Bio Eats World

By Andreessen Horowitz

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Description

Biology is breaking out of the lab and clinic—and into our daily lives. Our new ability to engineer biology is transforming not just science, research, and healthcare, but how we produce our food, the materials we use, how we manufacture, and much, much more. From the latest scientific advances to the biggest trends, this show explores all the ways biology is today where the computing revolution was 50 years ago: on the precipice of revolutionizing our world in ways we are only just beginning to appreciate. Through conversations with scientists, builders, entrepreneurs, and leaders, host Lauren Richardson (along with the team at Andreessen Horowitz), examines how bio is going to fundamentally transform our future. In short, bio is eating the world.

Episode Date
Journal Club: Hunting the Eagle Killer
00:27:34

Susan B. Wilde, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Aquatic Science at the University of Georgia, joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "Hunting the eagle killer: A cyanobacterial neurotoxin causes vacuolar myelinopathy" by Steffen Breinlinger, Tabitha J. Phillips, Brigette N. Haram, Jan Mareš, José A. Martínez Yerena, Pavel Hrouzek, Roman Sobotka, W. Matthew Henderson, Peter Schmieder, Susan M. Williams, James D. Lauderdale, H. Dayton Wilde, Wesley Gerrin, Andreja Kust, John W. Washington, Christoph Wagner, Benedikt Geier, Manuel Liebeke, Heike Enke, Timo H. J. Niedermeyer and Susan B. Wilde, published in Science.

Apr 20, 2021
Journal Club: Sourcing the Secrets of Climate Adaptation
00:22:52

Thomas Juenger, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of the article “Genomic mechanisms of climate adaptation in polyploid bioenergy switchgrass”, by John T. Lovell, Alice H. MacQueen, Sujan Mamidi, Jason Bonnette, Jerry Jenkins, Joseph D. Napier, Avinash Sreedasyam, Adam Healey, Adam Session, Shengqiang Shu, Kerrie Barry, Stacy Bonos, LoriBeth Boston, Christopher Daum, Shweta Deshpande, Aren Ewing, Paul P. Grabowski, Taslima Haque, Melanie Harrison, Jiming Jiang, Dave Kudrna, Anna Lipzen, Thomas H. Pendergast IV, Chris Plott, Peng Qi, Christopher A. Saski1, Eugene V. Shakirov, David Sims, Manoj Sharma, Rita Sharma, Ada Stewart, Vasanth R. Singan, Yuhong Tang, Sandra Thibivillier, Jenell Webber, Xiaoyu Weng, Melissa Williams, Guohong Albert Wu, Yuko Yoshinaga, Matthew Zane, Li Zhang, Jiyi Zhang, Kathrine D. Behrman, Arvid R. Boe, Philip A. Fay, Felix B. Fritschi, Julie D. Jastrow, John Lloyd-Reilley, Juan Manuel Martínez-Reyna, Roser Matamala, Robert B. Mitchell, Francis M. Rouquette Jr, Pamela Ronald, Malay Saha, Christian M. Tobias, Michael Udvardi, Rod A. Wing, Yanqi Wu, Laura E. Bartley, Michael Casler, Katrien M. Devos, David B. Lowry, Daniel S. Rokhsar, Jane Grimwood, Thomas E. Juenger & Jeremy Schmutz published in Nature.

Apr 13, 2021
Evolution: Animals, Aliens, and Ourselves
00:38:38

Arik Kershenbaum, Ph.D, zoologist, and fellow at the University of Cambridge is the author of the new book “The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal about Aliens — and Ourselves”.  To learn more, check out https://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/directory/dr-arik-kershenbaum or follow him on twitter at @arikkershenbaum

Apr 06, 2021
Journal Club: Bioengineering Birth... Again!
00:19:03

Anthony Atala, MD (the G. Link Professor and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the W. Boyce Professor and Chair of Urology), joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of the article "A tissue-engineered uterus supports live births in rabbits" by Renata S. Magalhaes, J. Koudy Williams, Kyung W. Yoo, James J. Yoo & Anthony Atala, published in Nature Biotechnology.

In the introduction, we also discuss the new article "Ex utero mouse embryogenesis from pre-gastrulation to late organogenesis" by Alejandro Aguilera-Castrejon, Bernardo Oldak, Tom Shani, Nadir Ghanem, Chen Itzkovich, Sharon Slomovich, Shadi Tarazi, Jonathan Bayerl, Valeriya Chugaeva, Muneef Ayyash, Shahd Ashouokhi, Daoud Sheban, Nir Livnat, Lior Lasman, Sergey Viukov, Mirie Zerbib, Yoseph Addadi, Yoach Rais, Saifeng Cheng, Yonatan Stelzer, Hadas Keren-Shaul, Raanan Shlomo, Rada Massarwa, Noa Novershtern, Itay Maza & Jacob H. Hanna, published in Nature.

Mar 30, 2021
Solving Medical Mysteries in the World of Rare Disease
00:38:40
In this conversation, Stanford Professor Euan Ashley—geneticist, cardiologist, author of the new book, The Genome Odyssey, and first co-chair of the Undiagnosed Diseases Network—talks with Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky about one of the first places that genomic sequencing began to dramatically impact patients’ lives, and those of their families around them: in rare disease. Rare disease is by definition, well, rare. But collectively, it’s surprisingly common: 1 in 15. In this episode, we talk about how rare disease became the clear first use case for genome or exome-scale sequencing, and how sequencing—and other new technologies, and the new information they give us—is changing how rare disease gets diagnosed. Ashley tells the stories of how the Undiagnosed Disease Network solved some of the most perplexing medical mysteries with cutting edge tools and technologies; and the lessons learned from the world of rare disease that we can use to impact our knowledge and our treatment of those with common disease.
Mar 23, 2021
Journal Club: Taming the Taste for Blood
00:28:13

Leslie Vosshall, Ph.D, Professor at Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (@leslievosshall) joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of two recent articles from her lab. First, "Sensory Discrimination of Blood and Floral Nectar by Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes" by Veronica Jove, Zhongyan Gong, Felix J.H. Hol, Zhilei Zhao, Trevor R. Sorrells, Thomas S. Carroll, Manu Prakash, Carolyn S. McBride, and Leslie B. Vosshall, published in Neuron. Second, "Fruitless mutant male mosquitoes gain attraction to human odor" by Nipun S Basrur, Maria Elena De Obaldia, Takeshi Morita, Margaret Herre, Ricarda K von Heynitz, Yael N Tsitohay, and Leslie B Vosshall, published in eLife.

