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Jan 4, 2019

British poet W. H. Auden once noted, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”…I am not sure about his use of the number thousands…but I am sure he was right about the water.

Our Earth is sometimes compared to a magnificent blue marble, especially by those privileged few who have been lucky enough to gaze upon it from space. This is due to the predominance of water on the Earth’s surface. I’m sure that you know that the Earth is largely covered with water. Water covers about two thirds of the Earth’s surface. Interestingly, only about five percent of that water is fresh water versus salt water…and two thirds of that tiny percentage of fresh water, 69 exists as ice. But, if you melted all that ice, and the Earth’s surface was perfectly smooth, the sea levels would rise to an altitude of 2.7 km. With the water that brings us life as we know it in such dramatically short supply, you would think that we would protect it with an immeasurable passion…but instead we ignore it with unimaginable malaise. So here is some of the bad news in shocking statistics…

  • The Mississippi River carries an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico each year, creating a “dead zone” in the Gulf each summer about the size of New Jersey.
  • Approximately 40% of the lakes in America are too polluted for fishing, aquatic life, or swimming.
  • Each year 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water, and industrial waste are dumped into US water.
  • Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water, the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people.
  • About 10% of America’s beaches fail to meet the federal benchmark for what constitutes safe swimming water.
  • By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world's population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth, and climate change.

The challenge we now face as we head into the future is how to effectively conserve, purify, and distribute the water we have. And to make matters worse plastics are attacking our oceans. In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Weighing up to 269,000 tonnes. Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.

And Every year, more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.

On this episode, we are joined by two pioneers who are working to use chemistry and technology to safely reduce/eliminate hazardous chemical contaminants and pathogens from water to protect life and make clean water more easily accessible for all humanity. Dr. Terry Collins is the Teresa Heinz Professor in Green Chemistry, Chemistry and Director, Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University and Professor Ryan Sullivan, working in both Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Nov 19, 2018

Recently, INC. Magazine asked one of its contributing writers to explore the question, “what separates phenomenally successful serial entrepreneurs from the rest of us mere mortals, and what can we learn from their example?”

A few specific characteristics emerged as the underpinning to a serial entrepreneur’s mindset: optimism, a desire to keep innovating, self-reliance, an understanding that money isn’t everything, and a high pain threshold.

On this episode, our guest is a serial entrepreneur and a world-renowned inventor. He has been called a snake charmer……and has famously charmed snakes by the name of schmoopie, Uncle Sam, Betsy Ross, Pepperoni, and Monster Max - - - Mechanical robotic snakes that can explore tight spaces, swim, climb poles…. and solve big problems.

For more than 25 year’s Howie Choset has been bringing the precision of computer science and applied mathematics to the realities and uncertainties of mechanical systems. He has made globally impactful contributions in design, motion planning, path planning, and estimation. His inventions are centered on robots designed in a segmented fashion to mimic snake-like actuation and motion. They have been used in surgical applications for diagnosis and tumor removal; nuclear power plant inspection, archaeological excavations, manufacturing applications and understanding biological behaviors of a variety of animals.

Howie is a Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University where he serves as the co-director of the Biorobotics Lab and as director of the Robotics Major. He received his undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Business from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from Caltech.

Oct 30, 2018

We talk about The Internet of Things and Big Data so much on this podcast because these two technological advancements are changing the world and affecting business practices in every industry sector. In the past, Internet of Things devices were ATM machines or mobile phones. But due to the eruption of new devices, there are now 8.4 billion connected things in use worldwide, with the average individual owning 5.1 connected devices.

Not only does the Internet of Things connect us across the globe, it also continuously collects gigantic sets of raw data from our direct environment. The analysis and use of this Big Data is the technology revolution of our times.

On this episode, we are joined in the studio by two big-thinking entrepreneurs who are proving that that they can provide the right ecosystem to manage this colossal global data. Particularly in healthcare. Joshua “Dax” Cabrera and Patrick Mulcahy formed their company MEDSiS in 2014.

