The Necessary – a provocative vision of the scientific future

I was asked by Barry Bunin a few months ago to provide a short presentation on a vision for the future of drug discovery which I finally gave this week. After thinking about this for a while and chatting with a few friends including Alex Clark, – I wondered what was necessary in the future and that is how I came up with the title. This is not the kind of talk I would normally give so I have to thank Barry for getting me out of my dry science comfort zone. It is still a little odd imagining giving such a talk . Thankfully it was a short presentation. Some of the slides were objectives for a perfect world and I would say I am not a true believer of all of what I have on the slides. Here is my brief run down of what I was trying to present:

slide 1. Title

slide 2. a definition

slide 3. I wanted to show how it was pretty hard to imagine what could be a scientific breakthrough in the future..what will it be in 2015. Also it was surprising that some discoveries (notably gene therapy) while advanced are still not happening widely.

slide 4. A utopian or dystopic future – you decide. Perhaps the one thing I would change is the life span, could it be longer! I have no solution as to how we would achieve any of these goals but could they be future science advances in years to come?

slide 5. A little explanation perhaps on how we will make some of these things happen – purely science fiction perhaps, and that is fine..but todays science fiction is tomorrows science.

Slide 6. The goal of this slide was to show some technologies that suggest that the near future / now has some pretty advanced technologies that were science fiction in the past.

Slide 7. The goal here was to show how parents are disrupting funding science and bringing gene therapies to clinical trials. One example has raised $6.5 million and in 6 years brought a potential treatment to clinical trials.

Slide 8. This is my slide of the near future – we are so close to many of these advances that involve computation and drug discovery, some of them are tantalizingly close – this slide also shows that I am still skeptical.\

Slide 9. The challenges of science today may be obsolete in the future – perhaps the most controversial slide – because what would we do as scientists if there was nothing more to learn and all knowledge was complete?

Slide 10. I wanted to end with the “now” and how we could kickstart some of the things of slide 4-5. This is our challenge, how to start on the future.


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