Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > The power of ‘convergence’

Graphic: Christine Daniloff
Graphic: Christine Daniloff

Abstract:
In white paper, MIT scientists discuss potential for revolutionary advances in biomedicine and other fields.

The power of ‘convergence’

Cambridge, MA | Posted on January 7th, 2011

A new model for scientific research known as "convergence" offers the potential for revolutionary advances in biomedicine and other areas of science, according to a white paper issued today by 12 leading MIT researchers. The white paper, presented Tuesday morning at a forum hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), says that the United States should capitalize on the trend of convergence — which involves the merger of life, physical and engineering sciences — to foster the innovation necessary to meet the growing demand for accessible, affordable health care.

"Convergence is a broad rethinking of how all scientific research can be conducted, so that we capitalize on a range of knowledge bases, from microbiology to computer science to engineering design," MIT Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp, one of the report's authors, told the AAAS forum.

"It entails collaboration among research groups but, more deeply, the integration of disciplinary approaches that were originally viewed as separate and distinct. This merging of technologies, processes and devices into a unified whole will create new pathways and opportunities for scientific and technological advancement."

Sharp and the other MIT authors say that convergence offers the potential for a "Third Revolution" in biomedicine that may be as profound as the two life-science revolutions that preceded it: the breakthroughs accompanying the development of molecular and cellular biology, and the sequencing of the human genome, which has made it possible to identify the genetic foundations of many diseases.

Convergence also provides a blueprint for addressing the country's future medical and healthcare challenges, which will only increase as the population ages and diseases such as Alzheimer's become more prevalent. However, federal investment in biomedical research is critical — "and a smart investment if we are to keep our biomedical research the finest in the world," said Sharp. As an example, he cited NIH investments in heart-disease research, which average $4 per year per American and have helped to cut the incidence of fatal heart attacks and stroke by more than 60 percent since 1975.

A new model

The report, "The Third Revolution: The Convergence of the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering," noted the impact that convergence is already having in a broad array of fields.

Just as advances in information technology, materials, imaging, nanotechnology and related fields — coupled with advances in computing, modeling and simulation — have transformed the physical sciences, so are they are beginning to transform life science. The result is critical new biology-related fields, such as bioengineering, computational biology, synthetic biology and tissue engineering.

At the same time, biological models (understanding complex, self-arranged systems) are already transforming engineering and the physical sciences, making possible advances in biofuels, food supply, viral self assembly and much more.

The report gives particular focus to biomedicine, a field that is already being transformed by convergence. At MIT, for example, scientists are using nanoparticles to transport time-release anticancer drugs directly to cancerous cells, developing drugs that fight diseases without damaging healthy tissues and cells, and improving new predictive models of disease.

Recommendations

The report says providing adequate financial support and a well-organized focus within NIH for convergence research are key to the success of the convergence model, as is encouraging investigation that crosses existing research boundaries. Among the report's other recommendations are establishing a convergence "ecosystem," which would build connections across funding agencies; reforming the peer-review process to support interdisciplinary grants; and educating, expanding and supporting the next generation of convergence researchers.

Other MIT speakers at the forum included Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and a winner of the Millennium Technology Prize and the National Medal of Science; Paula Hammond, the Bayer Professor of Chemical Engineering; and Tyler Jacks, director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and the David H. Koch Professor of Biology.

Commentators at the forum included Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg of the Food and Drug Administration; Thomas Kalil, deputy director for policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dr. Alan Guttmacher, director of the National institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH; and Dr. Keith Yamamoto, professor and executive vice dean, University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, and chair of the Coalition for Life Sciences.

Download a copy of the white paper (PDF), here:

web.mit.edu/dc/Policy/MIT%20White%20Paper%20on%20Convergence.pdf

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

The relationship between charge density waves and superconductivity? It's complicated July 19th, 2018

Sirrus's Issued Patent Portfolio Continues To Accelerate July 18th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Possible Futures

The relationship between charge density waves and superconductivity? It's complicated July 19th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Tuning into quantum: Scientists unlock signal frequency control of precision atom qubits July 16th, 2018

Academic/Education

The Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo in Japan uses Deben's ARM2 detector to better understand catalytic reaction mechanisms June 27th, 2018

Powering the 21st Century with Integrated Photonics: UCSB-Led Team Selected for Demonstration of a Novel Waveguide Platform Which is Transparent Throughout the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Bands June 19th, 2018

SUNY Poly Professor Eric Lifshin Selected for ‘Fellow of the Microanalysis Society’ Position for Significant Contributions to Microanalysis June 13th, 2018

Grand Opening of UC Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) to Spotlight JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions: Renowned Materials Scientists to Present at the 1st International Symposium on Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy (ISAMS) April 18th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication July 13th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Researchers identify cost-cutting option in treating nail fungus with nanotechnology: GW researcher Adam Friedman, M.D., studied the potential use of nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles to improve onychomycosis treatment July 11th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

Announcements

The relationship between charge density waves and superconductivity? It's complicated July 19th, 2018

Sirrus's Issued Patent Portfolio Continues To Accelerate July 18th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

The relationship between charge density waves and superconductivity? It's complicated July 19th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Tuning into quantum: Scientists unlock signal frequency control of precision atom qubits July 16th, 2018

Nanobiotechnology

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Researchers identify cost-cutting option in treating nail fungus with nanotechnology: GW researcher Adam Friedman, M.D., studied the potential use of nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles to improve onychomycosis treatment July 11th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

Arrowhead Presents New Clinical Data on ARO-AAT at Alpha-1 National Education Conference July 1st, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project