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Session Roundup: Science

July 19, 2019

Who are today's most innovative young scientists, and what problems are they working on? Can we fight climate change by resurrecting an extinct species? How does a former U.S. Secretary of Defense think emerging scientific discoveries will impact global security? 

As we look toward HubWeek 2019, we're taking this opportunity to also take a look back to some of our favorite sessions from past festivals, and to some of the biggest, most fascinating science questions that the HubWeek community is trying to answer. Check out the videos below to take a dive into some of the most pressing issues in science today.

Science, Technology, and the Future of America

As technology threatens to disrupt everything, what does it mean for America’s future? What are the opportunities for and risks to our economy, our communities, our security, our values, and our standing in the world? Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and MIT Vice President for Research Maria Zuber joined Broad Institute President and Founding Director Eric S. Lander to explore these issues and more.

 

Collaboration and the Future of Pharmaceutical Research

Historically, pharmaceutical research was an insular activity that took place largely within a company’s walls. Fast forward to 2018, and research and development increasingly happens within a network of collaborators working in tandem across industry and academic divides. Now, collaboration between public and private entities, among multiple pharma partners, and between pharma and biotech are much more common. This is especially the case in Boston, with over 300 companies in the local biotech ecosystem and over 1800 drug candidates from Massachusetts in clinical studies.

 

Engineering a Better Future

Splice genes from a woolly mammoth locked in Arctic ice with genes from a modern Asian elephant and you just might be able to resurrect an extinct species to combat climate change. Synthetic biology — the fabrication and assembling of biological building blocks in novel ways — is paving the way for us to build bacteria factories, architect artificial life, and deepen our understanding of the mysteries of the living world. What happens next? Featuring Harvard's Dr. George Church, Ginkgo Bioworks' Jason Kelly, author Ben Mezrich, and HubWeek co-founder and chair Linda Henry.

 

Eliminating Lethal Disease

Lee Cooper is on a mission to change the way we think about — and cure — rare genetic diseases. Today, people mainly use genetic information to look backwards: to learn more about one's ancestors or diagnose a disease that's already showing symptoms. But what if we used genetics to look into the future? This simple frame-shift could lessen the burden of genetic disease, and create a healthier future for all of us.

 

Bio Meets Beats

Hip-hop is one of the great cultural languages of our time. DJing and turntablism, born from hip-hop, are pervasive art forms at the core of our society. At HubWeek 2017, MIT Media Lab's David Sun Kong took us on a fantastic voyage at the intersection of hip-hop and biology as he explained how the microbes of your body can be transformed into music — and even be used to predict your health.

 

The Personalized Cell Therapy Challenge: A Race Against Time

Researchers in Boston are developing an exciting new method to fight cancer. This technology, called CAR T-cell therapy, collects a patient's immune cells and programs them to target their particular type of cancer. The cells are then re-injected to attack and kill the cancerous cells. Advancement of this potentially life-saving treatment will require an alliance between physicians, hospitals, biopharmaceutical manufacturers, and the life sciences industry to shorten and streamline what is now a complex, four- to six-week process. This panel will feature Boston leaders who are on the frontlines of CAR T-cell therapy to discuss current achievements, looming challenges, and the path forward to success.

 

STAT Wunderkinds

Who are the most innovative young scientists working today? What problems are they solving? STAT scoured the country to find out, and presented the nominees — the STAT Wunderkinds — at HubWeek 2017. 

 

Genomics, Board Games, and Artificial Intelligence

In the midst of this genomic revolution, Mirza Cifric, Co-founder and CEO of Veritas Genetics, illustrates the sheer size of the genomic data we are dealing with and why artificial intelligence is the only way to make sense of it all.

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