Disruptive #7: FISSEQ – Fluorescent In Situ Sequencing

Written on October 7th, 2016


Until recently, to analyze many mRNAs simultaneously, scientists had to grind cells to a pulp, which left them unable to pinpoint those mRNAs within the cell. Developed by a team at the Wyss and Harvard Medical School, FISSEQ allows scientists to pinpoint thousands of mRNAs and other types of RNAs at once in intact cells, and stands to revolutionize clinical diagnostics and drug discovery.

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Disruptive #7 Transcript

Disruptive#6: Rapid, Low-cost, Paper-based Test for Zika

Written on June 24th, 2016


In early May, a rapid, low-cost, freeze-dried, paper-based, strain-specific diagnostic system for detection of the Zika virus was introduced by an international team of researchers led by James Collins of Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The core of the test kit is a piece of paper that changes color in the presence of Zika virus RNA and produces results in two to three hours. University of Toronto biochemist Keith Pardee says that it should cost less than a dollar per test. And, according to Collins, in response to a new outbreak, a custom tailored diagnostic system could be ready for use within one week’s time.
In this 53-minute podcast, I speak with Collins and Pardee, and explore how they did it, what they learned, and what this might mean for the future. Listen and subscribe to Disruptive on SoundcloudiTunes, or Google Play.


Disruptive #6 Transcript


Disruptive #5: Molecular Robotics – Building with DNA

Written on April 5th, 2016


DISRUPTIVE – the podcast from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

We’re learning to take advantage of properties of DNA that have served nature well- but in ways nature may have never pursued. We build with it. We tap its capacity to carry information to enhance our ability to explore the inner life of cells.

In this episode, Wyss faculty members William Shih, Wesley Wong and Peng Yin share what it’s like being on the frontier of science, explain how and why they program DNA, and consider potential applications of their work.


Disruptive: Molecular Robotics transcript

Disruptive: Synthetic Biology Pamela Silver & George Church

Written on February 21st, 2016





I’m excited to offer the first episode of DISRUPTIVE, my new monthly podcast series produced with Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The mission of the Wyss Institute is to: Transform healthcare, industry, and the environment by emulating the way nature builds, with a focus on technology development and its translation into products and therapies that will have an impact on the world in which we live. Their work is disruptive not only in terms of science but also in how they stretch the usual boundaries of academia.

In this inaugural episode, Wyss core faculty members Pamela Silver and George Church explain how, with today’s technology breakthroughs, modifications to an organism’s genome can be conducted more cheaply, efficiently, and effectively than ever before. Researchers are programming microbes to treat wastewater, generate electricity, manufacture jet fuel, create hemoglobin, and fabricate new drugs. What sounds like science fiction to most of us might be a reality in our lifetimes: the ability to build diagnostic tools that live within our bodies, find ways to eradicate malaria from mosquito lines, or possibly even make genetic improvements in humans that are passed down to future generations. Silver and Church discuss both the high-impact benefits of their work as well as their commitment to the prevention of unintended consequences in this new age of genetic engineering.




Written on October 31st, 2015




On November 15, InsightLA, the leading Los Angeles-based Mindfulness Meditation organization, will host LIVING WITH A JOYFUL SPIRIT AND A WISE HEART, a day of deep teachings and timeless wisdom that will feature Trudy Goodman and Jack Cornfield in dialogue via video with a “who’s who” of the pioneers of mindfulness meditation in the West – Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are), Ram Dass (Be Here Now), Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance), Joseph Goldstein (Insight Meditatino), and Congressman Tim Ryan (A Mindful Nation). Both Trudy and Jack turn 70 this year. In the course of the conversation, we talk about their personal paths, what each of their guests means to them, and we tell the story of mindfulness in America over the last forty-five years.

Trudy Goodman has trained and practiced in two fields for over 25 years: meditation and psychotherapy. She studied developmental psychology with Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Carol Gilligan, and for 20 years worked in a full psychotherapy practice. Since 1974, Trudy has devoted much of her life to practicing Buddhist meditation and teaching mindfulness. In 2002, Trudy founded InsightLA.

Jack Kornfield is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. His books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies. They include, A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; Buddha’s Little Instruction Book; and A Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology.