PhD Spotlight: Morris Vanegas, PhD’21 – Bioengineering
Morris Vanegas obtained his BS and MS degrees from MIT before joining the Computational Optics and Translational Imaging Lab (COTI Lab) in the Department of Bioengineering as a PhD student in the Fall of 2016. Since then, he has been the driving force for a number of research projects. In a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Morris applied his extensive skills in digital fabrication to develop mobile phone oximeters prototypes for use in low-income countries. He also contributed to a successful NIH BRAIN Initiative R01 grant submission to develop a wearable optical brain imaging system that has since led to a patent application. Morris has been leading the hardware and software design, fabrication, and testing of the probe, resulting in exciting progress toward building a one-of-a-kind modular, non-invasive brain imaging probe for monitoring stroke recovery. Outside of academia, Morris co-founded The Second L, which provides new professionals and those seeking transitions in careers and personal life with exposure to growth and wellness tools through experience-based mentorship models. He is also the acting director of TDC Makerspace, MIT’s first residential-based fabrication shop. Morris is a 2019 Latino 30 Under 30 recipient, a 2018 MIT Impact Fellow, and a 2017 Dent the Future Scholar.