MEDSiS is an international information technology company that provides a platform for Big Data management solutions. Their platform enables access, management, integration, consolidation, machine learning, sharing and distribution, analytics, and artificial general intelligence (AGI). MEDSiS supports Big Data across heterogeneous enterprise platforms, global/national/regional organizations, and governments. The MEDSiS solutions are cloud hybrid ecosystems that are designed to be mission critical and operate in environments that have volatile infrastructure such as remote and rural access locations. The MEDSiS technology is in more than 1,300 sites worldwide, coupled with technology partners. Let’s listen as they share their ideas and entrepreneurial journey with us.

Sep 26, 2018

Merriam Webster defines the word CYBER as relating to, or involving computers or computer networks (such as the Internet). Cybersecurity refers to a set of techniques used to protect the integrity of these networks, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. The core functionality of cybersecurity involves protecting our information and systems from major breaches in security or cyber threats. More and more, hackers are finding new ways to threaten and attack our networks and are creating and refining the tools that they use to break through the cyber defenses that are in place to protect our data, social networks and systems such as power grids, voting machines, etc.

The cyberattack on the Equifax credit reporting agency in 2017, that led to the theft of Social Security numbers, birth dates, and additional data on almost half the U.S. population, was a scary realization that hackers are targeting enormous numbers of people…..daily.

Recent news makes it clear that Russian hackers targeted voting systems in several American states before the 2016 presidential election. So many of us were shocked to realize that up to 87 million Facebook users had their personal data ending up in the hands of a voter-profiling company called Cambridge Analytica. We learned directly from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, that Facebook itself methodically scrutinizes and keeps track of the particulars of its users’ daily online lives…… details that people often readily volunteer — age, employer, relationship status, likes and location, etc. AND can learn almost anything about users by using artificial intelligence to analyze online behavior.

Lucky for all of us, there are brilliant men and women all over the world working to not only protect us now, but also predict and protect us from future threats. Right here at Carnegie Mellon University, The world-renowned CyLab Security and Privacy Institute approaches security and privacy research with a cross-disciplinary, holistic mindset. Experts here think beyond the traditional boundaries of pure engineering and computer science solutions to big problems. They look further into the human factors that make security and privacy usable as well as the economics and social sciences behind the decisions people make with technology. Just as importantly, they must understand the policy ideas that power the network safety of our private and public enterprises. They know that security and privacy affects every aspect of daily life, from a technician safeguarding the resiliency of a city’s electric grid to a small child learning to read watching videos on an iPad. This issue affects each and every one of us.

Thankfully, we talk with one of the world’s most respected leaders on this subject on today’s episode. Dr. Douglas Sicker is the Director of CMU’s Cylab Security and Privacy Institute, Department Head of Engineering and Public Policy, the Lord Endowed Chair of Engineering and Professor in the College of Engineering School of Computer Science, as well as Heinz College.

Under Attack

Sep 5, 2018

Understanding how the brain works remains one of the biggest mysteries for science to solve. There is a lot that we do not know about the brain and most of what we do know has only been discovered in the last few decades.

The people that are working to help us understand and care for the human brain are some of the most dedicated and brilliant minds in medicine. They know that the answers to critical questions in neuroscience live at the intersection between biology, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, computer science, data, statistics and engineering and they are working to leverage all of these areas of science to apply new applications of immersive technology to brain health.

We are excited to have one of those brilliant minds as our guest on this episode. Dr. Ali Rezai, leads the comprehensive and integrated clinical and research programs in the neurosciences at West Virginia University and WVU Medicine and is the Director of the newly formed West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.

