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This netcast explores the rapidly changing world of biotech, with a penchant towards getting a better understanding of who we are and where we are going. The living world will soon be a true substrate for engineering. Our world will change, and so will we. 
We bring a first hand account from the scientists that are moving us into this new technological era: the era of biotech. 

Produced by Microbe.TV

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    Futures in Biotech 55: Ultra Low Power Bioelectronics, Part 2

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier and Justin Sanchez, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida Neuroprosthetics Research Group

    Guest: Rahul Sarpeshkar, Ph.D.; Associate Professor, of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Dr. Rahul Sarpeshkar talks about how to improve electronic systems using biologically inspired design, borrowing the best design elements from the living world... This is a sequel discussion (Part II) to FiB 52

    His book is available here. Every geek should have a copy of this text. It is certainly a thought provoking read.




    Futures in Biotech 54: Personal Genome Project - Leo's Genome?

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier and Leo Laporte

    Guest: Dr. George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Computational Genetics.

    We are now at the crossroads of Genomics and Personalized Medicine. Dr. Church is forging the way. Church and his team at the Personal Genome Project hope to sequence 100,000 human genomes within the next few years. These people will be able to make medical decisions based on their molecular anatomy rather than their 'family history'. Moreover, the scientific community will have an enormous database in which they can mine. This will inevitably will lead to a better understanding of the molecular basis of disease. Church and his team will change medicine as we know it.



    Futures in Biotech 53: Project Genome 10k, The Greatest Journey: From Fish to Man and Beyond

    Host: Marc Pelletier

    Guest: Dr. David Haussler, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California at Santa Cruz, Director of the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering, and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    We talk with pioneer bioinformatition David Haussler. He and his team assembled the first draft of the human genome. Now he is working on Genome 10k. He explains and how sequencing ten thousand vertebrate genomes will tell us about our past, present, and future.

    "We do paleocomputational genomics: our software effort over the last five years or so is focused on taking the genomes that we are sequencing from all of the species that are living on the planet today and working backwards towards what the genomes of their ancestors must of looked like. It's a tremendous opportunity. One way to think about this is the genomes that we see today are like having noisy copies of an ancient text. Imagine that you had this ancient text, and there were pages missing in a few copies, and other copies had smudges and letters changed, or maybe it was copied by hand and the copies were made that had errors in them. If you just had one decedent, one copy from this ancient text, it would be very hard to reconstruct the way the text looked like because of all the changes. But if you made dozens of independent copies of them, such that it's unlikely that the same change was made multiple times in the same place, then you can reconstruct from those copies what the ancient text must have looked like, so for this, the genome of our common ancestor of placental mammals for example, a creature that lived in the late Cretaceous period, about a 100 million years ago, in the shadow of the dinosaurs. That genome is something that we can get a very good picture of by taking all of the placental mammals that are alive today, and working back from their genomes to what must of been that common ancestral genome, and we do that computationally." Dr. David Haussler, January 2010. 



    Futures in Biotech 52: Ultra Low Power Bioelectronics, Part 1

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier, Ph.D.Justin Sanchez, Ph.D., and Mark Griswold, Ph.D.

    Guest: Rahul Sarpeshkar, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Ultra Low Power Bioelectronics: Fundamentals, Biomedical Applications, and Bio-inspired Systems

    Dr. Rahul Sarpeshkar takes us into his lab at MIT to discuss (1) bio-inspired electronics, (2) biomedical electronics, and (3) circuit modeling of biology… If you think quad core hyperthreaing i7s are cool, wait until your motherboard actually has a brain…



    Futures in Biotech 51: MRI Engineering Made Easy

    Host: Marc Pelletier, Ph.D. 

    Guest: Mark Griswold, Ph.D.

    Dr. Griswold explains how MRIs work in way that even I can understand! It is all about nuclear spin man, it's about the spin.

    Notes and slides from the show


    Futures in Biotech 50: More Biotech Stories

    Host: Marc Pelletier, Ph.D.

    Panelists: George Farr, Ph.D., Dave Brodbeck, Ph.D., Justin Sanchez Ph.D., and Vincent Racaniello Ph.D.

    Marc and some the FiB regulars cover important stories in the biotechnology realm.


    Futures in Biotech 49: Brain-Machine Interfaces

    Hosts: Dr. Marc Pelletier and Dr. Kirsten Sanford

    Guest: Dr. Justin Sanchez Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida

    Dr. Justin Sanchez walks us through the technology of brain machine interfaces. 


    Futures in Biotech 48 - Ecosystem Systems Biology

    Dr. Delong discusses the use of metagenomics to understand microbial life in the Pacific Ocean.

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier, Ph.D.Andre Nantel, Ph.D.

    Guest: Ed Delong, Ph.D.

     "This genomic information can now be rapidly and generically extracted from the genomes of co-occurring microbes in natural habitats, using standard genomic technologies. We are now exploring and applying these and related technologies, to better describe and exploit the genetic, biochemical, and metabolic potential that is contained in the natural microbial world." Dr. Ed Delong, MIT  


    Futures in Biotech 47 - Genetic Engineering in the 21st Century

    Dr. Oliver Smithies discusses the present and future of genetic engineering

    Host: Dr. Marc Pelletier Dr. Andre Nantel 

    Guest: Dr. Oliver Smithies - Professor Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill, NC; 2007 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

     This is the second half of a two part series. In Part I, we discussed Dr. Smithies enormous contribution to modern medicine through his invention: specific gene targeting in the genetically engineered mouse. In this episode, we discuss the present and future of applied genetics


    Futures in Biotech 46: Towards Computers That Think

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier and Dave Brodbeck

    Guest: Terrence Sejnowski of the Salk Institute

    An interview with Dr. Terrence Sejnowski about theoretical and computational biology and neurobiology. He explains how the mind works, and how we may not only interface with it one day, but also how it may be simulated computationally.


