Insect Allies and the role of DARPA in scientific research

Last month, a Pentagon research program called Insect Allies burst into the public conversation after a team of research scientists and legal scholars published an article detailing their concerns and critiques of the project in Science magazine. Insect Allies is run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and was announced in 2016 with the stated goal of “pursuing scalable, readily deployable, […]

DARPA and the future of synthetic biology

Synthetic biology is one of the fastest growing fields in terms of both information and capital generation. In 2012, The World Economic Forum ranked it as the second most important emerging technology of the 21st century; and while it does not explicitly appear on the 2016 list, half of the emerging technologies are enabled by […]

Funding is Essential for FDA Oncology Center of Excellence

In early 2017, the Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) was established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to modernize the cancer drug approval process by increasing intra-agency collaboration and promoting novel regulatory ideas and processes. Among critical, medical innovation initiatives, the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) directed the agency to create inter-center institutes in major disease areas […]

Basket Trials: Accelerating Precision Medicine

On May 23rd 2017, the cancer research community applauded a landmark accomplishment when for the first time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck’s pembrolizumabfor use in tumors located in any tissue. While cancers are traditionally organized and treated based on their tissue of origin, tumor sequencing has demonstrated that there are important genetic […]

Why I Marched for Science

When the March for Science was first announced, I wasn’t planning to go. I was unsure what role scientists should have in politics and wary of increasing the already harmful levels of partisanship towards science. However, the discussion surrounding the march convinced me: Science is crucial for our government and for the creation of policies […]