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Organ-Chips Featured at Barbican Centre in London

May 16, 2019

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Exhibit explores the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology

By Lindsay Brownell

(BOSTON) — Today, a new exhibit called AI: More than Human opens at the Barbican Centre in London, and aims to tell the rapidly developing story of artificial intelligence via a survey of today’s cutting-edge creative and scientific developments that are questioning what it means to be human.

Among the projects featured in the exhibit are two human Organ-Chips that were developed at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and then licensed to Emulate, Inc., a startup that is continuing the R&D of the Organ-Chips and commercializing the products to make them available to scientists in academia and industry worldwide.

“The ultimate goal of the Wyss Institute’s translationally focused model is to ensure the bioinspired technologies we develop have near-term impact. So, it’s very exciting to be able to present an example of how the Wyss Institute was able to develop a new technology with great potential to advance biomedical research, in this case human Organ-Chips, and then entrust that technology to a company that is now commercializing them and selling products to customers around the world,” said Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

“Organ-Chips allow us to go beyond animal models to study human physiology and one day they could be used to determine exactly which drug is most likely to help a patient with a certain disease, which could revolutionize the way we develop medicines and treat diseases,” — Geraldine Hamilton, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Emulate

The exhibit includes two early bespoke Organ-Chip models from the Wyss Institute and two commercialized versions developed by Emulate. A video accompanying the chips shows them seeded with living human cells, explains how they are able to recapitulate key biological functions of human organs, and describes their potential for future use in precision medicine, personalized safety, and to better predict human response to drugs, chemicals, and foods.

“Organ-Chips allow us to go beyond animal models to study human physiology and one day they could be used to determine exactly which drug is most likely to help a patient with a certain disease, which could revolutionize the way we develop medicines and treat diseases,” said Geraldine A. Hamilton, Ph.D., the President and Chief Scientific Officer of Emulate who previously helped Ingber oversee the development of Organ-Chip technology at the Wyss Institute. “Our goal at Emulate is to advance our lab-ready system with Organ-Chips for a range of clinical applications and ultimately democratize the technology so that it can have broad impact on patients’ health.”

The Organ-Chips are part of the “Endless Evolution” section of AI: More Than Human, which looks at projects that are directing the future of our species and reflects on how artificial forms of life fit into the “laws of nature.” Other projects featured in this section include the humanoid Alter 3 robot that explores what it means to be “life-like,” AI-driven “personal computer farms” from the MIT Media Lab that optimize the development of crops in tabletop-sized growing chambers, and an installation that contains synthesized fragrances from flowers that have been driven to extinction by human activity.

The other sections of AI: More than Human, which runs through August 2019, include the topics of “The Dream of AI,” “Mind Machines,” and Data Worlds,” which collectively ask big questions such as: What does it mean to be human? What is consciousness? Will machines ever outsmart a human? And, how can humans and machines work collaboratively?

PRESS CONTACTS

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University:
Lindsay Brownell
lindsay.brownell@wyss.harvard.edu
617-432-8266

Emulate:
Kathryn Morris
kathryn@theyatesnetwork.com
914-204-6412

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE

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The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University (http://wyss.harvard.edu) uses Nature’s design principles to develop bioinspired materials and devices that will transform medicine and create a more sustainable world. Wyss researchers are developing innovative new engineering solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing that are translated into commercial products and therapies through collaborations with clinical investigators, corporate alliances, and formation of new startups. The Wyss Institute creates transformative technological breakthroughs by engaging in high risk research, and crosses disciplinary and institutional barriers, working as an alliance that includes Harvard’s Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Arts & Sciences and Design, and in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston University, Tufts University, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, University of Zurich and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

About Emulate, Inc.
Emulate, Inc. is a privately held company that creates living products for understanding how diseases, medicines, chemicals, and foods affect human health. Our Human Emulation System™ sets a new standard for recreating true-to-life human biology and is being used to advance product innovation, design, and safety across a range of applications including drug development, agriculture, cosmetics, food, and chemical-based consumer products. Emulate continues to develop a wide range of Organ-Chips and disease models through collaborations with industry partners and internal R&D programs. Emulate is also working with clinical partners to produce Organ-Chips personalized with an individual patient’s stem cells, for applications in precision medicine and personalized health. Our founding team pioneered the Organs-on-Chips technology at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Emulate holds the worldwide exclusive license from Harvard University to a robust and broad intellectual property portfolio for the Organs-on-Chips technology and related systems.