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IEM Moonshot

Yesterday I had the pleasure of celebrating the creation of a new center co-led by the University’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM). The center is funded by a $26 million grant from the National Science Foundation over five years and brings together collaborators from Massachusetts General Hospital (co-leader), and the University of California (Riverside and Berkley campuses). This is one of only four NSF-funded centers that will be created over the next five years.

The official name is the NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio). So we’ll be calling it ATP-Bio….

The ambition of ATP-Bio is breathtaking in scope and potential. So much so that its vision―developing and deploying technology to “stop biological time” through temperature control (bio- or cryo-preservation of biological systems)―can be compared to another moonshot. Remember how the space program spun off things like memory foam, freeze-dried food, and scratch-proof lenses? It is that big and comprehensive. Its reach extends from drug discovery to cell therapies to feeding the world through sustainable aquaculture. It includes an educational component to ensure that we have future generations of scientists to carry on the work, and it actively builds and incorporates a culture of inclusion.

The IEM website has fantastic materials about the center (links shown above), so please check it out, watch the video, and learn how your own area of expertise might fit into this picture.

Lastly, I want to say that this is a perfect example of the kind of research ambition that promises to have impact on healthcare, our society, and the world.

Congratulations to IEM and their partners!

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Vice President for Academic Clinical Affairs


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