Bull Session

Chimeras and Bioethics

August 25, 2016          

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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we discuss human-animal chimeras and bioethics. If you know your Greek mythology, you might be familiar with the chimera — a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature, part lion, part goat, with a tail that ends in a snake’s head. Today, the term chimera is used in embryology to describe a hybrid organism that has tissues from multiple species. And there’s interest in producing chimeras for studying disease pathology, testing drugs, and eventually organ transplantation.

Last year, however, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said it wouldn’t support this research and banned funding for it, due to bioethical and animal welfare concerns. Now, the NIH is requesting public comment on a proposal to amend sections of their guidelines for human stem cell research on the proposed scope of certain human-animal chimera research.

 
Resources:
You Can Soon Grow Human-Animal Hybrids, But You Can’t Breed ‘Em
Strange Beasts: Why Human-Animal Chimeras Might Be Coming
NIH consideration of certain research proposals involving human-animal chimera models


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Jon Follett
@jonfollett

Dirk Knemeyer
@dknemeyer

Bull Session

Genomics and Life Extension

August 18, 2016          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life is the third in our special series of episodes put together in conjunction with our friends at the GET Conference, on the cutting edge of research science and technology.

In this week’s episode we explore the topic of genomics and life extension, with interviews by Dirk Knemeyer with James Crowe of the Human Immunome Project and George Church of the Personal Genome Project.

Genomics and the science of life extension are inexorably tied together, whether we’re talking about slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend the human lifespan or future breakthroughs in gene therapy and organ replacement, which might eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans.

 
Resources:
GET Conference
Personal Genome Project
Full Interview with George Church
Vanderbilt Vaccine Center
Full Interview with James Crowe

Bull Session

The Microbiome

August 11, 2016          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life is the second in our special series of episodes put together in conjunction with our friends at the GET Conference, on the cutting edge of research science and technology. In this week’s episode we explore the topic of the microbiome, with interviews with Embriette Hyde and Justine Dubilias of American Gut Project and Brian Klein of the Forsyth Institute.

We’re only just beginning to understand the microorganisms that resides in, on, and around us. In the past it was estimated that we have 10x more non-human cells than human cells. More recent estimates lower that number to equal amounts of cells for both human and microorganisms. And, while we have a mutually beneficial relationship with some of the microbiota that colonize us, for some we just don’t understand what the relationship is, yet.

 
Resources:
GET Conference
American Gut Project
Full Interview with Embriette Hyde and Justine Debelius
Forsyth Institute
Full Interview with Brian Klein

Bull Session

Open Science

August 4, 2016          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we embark on the first in a special series of episodes put together in conjunction with our friends at the GET Conference, on the cutting edge of research science and technology.

The GET Conference is on the front lines of the open science movement, seeking to make scientific research and data accessible to both professionals and citizens.

In this episode we explore the topic of open science through interviews with Brian Bot and John Wilbanks of Sage Bionetworks, Alexander Wait Zaranek from the Personal Genome Project and Curoverse, and Tim Errington from the Center of Open Science.

 
Resources:
GET Conference
Sage Bionetworks
Center for Open Science
Personal Genome Project
Curoverse


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