Saving the world with thermally-stable vaccines

Posted in: Public engagement

This post was written by Royal Society University Research Fellow and CSCT researcher, Asel Sartbaeva.

Some of you might have heard that I was recently invited to give a talk at the third annual Solve for X conference run by GoogleX, Google's "secret" laboratory. Solve for X is a two day conference, to which GoogleX invites about 20 people to give talks about ideas which can have global impact.

They call these ideas "moon shots": these "blue skies" ideas defy boundaries; challenge and shift existing paradigms; and can potentially help solve global problems even in the long-term scale up to 20-30 years in the future. Each talk was only 10 minutes, followed by discussions in small groups. The discussions were focused on improving the idea and giving any suggestions for helping this idea to be achieved. All talks are now available on Youtube and on the Solve for X site.

I gave my talk, "Thermally Stable Vaccines", which was well received, and I got some useful comments from other attendees. There were several interesting suggestions that I had not thought about before.

It was an amazing collection of very varied talks, bordering on science fiction. Just to give you a flavour, there were people there making:

  • tiny nano-robots to remove cancer cells from the body;
  • GM seeds, which have 100% RDA nutrient value in them;
  • artificial retinas to cure blindness;
  • a new generation of fuel-free rockets for flying to other planets.

While I was there I tried artificial meat, made from cultured cow cells without killing the animal; saw illuminated plants, which were made by cross-breeding a fly and a plant; tried Google Glass; and talked to previous speakers who had some really wacky ideas. It was a conference full of enthusiastic people including several famous people from Google and GoogleX like Sergei Brin, Astro Teller, and Rich Devall.

Being invited to present at Solve for <x> and having my ideas taken seriously by some of the world's leading innovators and entrepreneurs has really boosted my confidence in my work and the success of my project.

Posted in: Public engagement


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