The new “Disruptive” podcast from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University explores what motivates researchers and how they envision our future as it might be impacted by their disruptive technologies.
In its inaugural episode, “Disruptive” host and 1969 Harvard alumnus Terrence McNally spoke with Wyss core faculty members Pamela Silver and George Church about the changes that can be made to an organism’s genome. Silver and Church explained how, with today’s breakthroughs in technology, such modifications can be conducted more cheaply, efficiently, and effectively than ever before.
Researchers around the world are programming microbes to treat wastewater, generate electricity, manufacture jet fuel, create hemoglobin, and fabricate new drugs. What sounds like science fiction to most of us might be a reality in our lifetimes: the ability to build diagnostic tools that live within our bodies, or find ways to eradicate malaria from mosquito lines, or possibly even make genetic improvements in humans that are passed down to future generations.
Silver, the Elliott T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and Church, the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at HMS, also revealed the high-impact benefits of their synthetic biology work, and discussed their careful consideration and prevention of unintended consequences in this new age of genetic engineering.