The next decade in science

first_imgThe ball has dropped on a new year and a new decade, as we move from the 2010s into the 2020s. The last 10 years have seen incredible advances in science and technology, including a dramatic reduction in the cost of genetic sequencing, the first successful uses of gene therapy in humans, and the existence of gravitational waves. But what about the next decade? What previously impossible things will humans achieve? The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University asked its faculty members across a wide range of scientific disciplines what they predict will be the most impactful developments in their fields between now and the year 2030.Pushing the limits of biologyGeorge Church — Synthetic Biology“By 2030, we hopefully will see human clinical trials being run on transplanted organs from highly edited pigs and proteins from recoded genomes. Whole-genome sequencing may become a high-quality, equitably priced alternative to expensive gene therapies for rare diseases. Imaging will move in for close-ups (5 nm resolution) and every pixel will tell its story (DNA, RNA, protein, and lineage). Finally, we hope to see synthetic biology impact carbon sequestration via virus-resistant plants and algae, and cold-resistant elephants reverting arctic ecosystems to highly photosynthetic grasslands.”Jim Collins — Synthetic Biology“Synthetic biology is well-positioned to help advance medicine over the next decade via the development of next-generation diagnostics and gene and cell therapies. The field also has tremendous potential to enhance basic research in molecular biology, by enabling the creation of novel tools to probe and analyze the complex functions of biomolecular components and systems in living cells.”Mike Levin — Developmental Biology“The biggest knowledge gap, and frontier of opportunity, is taming the biological software that underlies embryogenesis and regeneration. Understanding the bioelectricity, biomechanics, and transcriptional circuits that allow cells to cooperate toward large-scale goals is the key to regenerative medicine, birth defects, cancer reprogramming, aging, synthetic bioengineering, and even new AI. Being able to exploit the decision-making, memory, and intelligence of cell swarms will result in transformative applications at the intersections of deep ideas in cognitive science, cybernetics, developmental biology, and computer science.” “I anticipate the development of genetic and synthetic technologies to combat climate change and, concurrent with those developments, global discussions at all levels regarding their safe, equitable, and effective application.” — Ting Wu, Synthetic Biology Pam Silver — Synthetic Biology“The engineering of biology will play a key role in the ability of the earth to support 10 billion people by implementing safe, faster, and more predictable biological systems. To feed the world and mitigate climate change, advances in synthetic biology will include increased utilization of sunlight together with mitigation of environmental contamination. The ability to respond quickly to epidemics and design better therapies will be a key advance for the field. And, as we move the needle on solving the problems on Earth, synthetic biology will also play a role in enabling and implementing the future of space exploration.”Diagnosing and treating diseaseEugene Goldfield — Therapeutic Robotics“Therapeutic ‘robotic’ systems in the next 10 years will no longer be considered robots. Their parts and control systems will be molecularly based, and will have capabilities akin to an immune system. The boundary between living and synthetic will continue to blur over future decades, requiring even greater care in the domain of ethics.”Don Ingber — Bioinspired Therapeutics and Diagnostics“The most exciting developments in the field of bioinspired therapeutics and diagnostics will be a new paradigm for drug development that combines several unique innovations into a system that is faster, cheaper, and reduces harm to animals and humans in preclinical and clinical trials. I am especially excited about our increasing ability to analyze clinically relevant human physiological and pathophysiological responses in vitro; high-throughput, phenotype-based screening of model organisms; novel molecular dynamics simulation capabilities; and the expanding application of deep learning technologies to solving specific clinical problems.”Samir Mitragotri — Drug Delivery“The next decade in drug delivery will highlight the role of cells as ‘drugs’ and ‘carriers.’ Unlike drugs of the past, cells are unique in that they are living entities and have the ability to navigate through the body and reach destinations that most traditional drugs cannot. Strategies to deliver these ‘living therapeutics’ will require novel approaches, and will create opportunities to use cells as carriers for targeting drugs to hard-to-reach tissues. Of particular interest are drugs that exploit or control the immune system for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and allergies, among others. Strategies based on immune cells and immunological intervention will play a major role in drug delivery research and technology in the next 10 years.”David Walt — Diagnostics“In the next 10 years, we will begin to realize the promised rewards of personalized medicine and personalized health, moving toward a system where we monitor individuals for key biomarkers and compare those results to their own measurements at an earlier time, rather than relying on population averages that don’t reflect the wide biological variations that exist between people.”Dave Mooney — Immunomaterials“I expect the next 10 years will lead to the demonstration, in human patients, that immunomaterials can dramatically alter the progression of various diseases. Immunomaterials will allow physicians to concentrate immune cells where they are needed in the body, regulate their activity, and disperse them when their job is done. The materials themselves will dissolve and degrade to leave nothing foreign in the body after treatment, but will create an immune memory that prevents the return of the disease.”William Shih — Molecular Robotics“A major ongoing development in biomolecular science is encoding large numbers of single-molecule measurements into DNA records that can be read out later using high-throughput DNA sequencing. However, even future sequencing technologies will lack the bandwidth for sampling more than a small fraction of these records. Molecular robots built out of DNA, on the other hand, will be able to count and classify large sets of DNA records, and then summarize the results into brief DNA reports that can then be read out by DNA sequencing or other means. Thus, molecular robots will greatly increase the effective bandwidth of DNA-recording applications.”Dave Weitz — Materials Science“I think that materials-by-design will become closer to a reality. We will learn how to formulate new structures on many different-length scales using a variety of fabrication methods complemented by computer-assisted design and assembly. And both the structure and functionality of the materials will be determined and controlled — it will be the equivalent of precision medicine, but for materials design and synthesis.”Rehabilitating and regenerating the bodyLou Awad — Rehabilitative Medicine“To date, very few medical interventions have been designed to completely restore the pre-injury movement patterns of patients with neuromotor injury — the current rehabilitation paradigm aims to rapidly attain independent walking, but patients often become independent by compensating for their injury rather than fully recovering the fast, economical, and stable gait of healthy human walking. The last decade has seen such remarkable advances in movement diagnostics, neurostimulation interventions, and wearable robotics that the next decade is poised to achieve true restoration rather than mere compensation.” “I predict that major advances in assembling cells and tissues will emerge that will allow us to print living organs for clinical use.” — Chris Chen, 3D Organ Engineering Elliot Chaikof — Regenerative Medicine“Regenerative medicine employs repair, reconstruction, and replacement as strategies to treat patients with a diseased or damaged organ or tissue. Over the next decade, our capacity to repair may be dramatically enhanced through the discovery of agents that reverse the ‘epigenetic clock,’ or eliminate or rejuvenate senescent cells. Reconstructive surgery will benefit from genetically reengineered ‘off-the-shelf’ universal donor cells and engineered whole organs that can be used for any patient. Finally, I believe that the barrier for tissue replacement will be breached through the use of human-pig chimeras, initially to generate universally compatible human red blood cells for transfusions and, subsequently, whole organs for transplantation.”Kit Parker — 3D Organ Engineering“As we start implanting organs into animals, and eventually patients, one of the most important things we will realize is the knowledge gaps we have in basic anatomy and physiology. All that we know about the functional anatomy of organs might not be enough to sufficiently mimic what we think is Nature’s anatomy and, unfortunately, there are hardly any classically trained anatomists or physiologists in the world anymore. To successfully engineer implantable organs, we need to develop the scientific talent to do the old-school physiology experiments that haven’t been done in 50 years or more to understand what we are building or need to build.”last_img read more

Alexander: From Clippers beat to Curt Gowdy Award – it’s Marc Stein’s story, too

