Is Systems Biology the String Theory of Biology?


Is systems biology the string theory of biology? Not much in terms of analogy between subjects, but how the researchers working in the string theory and systems biology are looked up to by other researchers within physics and biology respectively. Continue reading

Biotech’s Largest Conference in Tweets


J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference and Biotech Showcases bring together public and private biotech and healthcare companies with a chance to interact with investors and executives from across the industry. The 33rd edition of the conference was held last week — January 12-15, 2015.

Here are a few tweets from #JPM15 that reflect the mood in the healthcare and the biotechnology industry right now. Continue reading

Best of Biotech in 2014


2014 has been a good year for science and technology, particularly so for the biological sciences. Click to know the top science news/breakthroughs according to Wired, The Guardian, and Scientific American.

Here are some major developments (subject to my attentional bias) that took place in biotechnology in 2014. These are grouped under six headings for simplification, but many of these lie at the confluence of multiple of these headings. Continue reading

Can Quantum Biology Enable yet Another Giant Leap?


Quantum mechanics revolutionized physics, probably like never before or thereafter. It put forward concepts that couldn’t be accommodated within classical physics. Such was the desperation that Feynman was once quoted of being safe on his assumption that nobody understood quantum mechanics.

In 1944, Erwin Schrödinger made an attempt to define life in his short book titled “What is Life?”. The book tries to account for the events across space and time within the confines of living systems. Interestingly, it attracted many physicists into biology notable among them being Watson, Crick. Within a decade, a framework was set for the discipline which would rule biology for the next several decades. Continue reading

Lawsuit Against the Future of Food


Many people don’t eat egg products. Either they are vegan/vegetarian or are allergic to them. Another concern some people refrain from eating them is the unsustainable nature of the egg industry. For instance, The energy input to food output ratio in poultry is a staggering 39-1. Hampton Creek, a start up founded in 2011, aims to overcome these challenges.

Egg less mayo

The company is on a mission to provide sustainable, tastier, and affordable food. Its first product, Just Mayo, is an egg-less substitute for mayonnaise. It utilizes egg-like proteins obtained from plants to create the substitute. The team at Hampton Creek screened over a 1000 different plants Continue reading

Who Searches Biotech the Most Over the Web?


Google Trends is one of the many lesser known products from Google. It lets you know what people are googling the most about at any given time. You can even search up terms and know where is it most searched, dating all the way back to 2004. Give it a try here.

Biotechnology is a lucrative career choice for over a decade now. Many countries set apart a large portion of their not-so-large expenditures on R&D for biotech. So, I looked up biotechnology and related terms on Google Trends to know which countries are the most interested. Also, it is interesting to note how the levels of interest have increased (or decreased) over the years.

Disclaimer:

  • Sadly, WordPress doesn’t allow sharing JavaScript (read interactive material). So, I am sharing screenshots clicking on whom would take you to the actual Google Trends results.
  • Strong showing by India and China can partly be attributed to their billion plus populations. Continue reading

Physiology Nobel 2014 Awards Research on GPS in Brain


This post has been geo-located to New Delhi in India. My tablet’s inbuilt GPS did that for me. What does that for me (and most of us) every time I move? We become aware of our existence when we can distinct ourselves from and place ourselves in space. How we do this had been a philosophical puzzle since ages. This year’s Nobel prize for Physiology has been awarded to three scientists whose work has explained how we navigate in space. In simple terms, how the inner GPS in the brain functions. Continue reading

How many Human Genomes will be Sequenced this Year?


It took nearly 13 years, billions of dollars and many research labs across the globe to complete the Human Genome Project. 11 years later, how many genomes would be synthesized in 2014 alone? If Francis de Souza, president of Illumina – the company whose sequencers generate 90% of all DNA data produced, is to be believed – Continue reading

Taking Biotech to the Home


We have biotech all around in our homes. The fruits in our fridge were grown on trees that were resistant to pests and maybe had improved yield than the conventional. Many components of the soaps, shampoos and detergents in your house were processed using enzymes that were obtained from modified bacteria. Almost every time you pop-in a tablet, you have biotechnology to thank for. While these and many applications abound all around us, the underlying technology isn’t as perceptible. Biotech needs to be more visible.

A popular open source biotechnology blogger is on a personal endeavour to bring biotechnology to homes. Continue reading

Rise of the Lean Biotech Start-up


Biotech start-ups are a bulky affair. They require monstrous amounts of money and resources to start with, take years to do the research and development for the product and the profits, if any, fall down rapidly once patents expire and  generic versions of the product fill the market. For platform start-ups, the technology often gets outdated before it becomes profitable. Thus, biotech start-ups make good products but, not good businesses.

Fortunately, the scenario is changing with the costs of starting up a biotech company plunging to the order of the costs of starting a software company. Continue reading