A urine test for cancer? This woman has invented it.

A urine test for cancer? This woman has invented it.

Greetings, friends. I’m really happy to share this interview with you, as Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD is one of the seminal minds in science today. She combines an engineer’s mind with medical expertise to craft solutions for some of the human body’s most pressing issues. In our hour-long interview, we touched on a number of her projects, from melting sugar to create blood vessels… to creating “micro” livers… to her new paper test for cancer. I was also intrigued by her stance on whether women in S.T.E.M. should be expected to mentor each other. Read on here.

Would you like fries with that? (says the English major)

Would you like fries with that? (says the English major)

Should a university education be about broadening cultural horizons, honing technical knowledge, or both? Although I later became a science, medical and health reporter, my major in college was decidedly not oriented towards the applied sciences. So far, the choice has not hindered my ability to fund my life, but writing this piece about the debate over liberal arts vs. S.T.E.M. did make me reflect on my choice.

If you had to do it all over again, which would you study? Or, perhaps more pressing, what do you want your children to study? (If they go to college at all… but that’s another piece.)

This woman could change the landscape of cancer diagnostics

This woman could change the landscape of cancer diagnostics

In early 2014, I was asked to draft a list of a dozen or so cutting edge scientists, cull the list, and then pick one person to star in a video about innovation in medical research.

This video is the result of that quest. I had the immense pleasure of talking to, writing interview questions for, and crafting a script around Dr. Nicole Iverson, one of M.I.T.’s most humble and most innovative research scientists. This project was perhaps my favorite video to write this past year; I hope you enjoy it.

See how Dr. Iverson is changing the landscape of cancer research here.

Invisibility cloaks – coming soon

I had the immense pleasure of interviewing a number of researchers on the cutting edge of materials science about their dream manufacturing breakthroughs. Some integrate tools from engineering to manipulate biology — growing a cell phone from mushrooms is one idea in the works! — while others work on fantasies many of us have had since childhood. (Invisibility cloaks, anyone?) Enjoy this fun, fast slideshow, now up on The Economist’s Lookahead site.

3D printing is so 2013. This woman makes desktop milling machines!

3D printing is so 2013. This woman makes desktop milling machines!

 

My interview with Other Machine Co. CEO Danielle Applestone, The (Female) Miller’s Tale, is up on The Economist’s Lookahead blog.

Ms. Applestone impressed me with her drive, her smarts, and her passion for making tools accessible to all of us would-be garage tinkerers. Not only is she a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and in manufacturing, but she’s also a woman who launches and leads successful companies.

Nice.

I really enjoyed learning what her desktop milling machines can do. But the most compelling part of the interview for me was her personal story. As the daughter of a disabled veteran, she understood from an early age how good engineering and good design really can improve someone’s quality of life.

In other words, math, manufacturing and tech aren’t just about numbers; they’re about people.

Read more about the very cool Danielle Applestone, and about Other Machine Co., here.