Nidhi Subbaraman
Nidhi Subbaraman
Staff Writer
Nidhi Subbaraman is a staff writer at BetaBoston, reporting on science, research, technology, and any combination of those. Before this, Subbaraman covered science and tech at Her work has also appeared online at MIT Technology Review, Fast Company, New Scientist, Nature News, and others. She hearts robots.

Stories by Nidhi Subbaraman

hit the books
TagNotate is the Rap Genius for researchers
A psychology professor from Connecticut is offering students writing term papers, lawyers prepping for a case, and anyone challenged with thumbing through a stack of electronic documents a way to streamline their research. His solution: an app that can help them mark up electronic documents and arrange those sections by theme. Read More
every step counts
Biogen, Patients Like Me study suggests fitness trackers can help people with multiple sclerosis
Difficulty walking is one symptom facing the 2.3 million people with multiple sclerosis. But a wrist-worn fitness tracker paired with a smartphone app could help monitor their condition and fitness routine, according to a study conducted by researchers from Cambridge pharmaceutical company Biogen and the patient community portal Patients Like Me. Read More
A Wordpress for genetic data, Curoverse opens in beta to researchers
Anyone collecting data needs a place to put it. Harvard geneticist George Church felt that need acutely in the early days of his Personal Genome Project: It was the early 2000s, and he had the audacious goal of sequencing some 100,000 human genomes — each 25,000 times the size of a traditional electronic record. But though his vision was ripe, the infrastructure to store and manipulate these titanic data sets wasn't. Church commissioned Alexander Wait Zaranek, a computer science researcher in his lab, to scope out the tools available to work through such large data sets. When none were available, Zaranek and his Church lab colleagues Ward Vandewege and Tom Clegg began building their own. And so, Arvados was born. Read More
a lettuce a day
Grove Labs to ship its chic, in-home veggie gardens to first customers this spring
A two-tower grove with founders Gabe Blanchet (left) and Jamie Byron. (Photo: Aram Boghosian)

Tomatoes year round, fresh-picked fish-fed kale: These are dreams that Grove Labs claims to make real. An idea for an in-home garden nourished by detritus from a fish tank germinated in the MIT dorm room of Gabe Blanchet and Jamie Byron when they were freshmen. Five years later, after launching a company and picking up $2 million in seed funding, the duo are shipping the first of their "indoor ecosystems" to early adopters in the Boston area.

Even when the sidewalks were icy and a chill hung in the air, it was toasty inside the testing space at Somerville eco-startup Grove Labs, where the air always smells of damp soil and sawdust.

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The Download
The Download: Maia Majumder sees herself as a data point
(Photo: Aram Boghosian/Boston Globe)
MIT graduate student Maia Majumder applies mathematics to infectious disease data. In the past year, she has tracked the spread of Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome. Majumder, 25, uses Twitter as a professional tool to discuss her research and to interact with colleagues around the world. That has gotten her noticed, leading to a fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and a contract for an academic book she will co-edit. Majumder shared her digital habits with The Download. Read More
here a bot there a bot
Robots on the loose! Cambridge Science Week scavenger hunt begins Monday
These three robots -- spray painted water bottles sold at the MIT Museum -- will be hidden all around Cambridge. (Photo: Tina McCarthy/MIT Museum)
The Cambridge Science Festival begins next Friday, and visitors to the geek carnival can visit a "robot zoo," solve a CSI-style mystery, and meet astronaut Chris Cassidy. To add to the fun this year is a scavenger hunt: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find one of three golden robot figurines hidden away in the city.  Read More
After cancer diagnosis, MIT student 3-D prints tumor, shares health data
Steven Keating , right, meets with his pathologist---Dr. Keith L. Ligon, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
Steven Keating’s appetite for knowledge may well be the reason he’s alive. In 2007, his high-minded curiosity drove him to get his brain scanned while studying mechanical engineering at Queens University in Canada. The scans revealed a faint abnormality near the part of his brain responsible for processing the sense of smell. But since his health otherwise seemed normal, Keating thought nothing of it. But seven years later, while a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, Keating experienced an odd sensation: Several times he detected a whiff of vinegar — a phantom odor, it would turn out — but the feeling would quickly pass. With those earlier images in mind, Keating urged doctors to again scan his brain, and this time the results revealed a fist-size tumor. Within three weeks, Keating underwent a 10-hour surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where doctors extracted the tumor in golf ball-size chunks. Read More
doctors orders
Pill tracker app MediSafe can now log glucose levels, blood pressure
A failure of habit ails patients with chronic conditions — a full 50 percent of them have trouble following their prescribed course of treatment. Boston firm MediSafe is among the groups trying to fight back that trend — the company makes an app that reminds people to take their pills on time. This week the company announced it is adding the ability to track glucose levels and blood pressure within the app, an addition that is expected to give its 1.5 million users additional incentive to follow their treatment regime. Read More
running on fumes
$175,000 from MassDevelopment carries Dynamo Micropower into pilot tests
Dynamo Micropower, a startup housed at Greentown Labs, will receive a $175,000 loan, the group announced Monday. The money, distributed by MassDevelopment's Emerging Technology Fund, adds to the $2.5 million in private investment and grant funding that the Somerville-based turbine maker has received over the last 18 months. Read More