With the constant innovation and development happening in the biotech and technology centers, it's hard to keep up with everything, says David DiSalvo at the Forbes Neuropsyched column. To help keep things straight, DiSalvo lists some of the developments he thinks are worth looking out for. In medicine, both stem cell heart generation and hybrid MRI/PET imaging are on DiSalvo's list. For the first time, he says, a human heart has been generated using stem cells and if the heart continues to develop as the researchers believe it will, and starts beating, the implications for the problem of transplantation and organ donation are "huge." As for the combination MRI/PET imager, DiSalvo says it would combine the MRI's ability to look at soft tissues with the PET's ability to provide detailed imaging of organ tissue. The problem is that these two technologies aren't always compatible, so the challenge will be in making them work together, he adds. Also on DiSalvo's list are researchers who are trying to mimic the porosity found in nature. Understanding the graduated porosity in beehives, seashells, and bones could allow researchers to create materials that can endure "incredible stress without compromising the integrity of the entire structure," he says. DiSalvo is also watching for developments in nano batteries, transparent batteries, and DNA neural networks. The last, created by researchers at the California Institute of Technology, has made it to the proof-of-concept stage and is composed of four neurons made up of molecules from 112 distinct DNA strands.
Keep an Eye Out
Aug 02, 2011