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Maxine Jonas

Maxine Jonas, Ph.D.

  • Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering (20.109)
  • Neurotechnology in Action (20.203)
  • Bioinstrumentation and Measurement (20.309)
  • Instrumentation Project in Biological Engineering (20.345)

Department of Biological Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 16-257


  • 2006, PhD, MIT Biological Engineering
  • 2001, MS, Ecole Polytechnique France


After undergraduate studies in France and upon completing my PhD in Peter So's lab, I worked in the biotech industry, in the Boston area, both in start-up and in large company environments, for seven years prior to returning to campus. My focus as a teaching faculty for the department of Biological Engineering at MIT is on developing hands-on lab environments, pertinent and comprehensive, to quantitatively examine, analyze and understand biological systems.

My research and teaching projects have specifically included:

  • Designing, constructing, characterizing and optimizing a fluorescence-based microrheometer to quantitatively assess cellular mechanics with nanometer and microsecond resolutions;
  • Developing molecular and cell biology assays and computer algorithms to study the role of environmental cues in regulating intracellular signaling and trafficking;
  • Building non-linear optics-based microscopes, ranging from two-photon multi-foci and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging apparatus, to fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and quantum dot monitoring devices;
  • Conceiving, maturing and manufacturing automated robotics platforms interfaced with mass spectrometers, for industrial applications in the fields of biopharmaceutical drug discovery, clinical research, metabolomics and quantitative proteomics;
  • Imparting to undergraduate students fundamental principles and practices of the engineering approach to a question, from formulating a hypothesis, selecting relevant technological tools, identifying and optimizing key hardware parameters, troubleshooting, modeling, writing or reusing software analysis code, understanding limitations, error sources and uncertainty of conclusions.

Besides work, I love theater plays, in books or in action, reveries in museums, and I love water: swimming, sailing, riding my bike in the rain, skiing on the northeastern ha’d-packed or in the spring slush, skydiving through clouds, and drinking water.