Skip to content

Tag Archives: biotech


Check out the June issue of Fast Company for my story on SAGE Labs, a division of Sigma-Aldrich, and their groundbreaking work engineering rats for medical research. Rabbits, pigs, and even monkeys are next. Sigma also recently announced plans for the commercial development of genetically engineered silkworms that spin high-strength spider silk, for which there […]

Big Hopes for Algae

Andrew Pollack had a long piece in the New York Times yesterday on the race to develop a viable process for making fuel from algae. The article focuses on Sapphire Energy, which has raised $100 million from investors including Bill Gates and is getting another $100 million in federal financing to build a demo project […]

The New Creative Commons: Part 2

In a recent Inc. magazine story, I wrote about the Tech Shop and La Cocina, a kitchen incubator in San Francisco, as examples of physical spaces whose shared tools and resources are making possible a new wave of innovation and, with it, entrepreneurial activity. In my research I came across information on another project that […]

Rob Carlson on Synthetic and DIY Bio

Video interview from the Carlson’s new book on biotech, Biology Is Technology, is due out in February

Communication Skills, Bacterial and Human

The Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Holiday Lectures for 2009, presented last week, introduced selected high school students to microbiologist Bonnie Bassler and Baldomero Olivera, an expert on poisonous snails, who discussed their seemingly esoteric studies and the powerful practical applications they are leading to. I’m a huge fan of Bonnie Bassler, a professor of molecular […]

DNA Sequencing, the Horse Race

From the website of British nonprofit biomedical funding organization the Wellcome Trust, a nice article that includes clearly animated explanations of the current methods used for DNA sequencing, as well as a brief overview of “third generation” sequencers, which we should see soon. Companies mentioned include 454 Life Sciences, Solexa, Illumina, SOLiD, Pacific Biosciences, Oxford […]

GM Food, All Bad?

Mention genetically modified anything to most sustainable food folks, and you can be pretty sure what you’re going to get: plenty of eye rolling and perhaps a heartfelt, self-righteous diatribe. This Greenpeace link sums up the view pretty well, I think. Looking for a way to reconcile my own whole-hearted enthusiasm for sustainable, organic food […]

Gene Patents = Bad

The ACLU and the nonprofit Public Patent Foundation last week jointly filed a lawsuit against the PTO, Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah Research Foundation, claiming the latter parties’ patents on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are associated with breast and ovarian cancer, are unconstitutional and invalid. More than 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and […]

Bonnie Bassler on the Social Life of Bacteria

In this recently posted footage from the TED Conference in February, Princeton University professor and MacArthur fellow Bonnie Bassler offers a compelling introduction to the cutting edge of molecular biology. Bessler is probably most famous for uncovering the mechanism that bacteria use to communicate via chemical messages, called “quorum sensing.” Bacteria aren’t simple, lonely, isolated […]

Craig Venter at TED

The annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference brings together an impressively diverse group of hotshots and challenges them to explain and get others excited about whatever their “thing” is — in 18 minutes. The TED site has been steadily adding to its video archive of these talks — there are now close to 400 talks […]