Sunday, December 28, 2008

Status of life sciences

Right now is an exciting time in life sciences. The field is advancing, growing and changing in nearly every dimension, not just content-wise but also structure-wise. Tremendous content is coming forth in the form of key research findings, affordable new technologies and simultaneous holistic and reductionist expansions via systems biology approaches and new sub-field branching. Structure-wise, life science is changing in three important ways: the concept of life science, how science is conducted and the models by which health and health care are understood and realized.

Conceptually over time, life sciences have transitioned from being an art to a science to an information technology problem to now, an engineering problem. The way science is conducted is also shifting. Science 1.0 was investigating and enumerating physical phenomenon and doing hypothesis-driven trial and error experimentation. Science 2.0 adds two additional steps to the traditional enumeration and experimentation to create a virtuous feedback loop: mathematical modeling and software simulation, and building actual samples in the lab using synthetic biology and other techniques.

A second aspect of Science 2.0 is the notion of being in a post-scientific society, where innovation is occurring in more venues, not just government and industrial research labs but increasingly at technology companies, startups, small-team academic labs and in the minds of creative individual entrepreneurs.

blog comments powered by Disqus