Mar 16, 2021
The Theory of a Thousand Brains
00:39:37
In this episode, we talk with Jeff Hawkins—an entrepreneur and scientist, known for inventing some of the earliest handheld computers, the Palm and the Treo, who then turned his career to neuroscience and founded the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience in 2002 and Numenta in 2005—about a new theory about how the cells in our brain work to create intelligence. What exactly is happening in the neocortex as our brains process and interpret information and sensory input—like sight, smell, touch, or language, or math—to create a perception of and to navigate through the world around us?  a16z General Partner Vijay Pande and I talk to Jeff about the basic principles in this new idea of the brain’s learning methodology for creating not just human intelligence, but animal intelligence, artificial intelligence, even alien intelligence, which he lays out in his newly just released book, A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence. The conversation covers how the neocortex builds models of the world around us, and what this could mean for how we design the next generation of truly intelligent machines. This episode goes all the way from tiny neurons and how they speak to each other to what’s happening in optical illusions to the future of humanity and beyond.
Mar 12, 2021
Journal Club: Restoring a Reflex
00:23:59

Aaron Phillips, CEP, MSc, PhD (Medicine), Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "Neuroprosthetic baroreflex controls haemodynamics after spinal cord injury" by Jordan W. Squair, Matthieu Gautier, Lois Mahe, Jan Elaine Soriano, Andreas Rowald, Arnaud Bichat, Newton Cho, Mark A. Anderson, Nicholas D. James, Jerome Gandar, Anthony V. Incognito, Giuseppe Schiavone, Zoe K. Sarafis, Achilleas Laskaratos, Kay Bartholdi, Robin Demesmaeker, Salif Komi, Charlotte Moerman, Bita Vaseghi, Berkeley Scott, Ryan Rosentreter, Claudia Kathe, Jimmy Ravier, Laura McCracken, Xiaoyang Kang, Nicolas Vachicouras, Florian Fallegger, Ileana Jelescu, YunLong Cheng, Qin Li, Rik Buschman, Nicolas Buse, Tim Denison, Sean Dukelow, Rebecca Charbonneau, Ian Rigby, Steven K. Boyd, Philip J. Millar, Eduardo Martin Moraud, Marco Capogrosso, Fabien B. Wagner, Quentin Barraud, Erwan Bezard, Stéphanie P. Lacour, Jocelyne Bloch, Grégoire Courtine & Aaron A. Phillips, published in Nature.

Mar 09, 2021
Sea Turtle Medicine
00:38:52
Sea turtles occupy a very special biological niche in our world. And we still know relatively little about these creatures, one of the very few marine reptiles on the face of the planet. But as population growth and activity on coasts has exploded, so have our encounters with sea turtles... including, unfortunately, those that cause injury and disease. So what advances in technology and healthcare are helping us treat these incredible, 150 million year old animals—and what are we learning about them as a result? Max Polyak, Director of Rehabilitation at Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach, Florida, shares with Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky the new advances in science and technology that are helping us treat sea turtles when they get sick or injured—and the new understanding about their biology, their behavior, and how they interact with the world around them those advances are leading to. The conversation covers everything from treating boat injuries with sea turtle-specific prosthetics; to using cutting edge human therapeutics on these animals in new ways; to the unique immune systems of these 2,000 pound leatherbacks (immune systems that have dealt with dinosaurs! meteor strikes! ice ages! and more); to how the microbiome of the sea turtle may answer one of the most intriguing mysteries about how these turtles behave; to ultimately, what sea turtle health can teach us about how we are all linked—and about the health of the entire ocean.
Mar 05, 2021
Journal Club: Assembling an Egg
00:23:53

a16z general Vineeta Agarwala, MD Ph.D, and deal partners Judy Savitskaya, Ph.D and Justin Larkin, MD join host Lauren Richardson, Ph.D to discuss the results and implications of the article "Reconstitution of the oocyte transcriptional network with transcription factors" by Nobuhiko Hamazaki, Hirohisa Kyogoku, Hiromitsu Araki, Fumihito Miura, Chisako Horikawa, Norio Hamada, So Shimamoto, Orie Hikabe, Kinichi Nakashima, Tomoya S. Kitajima, Takashi Ito, Harry G. Leitch and Katsuhiko Hayashi, published in Nature.

Mar 02, 2021
The Art and Science of Biology's Future
00:29:29
In this episode of Bio Eats World, we talk to Dr. Jennifer Doudna—winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for the co-discovery (with Emmanuelle Charpentier) of CRISPR-Cas9—about the art and science of biology. Huge breakthroughs such as Doudna's—which began with the identification of CRISPR in bacteria and was then built into a highly adaptable genome editing platform—are now fueling the evolution of the field. Fundamental knowledge that has largely come from curiosity-driven science has converged with enabling technologies, allowing scientists and biologists in particular to do things that even a couple of years ago, we would have found unimaginable. And biology has begun to shift from an artisanal process, to an industrial one—shifting from qualitative, descriptive science, to quantitative, predictive, high-throughput, science with increasing automation.  In this conversation, a16z General Partner Vijay Pande and Doudna talk about what happens as CRISPR and other tools to engineer and interrogate biology mature. What does the future of biology look like? Can discovery itself be engineered and industrialized—and how do we recognize the moment that becomes possible? Doudna talks about the arc of her career and work through this lens, from basic research to applied; what can be built tomorrow on today’s discoveries; and what at the end of the day may never be engineerable.
Feb 26, 2021
Journal Club: Engineering Living Materials
00:25:22

Tom  Ellis (@ProfTomEllis), Professor of Synthetic Genome Engineering at Imperial College London, joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) and a16z bio deal team partner Judy Savitskaya (@heyjudka) to discuss the results and implications of the article "Living materials with programmable functionalities grown from engineered microbial co-cultures" by  Charlie Gilbert, Tzu-Chieh Tang, Wolfgang Ott, Brandon A. Dorr, William M. Shaw, George L. Sun, Timothy K. Lu & Tom Ellis, published in Nature Materials

