SA’s inaugural Health Hackathon

I attended SA’s first Health Hackathon, a World Design Capital 2014 event. It was an exhilarating and overwhelming experience, and I wrote about it for SA science blog Follow the link for the full article:

Enjoy! =)

Innovation Watch: Let’s Get Futuristic


From memory-assisting computer chips in your brain, to driverless public transport, a few recent innovations and start-ups have really made me feel like we are living in the future. Here are some innovations from the last two weeks that I’m excited about. Continue reading

Innovation Watch: New tricks with gold nanoparticles

A handful of refined gold. Image credit: Getty Images.

Gold has been a part of human history for a very, very long time – over 6000 years is our best guess. It has been cherished and coveted by kings and commoners alike. Even now, about half of the gold that is dug up every year is turned into jewellery. Most of the rest is invested, with just 10% being used in industry for electronic wiring, car parts, and satellites. Only the tiniest portion of that industrial use goes to gold nanoparticles; but that may soon change. Continue reading

Into the Grey: The Blurring Lines of Humanity


Fluorescent imaging of the mini-brain. Credit: Copyright IMBA/ Madeline A. Lancaster

Scientists have recently grown brain-like organs from stem cells. This is exciting stuff, but raises a few fundamental questions about what makes us human.

The human brain is a beautiful, unimaginably complex, and poorly understood thing. I will say that again because it’s important. We do not understand very much about what is going on in there. Continue reading

A Molecular Biologist in Every Home!


Molecular biology research has come to rely more and more on commercially available assays known as ‘kits’. It has been suggested to me that this phenomenon is ‘dumbing down’ research, resulting in sloppy science and undermining the significance of published results. However, I believe that this is a necessary and important step to make science a more accessible career in our modern high-technology economy. Continue reading