Scholars and policymakers alike agree that innovation in the biosciences is key to future growth. The field continues to shift and expand, and it is certainly changing the way people live their lives in a variety of ways. With a large share of federal research dollars devoted to the biosciences, the field is just beginning to live up to its billing as a source of innovation, economic productivity and growth. Vast untapped potential to imagine and innovate exists in the biosciences given new tools now widely available.
In The Biologist's Imagination, William Hoffman and Leo Furcht examine the history of innovation in the biosciences, tracing technological innovation from the late eighteenth century to the present and placing special emphasis on how and where technology evolves. Place is often key to innovation, from the early industrial age to the rise of the biotechnology industry in the second half of the twentieth century. The Biologist's Imagination uses the distinct history of bioinnovation to discuss current trends as they relate to medicine, agriculture, energy, industry, ecosystems, and climate. Fast-moving research fields like genomics, synthetic biology, stem cell research, neuroscience, bioautomation and bioprinting are accelerating these trends.
Hoffman and Furcht argue that our system of bioscience innovation is itself in need of innovation. It needs to adapt to the massive changes brought about by converging technologies and the globalization of higher education, workforce skills, and entrepreneurship. The Biologist's Imagination is both a review of past models for bioscience innovation and a forward-looking, original argument for what future models should take into account.
Chapter 1: Ideas, progress, wealth, and the biological revolution
Chapter 2: Drugs, biomolecules, brains, and the shifting currents of innovation
Chapter 3: Regional bioinnovation: Reaping the harvest of the local and the global
Chapter 4: Mendel's journey from peas to petabytes
Chapter 5: Toning up universities for regional growth
Chapter 6: Splicing and dicing: Property, information, and the DNA of innovation
Chapter 7: Looking ahead as an industry evolves
William Hoffman has been a writer and editor in the University of Minnesota Medical School for more than three decades. He has worked closely with faculty in genetics and bioengineering and with the medical technology and bioscience industries. He also interacts with the research and policy communities around the world through the web-based global bioscience maps he created to show how competition in science, technology and business is affecting bioethics, economic development and growth.
Leo T. Furcht, MD is Allen-Pardee Professor of Cancer Research and Head of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is past president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), a biomedical research advocacy organization with more than 80 000 members and 27 constituent societies. He holds numerous patents on peptides, biocompatible materials, and multipotent adult stem cells.