Feb 23, 2021
Value Versus Volume (in Healthcare)
00:37:40
The way we pay for healthcare in the US has long been by fee-for-service: per doctor visit, per test, per surgery, per hospital stay. But that system has led to rapidly escalating volumes of services and cost to the system—without actually improving outcomes. What if we shifted everything towards paying for value—and outcomes—instead? In this episode, Todd Park, co-founder and executive chairman of Devoted Health, and formerly Chief Technology Officer and technology advisor for President Barack Obama; a16z General Partner Vijay Pande; and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky—talk all about the megatrend of value-based care, and how it is redefining healthcare itself. Why is now the moment for this massive shift? How do we implement it? What does it mean for doctors and patients, insurers and policymakers? What is tech’s role in making it possible, and what's the business model and incentive for creating value?
Feb 19, 2021
Things That Make You Go Hmmmm in Healthcare
00:59:13
In this episode, we share an episode of the brand new a16z Live podcast feed called “It’s Time to Heal”—a live conversation on audio/drop in chat app Clubhouse every Monday at 5pm PT, covering the latest trends and future of bio and healthcare with special guests and entrepreneurs, hosted by a16z bio partners Vineeta Agarwala, Jorge Conde, Vijay Pande, and Julie Yoo. Last week, a16z Bio General Partners and a16z cofounder Marc Andreessen talked with guest Nihkil Krishnan, comedian and author known for his Out-of-Pocket Substack newsletter and Slack community for healthcare builders, award winning children’s book, If You Give a Mouse Metformin, and past endeavors at TrialSpark and as healthcare analyst CB Insights. The conversation is all about the things that make you go “hmmm” in healthcare—the stuff we're all thinking but don't talk about, the places where exciting and surprising things are happening, and the places where you have to wonder why it works that way.
Feb 17, 2021
Journal Club: My Tick Teacher
00:23:05

Seemay Chou (@seemaychou), Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of the article “Ticks Resist Skin Commensals with Immune Factor of Bacterial Origin”, by Beth M. Hayes, Atanas D. Radkov, Fauna Yarza, Sebastian Flores, Jungyun Kim, Ziyi Zhao, Katrina W. Lexa, Liron Marnin, Jacob Biboy, Victoria Bowcut, Waldemar Vollmer, Joao H.F. Pedra, and Seemay Chou, published in Cell.

Feb 11, 2021
May I Have Your Insurance Card Again, Please?
00:26:36
There's been a lot of talk (including on this show!) about the many kinds of innovations and technologies changing healthcare delivery for clinicians and patients. But what's happening behind the scenes in healthcare: in billing, in administration, and infrastructure? In this episode, we’re talking about the mountains of work (and paperwork) in the healthcare system, from reimbursement claims to patient registration to call centers scheduling appointments and much more—the enormous cost of inefficiency and waste in these areas adds to the healthcare system, and what kind of tech can help to improve it. Former Senator Bill Frist—a surgeon, Senate Majority Leader from 2003 to 2007, co-founder of Aspire Health, host of healthcare podcast A Second Opinion, and board member for many healthcare systems and companies; Malinka Walaliyadde, CEO and co-founder of Alpha Health, a tech company that automates healthcare revenue cycle management; and a16z General Partner Julie Yoo join Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky to discuss how innovation happens in healthcare's administrative "back office". The conversation covers what that waste currently costs us on a national and personal level; how (and what) new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning can automate to help cut cost out of the system; and how ultimately, we can allow innovate in these areas to allow the humans to do the really important work.
Feb 09, 2021
Journal Club: Suppressing Superbugs
00:23:50

Andrew Read, Ph.D is the director of Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Entomology, and the Eberly Professor of Biotechnology at Pennsylvania State University. He joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "An adjunctive therapy administered with an antibiotic prevents enrichment of antibiotic-resistant clones of a colonizing opportunistic pathogen"  by Valerie J Morley, Clare L Kinnear , Derek G Sim, Samantha N Olson , Lindsey M Jackson, Elsa Hansen, Grace A Usher, Scott A Showalter, Manjunath P Pai, Robert J Woods, and Andrew F Read, published in eLife.

Feb 04, 2021
From Junk DNA to an RNA Revolution
00:27:48
What the heck is "junk DNA"? In this episode, a16z General Partner Jorge Conde and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky talk to Professor Rick Young, Professor of Biology and head of the Young Lab at MIT—all about "junk" DNA, or non-coding DNA. Which, it turns out—spoiler alert—isn’t junk at all. Much of this so-called junk DNA actually encodes RNA—which we now know has all sorts of incredibly important roles in the cell, many of which were previously thought of as only the domain of proteins. This conversation is all about what we know about what that non-coding genome actually does: how RNA works to regulate all kinds of different gene expression, cell types, and functions; how this has dramatically changed our understanding of how disease arises; and most importantly, what this means we can now do—programming cells, tuning functions up or down, or on or off. What we once thought of as "junk" is now giving us a powerful new tool in intervening in and treating disease—bringing in a whole new category of therapies.
Feb 01, 2021
Journal Club: Slaying the Sleeper Cells of Aging
00:18:36

On this episode, a16z general partner Jorge Conde (@JorgeCondeBio) and bio deal team partner Andy Tran (@andy23tran) join host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of the article "Senolytic CAR T cells reverse senescence-associated pathologies" by Corina Amor, Judith Feucht, Josef Leibold, Yu-Jui Ho, Changyu Zhu, Direna Alonso-Curbelo, Jorge Mansilla-Soto, Jacob A. Boyer, Xiang Li, Theodoros Giavridis, Amanda Kulick, Shauna Houlihan, Ellinor Peerschke, Scott L. Friedman, Vladimir Ponomarev, Alessandra Piersigilli, Michel Sadelain & Scott W. Lowe, published in Nature.

