Franziska Michor - The Isaac Newton of Biology?

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Franziska Michor - The Isaac Newton of Biology?




Franziska Michor Is the Isaac Newton of Biology
The young, cancer-fighting biomathematician will object to that characterization, but history may not.
By Tom Junod

11/20/2007, 12:03 AM
Wyatt Gallery

[Wow... she's very young to be at her level - impressive]



Cancer is pretty smart. You'd think it wouldn't be -- you'd think, really, it should be pretty dumb, given that it originates in a single cell that behaves like a single cell, that behaves primitively, in comparison with all the cells around it. On the surface, a healthy cell is a lot smarter than a cancer cell; a healthy cell learns either to work, through a system of complicated cues and intricate cellular mechanisms, with the rest of the cells in the body, or it learns to die. A cancer cell, by comparison, is the lowest common denominator; it doesn't know anything -- it just wants to grow and proliferate. But a cancer cell is smart because evolution is smart. Evolution likes cells that just want to grow and proliferate, so it shares, with the cancer cells, its body of knowledge, its arsenal of tricks. Sure, cancer's pretty dumb when it starts out as a single cell with a single genetic mutation. But by the time it grows big enough, populous enough, to become apparent -- to show up on a routine screening or, heaven forbid, to hurt -- it's genius, man, because it's gone through a sequence of mutations, and with each mutation it's learned something about evading the body's defenses. And now it just has to evade medicine's. Which brings us to the question: Is medicine smart? And if it isn't -- if it isn't quite smart enough, even with all the desperate genius that humanity has poured into it -- what can we do to make it smarter?

Which brings us to Dr. Franziska Michor.

I'm happy to read that biology is switching to being more mathematical rather than phenomenological. This most surely amplifies the prospects for future developments.

Esquires has a list of some of the best and brightest 2007, 36 "revolutionaries"

[ 13 December 2007: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]