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The Homunculi and I- Lessons from Building Organs on Chips: Dr. John Wikswo at TEDxNashville

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Published on Aug 2, 2013

Why are we building two new species: Homo chippus, a milliHuman, and Homo chippiens, a microHuman? Microfabricated humans-on-a-chip! Why? Because it's fun and a REAL challenge. Using the tools of physics, chemistry, engineering, physiology and molecular biology, we are exploring the unfathomable complexity that affects our development and growth and individual responses to disease, drugs, and aging. Multidimensional phase space illustrates the variables that affect H. chippus, H. chippiens and the scientists doing the work.

John Wikswo is the Gordon A. Cain University Professor at Vanderbilt University and is the founding Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education. Trained as a physicist, he received his B.A. degree from the University of Virginia, and his PhD. from Stanford University. He has been on the Vanderbilt faculty since 1977. His research has included superconducting magnetometry, the measurement and modeling of cardiac, neural and gastric electric and magnetic fields, and non-destructive testing of aging aircraft. As a tenured member of the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and Physics & Astronomy, he is guiding the development of microfabricated devices, optical instruments, and software for studying how living cells interact with each other and their environment, and how they respond to drugs, chemical/biological agents, and other toxins. He is a fellow of seven professional societies and has received 21 patents. He loves teaching and learning, and sharing his enthusiasm for research and inventing with high-school students, undergraduates and graduate students. He is happiest when he is tinkering and doing plumbing, carpentry and wiring, either on his house or the ones that he and his group are building to grow cells and miniature human organs.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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