Centers for Research, Education and Innovation (CREI)

During phase I of the MIT-Skoltech collaboration, several multidisciplinary Centers for Research, Education, and Innovation (CREIs) across five core thematic areas (biomedicine, energy, IT, product design and manufacturing, and space) and in cross-cutting areas of research were created. The key goals for each CREI are to:

  • Facilitate capacity-building at Skoltech.
  • Advance cutting-edge research in fundamental science and technology in its area of focus.
  • Drive economic development and innovation in the Russian Federation.

Two CREIs have continued into phase II of the MIT Skoltech Program:

Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage

The Skoltech-MIT Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage (CEE) is an inter-university/interdepartmental center with three major goals:

  • Development of advanced lithium ion and multivalent ion batteries
  • The development of rechargeable metal-air batteries, and
  • Development of reversible low and elevated temperature fuel cells 

The Skoltech CEE, established in 2013, includes faculty members from the Skolkovo Institute for Science and Technology (Skoltech) [Keith Stevenson, Sergei Tretiak, Andriy Zhugayevych, Alexei Buchachenko, Pavel Troshin, Artem Abakumov], MIT [Carl Thompson, Yang Shao-Horn, Yet-Ming Chiang, Harry Tuller, Christopher Cummins , Alexie Kolpak], and several from Moscow State University (MSU).

The Skoltech CEE combines MSU expertise in theory, electrochemistry and materials synthesis, and MIT investigators who have significantly contributed to a burst of innovation in electrochemical energy material and device design with overall leadership from Skoltech. Collaborative efforts to develop electrodes for Na-ion batteries progressed, motivated by the greater natural abundance and lower cost of sodium compared to lithium.  Searching more broadly for metal ion electrode materials, a class of fluorophosphate compounds were synthesized and investigated. One material synthesized at low temperature was found to have a layered 2D crystal structure and was found to be an electrochemically active cathode material for sodium-ion batteries.

To date the Skoltech-MIT CEE has published 26 papers and made 25 conference presentations.

Two representative publications are as follows:

J.T. Mefford, X. Rong, A.M. Abakumov, W.G. Hardin, S. Dai, A.M. Kolpak, K.P. Johnston, and K.J. Stevenson, "Water Electrolysis on La1-xSrxCoO3-delta Perovskite Electrocatalysts,"  Nature Communications 7, 11053 (2016).

D.G. Kwabi, M. Tulodziecki, N. Pour, D.M. Itkis, C.V. Thompson, and Y. Shao-Horn, "Controlling Solution-Mediated Reaction Mechanisms of Oxygen Reduction Using Potential and Solvent for Aprotic Lithium-Oxygen Batteries," J. of Physical Chemistry Letters 7, 1204 (2016).

Center for Functional Genomics

The Skoltech Center for Functional Genomics hosts the Center for RNA Therapeutics and Biology which focuses on two main directions: 

  • Development of new delivery methods of nucleic acids
  • Genetic basis of the disease. 

The Center performed high-throughput screens developed to identify novel lncRNAs involved in cellular signaling pathways and nominated several targets implicated in the development of liver cancer, inflammation and control of cell proliferation processes. Success has been achieved in developing delivery system targeting prostate cancer cells. Using siRNA-nanoparticulate delivery it uncovered genetic interplay between p53 and Hippo cellular pathway in the liver cell. CRIPR/Cas9 based technology was optimized in a mouse model of tyrosinemia allowing compensating for the diseased phenotype in a mouse adult organism. The Center anticipates that continuation of the MIT-Skoltech-MSU collaboration will allow developing more potent anticancer- and gene-based- therapies for liver involved diseases and prostate cancer. 

The Center, established in 2013, includes faculty members from Skoltech [Victor Koteliansky,
Konstantin Piatkov, Mikhail Nesterchuk, Yulia Rybakova], MIT [Daniel Anderson, Robert Langer, Elena Smekalova] and several from MSU. 

Recent representative publications are as follows: 

Yin H, Song CQ, Dorkin JR, Zhu LJ, Li Y, Wu Q, Park A, Yang J, Suresh S, Bizhanova A, Gupta A, Bolukbasi MF, Walsh S, Bogorad RL, Gao G, Weng Z, Dong Y, Koteliansky V, Wolfe SA, Langer R, Xue W, Anderson DG. Therapeutic genome editing by combined viral and non-viral delivery of CRISPR system components in vivo. Nat Biotechnol. 2016 Mar;34(3):328-33. 

Yin H, Bogorad RL, Barnes C, Walsh S, Zhuang I, Nonaka H, Ruda V, Kuchimanchi S, Nechev L, Akinc A, Xue W, Zerial M, Langer R, Anderson DG, Koteliansky V. RNAi-nanoparticulate manipulation of gene expression as a new functional genomics tool in the liver. J Hepatol. 2016 Apr;64(4):899-907.