Farita Tasnim

Conformable Decoders
  • Research Assistant

Farita Tasnim earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is now a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab.  Her current research melds physics, medicine, and engineering to better understand the nonequilibrium character of life at mesoscopic and macroscopic scales.

For her recently completed Master’s work, her research interests had lain in designing and implementing the protocol, processes, geometries, and fabrication steps for optimizing the design of piezoelectric sensors and energy harvesters to intimately couple to different parts of the human body, such as the surface of the face or the knee or the inside of the brain. This work focuses on the intersection between energy harvesting, sensing, and biological integration, so as to create seamless, hybrid, self-powered conformable sensors for continuous monitoring of longitudinal health patterns.

Now, for her PhD work, her goal is to develop theories that aim to increase our understanding of how living systems operate, as well as to design and orchestrate experiments that can test such theories. She believes that a ce… View full description

Farita Tasnim earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is now a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab.  Her current research melds physics, medicine, and engineering to better understand the nonequilibrium character of life at mesoscopic and macroscopic scales.

For her recently completed Master’s work, her research interests had lain in designing and implementing the protocol, processes, geometries, and fabrication steps for optimizing the design of piezoelectric sensors and energy harvesters to intimately couple to different parts of the human body, such as the surface of the face or the knee or the inside of the brain. This work focuses on the intersection between energy harvesting, sensing, and biological integration, so as to create seamless, hybrid, self-powered conformable sensors for continuous monitoring of longitudinal health patterns.

Now, for her PhD work, her goal is to develop theories that aim to increase our understanding of how living systems operate, as well as to design and orchestrate experiments that can test such theories. She believes that a central component of achieving this understanding will require mathematically formulating and experimentally observing the way in which a living system’s constituent components, i.e. subsystems, interact with each other and evolve to form hierarchically functioning complex systems.  Ultimately the aim of her proposed research is, by understanding living systems, to help make progress towards two major goals: i) to better understand how they or their internal constituents can fail, which can lead to better techniques for early diagnosis and treatment of medical diseases or disorders; and ii) to better design systems which aim to replicate the feats achieved by living systems. 

In her research, Farita expects to try to answer two questions regarding the ontogeny and phylogeny of living systems: (1) how (and under what thermodynamic bounds) do physical (e.g. dissipative) flows govern the processes necessary for sustaining life in an individual (e.g. metabolism in the human body or photosynthesis in a plant leaf) or breaking down the capacity for life (e.g. cancer and other diseases)? and (2) what type of frameworks and constraints could allow for the emergence of functional structures through evolution (e.g. closed lipid bilayer sacs in early life, metabolic constructs in cells, appressed thylakoid membranes in plant cells)? Furthermore, although ontogenetic and phylogenetic timescales are remarkably different, how does their interplay lead to new phenomena, such as epigenetics, which affect them both? She has a hunch that a path forward to answering these questions lies in developing tractable formulations of nonequilibrium statistical physics, stochastic thermodynamics, adaptive hierarchical complex networks, and active field theories.