Ben Tien is a graduate student in the department of bio-engineering at the University of California San Diego and a winner in the refugee category at the recent UCSD HealthHack. Ben talks about how his team came up with the solution of a sexual assault alarm bracelet that would provide light, an emergency siren and a way to mark an assailant. Ben also explains his passion for improving global health through the use of bio-engineering to come up with cost-effective innovative solutions.
Paul Knoepfler PhD, Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, University of California Davis is also the author of the new book GMO Sapiens: The Life-Changing Science of Designer Babies and talks with me about what stem cells can do to help create new cancer therapies as well as grow organoids in the lab to test drugs. I heard Paul speak at the recent Future of Genomic Medicine Conference produced by the Scripps Translational Science Institute.
Ed Boyden PhD, Associate Professor, Media Lab and McGovern Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is exploring how light can be used to treat neurological diseases using non-invasive devices and genetic engineering. He talks about the emerging field of neurotechnology, bringing together problem experts and solutions experts to find cures and treatments for brain diseases, and the need for more investigation of the mind/body connection. I talked with Ed at the recent Future of Genomic Medicine Conference held in La Jolla CA by the Scripps Translational Science Institute.
Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, is assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, physician at Columbia University Medical Center and author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and the recently published The Gene: An Intimate History. I heard Sid speak at the 10th Annual Future of Genomic Medicine Conference and in this short interview he admits that he is surprised that his books have become so popular with general audiences but that scientists need to talk up to people and assume they can understand more about the implications of genetic breakthroughs.
Sher Ali Butt, CEO, CB Therapeutics was presenting at a recent University of California San Diego IGNITE Innovator & Entrepreneur conference. He was there to highlight their novel way of producing cannabinoids in yeast bypassing the need for land, water and other elements involved with growing cannabis plants to extract the cannabinoids. Using biosynthesis technologies they are able to produce CBD isolate with a high level of purity in under 6 days costing on average $5/gram of pure compounds. Now it is up to the medical profession to find new ways to use CBD instead of opiates and other pain medications.
Niranjanaa Jeeva talks about the March 4-5 UC Health Hackathon that will focus on improving health in low-resource communities and creative ways to address health care needs of refugees. Now in it's third year, this competitive event mixes individuals with medical and technology expertise and awards prize money to teams that show the most innovative solutions to critical medical problems.
Jefferson McMillan, Manager, Healthcare Analytics, Enterprise Data Warehouse, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University is an expert in geo-spatial visualization and getting data tools into the hands of a wide variety of people. He takes delight in working with end-users when they realize that by looking at patient data in new ways they can find early warning signs of disease outbreaks and see relevance to social media chatter to community health.
Jonathan Mack PhD, Program Coordinator Health Care Informatics Program, University of San Diego is excited about the diversity of skills that are needed in the ever expanding health care information technology industry. He shines a light on the increased risk from cyber attacks on health information, the reduction of medical errors thanks to electronic records, and the kinds of jobs that are being created for health care providers with strong technology experience.
Ruth Bush PhD, Associate Professor, Beyster Institute for Nursing Research at the University of San Diego talks about changing expectations for patient portals by care providers and patients, who really has access to online health information, and possibilities for new approaches to clinical trials. Ruth also talks about the kinds of skills that are needed in the health care informatics industry.
CJ Barton, VP Sales, Kinvey talks about why clients who have tried to design apps most appreciate the value Kinvey brings to the development of HIPAA and security compliant mobile apps being used by hospitals, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and other healthcare providers. He also talks about innovative mobile health apps for pets that their humans seem to enjoy and that are not required to meet all the standards for moving electronic health information of their owners.
Fintan Connolly, founder, TakeTen, a start-up in Belfast Northern Ireland is addressing the growing problem of children of all ages who are experiencing stress and anxiety. This innovative app is particularly useful for kids with learning, social, and emotional disabilities by having the camera in a mobile device detect heart rhythm, giving the user visual feedback about how their body is reacting, and providing a language for expressing feelings. TakeTen is working with teachers and parents to give kids a strategy for dealing with failure and stress brought on by life as well as social media.
Eros Lazzerini Denchi PhD, Associate Professor, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) talks about his exciting discovery of a protein that fine-tunes the cellular clock and impacts aging and the development of cancer. The novel protein TZAP binds the ends of chromosomes and controls a process called telomere trimming. Eros provides a little perspective about the long journey in our understanding of telomeres and telomerase and the intriguing questions that this new discovery opens up.
