DISRUPTIVE #10: Sports Genomics
Hello, I’m Terrence McNally and you’re listening to DISRUPTIVE the podcast from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
Can sneaker endorsements, cereals, protein powders or electrolyte cocktails get any of us closer to the peak level performance of our favorite athletes? Despite billions in sales, the answer is probably no. But how about an elite athlete’s biology?
With 100 trillion cells in the human body, bacteria outnumber our own human cells 2 to 1, and bacteria in our gut affect all our key organ functions. They play a role in our health, development and wellness, including endurance, recovery and mental aptitude.
What if we could tap the gut bacteria of elite athletes to produce customized probiotics – and what if those probiotics could give recipients access to some of the biological advantages that make those athletes elite?
A former NBA hopeful in the lab of George Church at the Wyss Institute asked that question a couple of years ago and the lab is now moving toward a startup to bring such products to market.
In related news, consider this: With 2015 sales of $115B, sports-based nutraceuticals made up the largest share of the global nutraceutical market, but probiotic-focused sports products made up less than 1% of those sales.
I’ll talk with Wyss Research Fellow JONATHAN SCHEIMAN and – a previous guest on Disruptive – Wyss core-faculty member GEORGE CHURCH.
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This week’s guest is DAVE ZIRIN. Dave is the first sports editor for The Nation magazine. He has for years in books, columns, and commentaries examined both the politics of sports as well as the intersection of the two.
Howard Cosell said “rule number one of the jockocracy” was that sports and politics don’t mix. In his newest book, Game Over, Zirin asserts that modern professional athletes are breaking that rule like never before. From the NFL lockout and the role of soccer in the Arab Spring to the Penn State sexual abuse scandals and Tim Tebow’s on-field genuflections, Dave reveals how our most important debates about class, race, religion, sex, and political power are being played out both on and off the field.
I’ve left my overzealous interest in sports out of the studio for years, but this week — a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl, not long after Lance Armstrong finally admits to doping, and a few hours before the NBA All Star game – I break that barrier. Dave Zirin and I will talk about specific events and athletes, but we’ll also examine the role sports plays in our individual lives and in society.
Both Ira Glass and Malcolm Gladwell say today’s guest is their favorite storyteller. In his books and magazine articles, Lewis writes about sports, business, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, political campaigns, fatherhood. Stuff that matters to a lot of people. He’s smart and he has a sense of humor.
Lewis was a trader at Salomon Brothers before he wrote his first best-seller, LIAR’S POKER about the excesses of Wall Street during the 1980s. He continues to write about that world with his last two books, a column for Bloomberg, and articles in Vanity Fair.
His newest book BOOMERANG: Travels in the New Third World is made up of articles originally published in Vanity Fair and picks up where 2010’s THE BIG SHORT left off. What happens after the meltdown of 07-08? Governments are the focus of this book. Mostly because they have taken on the bad debts of the too big to fail banks, so now they are themselves at risk. Now politics and culture become much more important as to how they will deal with that risk. Then there’s the story of California which as a state ran up unsustainable debts during a series of bubbles and can’t raise the taxes to pay for them.
We’ll also talk about the twisted path taken to get MONEYBALL into theatres. The film based on his 2003 book is now a popular and critical success.
MICHAEL LEWIS received a BA in art history from Princeton University and a Masters in economics from the London School of Economics. He contributes to bloomberg.com and Vanity Fair. His other books include The Blind Side, Panic, The New New Thing, and Home Game.
MICHAEL LEWIS is one of my favorite popular writers. He writes about sports, business, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, political campaigns, now fatherhood - in bestselling books and for the New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair, among others. He's smart and he has a sense of humor. Malcolm Gladwell says he's one of our best storytellers.
LEWIS was a trader at Salomon Brothers before he wrote his first best-seller, LIAR'S POKER about the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s. He continues to write about that world with a couple of books in 2008 -- Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity and The Real Price of Everything (editor) -- and a column for Bloomberg. His newest book, Home Game, is about fatherhood, so we'll talk about that, but even more we'll talk about Wall Street, madness, greed, the crash, and how we're dealing with it.
MICHAEL LEWIS received a BA in art history from Princeton University and an MSc in economics from the London School of Economics. He worked as an investment banker for Salomon Brothers before leaving to write LIAR'S POKER. Other books include MONEYBALL, on the Oakland A's, Billy Beane, and baseball's new wave of Ivy League general managers; PANIC: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity; and his newest, HOME GAME: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood.