AR / Environment / Science / VR

5 out-there scientific fields Brooklyn researchers are following closely

From regenerative agriculture to the editing of human embryos, here's what local scientists say they're fascinated by.

Making art out of nature. (Image via Biodesign Challenge)

Science moves both fast and slow. For all the flashy new technologies we see popping up in the tech world, there are peer reviews and publications and trials and trials that exist before much science ever makes it into the newspaper.

Last week we covered 10 Brooklyn scientists you should know, people working near the event horizons of human knowledge. We found scientists working in wireless electrical charging technology, artificial intelligence used to diagnose diseases before they appear and plant fertilizer made out of food waste.

But we were curious, so we asked our scientists a simple question: What fields of science are you interested in outside your own field of study?

The answers ranged from far out to specific, and we’re excited to share them with you. Some responses have been lightly edited for clarity or length.

Regenerative agriculture

“I’m most interested in regenerative agriculture and how to incorporate more of the unique synergies that occur at the microbial level to enhance the nutrition of plants and, eventually, consumers. Personalized nutrition stemming from targeted species of bacteria fascinates me because it truly provides a direct impact to food being your medicine. Imagine if you can visit your local supermarket and farm and purchase freshly grown local produce that will contain sufficient levels of minerals and vitamins to displace the need for supplements because it was grown according to your nutritional needs. Or the ability to purchase a drink that has probiotics that address your acute medical need such as Depression, Hyperthyroidism, or Eczema simply because it returned your gut to a balanced environment of pH and nutrient levels. Studying an individual’s nutrient profile and customizing products to fit that characterization proves that there is so much more to be explored in the realms of food science, food technology, and agriculture.”


“I’m curious about what is happening with VR/AR and how it will impact our experiences with the world around us, including everything from the movie-going experience to how we’ll perceive our environment while strolling through the streets. Also, I’m optimistic with the development of autonomous vehicles and the drone industry, and how it will usher in a new age of transportation, such as self-driving cars to flying cars.”

Digital therapy for fluid accumulation

“Digital therapy for fluid accumulation symptoms across diverse chronic illnesses such as cancer, hypertension, heart failure, renal disease and arthritis. From our research, we understand that symptoms of pain, swelling, and impaired physical functions probably are all related to fluid accumulation. Fluid balance is key for health. Imbalance of body fluid can lead to poor management of chronic illnesses such as lymphedema, hypertension, heart failure, renal failure and arthritis. So, if we can manage body fluid and related symptoms, we might be able to achieve optimal management of chronic illness.”

Ethics of CRISPR

“I am fascinated by the moral and ethical questions surrounding the use of CRISPR to edit human embryos. We saw the first completely successful edit of a viable embryo this summer. It was not implanted, yet could have been. I predict that the first CRISPR edited child will be born within the next two or three years, probably in China.”

Further reading: The Designer Baby Era Is Not Upon Us

Alternative Energy

Jonathan Cedar, BioLite

“I’m interested in alternative energy conversation technologies because they allow us access to typically wasted energy. Thermal Photovoltaic and Thermoionic systems are of particular interest because they operate at very high temperatures, providing high conversion efficiency (high carnot efficiency due to high temperature).”

Companies: NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Series: Brooklyn

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