From insight to impact

From insight to impact

Academic research reimagined

Academic research reimagined

Catalyst sparks innovative and impactful solutions to unmet medical and healthcare needs. Our method for executing research focuses effort, compresses time, leverages resources, and develops change agents in biomedical technology innovation.

The Catalyst community provides a 360º perspective to see around corners and draw insights from key experiences, paving the way for impact.

Call for applications

Do you want to break out of the constraints of traditional research paradigms and programs?

Can you devote one day per week (funded) to participate in a new approach to biomedical research?

…an approach that has high potential to yield projects that will have clear impact on medical science, scientists, clinicians, and patients?

Join Catalyst, a pioneering a program for research-driven biomedical innovation

Start your application

Why

Why

Innovations that achieve healthcare impact must navigate complex, nonlinear paths and draw on diverse talent pools to overcome challenges. They require more than the expertise and resources of a single discipline or organization, and they reach real lives only through sustained, agile commitment to research and development. Catalyst provides the framework to start this journey on sure footing.

How

How

Catalyst brings together multidisciplinary experts to work together in an iterative process to identify and validate unmet medical and health-related needs, discover new project opportunities, and develop action plans.

The most promising projects continue to execution while still supported by the Catalyst iterative and multidisciplinary framework, and eventually graduate Catalyst to traditional academic, clinical, or business settings at an advanced stage of readiness.

Phase 1: New project discovery
Six months

Each new cohort of part-time Catalyst Fellows work together to craft a portfolio of research proposals through an iterative process guided by an experienced mentoring team. 

Phase 2: Project execution
12–30 months

Project teams build multiprofessional collaborations to develop and test their solutions, with sustained mentorship guiding and accelerating progress toward impact.

 
 
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“The starting premise and driving force [of the Catalyst program] is to devise projects that will make a big difference and, working together, we are on our way to doing that.”

Carlos Castro, 2013 cohort Fellow
See the Catalyst Fellows

Who

Expansive range of expertise, experience, and roles
See our people

Carlos Carlos Castro “The starting premise and driving force of Catalyst is to devise projects that will make a big difference and, working together, we are on our way to doing that.” Carlos Castro, Telecommunications engineer and CEO of Leuko Labs; 2013 cohort Fellow Bonnie Bonnie Charland "I’ve had the opportunity to share in this unique, inter-professional, collaborative space where healthcare, engineering and physical scientists explore significant problems and design innovative solutions aimed at improving health outcomes, disparities, and experience." Bonnie Charland, Associate Director of Quality Management, VA Boston Healthcare System & Catalyst Independent Advisory Panel Member Tim Timothy Padera “Catalyst provides the opportunity to innovate how physical scientists and engineers are trained to make real impact on patient care.” Tim Padera, biologist and bioengineer at Massachusetts General Hospital, Catalyst Faculty Ravi “There is no other program or community like Catalyst. It provides
a unique environment for collaboration, innovation, and
career growth.”
Ravi Rasalingam, cardiologist at the Boston VA Medical Center, 2019 cohort Fellow

Impact

New academic endeavors, clinical tools, and ways of thinking

QuickSee handheld autorefractor in use in India vision care New clinical tools

PlenOptika: Improving access to vision care for a billion people

PlenOptika is the startup company that emerged from Catalyst project Team Eye in 2014. Their flagship product, QuickSee, is a clinical-quality handheld autorefractor that will help vision care professionals bring high quality care to anyone in the world. QuickSee has already measured 3 million eyes in at least 25 countries. See the Catalyst projects
Illustration of prenatal fetus in the womb with the placenta New academic endeavors

Placenta monitoring for mother’s and baby’s health

Despite the essential role of the placenta in providing for transport of nutrients and waste to and from the fetus, there are no tools that allow monitoring of placental health. This research launched by a Catalyst project is developing advanced MRI methods to monitor placental function during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Since initiation in Catalyst, this program continues at Children’s hospital and MIT with support through an NIH U01 award. See the Catalyst projects
Faculty member Peter Bryant addressing Hacking Medicine participants New ways of thinking

Catalyst changes participants’ attitudes and approaches to innovation

Fellows, faculty, and collaborators each find Catalyst changes how they think and work to unlock their innovation potential. The collaboration expands their horizons and sharpens their focus to take more strategic actions. See our process and results

QuickSee handheld autorefractor in use in India vision care New clinical tools

PlenOptika: Improving access to vision care for a billion people

PlenOptika is the startup company that emerged from Catalyst project Team Eye in 2014. Their flagship product, QuickSee, is a clinical-quality handheld autorefractor that will help vision care professionals bring high quality care to anyone in the world. QuickSee has already measured 3 million eyes in at least 25 countries. See the Catalyst projects QuickSee handheld autorefractor in use in India vision care
Illustration of prenatal fetus in the womb with the placenta New academic endeavors

Placenta monitoring for mother’s and baby’s health

Despite the essential role of the placenta in providing for transport of nutrients and waste to and from the fetus, there are no tools that allow monitoring of placental health. This research launched by a Catalyst project is developing advanced MRI methods to monitor placental function during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Since initiation in Catalyst, this program continues at Children’s hospital and MIT with support through an NIH U01 award. See the Catalyst projects Illustration of prenatal fetus in the womb with the placenta
Faculty member Peter Bryant addressing Hacking Medicine participants New ways of thinking

Catalyst changes participants’ attitudes and approaches to innovation

Fellows, faculty, and collaborators each find Catalyst changes how they think and work to unlock their innovation potential. The collaboration expands their horizons and sharpens their focus to take more strategic actions. See our process and results Faculty member Peter Bryant addressing Hacking Medicine participants

Performance

Work in Catalyst outperforms MIT innovation benchmarks, breaks new research ground, and kickstarts productive collaborations.
See Catalyst performance records
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Real-world impact

PlenOptika: Improving access to vision care for a billion people

PlenOptika is the startup company that emerged from Catalyst project Team Eye in 2014. Their flagship product, QuickSee, is a clinical-quality handheld autorefractor that will help vision care professionals bring high quality care to anyone in the world. QuickSee has already measured 3 million eyes in at least 25 countries.
See the Catalyst projects