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Measuring and Mimicking Biology: Eyes, Noses, Genes and Proteins

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ArtScience Culture Lab & Café

650 East Kendall Street

Cambridge, MA 02142

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We have taken inspiration from both the visual and olfactory systems to design sensor arrays that are inspired by the properties of the natural systems. Optical fiber arrays that mimic the structure of the compound eyes of insects are used to create sensing arrays based on principles of the mammalian olfactory system. Many design features of mammalian systems are incorporated into these array sensors and the resulting sensing behavior recapitulates the natural system. In addition, the architecture of the arrays has revolutionized the scale of both genomic and proteomic data that can be collected. Such capabilities are transforming health care, which Dr. David R. Walt, Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Bioinspired Engineering at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital will discuss.


Dr. David R. Walt is a Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. Previously, he was University Professor at Tufts University. Dr. Walt is the Scientific Founder of Illumina Inc., Quanterix Corp., and has co-founded several other life sciences startups including Ultivue, Inc., Arbor Biotechnologies and Sherlock Biosciences. He has received numerous national and international awards and honors for his fundamental and applied work in the field of optical microwell arrays and single molecules. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He has published over 300 papers and holds nearly 100 patents.

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ArtScience Culture Lab & Café

650 East Kendall Street

Cambridge, MA 02142

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