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With a Real-World Focus

Social entrepreneurship in which real-world problems are addressed is coming to the sciences, writes Wired UK.

Jimmy Lin's Rare Genomics Institute is just one example, it adds. Lin, who is now the chief scientific officer for oncology at Natera, conceived of the idea for the institute while at Johns Hopkins University when a boy and his parents came to him, seeking a diagnosis for the boy's rare muscle disease. "We thought, wait, can we do the same things we do to map cancer genomes, to also map rare genomes?" he tells Wired UK. "That's when we decided to take all the newest technologies from cancer [genomics] and think about how they could be applied to rare diseases."

Lin and his colleagues have since developed a repository of data and have used this to connect patients to researchers and diagnose disease.

Other universities, particularly ones located near Silicon Valley, are also pursuing social entrepreneurship efforts, Wired UK says. It notes that Santa Clara University has its Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Stanford University has the Center for Social Innovation.

"I view entrepreneurs as constantly attempting to build hypotheses and then test them. Actually, that lines up really well with the way that academics operate," the University of Texas' Mark Clayton Hand adds.

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