News from the Wyss Institute -- Out and About
De-extinction: An idea worth spreading?
Core Faculty member George Church was one of 25 eminent speakers at a day-long TEDx conference in Washington, DC, called TEDxDeExtinction, which explored a bold topic: reviving extinct species and re-introducing them to the wild. More...
The science of digital fabrication
Core Faculty members Peng Yin, Jennifer Lewis (shown), and George Church participated in this event held at MIT. The workshop reviewed the emerging field of digital fabrication, which is producing materials from molecules to buildings with unprecedented manufacturing flexibility, functionality, and complexity. More...
Whitesides in Berlin
Core Faculty member George Whitesides delivered two presentations at the Berlin Life Science Colloquium: "The Oligovalency in Biochemistry" and "The Role of Water in Molecular Recognition."
Physics of biomineralization
Core Faculty members L. Mahadevan (shown) and Joanna Aizenberg were among a group of Harvard researchers who presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in Baltimore, Maryland.
Spleen-on-a-chip in bionic man
The spleen-on-a-chip made its worldwide debut in the form of a $1 million bionic man -- the star of a documentary called “How to Build a Bionic Man” that aired in the UK earlier this month and will air on the Smithsonian Channel in the US in early fall. The actual body is now on display in London’s Science Museum through February 21st. Read more in The Telegraph.
Don Ingber honored at AIMBE annual meeting
Wyss Institute founding director Don Ingber gave the "Earl Bakken Lecture" at this year's American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering meeting, held in Washington, DC. The AIMBE's represents nearly 50,000 individuals and is made up of the top 2% of medical and biological engineers.
Aizenberg "SLIPS" to "City of Sails"
Core Faculty member Joanna Aizenberg delivered the opening keynote presentation on February 11, 2013, at the prestigious 6th International Conference on Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (AMN-6) in Auckland, New Zealand. The AMN conferences are biennial events and have developed a strong reputation over the past decade for bringing together leading researchers at the forefront of advanced materials and nanotechnology, both in the Australasia region and worldwide.
SLIPS slides to Florida: R&D 100 Award
SLIPS, a novel material that repels just about any liquid or solid, was officially recognized at an awards banquet in Orlando, Florida, for winning an "R&D 100 Award" from R&D Magazine. Called the "Oscars of Innovation," the awards celebrate the top 100 technology products of the year. More...
Wyss shines in World Innovation Summit
Several members of the Wyss community, including Core Faculty Members Jim Collins and David Edwards, and Senior Staff Scientist Geraldine Hamilton, played a leading role in the "World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship: The New, Smarter Innovation Economy," held at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. The summit attracted a diverse crowd of nearly 600 participants from around the world, whose specialties ranged from smart energy to social media, education, medicine, and more. More...
Cue "Rocky" theme song: $10 Million X Prize
Wyss Core Faculty member George Church announced at the Consumer Genetics Conference in Boston that he is leading a team from the Wyss Institute in the Archon Genomics X PRIZE competition. This 30-day competition next September is easy to get excited about, even for those who don't wear a white coat to work every day. Teams will vie to be the first to sequence 100 whole human genomes, donated by 100 centenarians, at a cost of $1,000 or less each, and to an accuracy standard never before achieved. More...
"Hands on design" hits Big Apple
Wyss Staff Scientist Amanda Wozniak presented two key engineering concepts at the Open Hardware Summit in New York City: "design for manufacturability" and "ethnography of use." She also covered practical tips, tricks, rules, and guidelines for manufacturing hardware effectively. You may listen to her talk at around minute 00:42 of this streamed video. More...
The Maine event: PopTech Science Fellows
Wyss Staff Scientist Sriram "Sri" Kosuri was selected as one of this year's elite class of ten "PopTech Science Fellows." Part of the honor included the opportunity to present his work on next-generation DNA synthesis technologies at the PopTech 2012 conference in Camden, Maine. More...
Exploring the excitement of biomaterials
In seeking to capture the excitement of the emerging field of Bioinspired Materials, the Gordon Research Conference recruited several Wyss community members to its June event in North Carolina. Core faculty members Joanna Aizenberg (shown), Neel Joshi, David Mooney, and William Shih and Associate Faculty member Elliott Chaikof all contributed to the cutting-edge science program, which focused on the ways that natural design principles can be applied to create new materials for use in areas as diverse as architecture, medicine, and energy.
Three perspectives on self-assembly
Wyss core faculty members were in abundance at this month's 18th International Conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming at Aarhus University in Denmark. William Shih (shown) led off with a look at self-assembling DNA nanotools, while Peng Yin shared his work in self-assembling molecular shapes and Radhika Nagpal reported on large-scale self-assembly of termite-inspired robots.
Termites or robots?
Are termites like robots or are robots like termites? Core faculty member Radhika Nagpal addressed this and more during a keynote talk at the Artificial Life 13 at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The event was the 13th International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems.
The math of living systems
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics welcomed two Wyss core faculty members as plenary speakers at its recent Conference on the Life Sciences in San Diego. Ary Goldberger shared his insights into the way that the body's complex systems break down with aging and disease, while L. Mahadaven explained his use of mathematical models to unravel the physical basis for the diversity of features in living organisms.
George Church on genomes
Core Faculty Member George Church provided opening remarks at the GET (Genomes Environments Traits) conference in April, then spoke about prototypes of the future during a later session that also featured Geraldine Hamilton of the Wyss Advanced Technology Team. Last month he gave a keynote speech at the Omics Evolution Summit in which he described the Personal Genome Project's goal of expanding access to genome sequences and trait data.