The introduction also references the article "Senolysis by glutaminolysis inhibition ameliorates various age-associated disorders" by Yoshikazu Johmura, Takehiro Yamanaka, Satotaka Omori, Teh-Wei Wang, Yuki Sugiura, Masaki Matsumoto, Narumi Suzuki, Soichiro Kumamoto, Kiyoshi Yamaguchi, Seira Hatakeyama, Tomoyo Takami, Rui Yamaguchi, Eigo Shimizu, Kazutaka Ikeda, Nobuyuki Okahashi, Ryuta Mikawa, Makoto Suematsu, Makoto Arita, Masataka Sugimoto, Keiichi I. Nakayama, Yoichi Furukawa, Seiya Imoto, Makoto Nakanishi

Jan 28, 2021
The Fundamental Principles of Reality
00:34:16
What are the fundamental principles that govern the physical world around us, and how did we get to them? In this episode, Bio Eats World hosts Hanne Winarsky and Lauren Richardson talk to Nobel prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek about the essential principles of modern physics that have built our understanding of the world. Wilczek (who won the Nobel in 2004 for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction) dives into not just the principles of physics themselves—around space, time, fields, energy, and the laws that govern them—but the key intellectual driver that brought us to them, which he calls "radical conservatism", or the idea of pushing every theory to its limit. In this wide-ranging, philosophical conversation, Wilczek tells the stories of how certain key theories moved from ideas to principles, from cosmology to complementarity; how the complexity of biology arises from the simplicity of physics; what lead to the discovery of dark matter and axions; whether time can be reversed; what the future of the universe might look like; but most of all, how we as humans attempt to understand the beautiful, complicated world around us.
Jan 25, 2021
Journal Club: A Safer Psychedelic
00:25:08

David Olson, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Davis, joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "A non-hallucinogenic psychedelic analogue with therapeutic potential" by Lindsay P. Cameron, Robert J. Tombari, Ju Lu, Alexander J. Pell, Zefan Q. Hurley, Yann Ehinger, Maxemiliano V. Vargas, Matthew N. McCarroll, Jack C. Taylor, Douglas Myers-Turnbull, Taohui Liu, Bianca Yaghoobi, Lauren J. Laskowski, Emilie I. Anderson, Guoliang Zhang, Jayashri Viswanathan, Brandon M. Brown, Michelle Tjia, Lee E. Dunlap2, Zachary T. Rabow, Oliver Fiehn, Heike Wulff, John D. McCorvy, Pamela J. Lein, David Kokel, Dorit Ron, Jamie Peters, Yi Zuo & David E. Olson, published in Nature.

Jan 21, 2021
The Genetics of Risk
00:31:05
Genetic testing is on the cusp of a major revolution, which has the potential to shift not just how we understand our risk for disease, but how we practice healthcare. In the clinic today, genetic testing is used only in cases where we know that mutations have big impact on physiology (BRCA mutations in breast cancer, for example). But our knowledge of how our genetics influences our risk for disease has evolved, and we now know that many (tens of thousands to even millions) small changes in our genes, each of which individually has a tiny effect, combine to influence our risk profile. This new appreciation — coupled with powerful statistical methods and massive datasets — has fueled the creation of a new tool to quantify the risk of a broad range of common diseases: the polygenic risk score. On this episode, host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) is joined by Dr. Peter Donnelly, (@genemodeller Professor of Statistical Science at the University of Oxford and the CEO of Genomics PLC,) and Vineeta Agarwala, (@vintweeta physician-scientist and general partner at a16z), to discuss these scores and how they can reshape healthcare, away from a paradigm of treating illness and towards prevention and maintenance of health.
Jan 18, 2021
Journal Club: Synthetic Germs, Our Newest Weapon for Fighting Cancer
00:21:43

Dr. Willem Mulder is a Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, Eindhoven University of Technology, and  Radboud University Medical Center and is a co-founder of Trained Therapeutix Discovery. He joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "Trained Immunity-Promoting Nanobiologic Therapy Suppresses Tumor Growth and Potentiates Checkpoint Inhibition" by Bram Priem, Mandy M.T. van Leent, Abraham J.P. Teunissen, Alexandros Marios Sofias, Vera P. Mourits, Lisa Willemsen, Emma D. Klein, Roderick S. Oosterwijk, Anu E. Meerwaldt, Jazz Munitz, Geoffrey Pre ́vot, Anna Vera Verschuur, Sheqouia A. Nauta, Esther M. van Leeuwen, Elizabeth L. Fisher, Karen A.M. de Jong, Yiming Zhao, Yohana C. Toner, Georgios Soultanidis, Claudia Calcagno, Paul H.H. Bomans, Heiner Friedrich, Nico Sommerdijk, Thomas Reiner, Raphae ̈l Duivenvoorden, Eva Zupancic, Julie S. Di Martino, Ewelina Kluza, Mohammad Rashidian, Hidde L. Ploegh, Rick M. Dijkhuizen, Sjoerd Hak, Carlos Pe ́ rez-Medina, Jose Javier Bravo-Cordero, Menno P.J. de Winther, Leo A.B. Joosten, Andrea van Elsas, Zahi A. Fayad, Alexander Rialdi, Denis Torre, Ernesto Guccione, Jordi Ochando, Mihai G. Netea, Arjan W. Griffioen, and Willem J.M. Mulder, published in Cell.

 

For more on the innate immune system, also check out "Journal Club: Why do only some people get severe COVID-19?" and "Journal Club: How to Win an Evolutionary Arms Race"

Jan 14, 2021
The Biology of Brain Organoids (or, Don't Call it a Brain in a Dish!)
00:43:39

For more on brain organoids and their many applications, check out this episode of Journal Club: "Modeling Mysterious Brain Structures." Host Lauren Richardson talks to Dr. Madeline Lancaster, a Group Leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, about her lab's article in Science describing an organoid model for studying the cerebrospinal fluid and the choroid plexus, and how these organoids can be used to study brain development, evolution, and improve the drug development process.

Jan 11, 2021
Journal Club: Why do only some people get severe COVID-19?
00:28:16

Dr. Helen Su, Chief of the Human Immunological Diseases Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the NIH) and co-leader of the COVID Human Genetic Effort, joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the articles "Inborn errors of type I IFN immunity in patients with life-threatening COVID-19"  and "Autoantibodies against type I IFNs in patients with life-threatening COVID-19", both published in Science. 

