|Singularity University (SU) is a learning institution in Silicon Valley whose aim is to "assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges." Andrew is a faculty member and advisor for the Biotechnology and Bioinformatics track at SU, located at the NASA Ames Research Park campus.
|Along with Jayson Tymko and John Carlson, Andrew is a co-founder of the world's first cooperative biotechnology company, the Pink Army Cooperative whose aim is to fundamentally change the way medicines are developed. They are building a development system able to make drugs for just one person at a time. The goal is to simplify the science, manufacturing, testing, interpretation, risk, and liability -- all saving money and years of effort.
|While not teaching at SU or fostering the Pink Army Cooperative, Andrew is also part of our Bio/Nano Programmable Matter team at Autodesk. This group investigates the design spaces enabled by bio/nanotechnology. They collaborate with researchers around the world to co-envision the paradigms and tools needed to understand and exploit the intersection of design with life and materials sciences. This area of research has far-reaching implications such as designing nanoscale robots for cancer treatment, 3D printing replacement organs using one's own cells, to growing appropriately rigid yet flexible material to construct transparent aircraft.
Distinguished Research Scientist, Andrew Hessel, works in our One Market Street, San Francisco Office. Actually he sits a few yards from where I stand on the second floor. Andrew got a chance to visit our corporate headquarters in San Rafael and was jumping for joy (and not just because the San Francisco Giants just won the World Series).
Andrew is involved in a variety of activities.
For more on this topic, check out this story on the Atlantic co-written by Andrew:
That article is rather long and chock full of fascinating information on biological engineering. Andrew was kind enough to provide me with a summary:
- The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barrack Obama.
- Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well -- the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace.
- In contrast, rapid advances in genomic technologies could produce benefits such as personalized medicines.
- The potential of this technology for enormous good or harm brings the need for more sophisticated real-time biological monitoring and threat assessment.
Biology is alive in the lab.