Don Ingber goes radical
Don Ingber shared his insights and inspirations at this year's World Science Festival in New York City. In a session called Radical Innovation by Nature, he presented Lung-on-a-Chip technology, and during a discussion on finding innovation in unexpected places, he explained the revelation in his sculpture class that influenced his scientific career. The World Science Festival is an annual celebration and exploration of science, technology, and art. More...
Jim Collins' Biology by Design
Core Faculty Member Jim Collins gave the ASM Lecture at last week's American Society for Microbiology annual meeting in San Francisco. His topic was "Biology by Design: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology."
Don Ingber on reversing cancer through engineering
Don Ingber was invited to speak about his work at a recent seminar at the London Research Institute of Cancer Research. The Special Seminar Series offers talks by distinguished scientists who have been selected by an institute-wide committee on the basis of their eminence and the general excitement and interest in their work. Ingber's topic was "Can cancer be reversed by engineering the tumor microenvironment?"
Wyss technology showcased at Energy Innovation Summit
The third annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in late February showcased some transformational technologies and included keynote addresses by Bill Gates and President Bill Clinton. Jeff Way, of the Advanced Technology Team, and postdoctoral fellows Matt Mattozzi and Colby Stoddard were on hand to demonstrate the progress being made on the Wyss' ARPA-E project to develop a bacterial reverse fuel cell. The technology could enable bacteria to efficiently produce biofuels. More...
George Church on affordable genome sequencing
George Church pondered the potential impact of affordable genome sequencing -- Will it make or break the healthcare system? -- in a keynote address at the Genetic Testing and Data Management Summit on March 12. The event was hosted by Genetic Alliance, the world's leading nonprofit advocacy group for transforming health through genetics. Church also spoke about the technological innovations affecting genomic science at the African Genetics International Conference at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, on March 19.
George Whitesides gives Feodor Lynen Lecture
George Whitesides gave the Feodor Lynen Lecture on Simple/Low-Cost Bioanalysis at the Miami 2012 Winter Symposium: Nanotechnology in Biomedicine. The late-February event was sponsored by the University of Miami, Nature Publishing Group, and Scripps Florida. Every year the symposium brings together leaders in the field to discuss breakthroughs in new nanomaterials and the challenges of translating these materials into products for the clinic and the lab.
Joanna Aizenberg's disruptive ideas
Wyss Core Faculty Member Joanna Aizenberg was among an elite group of visionaries asked to speak at the recent TEDxBigApple event, dedicated to the disruptive ideas that could change the world in the short term. She shared the ways in which she is unlocking secrets to survival by looking to nature for guidance.
Hardware for houseflies
As a presenter in Georgia Tech's Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series, Rob Wood shared his experiences developing flapping-wing robotic insects. Among the challenges he detailed: developing all new hardware to fit robots the size of a common housefly.
Silver on synthetic biology
Pam Silver traveled to Washington, DC, in mid November to speak at the kick-off of the Congressional Caucus on Synthetic Biology. Co-chaired by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the Caucus seeks to ensure that this emerging industry is safe, ethical, and leads to job creation. Silver provided legislators with an overview of the exciting potential applications.
Wyss experts address chemical/biological defense
George Whitesides (pictured) gave a keynote speech and Geraldine Hamilton presented the Institute's organ-on-chip technology at the 2011 Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference last month in Las Vegas. The event, which drew more than 1,500 attendees, showcased the best new scientific developments in the chemical and biological defense community.
Lung-on-a-chip introduced at Merck event
Dan Huh provided an overview of lung-on-a-chip during a session on Novel Technologies and Applications at the Second Annual Merck Research Laboratories Respiratory Symposium. The event serves as a forum for Boston area researchers to convene and share cutting-edge science.
The Wyss at TEDx
Martin Montoya and Suelin Chen displayed lung-on-a-chip prototypes and vibrating insoles, while George Church (pictured) spoke about the future of medicine and health at last month's TEDxCambridge. The event drew more than 400 people to the Harvard campus for talks and demonstrations by the region's leading thinkers and doers.
Serendipity in Science: Accelerating Innovation
Gene Goldfield and Mary Tolikas were featured speakers at last month's Innovators' Forum at Children's Hospital Boston. Tolikas explained the Wyss Institute's unique model for innovation and technology translation and Goldfield discussed how the Institute model has enabled his work in second-skin wearable orthotics.
Complexity and aging
Ary Goldberger helped lead a Gerontological Society of America symposium on complexity science and aging research. "Complexity" refers to a healthy body's noisy, nonlinear output signals. The program included Madalena Costa, describing new tools for measuring the loss of complexity that comes with age, and Jim Niemi, discussing the role of stochastic resonance in improving sensory function for the elderly.
Introducing the Wyss model at the IEEE Engineering Conference
Jim Niemi (left) organized and led a special session to present the Wyss Institute's unique model for technology translation at the 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS). Joining him to describe the Wyss approach were Don Ingber, Ayis Antoniou, David Paydarfar, Mike Super, Mary Tolikas, and Diana Young. EMBS is the world's largest international society of biomedical engineers with a reach of 30,000 people worldwide.
Nagpal's Robot swarms go international
Radhika Nagpal and her team took a swarm of 100 Kilobots to the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems last month to demonstrate their collective behavior. Kilobots are low-cost, easy-to-use robots that test the ability of new algorithms to coordinate the activities of hundreds and even thousands of small robots.
"Products that change lives" conference
Experts and end users alike gathered at the Hynes Convention Center last month for a conference and expo on "Products and Technologies that Change People's Lives," hosted by the Commonwealth of Mass. Jim Niemi, Leia Stirling, John-Michael Sungur, and Mike Super presented posters and demonstrations of our active insoles and RaPID technologies, while also seeking insights and inspiration from attendees, many of whom were people with disabilities and their caregivers.