Aug 15, 2018

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer and second leading cause of cancer related deaths for both men and women in the United States. Despite being one of the most preventable and curable cancers, approximately 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer annually and approximately 50,000 people die of colon cancer every year. Given these numbers, we are all driven to get colonoscopies that can find and remove the cancer precursors, or polyps. If all the polyps are removed, we presume that a tumor can never grow. So, detecting and removing polyps is the key to early diagnosis and prevention of colorectal cancer. So, imagine my surprise when our guest today taught me that somewhere around twenty percent of colon cancer diagnoses are made in people that had clean colonoscopies in the prior three years!

The numbers are staggering…approximately 15 million colonoscopies are performed in the United States each year.   I know you are doing your back of the envelop calculations to let me help…that represents 75 million feet or 14,000 miles of colon being looked at each year. Finding polyps during the exam depends on the doctor’s experience, skills, attention, and the preparation condition.

Patients, who get a colonoscopy, do so with the hope and expectation of preventing the development of colon cancer within one to a few years of the colonoscopy…but colonoscopies are not perfect and in fact about 17- 48% of polyps are missed.

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Shyam Thakkar. Dr. Thakkar is one of the physicians working tirelessly every day to make sure that doctors do not miss polyps during exams and that people do not die from Colon Cancer.

Jul 30, 2018

Imagine a future world where victims of spinal cord injuries can walk again, where there is no shortage of donor organs for those in need……..and where damaged and weak parts of the body are simply replaced with new ones. This is the exciting promise of regenerative medicine, an area of medicine that develops procedures to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues. Regenerative medicine includes the generation and use of therapeutic stem cells, tissue engineering and the production of artificial organs. The phrase regenerative medicine has only been in our lexicon for two decades, but the concepts that drive it and the passion to harness the power of the body to heal itself have been dreamed of for millennia. Exponential growth in knowledge in the fields biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, genetics, medicine, robotics, and beyond has collided to fuel an extraordinary opportunity…to deliver on the hype surrounding the vision. Success will be defined by bringing extraordinary solutions for some of the most complex and life-threatening problems faced by humankind to the clinic.

Clinicians, scientists, engineers, lawyers, business people are all playing key roles in moving regenerative medicine forward. On this episode, we are going to talk with one of the world’s most accomplished transplant surgeons who is also a renowned regenerative medicine scientist and accomplished entrepreneur about his life, clinical career, and his entrepreneurial activities.

Dr. Paulo Fontes is recently became a Professor of Surgery and Director, Research & Innovation at West Virginia University. He is a co-founder and shareholder of 2 startup companies and the Director of the VGS Foundation, Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is a non-profit life science foundation linked to a $65M fund.

Jul 2, 2018

As we have touched upon, in many of our conversations, the United States health care system desperately needs reform to harness costs, improve quality and increase access. All elements of health care, including policymakers, have a role to play in transforming our system. I think everyone can agree in theory that federal policy changes are necessary to help fix this problem…..although there is lots of disagreement about what those changes should ultimately be. Such top-down solutions alone, however, cannot fix the broken system that currently exists. The broken healthcare delivery system also needs transformation from the bottom up…..by entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs - - the type of innovators that we often talk to and introduce to our listeners. So what is one of the transformative things that healthcare innovators are focused on to transform the future? Data.

Specifically, individual data. So much data.

Individual biology, health history, well-being, location, spending habits, sleep habits, eating habits….. According to Fortune Magazine, the amount of data you give off every day from things like lab tests, medical imaging genetic profiles, biopsies, electrocardiograms, to name just a few—is completely overwhelming when you start to think about it. Add medical claims, prescriptions, research, clinical trials….and you end up with 750 quadrillion bytes of data every day—or some 30% of the world’s data production. These massive storehouses of information have always been around. However, until three-to-five years ago, all that data was just sitting there. Now it is being analyzed and interpreted. According to Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, “It’s the most radical change happening in health care.”

On this episode we are fortunate to be joined by Dr. Rasu Shrestha, one of the world’s foremost experts that understands this and the additional radical changes and trends that are driving the healthcare future forward.

Jun 1, 2018

As consumers continue to take a more active role in managing their health, clinical healthcare and consumer health will converge. As we have discussed many times, this convergence provides a tremendous opportunity for technology to play a role in data-enabled healthcare delivery, while also supporting the shift from hospital care and acute reactive care to more proactive home patient-driven care.

Large global healthcare companies are transforming themselves to deliver new technology and innovation directly to patients to help them manage their health and to support care providers in delivering care effectively.

Philips, strives to make the world healthier and more sustainable through adoption of innovation. Their goal is to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025. An ambitious global goal, indeed. Philips has been striving to create solutions for a long time. For more than a century, Philips has been driving the development of innovative products and entrepreneurial opportunity. Starting with making electric incandescent light bulbs in 1891.

Over all of this time, Philips has remained fully committed to innovation. Our guest Bill Gaussa sits at the nexus of that commitment. Bill is the Head of Advance Innovation for Philips Healthcare and is located right here in Pittsburgh, PA. He is responsible for delivering diverse solutions (product/services, B2B/B2C) to accelerate growth of the core Philips Business Groups. Bill Leads a team of product managers, engineers, researchers and program managers to bring impactful ideas to first market launch. Recently, Bill was part of the leadership team that launched the Pittsburgh Innovation Center to work in close proximity to hospitals, universities, and start-ups to enable them to incubate regional research partnerships and, ultimately, accelerate their ability to develop new solutions to drive the future of health technology.

May 4, 2018


When we reflect on the many ways that technology has made our everyday lives easier, more efficient, more interesting, more comfortable and more enjoyable, it is likely difficult to pinpoint one specific thing that each of us would agree is the “most important” discovery of our lifetime. It would be hard to dispute, however, the rationale that the invention of the transistor is one of, if not the most important invention of the 20th century. Merriam Webster defines a transistor as a solid-state electronic device that is used to control the flow of electricity in electronic equipment and usually consists of a small block of a semiconductor with at least three electrodes. The invention of the transistor in 1947 propelled the world in an entirely new direction and was at the center of the global technology boom and began the information age. Because they can be mass-produced by the millions on a sliver of silicon or the semiconductor chip, transistors have fueled the development of many diverse devices like hearing aids, video cameras, cellular phones, copy machines, jumbo jets, modern cars, manufacturing components, and video games….and so much more.  Without the invention of the transistor we would have no Internet, no broadcast communication and no space travel.

Today, 10 million transistors can be placed on the head of a pin! Consider this: the typical smartphone contains around 85 billion transistors!

According to Forbes Magazine, in 2014, semiconductor production facilities made some 250 billion billion (250 x 1018) transistors. Every second of that year, on average, 8 trillion transistors were produced. That figure is about 25 times the number of stars in the Milky Way and some 75 times the number of galaxies in the known universe.

We are fortunate to have Dr. Susan Fullerton from the University of Pittsburgh with us. She is working to find alternative materials and device concepts to push our current electronics to become even smaller and require less and less energy to work.

Apr 16, 2018

Every now and again as we walk through the journey of life we come across people who we know will have an impact on our trajectory. Whether we are inspired by an innovator, humbled by a leader or angered by an imposter…we know that the energy of the interaction cannot be ignored. Being innovative or disruptive means carving a path out of the long grass. Reflecting on the so-called innovation “Valley of Death” that separates great ideas from their impact on society…harkens recollection about the real Valley of Death. That hot desert in the western united states that separated pioneers from their future. The pioneers, of course, crossed the Valley…Innovators of today could learn a lot by reminding ourselves about how those leaders crossed the Valley of Death…they focused on crossing at the narrowest point…. they loaded just a few wagons with maximal resources, they traveled with friends and they built an infrastructure behind them so that the people behind could follow in their footsteps. Therefore, our hunt for innovative friends with whom we can master serendipity is at the heart of success when developing novel technologies that unlock the future.

Some of the most creative and innovative people that I know have built their careers on a foundation of service to their country. The US military medicine community has pioneered quietly…the savagery of war is inexorably coupled to a yearning to heal. It is no surprise that the discovery and manufacturing of penicillin was driven by necessity in conflict. More recently, devastating wars in the Middle East led to real advances in how to stop blood loss and regenerate tissues. Scarless wound healing, advanced prosthetics, advanced prostrate and ovarian cancer therapeutics and robotic surgery have all been front and center in the war to maintain health. The dedicated community of innovators who orchestrate these advances is rarely recognized...but they should be! Of course, very few people follow a predicted path, especially when building a career on a military medicine foundation. These are people who have had dozens of challenges in remarkable and unique places…and the themes that connect their experiences are simply servant leadership and innovation.

Our guest today, Dr. Christian Macedonia, is typical of the silent innovation warriors that have done so much.

Mar 28, 2018

According to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, “a world infused with new technologies demands courageous, imaginative policy solutions that will both harness technology’s tremendous potential for good and mitigate the displacement effects of rapid change. This is one of the greatest policy challenges of our generation, and one of the biggest gaps in the prospectus across the political spectrum.”

This may seem impossible as we sit in the middle of an America that is bitterly divided. Partisans see people with differing opinions as the enemy. Opposite sides have dug in for an unrelenting winner-takes-all debate to the point of everyone ending up a loser.

Today’s guest, Jason Altmire, has stood at the center of this partisan debate. Literally…exactly in the center. A former three-term member of Congress, Jason Altmire is uniquely qualified to offer solutions to the polarization that has paralyzed Washington. A respected political moderate known for working with both sides of the aisle.

Jason Altmire served in the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013. Because of his ability to bridge both sides of the aisle, Jason had 29 of his legislative initiatives signed into law, went five and a half years without missing a single vote, and introduced a bipartisan bill that gained the most cosponsors of any congressional bill in American history. During his time in office, the nonpartisan National Journal calculated Altmire's voting record to be at the exact midpoint of the House -- the Dead Center -- giving him the most centrist voting record in Congress.

Mar 13, 2018

According to the National Institutes of Health, a genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In us, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. Each human cell has around 6 feet of DNA. Let's say each human has around 10 trillion cells (this is actually a low ball estimate). This would mean that each person has around 60 trillion feet or around 10 billion miles of DNA inside of them. The Earth is about 93 million miles away from the sun.

And as we head toward 10 billion people on the planet, that is a lot of DNA.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, the genomes of any two people are more than 99% the same. That tiny fraction of the genome that varies from person to person is very important. The variations of our DNA are part of what makes each of us distinctive and unique. These variations affect the color of a person’s eyes, hair and skin. Importantly, they also influence a person’s risk of disease and response to medicine. Visionary scientists are unravelling our genetic information so that they can personalize how we are treated. Dr. Dietrich Stephan, our guest on this episode, has been at the forefront of personalized medicine through genetic laser guidance, for decades. He is a human geneticist and entrepreneur. In December 2017, the University of Pittsburgh announced the launch of LifeX™, an initiative that will provide expertise, capital and working space to new companies addressing the most complex challenges facing modern medicine. The organization will be headed by Dietrich Stephan, PhD, Professor and chairman of the Department of Human Genetics. Let’s listen as he shares his views on personalizing medicine to cure disease and keep people well.

Feb 22, 2018

Health XL Global Gatherings showcase innovation on a global platform by bringing together people with ideas, resources and desire to contribute to the evolution of healthcare. Health XL brings together the leaders and innovators of the world’s most disruptive technology companies to share stories and insights at small intimate gatherings meant to spark innovation and build meaningful collaboration to solve global healthcare problems. Over the past number of years, Health XL has brought together key players from across the digital health ecosystem from pharma, payers, providers, tech and leading entrepreneurs. 100 of these digital health thought leaders joined our hosts at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center to discuss AI, big data, precision medicine, consumer empowerment and engagement and wellness. Listen as Alan Russell and Lynn Banaszak conduct “elevator interviews” with some of the attendees and talk about the “what’s next” in healthcare delivery.

