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2024

Pain, Culture, and Intelligence


  • Session 1: Pain

    • Chronic Pain and Pain Amplification: Seeing the Whole Elephant

      Due to increasing specialization, medicine has created “silos” that are barriers to a holistic view of patients. Patients who currently do not fit into the algorithms of diagnosis are shunted from doctor to doctor and have costly repetitive unhelpful workups. When diagnostic studies do not give a clear answer, their problems are often presumed to be psychosomatic. One group of...

    • Novel Approaches to Understanding and Treating Spinal Cord Injury Neuropathic Pain

      Neuropathic pain is among the most disabling sequelae of spinal cord injuries (SCIs), with prevalence estimated from 65-80%. Common pain descriptors include “sharp, burning, electrical, stabbing, pins-and-needles, squeezing, pressure” sensations. These pains are always perceived in body regions of partial or complete sensory loss from the SCI. Scientific understanding of these pain perceptions has been perplexing, particularly in individuals experiencing...

    • Using Molecular Pathways of Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Block Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain

      Increasing evidence suggests that resolution of acute pain is an active molecular process and requires the production of specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs). SPM superfamily, including resolvins, protectins, and maresins, are derived from omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Ru-Rong will present evidence that synthetic SPMs produce potent analgesic actions in animal models of acute pain and chronic pain after inflammation,...

    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Treatment of Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injuries

      Traumatic neurological injury can be an event with life-changing consequences. When injury occurs in the central nervous system, there are major obstacles to regenerative processes, therefore, recovery of function is limited. At present, there are no clinical interventions that support the patient by providing neuroprotection in the immediate aftermath of injury, or specific treatments in the chronic recovery period, to...

  • Session 2: Human Development and Aging

    • Exploring Attachment: The Foundation of Our Relational Lives

      The pervasiveness and effects of trauma are well represented in many helping and scientific professions. In fact, these professions are currently expected to be ‘trauma-informed.’ What is under-represented and more foundational to the emotional health of individuals, families, and communities is the quality of our early, original attachment. This bond provides the blueprint for all relationships, thus uniquely guiding how...

    • What To Do When The Law is Bad For Your Patients’ Health

      Access to a good education has empirically been shown to significantly increase one's chances of enjoying good health. Conversely, a poor education virtually guarantees poor health outcomes. Yet, over the past half-century, the United States Supreme Court has steadily marched away from the guarantees of equal educational opportunity for underrepresented children, and thus marched deliberately towards widening already egregious health...

    • Young Blood for Old Brains

      Aging leads to the degradation of function and the onset of diseases in nearly all tissues and organs. Our research has been centered on brain aging, which results in cognitive decline and is a major risk factor for sporadic neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. While brain cell- and tissue-intrinsic factors are likely essential in driving the aging process, recent studies...

    • Broad Proteomics and Health Management

      More than a decade ago, SomaLogic published the first paper to accurately quantify the concentrations of many human proteins (epitopes really, since we used as binding reagents SOMAmers/aptamers that contacted a small domain of a target protein – about a thousand square angstroms or so). The emphasis since that early paper has been on expanding the number of proteins measured...

  • Session 3: Biology and Culture

    • RNA – A Catalyst for Public Engagement with Science

      For half a century, the RNA research community has seen RNA emerge from being simply a copy of the information stored in DNA to an active participant in the chemistry of life. But these breathtaking discoveries went largely unnoticed by the general public, even as people became more conversant with DNA. Then in 2020, the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines put RNA...

    • Digital Twins and the Discovery of New Drugs for Rare Diseases

      The emergence of combined multi-omic and clinical data directly from patient tissue, along with the availability of ultra-scale computing, and recent developments in AI that can reverse-engineer causal mechanisms from observational data, have converged to enable the creation of Gemini Digital Twins, replicas of human disease biology. Gemini Digital Twins are computational representations of human disease that capture a critical...

    • Guns, Germs, and Alleles

      In the following lecture, we will explore three key topics related to Oceania, using genomic data and modeling studies to illuminate historical migrations, disease origins, and health trends in the Pacific region.

      1. Peopling of Polynesia: Genomic Insights: This segment examines the migration pathways to Polynesia, leveraging genomic networks to delineate the timing and routes of these ancient voyages,...

    • Re-Earning Trust in Science: A Health Imperative

      The rapid pace of biomedical research insights and their translation into new diagnostics and treatments have enormous potential to improve health and well-being. Yet, despite the promise of these discoveries, preventable mortality is actually increasing, in part because too many people are unwilling or unable to take advantage of them. One major obstacle to uptake is the erosion of trust...

  • Session 4: Big Data & Intelligence

    • Discovery Through Scale. The All of Us Research Program.

      The NIH All of Us Research Program is working to advance precision medicine by building the largest, most diverse biomedical data resource in the world. Launched in May 2018, All of Us seeks to gather health data from one million or more participants across the United States, representing a wide array of backgrounds, ages, geographic regions, and health statuses.

    • A Small Matter of (Scientific) Programming

      Why is it so hard for scientists in healthcare and biology to command programming power? Data has dominated the field for decades, and wave after wave of scientists have been exciting graduate students trained in informatics at some level. However, the field has (so far) successfully resisted network effects in data and systemic end-user programming as a day-to-day practice. If...

    • The Evolution of Human Intelligence: Why It Matters and What It Teaches Us About Ourselves, Neuroscience, and AI

      In this talk, Bennett will review the research and key conclusions in his new book A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains. Despite centuries of effort, we still do not understand how the human brain works. The brain is full of messy redundancy that makes it difficult to reverse engineer by trying...

    • Ten Years to Be an Overnight Success: Investing in the Future Takes Time

      The path to significant innovation and change can be long, but if you work on major problems creatively and hard enough, you can have a major impact. Khosla Ventures has been actively investing in a number of areas in biology and medicine over the last decade that are now poised to improve the world in a variety of ways. These...