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UCL events news and reviews


X-men vs. Bionic Women

By James M Heather, on 9 June 2011

Yesterday I attended talks touching on how we might use novel biological techniques to create and manipulate cellular life. Today’s talk was about how we might adjust and augment much larger life: us. X-men vs. Bionic Women is not the comic book battle it sounds, but a glimpse into how emerging technologies might be used and abused to alter aspects of human biology and activity.

The first perspective came from biomedical tissue engineer, Professor John Fisher, who is looking to address the problems of tomorrow. Not only is our population expanding, and increasingly aging at rates never seen before, but our current older generation has higher expectations from life than the older generations of yesteryear, which presents quite a few biomedical problems.

Biology Wednesday at the Fest

By James M Heather, on 9 June 2011

Day two of the Festival had a distinctly biological flavour for me, as the talks I attended touched on many of the hot topics from recent years.

I started the day hearing about the Race for the $1,000 Genome. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, being able to sequence an individual’s entire genetic make-up for under $1,000 has been the target that those working in the genomic field have been aiming for. To hear the experts talk about it, we’re almost there.

Getting there isn’t the challenge; at this point it’s practically inevitable. What happens when we get there is the problem. The experts picked over tricky questions, such as: who gets their genomes sequenced, what is done with the data, and will it be worthwhile to get it?