Jan 29, 2018

The human respiratory system is made up of your nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, voice box, windpipe, lungs, diaphragm and blood vessels. Breathing is the process of inhaling and exhaling. When you inhale, you bring oxygen-rich air into your body. When you exhale, you release carbon dioxide into the air from your body. Each of us breathes about 25,000 times during a regular day. If you are healthy, this process is easy. But for the millions of people with long-term respiratory diseases, breathing is not that simple. If you have ever suffered from a cold or allergies, you have experienced what it feels like to have trouble breathing. Imagine if every breathe for the rest of your life was this difficult?

The lung is a magnificent organ built of a complex tree of airways that are, in an average person, 44 miles long and serve to ventilate 300 to 500 million air sacs or alveoli, with a total surface area nearly the size of a tennis court. This surface is covered by a dense mesh of blood capillaries of total length of about 3,000 miles. About 85 percent of the alveolar surface is in contact with blood across a tissue barrier 50 times thinner than a sheet of onion skin paper, which allows a very efficient uptake of oxygen.

Around 12 million people have chronic lung disease in the United States alone, but less than 2,000 people will be able to receive transplants because the need for transplant organs far outnumbers the supply of available organs. As a result, nearly 200,000 people die from chronic lung disease every year.

For more than 20 years, guest Dr. Keith Cook, and other researchers have worked on artificial temporary lungs that support patients in need of a lung transplant who are placed on a waiting list. These devices typically last days to a couple of weeks before failure and require patients to be closely monitored in a hospital.

Jan 17, 2018

There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in an adult human body! Imagine that…if you stretched out all of someone’s blood vessels end to end they would go around the world three times!! Blood vessels, that we call the vasculature, go everywhere and are involved in issues large and small. They protect the brain, feed tumors and cause the famous brain freeze for those of us who like to eat ice cream!! Any real problem along this vast network can cause severe pain, disability and death.

The most common vascular diseases are stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), carotid artery disease (CAD), arteriovenous malformation (AVM), critical limb ischemia (CLI), pulmonary embolism (blood clots), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), and varicose veins. PAD alone affects 8.5 million people. It can occur in anyone at any time; affecting men and women equally.

In this episode, we are very fortunate to have one of the world’s most respected and accomplished vascular researchers. Dr. Mark Gladwin is Chair, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Director of the Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, Blood, and Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI) and Co-director/researcher at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI). In addition to our discussion about treating disease with novel technological solutions, Dr. Gladwin will talk about his research and exciting discovery regarding the creation of the only known potential antidote for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dec 27, 2017

Most of us think of casinos or James Bond when we hear about Monte Carlo. But to today’s guest, Monte Carlo makes him think about algorithms. Monte Carlo simulations use random sampling to produce a distribution of results from which we can draw conclusions. These computational science techniques help us answer some of the world’s toughest challenges at the atomic level.

Obviously, computational Science is an exponentially-growing multidisciplinary field that uses advanced computing capabilities to understand and solve big, complex problems. It is an area of science which spans many disciplines, but at its core it involves the development of mathematical models and simulations to understand natural systems. Think about the way that we predict the weather. In order to predict the weather, scientists run a simulation many times over, randomly choosing atmospheric data and then looking at common themes across those simulations to generate an idea of what weather is most likely for a given area. When we hear meteorologists say, “We have a 60% chance of rain today", they are really saying, "60% of our simulations predict rain today.” If we elevate our thinking from mundane rain clouds to simulations of material properties, things get interesting.

