-invasive white blood cell counts – a first-line indicator of infection and risk of infection

Team Scolio Creating a new technology that enables scoliosis patients to control their spinal alignment, potentially avoiding progression and more traumatic therapies


Projects that can make clinical care safer and more effective

Team CT Developed automated image analysis methods to guide therapy fol- lowing pulmonary embolism

Team Lumbar Building an acoustic mi- croscopy technology as an alternative to difficult and painful lumbar punctures to test for meningitis in infants

Team mPET Enabling simultaneous imaging of multiple PET radiotracers to improve oncologic, neurologic, and cardiac disease management

Team MS-SAR Working on hardware and software innovations to provide person- alized MRI to enable earlier detection of multiple sclerosis and imaging in patients with implanted electrodes

Team Pancreas Developing novel MRI approaches to measure tissue fibrosis in patients with pancreatic cancer as an indicator of therapeutic efficacy

Team TxResponse Developing new markers that provide early indication of whether a chemotherapy is effective