first_img Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Video: What LeBron James said about Jacob Blake … ‘Black people in America are scared’ That didn’t last. When you’re doing your job as a journalist, it can’t. And Stein has done his job so well through the years – covering the Clippers and then the Lakers for the Daily News, the Mavericks for the Dallas Morning News and the national basketball beat at Dallas, then for ESPN and now the New York Times – that he will be honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday in Springfield, Mass., right alongside recently retired Clippers play-by-play man Ralph Lawler.Both men will receive the Curt Gowdy Media Award, given in recognition of distinguished service covering basketball.It will be a Southern California gathering this weekend, with lots of connected parts. Besides Stein and Lawler, former Lakers coach Del Harris (who Stein covered) will receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award at Thursday’s ceremony, along with Portland Trail Blazers general manager and president Harry Glickman.At Friday’s main induction ceremony, Bill Fitch (who Stein covered) will go into the Hall, although Fitch’s family announced Tuesday that for health reasons, he won’t be able to attend the ceremony. Additionally, Vlade Divac will be inducted as an international player, and Jerry West will be his presenter.“Surreal doesn’t even start to cover it,” Stein said. Maybe it was the consequence of covering all of those Clippers teams during the bad years, the years of losses, holdouts, coaching changes and the recently fired having to sue Donald Sterling to get their guaranteed contracts paid off. Maybe, if you covered enough of those lean years, you picked up the reporting chops to earn Hall of Fame recognition.Marc Stein landed on the Clippers beat for the L.A. Daily News in February of 1994, just 10 days before the team traded Danny Manning – the No. 1 overall pick just five seasons before – to the Atlanta Hawks for Dominique Wilkins, then on the downside of his own magnificent career.“I just thought I was the luckiest person in the world,” he said. “They weren’t anywhere near a marquee attraction, but I got thrown into it. … Bob Weiss was the coach, and they were supposed to be a playoff team because they’d made the playoffs the previous two years (under Larry Brown). But they just imploded. They traded Manning, finished 27-55, traded Mark Jackson. It was a really chaotic season.“But for me, as a child of the ’80s, when the NBA was not on every channel, obviously I’d see a lot of the Lakers but I also saw a lot of the Hawks because they were on TBS. So for me to be covering Dominique at age 24, and to go to the (Atlanta) Omni and see Dominique lead the Clippers to a win, I couldn’t believe it. I was still star-struck.” For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates center_img Stein’s first NBA story was on Divac when he covered the Summer Pro League for the Orange County Register in the summer of 1989. And he covered the Lakers during West’s years as general manager – and drew West’s ire for something he didn’t do in 1996, the summer the Lakers got Shaquille O’Neal.“I wrote a free agent preview for the Daily News,” he recalled. “It turned out that Long Beach (the Press-Telegram) used mostly my story but weaved some stuff from a New York Daily News story into my piece that suggested the Lakers had already done a deal with Shaq and had broken the rules.“The next morning Jerry stormed into (publicist) Raymond Ridder’s office and said, ‘Have you seen the clips?’ Raymond said, ‘Yeah, it’s right here’ (pointing to the Daily News story). Jerry said, ‘No, not that one, this one.’ He showed him the Long Beach story with my byline. He made Raymond call me, and then Jerry erupted on me.“I’m sure anybody who covered the Lakers remembered getting Jerry when he’s in that mode of losing his temper. It’s kind of like a badge of honor. I’m guessing he didn’t remember the next day; he got it out and it was forgotten.”Stein could be a walking history of sports journalism in Southern California over the past 30 years. He started at the Saddleback Valley News when he was still in high school and got a job at the Register when he started at Cal State Fullerton. He did an internship at the Washington Post the summer of his junior year at Fullerton and then did one at the San Bernardino Sun as a senior, covering the California League and the San Bernardino Spirit – home and road – in 1991.Related Articles Portland star Damian Lillard (knee) to miss Game 5 vs. Lakers “My first game was (future major leaguer) Mike Hampton’s no-hitter,” he recalled, adding that it was Hampton’s only victory that season; he was 1-7 with a 5.25 ERA. But fighting deadlines every night, while following the team to Reno, Stockton, Visalia, Bakersfield and the other garden spots of the Cal League was good training.He remembers the people who helped him move up. Mike Gallups, his high school journalism advisor at El Toro High, was an old high school classmate of the Register’s Earl Bloom, and Bloom helped get him on at the Register. Later, when he graduated from Fullerton at a time when jobs were scarce, Ken Daley – a former co-worker in Orange County and by then Dodgers beat writer at the Daily News – spoke up for him. Stein was hired by the Daily News for the copy desk, but within six months was writing about high school sports and pro tennis before the NBA beat opened in 1994.“That was my big chance,” he recalled. “Once I got on the Clippers, I wasn’t letting go.”He hasn’t [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more