Confluence of Streams of Knowledge: Biotechnology and Nanotechnology

Monday, February 18, 2013: 9:45 AM-12:45 PM
Room 300 (Hynes Convention Center)
As scientists are able to understand and manipulate ever-smaller scales of matter, a confluence of research streams in the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology has enabled such innovations as lab-on-a-chip devices, targeted drug delivery, and other forms of minimally invasive therapy and diagnostics. As an example of the confluence of technology streams, the tissue-engineering field combines advances in developmental biology with engineering and materials methods to replace or improve tissue, organs, and other biological functions. This is not a typical interdisciplinary situation where a cell type can be given over to an engineer or an engineer can guess what kind of scaffold will work in a biological system. Rather, there must be a multidisciplinary collaboration from the start, with all participants having common reference points and language. Although there are challenges for managing research and development at the confluence of research streams, there is also greater opportunity for radical innovation. Research at confluence of biotechnology and nanotechnology is producing great benefits for society -- biomedical innovations and clean energy innovations  -- and is stimulating an emerging industrial sector. In this symposium, the challenges and opportunities of such research will be explored, with implications for the organization of research in universities, research institutes, technology ventures, and multinational organizations.
Elicia M.A. Maine, Simon Fraser University
James M. Utterback, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
James M. Utterback, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert S. Langer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Challenges and Opportunities at the Confluence of Biotechnology and Nanomaterials
Nathan Lewis, California Institute of Technology
Clean Energy Innovation from the Confluence of Technologies
Sarah Kaplan, University of Toronto
The Process and Practice of Interdisciplinary Research
Elicia M.A. Maine, Simon Fraser University
Global Bio-Nano Firms: Exploiting the Confluence of Technologies
See more of: Biological Science and Genomics
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