To build 2 million square feet is in itself a task, but to relate 2 million square feet to the individuals within, rather than produce rooms with numbers on them is really our task. We have to create what I call ‘villages of space.’
- Bertrand Goldberg, Conversations With Architects, 1973
I’ve really grown to love the unusual architecture of Stony Brook University’s Health Sciences Center and University Hospital complex, designed by renown architect Bertrand Goldberg in the 1960s-1970s. The incredible scope of the project, unique use of space and bold design have given me a great sense of appreciation of the complex.
The architect’s description of the project is well worth the read.
Despite ubiquitous assurances that “There’s an app for that,” one thing not included in the “that” is the detection of soil-transmitted helminths in human beings. (Helminths are the scientific name for hookworms and their nasty little friends.) Hookworm is a particular problem in developing nations without access to proper medical screening facilities, and Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a Canadian internal medicine specialist, figured out a clever way to tackle that with an extraordinarily simple smartphone hack.
He took a picture of a man in a gorilla suit shaking his fist, and he superimposed that image on a series of slides that radiologists typically look at when they’re searching for cancer. He then asked a bunch of radiologists to review the slides of lungs for cancerous nodules. He wanted to see if they would notice a gorilla the size of a matchbook glaring angrily at them from inside the slide.
But they didn’t: 83 percent of the radiologists missed it, Drew says.
Exciting work from my Department of Biomedical Engineering colleagues, Danni Wang and Steve Leigh, over in the Molecular Biophotonics lab at Stony Brook University, on the development of advanced microscopy tools for in vivo imaging during brain tumor resection.
Jim Collins is pioneering the field of synthetic biology at Boston University, and is doing some really amazing stuff. This work will no doubt be integral to the future of science and technology, and our very lives.
Boston University’s Synthetic Biology “Dream Team”
As biologists continue the decades-long race to map the genomes of living things, a dynamic group of BU engineers is asking the kind of questions that engineers can’t help but ask: what if we built a different genome? Known as synthetic biologists, they believe that with some skillful genomic tweaks, living organisms, such as enzymes, cells, and microbes, can be put to work doing things that are too dangerous or not even possible for higher life forms like ourselves.