iGEM, or How to Build a Biological Organism in a Single Summer

The International Genetically Engineered Machine » 11/20/08 9:00am 11/20/08 9:00am competition brings undergraduates from around the world to MIT's campus to share the results of a summer's worth of synthetic biology research. Each team tries to create the best synthetic organism. Here you can see the iGEM participants (photo courtesy of David…

Three Horror Movies That Even a Scientist Could Love

As a scientist I have mixed feelings about SF-oriented horror, which tends to show my lab coat-wearing brethren as myopic, obsessive, morally challenged individuals or as humorless skeptics. When Fringe » 11/06/08 9:00am 11/06/08 9:00am needed a scientist for its team of white hats, the best they could come up with was a former, vaguely repentant mad…

What's the Future of Cancer Diagnosis?

I talked about the importance of early cancer diagnosis in a previous post » 10/09/08 9:00am 10/09/08 9:00am, and reader Ian wrote back to ask for more detail. Early detection can be life-saving, but accuracy in these tests is also a serious problem - a test that misses existing cancers is obviously bad, but one that detects cancers that there or…

Will I Evolve Into a Being of Pure Energy?

Welcome back to Ask a Biogeek, a column where biology researcher Terry Johnson answers questions about biology — no matter how weird. » 9/18/08 9:00am 9/18/08 9:00am Back when I discussed our as a species, one commenter added to the list of improbabilities our eventual transcendence into a non-corporeal form. That's hardly the only evolutionary myth …

Where Is My Cure for Cancer?

Welcome back to Ask a Biogeek, a column where you ask biology researcher Terry Johnson any question you want - no matter how weird. » 9/04/08 9:00am 9/04/08 9:00am Reader Charlie writes: Sadly, cancer is not a single disease, but a class of diseases - while we may effectively cure some forms of cancer, it's doubtful that we'll be able to cure them…

What Are the Unlikeliest Futures for the Human Species?

Welcome to Ask a Biogeek, a column where you ask UC Berkeley researcher Terry Johnson any question you want - no matter how weird. » 8/21/08 9:00am 8/21/08 9:00am Reader Matthew asks: "Blocked" is perhaps too rigorous a standard, but there are certainly some futures far less likely than others. I can't , but perhaps I can convince you that a few…

Son Of "Where Are My Cybernetic Implants?"

Welcome to Ask a Biogeek, a column where you ask UC Berkeley researcher Terry Johnson any question you want - no matter how weird. » 8/07/08 9:00am 8/07/08 9:00am There seems to be a strong correlation between my posting an article on a subject, and my RSS feeds filling up with exciting new research, which I then wish I'd been able to include. The…

Where Is My Hypospray?

Welcome to Ask a Biogeek, a column where you ask UC Berkeley researcher Terry Johnson any question you want — no matter how weird.
Reader Mairi proxies the following question: My mom wants to know when we're going to get needle-less, painless injections.
While I personally covet the medical tricorder, I would almost… » 7/17/08 9:00am 7/17/08 9:00am

Where Are My Cybernetic Implants?

A reader who would like to remain anonymous asks: » 5/22/08 9:00am 5/22/08 9:00am

First of all, Anonymous, my best wishes. I hope that the next advance coming 'round the bend is a comfort to you. There are two fundamental approaches to organ-level repair: the biological approach, which includes transplants and , or what we'll call the cybernetic…

Forget the Jetpack - Where Are My Replacement Organs?

Welcome to Ask a Biogeek, a column about cutting-edge biology by UC Berkeley researcher Terry Johnson. Knowing which organs you can live without is all well and good, but wouldn't you rather have replacement organs? Tissue engineers already have some pretty good ones if you happen to lose your skin or severely damage… » 4/03/08 9:45am 4/03/08 9:45am