Tarek Fadel

Assistant Director, MIT Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine


Yale University, Ph.D.


Tarek Fadel manages a research center at MIT focusing on grand challenges in cancer detection and treatment. He also serves in board and advisory roles at the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association and the MIT Science Policy Review.
Before joining MIT, Tarek was a Staff Scientist at the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, the coordinating body for the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). During his time at Washington, he served as the Executive Secretary for the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology, a Subcommittee within the White House’s National Science and Technology Council.
Tarek received his Ph.D. from Yale University, and held positions as Vice President for Research at the International Technology Research Institute, and in product engineering at Hewlett Packard.


get to know tarek


What are you most proud of in your work or life?
I am proud to consider myself a global citizen. It drives everything I do, whether it is work- or life-related: as a proud husband and father of two, as a technologist looking for breakthroughs in cancer care, as a science policy nerd, or as a mentor supporting the next generation of scientists.


What do you like to do when you’re not working?
It varies widely, from brewing the perfect cup of coffee, nerding about what constitutes a perfect croissant, to building the ultimate lego set with my five-year old son. I also love to exercise (I am an avid runner), travel, and cook!


An embarrassing moment or moment of failure in your STEM career or academic experience?
I once had this idea for a startup (with several colleagues) while in grad school. It was at a time where Youtube was acquired by Google and social media was booming. We would create a Youtube-like platform for scientific protocols. Basically a web repository for scientists to upload videos of their methods and promote them to the community, in addition to companies who would want to advertise for assays or equipments to academic labs. We thought it was brilliant at the time but it never took off and ultimately failed. There were a lot of concerns, including our inability to make enough money from advertising, or the simple reality that busy academic scientists would never have the time to record their protocols (among many other issues).


Do you have a personal motto or other words to live by?
One that keeps me smiling is “you can’t plan for crazy.” Also, one while I am at MIT (but I’ve always abided by) is “mens et manus,” which translates from Latin to “mind and hand:” don’t just think, but roll up your sleeves and apply what you’ve learned to solve the challenges you’re facing!


Favorite snack food?
Dark chocolate


What advice would you give your younger self?
Lead with impact.