According to our guest, Chris Wilmer, thanks to computational science techniques, the beginning of the 21st century has seen an explosion in the design of porous materials for a wide range of applications, from gas storage and chemical separations, to sensing and light harvesting. In this episode, Dr. Chris Wilmer describes how he designs atomically engineered materials through the application of modern computing infrastructure, thereby developing material discovery algorithms. Using this platform, he creates millions of hypothetical structures, stores these structures in databases, and then uses high-performance computing to rapidly simulate their properties. He can then validate the performance of materials through an automated workflow, providing a powerful prediction-meets-data feedback loop.

Nov 30, 2017

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has been around since the early 1980’s. A 3-dimensional, physical printed object is created by using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is formed by laying down continuous layers of material until the object is created.

In television like the popular show “Westworld” viewers have been introduced to humanoid robots that are 3D printed. While creating an entire human being may sound extremely futuristic, the technology to print human body parts already exists and could become a standard practice in the years to come. Researchers are working tirelessly to create body parts and artificial organs meant to replace, or even enhance our human machinery.

This episode features one of those world-renowned researchers. Dr. David Gracias is from the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. His fascinating and amazing work is focused on the ability to three-dimensionally interweave biological tissue with functional electronics so that we may enable the creation of bionic organs possessing enhanced functionalities over our current human counterparts. Dr. Gracias was part of the team that used 3-D printing of cartilage cells and nanomaterials to create functional ears that receive radio signals. They used a computer-aided design (CAD) drawing of a human right ear as a blueprint for the printing and then used three components as the printer “inks”: cartilage cells in a hydrogel matrix, structural silicone, and silicone infused with silver nanoparticles. The ear was built layer by layer with an ordinary 3-D printer, with the silver-infused “ink” formed a coiled antenna.

Nov 7, 2017

Dr. De Grey is a biomedical gerontologist who researched the idea for and founded SENS Research Foundation. SENS Research Foundation is a public charity that is transforming the way the world researches and treats age-related disease.

SENS asserts that two thirds of all deaths worldwide, and about 90% of all deaths in the developed world, are from causes that only rarely kill young adults. If we look at the entire world, then the number of deaths that occur each day is roughly 150,000 and about two-thirds of them are because of aging. These causes include Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes and most cancers. They are age-related because they are expressions of the later stages of aging, occurring when the molecular and cellular damage that has accumulated in the body throughout life exceeds the level that metabolism can tolerate.

Before it kills us, aging, imposes on most elderly people, a long period of decline, debilitation and disease. For these reasons, aging is unarguably the most prevalent medically-relevant phenomenon in the modern world and the primary ultimate target of biomedical research.

In this episode, we have the distinct honor and privilege to talk to one of the world’s foremost experts on aging and learn about his assertion that the first human beings who will live to be 1,000 years old have already been born.

Oct 24, 2017

Thirty-five years ago, it was odd to use the words “green” and “chemistry” in the same sentence. Today, although Green Chemistry is an accepted discipline, we are still at the beginning of a growing movement to rethink how chemistry & engineering are carried out, in order to be truly sustainable and to improve lives.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances. EPA's efforts to speed the adoption of this revolutionary and diverse discipline have led to real change and anyone that cares about the air their neighbors breathe and the water their friends and family drink should hope that this work continues. There is an innate connection between a passion for sustainability and a passion for health…the two really are inherently connected and it should surprise no one that some of the world’s most creative green chemists have also drifted into what one might term “health engineering”.  

In this episode, we have the distinct honor and privilege to talk to one of the champions and fathers of green chemical engineering, Dr. Eric Beckman.  

Oct 3, 2017

Over the past decades, we have seen great developments and continued evolution for a powerful criminal justice tool. Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA.  DNA has become a tool that is used to identify criminals with incredible accuracy when biological evidence is available.  DNA can also be used to eliminate suspects and absolve people mistakenly accused of or convicted of crimes.  DNA technology is increasingly vital and reliable to ensuring accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system.

