The scientific co-founders of the Helmholtz PioneerCampus, Matthias Tschöp and Vasilis Ntziachristos, teamed up with Stanford Professor and CZI‘s Head of Science Stephen Quake, authoring a comment for Nature Reviews Bioengineering that proposes a cultural transformation in biomedicine: globally embracing bioengineering and tool-making concepts that promise dramatic acceleration of novel biomedical solutions to make a difference in global health care! Like engineering transformed the laws of physics into today’s commodities such as airplanes, cars, phones, computers or appliances – bioengineering carries the same potential to translate today’s staggering biomedical knowledge into next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics - or even better – prevention and cures for longer and healthy(er) lives.
But it needs more than proposing the bioengineering idea – so, the authors determine that educational tracks, academic incentives and professional recognition need to be aligned globally to turn bioengineering into a stand-alone profession. At the same time, they postulate instilling a culture that rewards tedious and risky efforts known to any solutions builder: engineering biomedical products & tools, carrying them through prototyping, clinical scrutiny and validation, regulatory approval, commercialization etc. before benefiting patients. The challenge is – for both the academic and corporate sectors – to value and reward such activities equally to publishing groundbreaking papers or winning renowned grants, awards and prizes.
Much has been done, particularly in the US, but Europe in general and Germany in particular need catching-up urgently. Hence, this commentary appears very timely – shortly after an extremely inspiring BioEng22 conference in Munich, uniting the leadership of global institutions such as the Wyss Institute Harvard, the CZI-Biohub or CCAIM, to name just a few, converging many aspects of Bioengineering & Biomedical AI to accelerate Biomedicine. Also, only a few months before the new Helmholtz Pioneer Campus research facilities @HelmholtzMunich are finally going into operation plus at a time, where HelmholtzMunich accelerates its cross-departmental efforts and aligns nationally with the other Helmholtz Health Centers & their regional and international partners to fully embrace the transformative power of BioEngineering and Biomedical AI in Biomedicine towards a healthier society.
- Link to publication
- Nature coverage of the Bioeng22 conference in Munich
- Bioeng22 Conference website
- Helmholtz Pioneer Campus