Jan 07, 2021
So You Wanna Build a Software Company in Healthcare?
00:38:18
Building a software company in healthcare is hard—and comes along with unique challenges no other entrepreneurs face. In this conversation, a16z bio general partner (and previous founder of genomics company Knome) Jorge Conde; and a16z bio partner and former founder Julie Yoo (of patient provider matching system, Kyruus) share their mistakes and hard earned lessons learned with Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky in this now classic episode, first aired on the a16z Podcast. Why is this so damn hard? How should founders think about this space differently? What are the specific things that healthcare founders can do—when, where, and why? You wish you only knew all this when you started your own company.
Jan 04, 2021
The Machine That Made the Vaccine
00:39:06
A year ago, none of us would believe that mRNA vaccines would be a household name. And yet here we are, at the end of 2020, counting the days towards a vaccine that could not just save lives but help bring us back into a world that feels “normal” again. In this special episode, airing the day the FDA authorized the vaccine for emergency use, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel tells the story of not just the vaccine’s development, but the machine that made the vaccine: the platform, the technology, and the moves behind the vaccine’s development. This episode of Bio Eats World takes us from a world of pipette and lab benches to a world of industrial robots making medicines: We used to grow our vaccines, now we can “print” them, getting them to patients faster and more efficiently than ever before. In conversation with a16z general partner Jorge Conde and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky, Bancel describes the exact moment he realized they might actually be able to make a vaccine for Covid-19; what happened next to go from pathogen to design; how this new technology that uses mRNA works (in a chocolate mousse metaphor!), and what makes it different from “old” vaccines; and how to think about managing both innovation and speed in this world. Why is this such a fundamental shift in the world of drug development? And where will this technology go next?
Dec 18, 2020
The Cost Disease in Healthcare
00:29:18
with @pmarca and @vijaypande How come things like healthcare, education, and housing get more and more expensive, but things like socks, shoes, and electronics all get cheaper and cheaper? In this episode of Bio Eats World, a16z founder and internet pioneer Marc Andreessen, and General Partner Vijay Pande, discuss the lesser known law of economics that explains why healthcare, education and housing is so damn expensive, and getting worse. What’s really at heart is tech’s ability to transform (expensive) services into (affordable) goods: think of the cost of a live string quartet, versus a streamed recorded track; or the cost of a custom-made shoe, versus a factory-made one. Until now, using tech to similarly transform services into goods in healthcare has seemed like an impossible dream — how would you do this for, say, the service of doctors providing care? But in this wide ranging conversation all about technology and society across all industries, Andreessen and Pande talk about the massive new gains recent technologies have begun to make this seem within reach, from eye surgery in malls to using AI in processing medical claims. Is there a future in which what doctors are doing today feels analogous to farmers hand plowing fields 300 years ago? And what would the role of that doctor of the future be?
Dec 14, 2020
Journal Club: How to Win an Evolutionary Arms Race
00:25:15

Harmit Malik, PhD (Professor and Associate Director of the Basic Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "Mutational resilience of antiviral restriction favors primate TRIM5α in host-virus evolutionary arms races", by Jeannette L Tenthorey, Candice Young, Afeez Sodeinde, Michael Emerman, and Harmit S Malik,  published in eLife.

Dec 10, 2020
The Google Maps Moment in (Modeling) Biology
00:32:31
You don't have to build a million planes to test a million aeronautical designs; we have mathematical simulations and models that do that for us. But in biology—once the class you'd take in high school if you loved science, but hated math—that's been impossible... until very recently. In this episode, Markus Covert, Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford, a16z deal partner Judy Savitskaya, and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky, talk all about where we are in our ability to simulate and build models for how biology works. Because biology has been so qualitative in the past, and so complex, it's been extremely difficult to translate samples that are, say, gel smudges on a plate into the kind of qualitative data we need for these simulations and models. But we're finally reaching the “Google Maps” moment in biology, Covert says, beginning to be able to build models at the single molecule level, of genetic circuits, whole cells, the dynamic interactions between different cells, map them onto larger networks like tissue… even, of course, model on a global level the effects of a pandemic. The conversation covers Marcus’ story of the Eureka moment behind the first whole cell model; what this new ability to simulate and model will allow us to understand and predict that we haven’t been able to before; and why it all matters—how these tools are bringing us into a new era of designing new functionalities, even new kinds of biological life.
Dec 07, 2020
Journal Club: Bioengineering Birth
00:17:31

Anthony Atala, MD (the G. Link Professor and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the W. Boyce Professor and Chair of Urology), joins host Lauren Richardson to discuss the results and implications of the article "A tissue-engineered uterus supports live births in rabbits" published in Nature Biotechnology.

Dec 03, 2020
The Story of Schizophrenia
00:37:53
Descriptions of the mental illness we today call schizophrenia are as old as humankind itself. And more than likely, we are are all familiar with this disease in some way, as it touches 1% of us—millions of lives—and of course, their families. In this episode, we dive into the remarkable story of one such American family, the Galvins: Mimi, Don, and their 12 children, 6 of whom were afflicted with schizophrenia. In his book, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, Robert Kolker follows the Galvins from the 1950s to today—through, he writes, “the eras of institutionalization and shock therapy, the debates between psycho-therapy versus medication, the needle-in-a-haystack search for genetic markers for the disease, and the profound disagreements about the cause and origin of the illness itself.” Because of that, this is really more than just a portrait of one family; it’s a portrait of how we have struggled over the last decades to understand this mysterious and devastating mental illness: the biology of it, the drivers, the behaviors and pathology, the genomics, and of course the search for treatments that might help, from lobotomies to ECT to thorazine. Also joining Robert Kolker and a16z’s Hanne Winarsky in this conversation is Stefan McDonough, Executive Director of Genetics at Pfizer World R&D, one of the genetic researchers who worked closely with the Galvins. The conversation follows the key moments where our understanding of this disease began to shift, especially with new technologies and the advent of the Human Genome Project—and finally where we are today, and where our next big break might come from.
Nov 30, 2020
Food as Medicine
00:19:46
We all know that eating healthy is better for you—and that following that advice is far harder than it sounds, for a multitude of reasons, from culture to preferences to access and affordability. And yet the reality is that access to good, nutritious food is perhaps the most powerful medical treatment we have, when it comes not just preventing sickness, but helping sick people get better—and potentially saving the healthcare system potentially billions in treating chronic disease. So what happens if we begin to treat food truly as a medicine in the healthcare system? How can we really implement this "medicine" into the healthcare system? What are the different approaches, from food delivery to packaging to the content of the meal itself? How can food as a medicine be distributed, paid for and reimbursed, and what role can technology take in increasing access, distribution, and more? In this conversation, a16z General Partner Julie Yoo talks with Dr. Andrea Feinberg, previously the Founder and Medical Director of Geisinger Fresh Food Farmacy and Josh Hix, entrepreneur and co-founder of the food delivery start up Plated; a16z all about what food as a medicine might look like, whether personal taste and variety matters, how technology might not just help access but shift our snacking tendencies towards health, and the enormous opportunity to impact chronic disease through addressing food insecurity.
Nov 24, 2020
Journal Club: Decoding Developmental Disorders
00:21:44

Vineeta Agarwala, physician and a16z general partner, and host Lauren Richardson discuss the Nature article "Evidence for 28 genetic disorders discovered by combining healthcare and research data", its key implications, and how this work can impact patients and parents.  

