Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon August 27th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

National Space Society Welcomes Janet Ivey As New NSS Governor: Janet Ivey of Janet's Planet is NOW IN ORBIT as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society August 27th, 2015

Researchers combine disciplines, computational programs to determine atomic structure August 26th, 2015

Possible Futures

Sediment dwelling creatures at risk from nanoparticles in common household products August 13th, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Reports Financial Statements as of June 30, 2015, and Announces a Stock Repurchase Program August 10th, 2015

Molecular trick alters rules of attraction for non-magnetic metals August 5th, 2015

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Academic/Education

Announcing Oxford Instruments and School of Physics signing a Memorandum of Understanding August 26th, 2015

Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan, uses Raman microscopy to study crystallographic defects in silicon carbide wafers August 25th, 2015

JPK reports on the use of a NanoWizard® AFM-SECM system at the Université Paris Diderot looking at nanoscale biostructures August 18th, 2015

Rice, Penn State open center for 2-D coatings: National Science Foundation selects universities to develop atom-thin materials with industry partners August 13th, 2015

Nanomedicine

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim: Researchers demonstrate a novel method to build microscopic robots with complex shapes and functionalities August 26th, 2015

Glitter from silver lights up Alzheimer's dark secrets August 25th, 2015

Cervical cancer detection goes portable August 25th, 2015

Louisiana Tech University researchers discover synthesis of a new nanomaterial: Interdisciplinary team creates biocomposite for first time using physiological conditions August 24th, 2015

Announcements

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon August 27th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

National Space Society Welcomes Janet Ivey As New NSS Governor: Janet Ivey of Janet's Planet is NOW IN ORBIT as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society August 27th, 2015

Researchers combine disciplines, computational programs to determine atomic structure August 26th, 2015

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

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon August 27th, 2015

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim: Researchers demonstrate a novel method to build microscopic robots with complex shapes and functionalities August 26th, 2015

Researchers combine disciplines, computational programs to determine atomic structure August 26th, 2015

Developing Component Scale Composites Using Nanocarbons August 26th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2015 conference August 25th, 2015

Louisiana Tech University researchers discover synthesis of a new nanomaterial: Interdisciplinary team creates biocomposite for first time using physiological conditions August 24th, 2015

How UEA research could help build computers from DNA August 19th, 2015

Biophysics: Formation of swarms in nanosystems August 18th, 2015

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic