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Red light, brain probes and the future: An enlightening conversationRed light, brain probes and the future: An enlightening conversation

Posted By Thu-Huong Ha

Ed Boyden is the head of the Synthetic Neurobiology group at the MIT Media Lab, where he works on tools to map, control, record — and maybe even someday build — the brain. Boyden has worked on optogenetics, a technique which deploys light-sensitive molecules to the brain and then applies light to them to “turn […]

Science

How to grow a bone without a bodyHow to grow a bone without a body

Posted By Helen Walters

This video features the work of TED Fellow Nina Tandon and Sarindr Bhumiratana, her colleague at Columbia University’s Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering and partner-in-new-business-crime. Together with a group of fellow bio-engineers, the pair recently founded the company, Epibone, which they describe as “a revolutionary bone reconstruction company that allows patients to ‘grow […]

Science

Think you’ve got a terrible memory? You don’t know the half of itThink you’ve got a terrible memory? You don’t know the half of it

Posted By Thu-Huong Ha

Last year, MIT neuroscientists Xu Liu and Steve Ramirez manipulated the memory of a mouse. In a fascinating and mildly troubling breakthrough caused by a laser and the protein channelrhodopsin, they “activated” fear memories in a mouse. The impetus, says Ramirez, was the awful feeling of a break-up, the desire, Eternal Sunshine-style, to erase the […]

Science

From biting ant sutures to replacement brain tissue: A history of biomaterialsFrom biting ant sutures to replacement brain tissue: A history of biomaterials

Posted By Kate Torgovnick May

Biomaterials are substances — synthetic or natural — that can be used to improve health, minimize suffering and improve or correct the way the body works. A suture? That’s a biomaterial. The pacemaker? Indeed. Contact lenses? Yeah, you get the idea. As technology and science have advanced, so too have the sophistication of such biomaterials […]

Science

Exclusive video: How to make a cocktail from strawberry DNAExclusive video: How to make a cocktail from strawberry DNA

Posted By Kate Torgovnick May

DNA. It’s what encodes the genetic material of every living thing. And it also makes a yummy cocktail. This video, which stars TED Fellow synthetic biologist Oliver Medvedik, shows you how to make a delicious adult beverage out of frozen strawberries, pineapple juice and Bacardi 151. Follow the adorably animated instructions, and you’ll be able […]

Science

A promising first step for those with spinal cord injury: Further reading on electrical stimulation and how it’s helped rats (and one human!) walk againA promising first step for those with spinal cord injury: Further reading on electrical stimulation and how it’s helped rats (and one human!) walk again

Posted By Kate Torgovnick May

Grégoire Courtine and the scientists in his lab helped a paralyzed rat learn to walk again, voluntarily, through a treatment that combined drugs, electrical stimulation of the lower spinal cord, the support of a robotic arm and a little bit of chocolate. When their study appeared in the June 2012 issue of Science, it sparked […]

Science

More to life than DNA: Fellows Friday with Sheref MansyMore to life than DNA: Fellows Friday with Sheref Mansy

Posted By Karen Eng

American synthetic biologist Sheref Mansy is working on constructing artificial cells that mimic — and “talk” to — biological cells. In this fascinating conversation, Mansy weaves through the question of what does and does not constitute “life,” the possible practical applications for his work, and how conversations with artists have opened up concepts that feed […]

Science

In praise of ignoranceIn praise of ignorance

Posted By Jessica Gross

“Science, we generally are told, is a very well-ordered mechanism for understanding the world, for gaining facts, for gaining data,” biologist Stuart Firestein says in today’s TED talk. “I’d like to tell you that’s not the case.” Instead, Firestein proposes that science is really about ignorance — about seeking answers rather than collecting them. He […]

Science

Elizabeth Loftus on embedding false memories in U.S. soldiersElizabeth Loftus on embedding false memories in U.S. soldiers

Posted By Elizabeth Jacobs

“We can’t reliably distinguish true memories from false memories,” declares psychologist Elizabeth Loftus in today’s talk. She’s spent the past forty years studying the memory, and has reached some mind-blowing conclusions about what we know, and what we think we know. Here, she shares more detail about her work, and suggests further reading for anyone […]

Science

Want to know more about the unreliable nature of memory? Read thisWant to know more about the unreliable nature of memory? Read this

Posted By Elizabeth Jacobs

Elizabeth Loftus studies false memories. As she describes in her TED Talk, The fiction of memory, she has implanted erroneous memories of childhood trauma into adult study subjects as part of her work. She has pinpointed failures in eyewitness testimonies. She’s found that misinformation can reshape taste preferences. And, she’s found that people in stressful […]

Science

Would you eat 3D-printed meat? 7 vegetarians and vegans reflectWould you eat 3D-printed meat? 7 vegetarians and vegans reflect

Posted By Becky Chung

In August, the first lab-grown beefburger was cooked and tasted in London. The verdict? “[It tasted] like an animal protein cake, said Josh Schonwald, author of The Taste of Tomorrow and one of the “lucky” few to taste the $330,000 morsel of petri dish meat. The future of slaughter-less meat is not far off. In fact, scientists project it […]

Science

What is it about bees? Three experts discuss why they’re fascinating, why they’re dying and what can save themWhat is it about bees? Three experts discuss why they’re fascinating, why they’re dying and what can save them

Posted By Kate Torgovnick May

In 1945, there were 4.5 million bees in the United States. Today, there are just about 2 million. It’s been a subtle decline over time, but one that has dramatically accelerated over the past seven years. And this should be extremely alarming, given that bees pollinate one-third of the world’s crops. In today’s talk, given […]