Medicine • Biotech • Digital Biology
Andrew Hessel is the president of Humane Genomics, an early-stage company developing synthetic viruses for animal and human health. He is also the co-founder and chairman of the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology and the Genome Project-write, the international scientific effort to engineer large genomes, including the human genome. He is a former distinguished research scientist at Autodesk Life Sciences. His goal is to help people better understand and use living systems to meet the needs of humanity.
Biology is a mysterious technology – but not for much longer. We may not have created it, but we’re reverse engineering it faster and faster. Life is quickly becoming understood and programmable. Next-generation, digital biotechnologies such as systems biology and synthetic biology are fundamentally changing the game of R&D so quickly that it’s nothing less than a revolution. The dynamics are global – many countries are participating – and the benefits are potentially universal because life is a very affordable technology. Like computing, modern biotechnology is today no longer restricted to just the largest organizations; it’s a platform technology accessible to virtually anyone willing to learn the ropes. The elimination of barriers is shaking up the classical industry and demanding that everything from intellectual property, investment, and regulation be re-imagined. This talk will provide a framework for understanding biological systems, the recent activities of key individuals and groups working at the leading edge, and examine some of the opportunities, challenges, and bizarre stuff facing us in the years ahead.