TZAP: A telomere-associated protein involved in telomere length control Science January 12, 2017 Eros Lazzerini Denchi and Julia Su Zhou Li
Elizabeth Blackburn PhD was trained as a molecular biologist and is currently the President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She is the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking discovery of telomeres that protect the end of chromosomes and the enzyme telomerase that produces the telomeres' DNA.
Liz and her co-author Elissa Epel, PhD have translated this basic research into a book The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer that provides a way for the general consumer to understand the science of telomeres and genetics and how lifestyle choices can impact the health of the cells in the body.
Originally from Tasmania, Australia Liz also reflects on whether there is a genetic predisposition for becoming a scientist.
Brian Pak Yan Leung, neuroscience PhD candidate in the neuroscience graduate program at the University of Southern California. He is also a PhD student at the University of Zurich in the Department of Experimental Immunology. Brian talks about how those with a variety of backgrounds are drawn to the USC interdisciplinary neuroscience program and the upside down approach that makes classes so exciting.
Tony Ricci, PhD, Director of Neuroscience Graduate Training Program at the Stanford University School of Medicine talks about how most of their students are new to neuroscience and the program's emphasis on interaction and collaboration between students and teachers. He also reflects on how the field of neuroscience is getting broader and how the prefix 'neuro' could be put in front of just about any field.
Michael Rowling, COO, ProtoKinetics explains that measuring and evaluating how someone is walking can be an early predictor for diseases. He notes that wearables are limited in their ability to measure differences in those who are slowing down. Gait mat technology and associated software evaluates gait and balance by directly measuring footsteps for better diagnosis of such conditions as Parkinson's and stroke and can be used to help prevent falls.
Dr. Jon Pierce-Shimomura, Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Texas Austin talks about their unique program that pairs neuroscience graduate students with those that suffer from neurological diseases to better understand the whole patient and provide opportunities for everyone to learn about treating the ill and disabled.
Renee Cockerham PhD is the Neuroscience Program Manager at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. I talked with Renee at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience about how enthusiasm for science is hard to teach but other skills can be learned. She also emphasizes that diverse backgrounds are needed in the growing field of neuroscience as they prepare the next generation of scientists.
Greg Gage, CEO and Co-Founder, Backyard Brains talks about bringing affordable neuroscience tools to kids and classrooms to stimulate thinking about how our brain communicates with our senses. I met Greg at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience where his fun experiments were a stark contrast to the high tech expensive equipment on the show floor being sold for clinical research.
Kim Walpole, co-founder and CEO, Trials.ai an EvoNexus portfolio company that is replacing paper based clinical trial systems with digital access to the hundreds of data points from participants, leveraging artificial intelligence to allow for more efficient trials, and providing transparency for patients and researchers.
Robin Smith, CEO, Orig3n, a genomics company that is bringing personalized genetic analysis to consumers to inform about lifestyle choices and risks. With a broader mission to get a snapshot of humanity to support regenerative medicine efforts and find clues to rare diseases, they are collecting genetic material from cheek swabs and blood samples from a wide range of groups. My sample was collected at the recent Exponential Medicine conference and opened a door into a whole new kind of conversation about health and wellness.
Arnon Zamir, Chief Change Maker, Tikkun Olam Makers talks about creating virtual and physical communities to address the neglected problems of the disabled. With a mission to use available technology and to openly share the results, volunteers come together with those with disabilities in Makeathons to come up with creative solutions. Arnon is most excited about 3-D printing which can empower people in remote places to replicate designs and add their own innovations.
Dexter Ang, CEO, Pison Technology, an MIT start-up is developing breakthrough technology using electromyography or EMG to detect nerve signals with sensors that allow command of compatible devices. Dexter began his quest to address the needs of ALS patients by placing sensors on their bodies that use wi-fi to control a computer, phone or wheelchair by having the patient think about the muscle movement. The possibilities for all humans are endless.
Nadeem Sarwar PhD, President, Eisai AiM Institute talks about the dramatic changes taking place in the development of targeted theraputics because of the introduction of human genomic data rather than just relying on animal testing, building more sophisticated drug discovery models, and how the timing of intervention is shifting to earlier in the disease cycle.
Edwin Chau Senior Sales Manager Affymetrix eBioscience was exhibiting at the Festival of Genomics California and took the time to talk about their ground-breaking microarray solutions and other tools that are helping researchers increase their efficiency and get a better picture of disease.