DNA sequencing has been one of the major advances in science over the last 30 years. It has increased our knowledge and understanding about the behaviour of the building blocks of life and why some people develop certain diseases and other do not. This has given medical researchers and the medical profession the ability to treat diseases. The Human Genome Project to sequence the human genome cost $3 billion. High throughput sequencing has reduced this cost substantially. However, the cost to sequence the genome to change healthcare practice on a large scale remains high. One technique that is being developed, the DNA transistor, offers the real prospect of reducing the cost of sequencing to $1,000 for an individual. Dr Stefan Harrer, of IBM’s Systems Biology and Functional Genomics Group, will discuss his research in the development of a DNA transistor. The DNA nanopore sequencing technique has the advantage of being a real-time single molecule DNA sequencing method with little to no sample preparation and inherently low cost. Hear Dr Harrer describe how he and his team are addressing the challenges of developing this next-generation sequencing technology.
Stefan Harrer recieved the B.Sc., Diploma, and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science with special focus on medical engineering, nanotechnology and nanoelectronics from the Technical University of Munich.
Melbourne Law School Theatre
Ground Floor, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, ( map )
Carlton South, Victoria Austrlia
This is an ICT 4 Life Sciences Event
William Donovan will be co-presenting the open source biotech talk with Jeremy Nagel.
Everyone knows you need millions of dollars and a PhD to do biotechnology research. Right? Well someone forgot to tell the high school kids taking part in the iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) contest. Hundreds of teams of young people from all around the world are now taking part in the open source biotechnology revolution. They have designed and built biosensors, which turn red when there are toxic amounts of mercury in soil; ‘hole pluggers’, which sniff out and fill in gaps in concrete structures; and even living computer screens.
How is this possible? Two reasons: technology and freedom of information. Rapid progress in technologies like DNA sequencing and synthesis have dramatically lowered the cost and complexity of creating genetically modified organisms. It’s easier than ever before and keeps getting easier. On the information side, science is opening up. Disciplinary silos are breaking apart as molecular biologists, engineers and coders join forces in a new wave of innovation. Instead of hoarding away knowledge and rushing to the patent office at the mere whiff of a discovery, people are giving away their intellectual property for free to the community. The open source software movement has been translated into open source biotech. Sites like partsregistry.org allow anyone to get their hands on the DNA code to design a new life form.
The implications are big. Some economists predict that 50% of future economic growth will come from biotechnology. The low barriers to entry mean that developing nations can join in too.
However, despite the excitement there are some concerns to address. Should we be allowing people to set up garage laboratories? Are there safety risks? Could bio-terrorists use these tools to create a ‘super-anthrax’? Are there ethical issues? Should humans be designing life?
During this session, you will enter an Open Source Biotech simulation, where you build your own lifeform. You will use a rapid prototyping approach and work in teams to design a microbe that solves one of humanity’s pressing problems (or just does something really cool!). The most creative team will win a special Open Source Biotech prize. We will then use the lifeforms you create to discuss the potential benefits and pitfalls of Open Source Biotech.
Join the discussion at the H+ Summit, where Melbourne’s leading experts will share their experience and their vision for the future.
Jeremy is completing his honours year in bioinformatics. He was involved in Monash University’s iGEM team in 2010 and hopes to start a synthetic biology incubator in Melbourne to develop new solutions to ‘wicked problems’.
He is passionate about the environment and works with the Oaktree Foundation and OzGreen to run leadership programs for young people. He is also a social entrepreneur with several businesses and is the founder and head facilitator of SESA – the Society of Entrepreneurial Success and Achievement.
Jeremy’s proudest achievement is completing the Two Bays 56km ultramarathon. His next big goal is the Great Ocean Road 100k trail run on October 15th. In March 2012, he plans to ride his bike from Melbourne to Cairns.
Innovation in Action
My mission: work with the next generation of leaders to end poverty and create sustainable, accelerating growth.
– Global Changers: An experiential leadership program focused on ending poverty
– SESA: A community of social entrepreneurs, who support each other to take massive action.
My mission and values
My mission is to work with the next generation of leaders to create an ecologically sustainable world free from poverty.
I see an end to poverty driven by people working from the ground up to create sustainable wealth for themselves and for their communities.
I see a rapid transition to a carbon-free global economy powered by innovative technologies and creative community projects.
I see a world, where everybody takes responsibility for the consequences of their actions and their inactions.
I see these things and I act to make them happen.
I believe anything is possible when a group of passionate people unite around a common goal.
I do not and will never have all the answers, so I strive to learn and grow every day.
My life is guided by 5 core values:
– Meaning: I centre my life around creating meaning through my words and through my actions
– Growth: I look forward not back and aim to constantly improve
– Joy: I treasure each moment and smile and laugh as I make my journey
– Love: I care deeply about everyone I meet and give without expecting anything in return
– Audacity: I am not afraid to think big and act big
Spend the next 15 minutes watching a 60 Minutes documentary with reporter reporter Rod Vaughan who visits the Singularity University,” a university unlike any other”. It is a great introduction to future possibilities. And it is great to watch these concepts weave their way into mainstream.
Singularity University on 60 Minutes New Zealand from Luke Hutchison on Vimeo.
Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, the main aim of the curriculum is to develop the technology of the future, which includes a way to download the contents of an individual’s brain to a computer.
For the last two years the university has nurtured a carefully hand-picked group of graduates. And among those brightest minds are two brothers from Auckland – Luke and David Hutchison.
I really like the animations. Looking at creating a documentary myself, and have approached a few people about doing some medical/scientific style animations, but costs are prohibitive.