Nov 19, 2020
Health—at What Price?
00:31:13
Imagine if the airline industry did not post prices for flights in advance. What if instead of posting fares on travel sites, airlines argued they could only bill you after the flight, because they didn't know what the fuel price will be that day; whether or not you would consume a beverage; if the flight might be diverted or delayed; whether that pilot would have to work harder and bill more in their coding of the flight after they land? And yet, this is exactly what happens in healthcare. Despite the cost crisis in healthcare, we still don't talk about prices—prices for procedures, for visits, for services. But in January 2021, thanks to new regulation, that will change. In this episode, a16z General Partner Julie Yoo talks with Dr. Marty Makary, surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, health policy expert—and a longtime advocate for transparent pricing in the healthcare system. Makary argues that making prices obvious will change all kinds of behaviors in the healthcare system, not just allowing consumers to "shop" for the best value of different healthcare services, but will drive higher quality standards; minimize things like surprise billing and incentives towards volume; increase the rigor of analyzing the medical appropriateness of certain clinical decisions (do we need this elective procedure or not? is it good longterm value?); affect even how we choose our doctors; and much more.
Nov 16, 2020
Journal Club: Defeating Type 1 Diabetes
00:20:11

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease with no cure and challenging treatment regimes. The disease is characterized by self-reactive immune cells that attack and destroy cells in the pancreas that produce insulin and are essential for regulating metabolism, called beta cells.

Since the advent of stem cell technology, scientists have dreamed of curing Type 1 Diabetes by replacing the beta cells lost to disease with lab grown, stem cell-derived beta cells. However, it wasn't until recent work from Ronald Evans' lab at the Salk Institute that this dream started to become a reality. First, in 2016, Evans and colleagues identified a critical genetic switch needed to activate stem cell-derived beta cells. Second, in the article we discuss today, they figured out how to produce not just the beta cells from stem cells, but their entire cellular compartment, called the pancreatic islet. They call these synthetic islets HILOs (human islet-like organoids). Even more importantly, they devised a way to shield the HILOs from the immune system. This molecular shield, which they learned about from studying how pancreatic cancer cells evade the immune system, is the key to the long term survival of the HILOs despite this chronic autoimmune response.

In this conversation, host Lauren Richardson and Dr. Evans cover these key breakthroughs, the next steps for moving this proof-of-concept research into the clinic, and how these HILOs might represent a curative treatment for this devastating and life-long condition. 

Nov 12, 2020
We, the Patients
00:35:16
Healthcare is perhaps unique in that the entire system exists entirely to serve the patient... and yet, in many ways, that same patient is not the customer. In fact, the patient—and the patient's voice—can often be lost or overlooked in the enormous, complex, convoluted business flows, between a huge system of providers, in elaborate clinical work flows, in insurance coverage and reimbursements, or in high level policy debates. In this episode, a16z General Partner Julie Yoo and a16z partner Jay Rughani talk with Freda Lewis Hall—a physician; formerly Pfizer’s Chief Patient Officer and Chief Medical Officer; Chief Medical Officer at Vertex; and who among many other roles was appointed by the Obama Administration to the Board of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)—all about what happens when you rethink the entire healthcare system from the patient's point of view. We tell patients what they need, instead of asking them what they need—let alone listen to the answer. From drug development to healthcare delivery to clinical trials, what changes in our system when we think about everything from the patient’s perspective? How do we better understand what patients need, and better serve them? What tools and new approaches can we use to truly put the patient at the center of the healthcare system?
Nov 09, 2020
Journal Club: Architecting an Aggressive Cancer
00:22:44

Mechanical forces and architecture may not sound very "bio", but they are key tools of epidermal stem cells.  These stem cells essentially engineer their environment by producing both the cells above them (the skin cells) and the extracellular matrix mesh (the basement membrane) that they sit on. In this episode we explore whether, when these stem cells acquire oncogenic mutations (the ones that cause cancer), do they now architect in a different way, and does this influence the development of cancer?

Host Lauren Richardson and Professor Elaine Fuchs of Rockefeller University discuss her lab's recent Nature article "Mechanics of a multilayer epithelium instruct tumour architecture and function". The article investigates the differences in mechanical forces and tissue architecture in two distinct types of skin cancer: one that tends to be begin and non-invasive and one that tends to be aggressive and metastatic. The conversation covers how computational modeling played a critical role in uncovering new sources of forces and how changes in architecture influence invasive properties.

Nov 05, 2020
The Thermodynamics of Life
00:24:40
with @lifelikephysics, @vijaypande, and @omnivorousread Where does life truly begin? How do we understand the fundamental nature of what is “alive” and what is “not alive”? In this episode of Bio Eats World, Professor Jeremy England discusses his new book, Every Life is on Fire, all about how what we might use physics to understand to be the origins of life—and how we define what being alive is. As biologists, we are taught that life evolved as the result of Darwinian natural selection. But what happens if instead, you use a physicist’s lens to examine what life looks to be—and define it as a specialized order and relationship between matter and the patterns of it’s an environment? England—a senior director in artificial intelligence at GlaxoSmithKline, principal research scientist at Georgia Tech, former associate professor of physics at MIT, and one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Rising Stars of Science”—describes this new idea as “dissapative adaptation”. The conversation covers how looking at “life” in these terms changes what we understand to be alive and what the nature of "life" is; sheds new light on the “queasy middle ground” between those definitions, especially in areas like machine learning and AI; and allows us to ask new questions about things like what makes DNA so special, and what life can do.
Nov 02, 2020
Journal Club: From Insect Eyes to Nanomaterials
00:20:07

On this episode of the Bio Eats World Journal Club, a16z bio deal team partner Judy Savitskaya and host Lauren Richardson discuss a new article that makes the full arc from basic science discovery to application. The article -- "Reverse and forward engineering of Drosophila corneal nanocoatings" by Mikhail Kryuchkov, Oleksii Bilousov, Jannis Lehmann, Manfred Fiebig & Vladimir L. Katanaev, published in Nature -- and the conversation begin by discussing insect eye nanocoatings, which give eyes key properties like anti-reflectiveness and anti-adhesiveness. The authors show these nanocoatings are formed by a self-assembling mechanism known as a Turing Pattern. But why do we care about fly eye nanocoatings and their patterns? Why did Alan Turing spend his time studying the basis biological patterns? As we discuss, understanding this patterning revealed a new method for creating nanostructured materials, which today is a high tech and costly process. We cover the reverse and forward engineering these nanostructures, the beauty of Turing Patterns, and how one could build a startup around this nanostructure technology. 

