FROM

Scholars from MIT, Harvard receive MacArthur grants

(From left) Regina Barzilay and Sunil Amrith. –Jonathan Wiggs/GlobeStaff (left) and John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

After MIT professor Regina Barzilay survived breast cancer, she started using her computer science background to help prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease.

Sunil Amrith, a historian at Harvard University, has written extensively about migration in India and Southeast Asia, most recently in a book about the Bay of Bengal, which was crossed by 28 million people between 1840 and 1940.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced Wednesday that Barzilay and Amrith are among 24 scholars who have been awarded a $625,000 fellowship, which they can use to advance their careers as they see fit. The honor is sometimes referred to as a “genius grant.’’