Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering use Nature's design principles to develop bioinspired materials and devices that will transform medicine and create a more sustainable world. In this podcast series, Terrence McNally speaks directly with Institute researchers, exploring what motivates them and how they envision our future as it might be impacted by their disruptive technologies.
Disruptive: Cancer Vaccine and Immuno-Materials
Immunotherapy – treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to help fight disease – has groundbreaking and life-saving implications. In an effort to make immunotherapy more effective, Wyss Institute researches are developing new immuno-materials, which help modulate immune cells to treat or diagnose disease.
In this episode of Disruptive, Dave Mooney, Wyss Core Faculty member; Kai Wucherpfennig, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Cancer and Immunology and Virology department chair; and Aileen Li, Wyss Institute and Mooney Lab postdoctoral fellow, discuss their collaboration developing an injectable cancer vaccine. Guests also discuss other immuno-material applications, which could treat infections, diabetes, and addiction.
Disruptive: Sports Genomics
With 100 trillion cells in the human body, bacteria outnumber our own human cells 2 to 1. These bacteria make up one’s microbiome, and particularly bacteria in our guts affect all our key organ functions. They play a role in our health, development and wellness, including endurance, recovery and mental aptitude.
In this episode of Disruptive, Wyss Core Faculty member George Church and Wyss Postdoctoral Fellow Jonathan Scheiman discuss collecting and sequencing gut bacteria of elite athletes to produce customized probiotics - and the potential that these probiotics could give recipients access to some of the biological advantages that make those athletes elite.
Disruptive: Mechanotherapeutics – From Drugs to Wearables
Mechanobiology reveals insights into how the body’s physical forces and mechanics impact development, physiological health, and prevention and treatment of disease. The emerging field of Mechanotherapeutics leverages these insights towards the development of new types of pharmaceuticals, drug delivery systems, engineered tissues, and wearable therapeutic devices that leverage physical forces or target mechanical signaling pathways as a core part of their mechanism of action.
In this episode of Disruptive, Wyss Core Faculty members Don Ingber, Dave Mooney, and Conor Walsh discuss the latest directions in Mechanotherapeutics. Along with leading researchers from around the globe, representing diverse disciplines, Ingber, Mooney, and Walsh presented at the Wyss Institute's 7th annual symposium. Speakers provided numerous examples of how mechanics are being harnessed in ways that can transform the future of medicine – from drugs to wearables.
Disruptive: Fluorescent In Situ Sequencing
Developed at the Wyss, FISSEQ (fluorescent in situ sequencing) is a spatial gene sequencing technology that reads and visualizes the three-dimensional coordinates of RNA and mRNAs – the working copies of genes – within whole cells and tissues. FISSEQ affords insights into biological complexity that until now have not been possible.
In this episode of Disruptive, Wyss Core Faculty member George Church, Wyss Senior Staff Scientist Rich Terry, and former Wyss Entrepreneur-in-Residence Shawn Marcell discuss FISSEQ's development and translational potential, which could be used to advance the development of diagnostics and discovery of new drug targets.
Disruptive: Putting Biofilms to Work
Biofilms are commonly known as the slime-producing bacterial communities sitting on stones in streams, dirty pipes and drains, or dental plaque. However, Wyss Core Faculty member Neel Joshi is putting to work the very properties that make biofilms effective nuisances or threats in our daily lives. In this episode of Disruptive, Joshi and postdoctoral fellow Anna Duraj-Thatte discuss the development of a novel protein engineering system called BIND, Biofilm-Integrated Nanofiber Display, which uses biofilms to help clean up polluted rivers, manufacture pharmaceutical products, and fabricate new textiles.
Disruptive: Rapid, Low Cost Detection of Zika & Future Pandemics
The rapid emergence of the Zika virus on the world stage calls for a detection system that is just as quick. In this episode of Disruptive, Wyss Core Faculty member and MIT professor Jim Collins and University of Toronto Assistant Professor Keith Pardee discuss how they developed a low cost, paper-based diagnostic platform that can rapidly detect the Zika virus. The full team, comprising of researchers from several institutions, also developed a workflow that will enable them to use this same platform to respond to future pandemics. In response to an emerging outbreak, a custom tailored diagnostic system could potentially be ready for use in the field within one week.