Dr. Scott M. Lippman, Promoting Personalized Prevention

Scott M. Lippman graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and did his internship and residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He had hematology/medical oncology training at Stanford University and the University of Arizona and is triple board-certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology.

Until becoming the director of Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego a little over a year ago, Lippman was chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Lippman is also a professor of medicine at UC San Diego and holds the Chugai Pharmaceutical Chair in Cancer. Lippman currently serves on the National Institutes of Health Clinical Trials/Translational Research Advisory Committee and has previously been a leader of many American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and American Society of Clinical Oncology committees and programs, serving on several cancer center external advisory boards and major-trial committees.

Lippman has authored over 300 publications in research journals and medical texts books and has served on editing boards for top-tier, peer-reviewed journals, including Cancer Research, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. He was also made editor-in-chief of AACR’s Cancer Prevention Research.

In an interview with AACR, Lippman talks about the importance of these journals within cancer research as a whole. He explains how doctors are so focused on their specializations and in depth research that sometimes they have a hard time branching out and seeing the relevance of different disciplines. With his wide variety of expertise, Lippman embodies the notion he promotes in his editing of finding applications of other studies.

In this interview, Lippman also discusses the revelation of personalized prevention and care. Cancer is a complex disease that takes many forms and affects people differently. Lippman claims that treatments should be tailored to certain markers in the patient that will help predict how the patient and the cancer will respond. With this personalized treatment, Lippman also suggests the possibility of personalized prevention, informing patients of what they can do to combat their potential for developing cancer.

Watch the interview below and hear what he has to say about diversifying ones’ scope with research journals and specializing research in personalized cancer prevention.

Or, get the chance to see Lippman discuss his studies in person at this year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held during October 2 through 4 at Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute in La Jolla, California. For more information on speakers and registration, please visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.

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Laurie Garrett on Dual Use Research of Concern

Have you ever heard of directed evolution or synthetic biology?

Laurie Garrett, the Council of Foreign Relations’ Senior Fellow for Global Health, recently put out a video about the potential dangers of such cutting edge biotechnology.

The official name for the dangerous scientific research Garrett brings to our attention is dual use research of concern, meaning that what some scientists publish as research can get into the wrong hands and be used as biological weapons to contaminate and even exterminate the population.

Since scientists know that harmful viruses and pathogens will evolve naturally evading drugs and treatment, scientists often times alter the genetics of the disease in order to predict its mutations and be better prepared to combat its new form.

For example, a H5N1 (bird flu virus) researcher named Dr. Ron Fouchier modified the H5N1 virus in the lab so that it was contagious between ferrets by merely coughing on each other. In this case, Fouchier engineered a non-contagious disease to be easily spread from person to person, making a harmful virus exponentially more hazardous. This created debate about whether or not such research should be published, as it essentially contains the blue print for a pandemic. But, as Garrett says in the video, of course it was published, and such research will continue to be published; this is only the beginning of dual use research of concern, as we enter this bio-tech revolution.

Just as Michael Crichton pointed out in Jurassic Park over 20 years ago, scientists are so concerned with what they can do that they often don’t stop to think whether they should do it. But, like Garrett says this isn’t science fiction, this is reality.

So, the research was published. But, just how easy can it be to make such a harmful microorganism? Garrett reveals that with the rapid prevalence of 3-D printers, the technology to print organic material and living organisms is not far behind. That technology paired with the recently popularized at home genome sequencers, makes the rapid acquisition of things such as pandemic pathogens possible.

What do you think about dual research of concern? At what point does such research become more harmful than helpful?

Watch Garrett’s video to help formulate your opinion.

Or, see Garrett in person at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held during October 2 through 4 at Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute in La Jolla, California. For more information on speakers and registration, please visit atlanticmeetspacific.com

Kunal Sarkar: Bettering Your Brain

Kunal Sarkar graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a certificate in Finance from Princeton University in 2000.

He began his career with the Walt Disney Company, doing strategic planning and development. From there, Sarkar became the vice president of  McCown De Leeuw and Co., a billion dollar private equity fund that focused on making growth equity investments. Arkar then went on to co-found American Infrastructure Master Limited Partnership Funds (AIMLP), a private equity fund that manages investments in infrastructure and natural resources.

Since 2006, Sarkar has been the CEO of Lumos Labs, the research center behind Lumosity, which he co-founded. Lumosity is the wildly popular, critically acclaimed brain performance enhancer, that has grown to over 40 million users. It uses games and training exercises created by neuroscientists to improve memory, attention, and problem solving. Users create a profile choosing particular aspects that they would like to strengthen and Lumosity creates a personalized daily brain work out aimed at improving core cognitive functions.

Users report better memory, quicker hand eye coordination, improved focus, and easier multitasking after using Lumosity. A 2013 peer-reviewed study from Stanford University shows that Lumosity training can improve the brain’s executive functions, which are a key driver of everyday quality of life. Dr. Shelli Kesler tested women who trained with Lumosity for 12 weeks against a control group, revealing significant improvement in working memory, verbal fluency, processing speed, and cognitive flexibility of the women who used Lumosity versus those that did not.

This is just one of many studies related to Lumosity. The research behind Lumosity has formed into the Human Cognition Project, a collaboration of researchers that mine the data Lumosity gathers about its users and the way their brains react, function, and improve. Lumosity is now the largest and fastest growing database on human cognition and the research it generates gives insight to our understanding of the brain as well as improvements of Lumosity’s training.

Hear about the research and developments of Lumosity from Sarkar himself at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held on October 2 through 4 at the Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute in La Jolla, California. For more information on registration and speakers, like Sarkar, visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.

Dr. Ralph J. Greenspan, Between Behavior and Neurobiology

ralph-greenspanDr. Ralph J. Greenspan began studying the genetic and neurological aspects of behavior in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) when he was a graduate student at Brandeis University. There, he worked with Jeffery Hall one of the field’s founders and has continued in this analysis of the genetic and neurobiological role in the fly’s innate and learned behaviors.

In his studies of fruit flies, he has determined that fruit flies have a sleep like state similar to the way mammals sleep. Watch this video as he explains what can be determined about the necessity and purpose of sleep.

Greenspan is determined in his continued study of the nervous system and its correlation with behavior, as he believes there may be a unifying principle for the operation of biological networks that applies to wide varieties of neurobiology, perhaps even that of humans.

Greenspan is now the associate director of the Kavli Institute for Mind and Brain at UC San Diego, where he was recently named founding director of the new Center for Brain Activity Mapping. The center, created as a direct response to President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, plans to map the brain down to the resolution level of single cells and the timescale of a millisecond.

The research done at the Center for Brain Activity Mapping will study disorders such as autism and alzheimer’s and will hopefully one day lead to treatments and cures.

Hear Greenspan discuss the latest work of the Center of Brain Activity Mapping at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held on October 2 through 4 at Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute (formerly known as Calit2) in La Jolla, California. For more information on registration, visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.