Best of Biotech in 2015

I have been irregular in my blog postings this year but, keeping in continuation to the best of biotech in 2013 and 2014, here is my list of the best of the breakthroughs in biotechnology this year. This list is subject to my attentional bias and in no particular order.

The most revolutionary of discoveries often disrupt dogmas held for years. This year was a year of firsts and saw many such dogmas being broken. The excitement around CRISPR-Cas 9, dubbed the biotech breakthrough of the century by MIT, continued to soar on with new applications and a new, better enzyme – Cfp1. Research in aging revived the dipping funding in degenerative disorders. Continue reading “Best of Biotech in 2015”


Why Biotech Needs Flowers That Change Color

A flower that changes colour on demand, from red to blue and back to red within a day. Why would one not want it? Because biotech is an evil enterprise that doesn’t offer much of value. WRONG!

Biotech is all around us and not just in our drugs and food as many people still believe. People just don’t realize it and look at it with suspicion because fear of the unknown is one of the most basic of our tendencies. In a survey earlier this year, it was found that 80% of Americans support labelling of all food containing DNA. Just a quick fact in case you support it too: all life forms have DNA.

Those Americans aren’t stupid in not knowing the fact. It’s just that the biotech industry has been too arrogant Continue reading “Why Biotech Needs Flowers That Change Color”

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 “Is Systems Biology the String Theory of Biology?”

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 “Biotech’s Largest Conference in Tweets”

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 “Best of Biotech in 2014”

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 “Can Quantum Biology Enable yet Another Giant Leap?”

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 “Lawsuit Against the Future of Food”

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.


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 “Physiology Nobel 2014 Awards Research on GPS in Brain”

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 “How many Human Genomes will be Sequenced this Year?”