    Futures in Biotech 45: He Made a Mouse (Part I)

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier

    Guest: Dr. Oliver Smithies; Professor, Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    I talk with Dr. Oliver Smithies, 2007 Nobel Laureate, and father of mammalian genetic engineering.


    Futures in Biotech 44: Cogito Ergo Sum by fMRI

    Dr. John Gabrieli (MIT) explores memory, thoughts, and emotion by fMRI...

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier, Dave Brodbeck

    Guest: John Gabrieli; Grover Herman Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    What does the statement:"I think, therefore I am" used by Rene Descartes really mean? What if you could look into the human mind with the most sophisticated instrumentation available? Well in brief, this is what John Gabrieli does in his lab at MIT. He studies memory, thought, and emotion by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. If only Descartes had an fMRI in the1630-40s!


    Futures in Biotech 43: Temporal Alien Mammoth Overlords

    HOSTS: Marc Pelletier, Vincent Racaniello, Andre Nantel, Justin Sanchez, and Dave Brodbeck.

    From wooly mammoths, to cybernetics, and controlling your computer with your brain, a panel discusses the recent big stories in bioscience.



    Futures in Biotech 42: Sneezing Panda-emic

    Host: Marc Pelletier

    Guest:Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D., is a professor of Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center and the host ofThis Week in Virology.

    An interview with the host of This Week in Virology, Vincent Racaniello, on the topic of Swine Flu.


    Futures in Biotech 41: Modeling Life with the World's Fastest Computer 

    Dr. Pande explains how large gains in computational speed have been achieved with folding@home, and how they are applied to understanding disease.

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier and Randal Schwartz

    Guest: Dr. Vijay S. Pande, Director of Folding@Home and Associate Professor of Chemistry and of Structural Biology, Stanford University

    Dr. Pande's work is at the forefront of both distributed computing and molecular simulation experiments: an extremely valuable combination when trying to model the movement of millions of atoms at a time. Predicting the fundamental processes of life to better understand diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or even cancer is not easy, but with the true ingenuity Dr. Pande and his team at Stanford, great strides have been made.


    Futures in Biotech 40: Virus Reborn

    World leading virologist explains why he revived a virus that killed 50 million people...

    Hosts: Marc Pelletier and Vincent Racaniello

    Guest: Dr. Peter Palese; Professor & Chair of Microbiology, Mount Sinai, NYC

    In the winter of 1918-19, fifty million people died horrible deaths from the Spanish flu. The threat of this happening again today is ever so present. And while we have drugs that are fairly effective against influenza, they are not fool-proof.

    The possible devastation to humanity from this threat is at par with a large catastrophic asteroid hurling toward earth. The world will look to the best and brightest scientists and clinicians in hopes that they know and understand the virus well enough to fight it.

    Well, Dr. Palese has made great contributions to our understanding of influenza, and his scientific endeavors have given us the knowledge and tools to prevent this potential devastation.


    Futures in Biotech 39: Food: Genetically Modified!

    Dr. Lisa Weasel discusses the controversies that surround GM foods

    Host: Dr. Marc Pelletier

    Guest:Dr. Lisa Weasel; Associate Professor of Biology at Portland State University in Oregon, and a member of Governor Ted Kulongoski’s task force on developing public policy for bio-pharmaceutical crops in Oregon.

    So if we can design crops that reduce pesticides, grow more effectively in poor soil, bring nutrients such as vitamins A to populations with high incidences of blindness, or even just taste better, why are we hesitating? Why isn't there a wide consumer acceptance of genetically modified (GM) foods?

    Futures in Biotech 38: It IS Easy Being Green!


    Talking green fluorescent protein with Dr. Martin Chalfie, 2008 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry...

    Host: Dr. Marc Pelletier
    Guest Host: Dr. Glen Ernstrom


    Guest:Dr. Martin Chalfie; Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, Colombia University, New York, NY.

    Here is Part II with Martin Chalfie, 2008 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. In this episode, he describes how he figured out that he could use the protein that causes a jellyfish to glow in the dark as a molecular tag, allowing us to track the life of a protein in a living cell. This is one of the most important tools in molecular biology, kind of at the scale of when Galileo invented the telescope ; ) Now we can watch the birth and movement of living proteins...

    Some interesting links:
    2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    Interview with Awardees



    Futures in Biotech 37: Just a Touch of Green

    Part I of a conversation with Dr. Martin Chalfie, 2008 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. Exploring touch...

    Host: Marc Pelletier

    Guest: Dr. Martin Chalfie

    A few weeks ago, I had the great fortune to speak with Dr. Martin Chalfie. Through both his passion for science and tremendous focus, he has unraveled many of the secrets of how organisms interact with their surroundings: how they sense touch. There is also an underlying message here that goes beyond the study of these molecular machines: how to approach fundamental questions. I sincerely thank Dr. Chalfie for sharing both...

    Some interesting links:
    2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    Interview with Awardees


    Futures in Biotech 36: Avoiding Death, Not Taxes with Dr. Cynthia Kenyon

    Dr. Kenyon explores the genes that regulate aging... NOTE: a 'knockout' refers to an animal where a gene has been disrupted or removed...

    Host: Marc Pelletier

    Guest: Dr. Cynthia Kenyon; Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, Director of the Larry L. Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging.

    We are back into a world leading lab to discuss the genetics of aging. Can it be controlled? You bet, and the implications are enormous. When these findings translate to the clinic, it will truly be a game changer for humanity.

    Some interesting links:
    Kenyon Lab