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Don Ingber discusses “radical innovation” at the 2012 World Science Festival

Donald Ingber [Photo credit: Michael Weintrob / World Science Festival 2012]

Donald Ingber, Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, took part in two presentations at this year’s World Science Festival, held in New York City. On the afternoon of Saturday, June 2, at a session called Radical Innovation by Nature, Ingber presented the Wyss Institute’s Lung-on-a-Chip technology, which offers a new in vitro approach to drug screening by mimicking the complicated mechanical and biochemical behaviors of a human lung. Later that evening, at a discussion about finding innovation in unexpected places, he told of a pivotal moment in his life that occurred during his undergraduate years at Yale, when a course in sculpture gave him an insight into the mechanical behavior of cells — an insight that would became a focus of his scientific career.

The World Science Festival hosts an annual celebration and exploration of science, technology, and art that was launched in 2008. Hailed as a ñnew cultural institutionî by the New York Times, the Festival has featured such luminaries as physicist Stephen Hawking, biologist E.O. Wilson, Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel laureates Harold Varmus and Steven Chu, geneticist Eric Lander, paleontologist Richard Leakey, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith. The first four Festivals attracted over half a million visitors, and millions more have viewed the programs online. The World Science Festival has recently commenced year-round live programming in New York City, nationally and internationally.

Innovation Square is a special event produced by the World Science Festival in partnership with NYU-Polytechnic Institute for the 5th anniversary of the World Science Festival. It transforms a picturesque quad in downtown Brooklyn into a staging ground for future-shaping innovations springing to life in the labs, workshops, basements and backyards of inventors and researchers worldwide.

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