Oct 29, 2020
It's Time to Build in Healthcare: COVID-19, Innovation, and What Comes Next
00:26:52
In this episode of Bio Eats World, a16z founder and internet pioneer Marc Andreessen and general partner Jorge Conde zoom out to discuss the large scale societal effects of the current pandemic on society, healthcare, biotech, and innovation. COVID-19 has been catastrophic—but also catalyzed enormous change and a dramatic groundswell of innovation. Where are we now? Which of these changes will stay, and which may recede? What new innovations and impacts might be still to come, and what are we learning that can be applied towards the future? Building on Marc Andreessen's article and call to action, “It’s Time to Build,” Jorge and Marc discuss what needs to be built in healthcare today (for example, would a pandemic warning system help us next time?); the impact of COVID-19 on innovation and mindsets in the biopharma industry; the shift towards measuring output that could spur more innovation; and finally, what biopharma and venture capital have in common in terms of risk and experimentation that might serve as a much broader model.
Oct 26, 2020
Journal Club: Reversing Parkinson's with New Neurons
00:26:27

Neurons do not divide or replicate, so how can we replace neurons killed by neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's Disease? On the Bio Eats World Journal Club, UCSD Professor Xiang-Dong Fu and host Lauren Richardson discuss his team's work generating new neurons in the brain by inducing non-neuronal cells to become neurons. The conversation covers how they programmed this cell type conversion, how they verified that these newly created neurons were functioning correctly, and how they demonstrated that these neurons could replace those destroyed in a mouse model of Parkinson's Disease, reversing the disease phenotype. This work paves the way for a potential curative treatment for this and other devastating neurodegenerative and neurological diseases.

"Reversing a model of Parkinson’s disease with in situ converted nigral neurons" by Hao Qian, Xinjiang Kang, Jing Hu, Dongyang Zhang, Zhengyu Liang, Fan Meng, Xuan Zhang, Yuanchao Xue1, Roy Maimon, Steven F. Dowdy, Neal K. Devaraj, Zhuan Zhou, William C. Mobley, Don W. Cleveland & Xiang-Dong Fu. 

Oct 22, 2020
The Biology of Pain
00:37:26
Why do we experience physical pain? Is all pain the same, or are there different types? Do people experience pain differently? Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School Clifford Woolf, and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky talk about everything we know about the biology of pain. Technology is today enabling a new, deeper, and much more complex understanding of the phenomenon of pain. Which pathways and neurons are activated in the brain and when, and what patterns might represent different kinds of pain? In this episode (first aired on the a16z Podcast in September 2019), Woolf describes the four different phenotypes of pain, the purpose of each, and what changes when we begin to understand them as distinct types. What does it mean for how we can treat pain in the future… and where we can intervene?
Oct 19, 2020
Journal Club: Super-Scaling COVID-19 Testing with DNA Sequencing
00:18:43

There is a wide range of diagnostic tests for COVID-19 that are all well suited for determining whether an individual patient is sick with the virus. But to safely reopen society in the absence of a vaccine, we need tests that can be given broadly across a population, including to people who are asymptomatic. Many of these existing tests cannot be administered at this grand scale. That is where SwabSeq comes in. SwabSeq is an open source COVID-19 diagnostic platform that leverages the power of genomics to vastly increase the scale of testing. 

On this episode of the Bio Eats World Journal Club, host Lauren Richardson discusses the pre-print article "Swab-Seq: A high-throughput platform for massively scaled up SARS-CoV-2 testing" with two of the authors, Sri Kosuri of Octant  and Valerie Arboleda of UCLA. The original concept and design of this sequencing based approach was developed at Octant (a drug discovery startup co-founded by Kosuri, who is also a professor at UCLA), and the conversation covers the origins of of the method, why they decided to develop the test as an open source project and how sequencing increases scalability. Kosuri, Arboleda, and a team at UCLA built SwabSeq into a validated diagnostic platform that recently received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. 

Oct 15, 2020
Biology by Design
00:32:15
We’re at the dawn of a new era where we’re truly able to design biology: from genetically engineered cotton, to meat made from plants, to incredibly complex new therapies composed of engineered cells and genes. And that's just the very beginning. One day, just about everything will be genetically engineered, from our medicines to our materials and manufacturing and much more. The question is no longer, can we design biology? Instead the question now is, what can we build with these tools? So how does that really happen? How can we build precise functions and circuits inside cells? How might we we engineer a cell to sense and perceive its environment, and respond to it? What new generation of companies will be built around these new capabilities? In this episode, Alec Nielsen, co-founder and CEO of Asimov, a company that builds tools to program living cells; Vijay Pande, General Partner at a16z; and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky talk about where we are on the way to this future, what scientific and industry breakthroughs got us here, and the new tools we need—libraries of genetic parts, new platforms, computer simulations and more—to truly design living systems.
Oct 13, 2020
Journal Club: Turning a Toxin into a Genome Editing Tool
00:21:12

Over the past 15 years we have made huge advances in our ability to engineer the genome, meaning that we now have the ability to edit DNA in a programmable and precise manner. In the lab, these editing tools allow us to create models of disease and to investigate how changes in the genome lead to changes in cell and organismal biology. And excitingly, these genome editing technologies are now entering clinical trials to treat, and possibly cure, diseases like sickle cell anemia. But there is a component of the human genome which even the much lauded and powerful CRISPR system has not been able to touch: the mitochondrial DNA. 

The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell and contain their own, much smaller, genomes which encode several essential proteins and RNAs. Mutations in the mitochondrial genome are the cause of over 150 diseases, but to date, fixing these mutations with gene editing and gene therapy has been off the table due to the inaccessibility of this genome. 

In this episode of Journal Club, a16z general partner Jorge Conde and bio deal team partner, Andy Tran – experts in genomics and genome engineering – join Lauren Richardson to discuss groundbreaking research creating the first genome editor able to target the mitochondrial DNA: "A bacterial cytidine deaminase toxin enables CRISPR-free mitochondrial base editing" by Beverly Y. Mok Marcos H. de Moraes, Jun Zeng, Dustin E. Bosch, Anna V. Kotrys, Aditya Raguram, FoSheng Hsu, Matthew C. Radey, S. Brook Peterson, Vamsi K. Mootha, Joseph D. Mougous & David R. Liu, published in Nature. 