In cases where a suspect has not yet been identified, biological evidence from the crime scene can be analyzed and compared to offender profiles in DNA databases to help identify the offender.  Crime scene evidence can also be linked to other crime scenes using DNA databases. The founders of Cybergenetics use computers to automate the interpretation of DNA data for medical diagnosis, gene discovery, solving crimes, freeing the innocent and prosecuting the guilty.

Sep 18, 2017

The integration of data analytics and digital disruption is remaking the world when it comes to financial, industrial, healthcare and even political markets. According to General Electric, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), also known as the Industrial Internet, brings together brilliant machines, advanced data analytics, and people at work. It’s the network of a multitude of devices connected by communications technologies that results in systems that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver valuable new insights like never before. These insights can then help drive smarter, faster business decisions for industrial companies. One way to think about it is to think of the Industrial Internet as connecting machines and devices in industries where there is a lot at stake or where system failures and unplanned interruptions can result in life-threatening or high-risk situations.

Today, we are going to introduce you to CEO, Hahna Alexander of SOLEPOWER. Hahna hopes to grab some of that huge market potential with a novel approach to driving productivity across industries.

Sep 1, 2017

The human eye has more than 2 million working parts. It is capable of seeing at a resolution of 576 megapixels. Corneas are the only tissues in the body that do not require blood. Our eyes can process 36,000 bits of information an hour and blink 10,000 times a day.300 million times in a lifetime.  Under the right conditions, the human eye can see the light of a candle at a distance of 14 miles and can see 2.7 million different colors. The eye has about 12 million photo receptors (light-sensitive cells).The retina contains 130 million rods for night vision and 7 million color-sensitive cones for day vision…..And as magnificent and complex as the human eye is; without light, there would be no sight. The eye is a processor of light. The visual ability of humans is the result of the complex interaction of light, eyes and brain. We are able to see because light from an object can move through space and reach our eyes. Once light reaches our eyes, signals are sent to our brain and our brain interprets the information in order to detect the appearance, location and movement of the objects we are seeing.  A team of researchers at the Illumination and Imaging Lab at Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, led by Srinivasa Narasimhan have been doing fascinating, game-changing research dedicated to the study of light transport and the development of novel illumination and imaging technologies that will help humans “see” better. Let us listen.

Aug 18, 2017

Please join us as Dr. Aryn Gittis, associate professor in Biological Sciences and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses the neural circuitry of the basal ganglia, a brain system involved in movement, learning, motivation, and reward.  Dysfunction of neural circuits in the basal ganglia is thought to play a role in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome, and dystonia, as well as many neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety, OCD, and addiction. Dr. Gittis will explain her novel approach to effectively treating Parkinson’s disease by controlling the interaction among brain cells (neurons) in the basal ganglia. In normal function, neurons talk to each other to create normal function. When neurons stop talking to one another, the pattern changes and causes the shaking that we see in Parkinson’s. Currently, the therapeutic effects of standard, high frequency Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) (Episode - The Mystery of The Human Brian) controls the debilitating motor symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease but rapidly decays once the stimulation is turned off.  Dr. Gittis is working to develop therapy that extends the effects of DBS for patients with Parkinson’s disease to have ongoing, uninterrupted relief.

Aug 5, 2017

Ingestible electronic devices have the potential to obviate many of the challenges associated with chronic implants such as risk of infection, chronic inflammation, and costly surgical procedures. Examples of ingestible electronics not only include edible cameras, but also ingestible event monitors, and integrated smart drug delivery systems.

Today, scientists are working on a variety of new non-toxic, biologically friendly ingestible electronics that can be ingested and implanted in the body. These medical devices, made from materials that are naturally produced in the body, can be programmed to deliver medicines, perform lifesaving activities from inside the body and also report back information from a disease site or problem area in a patient. These edible electronics also need a power source that is biocompatible or biodegradable. In this episode, Dr. Chris Bettinger, one of the world’s leading experts on ingestible devices will discuss all of the exciting possibilities of edible electronics.

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