Donald Ingber first came to my notice as the man who applied the novel sculptural scructure tensegrity to the workings of the cell. He is the man behind the Guardian’s story today: a hybrid living cells/chip device that can mimic cellular processes in the body and thus aid research on new therapies.
All of the aforementioned scientists feature strongly in Nanoscience: Giants of the Infinitesimal, the book I co-wrote with the sculptor Tom Grimsey. Ingber’s work featured in the book involves a novel way of breaking up blood clots. The interaction between stresses and strains (engineering principles) and living tissue is Ingber’s calling card. From early days when his insights were dismissed he has established that many biological process are induced by purely shape and stress changes: living cells have to function as structures as well as biochemical factories.
The Wyss Institute is totally interdisciplinary and it has attracted some of the most imaginative scientists on the planet. In 2013 Hansjörg Wyss doubled his initial investment in the Institute, putting in a cool $125 million, the largest bequest in Harvard’s history.
Export more marvels from the fruitful interface between the living world and engineering.