We discuss what makes the mitochondrial genome distinct, how this new tool – which was derived from a bacterial toxin – was engineered for both safety and specificity, and the important applications for this new editor. 

Oct 08, 2020
Going Back to the Workplace in a Pandemic
00:25:28
It's not normal to talk to your employer about the details of your health: your current temperature, who you've been exposed to, whether your kid is sick, whether or not you've been social distancing. So how do employers handle and manage this entirely new process of employees returning to the workplace in the midst of an ongoing pandemic? In this episode of Bio Eats World, Vineeta Agarwala (general partner at a16z), Phong Nguyen (EVP and General Manager at Accolade), Ryan Sandler (CEO and Cofounder of Truework), and Mark Sendak (Population Health & Data Science Lead at the Duke Institute for Health Innovation) talk about what it means for employers to now have to manage employee health in a whole new way, figuring out when it's safe to come back, how, and what tools you need. From monitoring employee health and preventing transmission to triaging what happens when there is a documented case; temperature checks (do they even make sense?); testing (how often and in what way?); and above all, where can technology help, this is an entirely new world for employers and employees both. All these decision trees involve not just a complex business logic and new tools and procedures, but also big issues around employee privacy and trust, and a fundamental shift in the relationship between employer and employee... as this becomes a new feature of our COVID world.
Oct 06, 2020
Journal Club: Modeling Mysterious Brain Structures
00:22:42

The human brain is endlessly fascinating and mysterious, but the majority of brain research to date has focused on neurons and their functions. While the other types of brain cells, such as astrocytes and glia, are starting to get their due, there is another element of the brain that to this day has gone woefully unstudied: the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the brain structure that produces it, the choroid plexus. The CSF is a clear, colorless fluid found in the brain and spinal cord, and is traditionally thought to protect the brain from injury by acting as a shock absorber. 

In this episode, Madeline Lancaster, a Group Leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge and Lauren Richardson discuss the article "Human CNS barrier-forming organoids with cerebrospinal fluid production" by Laura Pellegrini, Claudia Bonfio, Jessica Chadwick, Farida Begum, Mark Skehel, Madeline A. Lancaster published in Science. The paper describes a new model for studying the CSF and the choroid plexus by creating what’s sometimes called a mini-brain or a brain-in-a-dish, but is more accurately known as a cerebral organoid. With this model, Dr. Lancaster and her team were able to reveal new insights into the composition and function of the choroid plexus, and importantly, how it forms a key barrier between the blood and the brain. We discuss the how these organoids can be used to study brain development, evolution, and improve the drug development process.

Oct 01, 2020
Revolutions in Cancer Treament—Past, Present, and Future
00:34:39
with @JorgeCondeBio, @JLimMD, @AmerCancerCEO, and @omnivorousread In this episode of Bio Eats World, we explore all the major revolutions in cancer treatment across the history of medicine—and what’s coming next. Hanne Winarsky delves into the past and future of the fight against cancer with Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society; Jonathan Lim, CEO of Erasca, a biotech company with the mission of erasing cancer; and Jorge Conde, a16z general partner. The conversation spans not only the history of cancer treatment from the early days of surgery and the first radiology treatment (with an x-ray!), but also the fundamental nature of cancer—its origins, progressions, and how to stop it; the birth of precision genetic medicine and targeted therapies; our most powerful tools today (both low and high tech); and finally, the coming new tools and revolutions at the very cutting edge of cancer treatment.
Sep 29, 2020
Journal Club: Degrading Drugs for Problematic Proteins
00:24:13

In Bio Eats World's Journal Club episodes, we discuss groundbreaking research articles, why they matter, what new opportunities they present, and how to take these findings from paper to practice. In this episode, Stanford Professor Carolyn Bertozzi and host Lauren Richardson discuss the article "Lysosome-targeting chimaeras for degradation of extracellular proteins" by Steven M. Banik, Kayvon Pedram, Simon Wisnovsky, Green Ahn, Nicholas M. Riley & Carolyn R. Bertozzi, published in Nature584, 291–297 (2020).

Many diseases are caused by proteins that have gone haywire in some fashion. There could be too much of the protein, it could be mutated, or it could be present in the wrong place or time. So how do you get rid of these problematic proteins? Dr. Bertozzi and  her lab developed a class of drugs -- or modality -- that in essence, tosses the disease-related proteins into the cellular trash can. While there are other drugs that work through targeted protein degradation, the drugs created by the Bertozzi team (called LYTACs) are able to attack a set of critical proteins, some of which have never been touched by any kind of drug before. Our conversation covers how they engineered these new drugs, their benefits, and how they can be further optimized and specialized in the future.

Sep 24, 2020
The Biology of Aging
00:26:37
with @LauraDeming, @kpfortney, @vijaypande, and @omnivorousread Welcome to the first episode of Bio Eats World, a brand new podcast all about how biology is technology. Bio is breaking out of the lab and clinic and into our daily lives—on the verge of revolutionizing our world in ways we are only just beginning to imagine. In this episode, we talk all about the science of aging. Once a fringe field, aging research is now entering a new phase with the first clinical trials of aging-related drugs. As the entire field shifts into this moment of translation, what have we learned? What are the basic approaches to developing aging-related drugs? How is studying aging helping us understand diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's—and increasing the amount of time we are healthy—today?  In this conversation, Laura Deming, founder of The Longevity Fund; Kristen Fortney, co-founder of BioAge, a clinical-stage company focused on finding drugs to extend healthspan; Vijay Pande, general partner at a16z; and host Hanne Winarsky discuss the entire arc of aging science from one genetic tweak in a tiny worm to changing a whole paradigm of healthcare delivery.
Sep 22, 2020
Introducing "Bio Eats World"
00:01:39

This new show, from the same team that produces the popular a16z Podcast, will be all about how biology today is where technology was 50 years ago: on the precipice of revolutionizing our world in ways we are only just beginning to appreciate.

Through conversations with scientists, builders, entrepreneurs, and leaders at the intersection of science, tech, and business, the Bio Eats World team, including hosts Hanne Winarsky and Lauren Richardson, examine how biology—and our new ability to engineer it—is going to revolutionize our future, and in ways we are only just beginning to imagine.

Aug 18, 2020