Archive for category Evolutionary and Quantum Biology

Quantum Biology Video

Selected videos at the cutting edge of science. Genetic diversity reflects evolutionary pressures from environmental changes, principally climate and diet. These drivers explain why populations and individuals vary and why one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines and public health nutrition approaches derive from out-of-date reductionist science. Nutritional therapy is person-centred, recognising individuality and the complex network of environmental factors which influence health status.

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Quantum Biology

1) Quantum Life – Prof. Seth Lloyd

Seth Lloyd is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

Prof. Lloyd is interested in information and the role it plays in physical systems, particularly systems in the quantum regime. Specific questions are: How do physical systems register information and move it about? How is information transformed and processed? And, most importantly, how do the ways in which a system transfers and transforms information determine its behavior?

He has worked on the definition of complexity using insights gained from the work of Rolf Landauer on physics of information processing and of Charles Bennett on computational measures of complexity. The definition of complexity he developed is related to the amount of thermodynamic resources required to perform a given task. Subsequently, he became a collector of measures of complexity: despite the proliferation of apparently disparate methods for quantifying the complex, he has been able to show that most such measures are closely related to each other. The definitions measure either information — the difficulty of describing a thing; or effort — the difficulty of accomplishing a task; or both.

The realization that information processing and physics are intimately related lie at the heart of Prof. Lloyd’s current work on quantum computation. Quantum computers are in essence complex quantum systems. In collaboration with Murray Gell-Mann he is working on a theory of quantum complexity. He hopes to use quantum mechanical computers to test methods by which the highly detailed, complex world that we see around us arose out of a highly symmetric, simple quantum world in the early universe.

As part of learning his current job as a professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, he has discovered the importance of work on complex systems for society as a whole. When the operation of a new car relies on the proper functioning of twenty microprocessors, when fear of a computer glitch inspires a global apocalyptic movement, when electronic devices from VCRs to toasters act as if they had minds of their own, it’s clear that our future welfare depends crucially on understanding how complex systems get information, and what they do with it.

1) The Nature of the Sense of Smell – Dr Luca Turin

Turin earned his Ph.D. in physiology at University College London. From 1982 until 1988, he worked in France as a researcher for the CNRS at the Villefranche Marine Station near Nice. He was then employed at the Pasteur Institute from 1988 until 1990.

After leaving the CNRS, Turin first held a visiting research position at the National Institutes of Health in North Carolina before moving back to London, where he became a lecturer in biophysics at University College London.

As of 2010, Turin is currently at MIT, working on a project to develop an electronic nose based in part on his theories, financed by DARPA. From April 2011 on, he will be working at the Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Centre in Vari, Greece.

Turin is the author of the book The Secret of Scent (2006), which details the history and science of his theory of olfaction, and an acclaimed critical guide to perfume, Parfums: Le Guide, with two editions published in French in 1992 and 1994. He is also the subject of the 2002 book The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr, as well as of the 1995 BBC Horizon documentary “A Code in the Nose.”


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Evolutionary Biology Videos

Selected videos at the cutting edge of science. Genetic diversity reflects evolutionary pressures from environmental changes, principally climate and diet. These drivers explain why populations and individuals vary and why one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines and public health nutrition approaches derive from out-of-date reductionist science. Nutritional therapy is person-centred, recognising individuality and the complex network of environmental factors which influence health status.

Remember to subscribe to the BANT You Tube Channel –

Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary biology is currently at the leading of science with new research and innovative insights set to profoundly impact medicine today. For an idea about how insights from evolutionary biology can impact us as nutritional therapists in practice, see this free article online called Evolutionary Medicine, it’s scope, interest and potential

Please watch the videos in the order they appear starting at number 1.

1) Inevitable Life – Dr Eric Smith

In this first video presented by BANT in a series covering Evolutionary and Quantum Biology on the BANT Blogsite, we introduce the subject from the beginning with a talk by Dr Eric Smith. Dr Eric Smith received the Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1993, with a dissertation on problems in string theory and high-temperature superconductivity. From 1993 to 2000 he worked in physical, nonlinear, and statistical acoustics at the Applied Research Labs: U. T. Austin, and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. From 2000 he has worked at the Santa Fe Institute on problems of self-organization in thermal, chemical, and biological systems. A focus of his current work is the statistical mechanics of the transition from the geochemistry of the early earth to the first levels of biological organization, with some emphasis on the emergence of the metabolic network.

Many researchers have supposed that the emergence of life hinged on a sequence of improbable events, at the same time as they have taken for granted the ability of life on earth to persist indefinitely and to “freeze in” the consequences of early accidents. Smith argues that there is ample evidence for a different interpretation: the emergence of life was an inevitable outcome of geochemistry on the early earth, and the same forces responsible for emergence have continued to support the persistence of life ever since. Smith sets out the case that metabolism preceded control in biological evolution, and that the citric acid cycle is the key bridge from geochemistry to biology.


2) Primate Evolution and Human Disease – Ajit Varki MD

Ajit Varki received basic training in physiology, medicine, biology, and biochemistry at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, The University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis.  He also has formal training and certification in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology.  He is currently distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine, and co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center at UCSD.  Dr. Varki is executive editor of the textbook Essentials of Glycobiology.  He is also a co-director for the UCSD Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny and is an affiliate faculty member of the Living Links Center of Emory University.  Dr. Varki is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Varki is recipient of a MERIT award from the NIH, an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, the Karl Meyer Award of the Society for Glycobiology and the International Glycoconjugate Organization (IGO) Award (2007).  He is a member of the Faculty of 1000 and serves on the National Chimpanzee Observatory Working Group; the scientific advisory board of the Huntsman Cancer Institute (University of Utah), and the editorial board of Glycobiology.  He is a specialist advisor to the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee. Significant past appointments include: Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Training at UCSD (2003-10); co-head, Division of Hematology/Oncology (1987-89): president of the Society for Glycobiology (1996); editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1992-97); consulting editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1998-2006), and PLoS Medicine (2004-2008); interim directorship of the UCSD Cancer Center (1996-97); president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (1998-99); scientific advisor to the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (University of Georgia); the Yerkes Primate Center (Emory University); member of the National Advisory Committee of PubMed Central (NLM/NIH); and coordinator for the multidisciplinary UCSD Project for Explaining the Origins of Humans (1996-2007).

3) The Year of Darwin – Dr Sean B. Carroll

Sean B. Carroll is an award-winning scientist, author, and educator. He is currently Vice President for Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the largest private supporter of science education activities in the US, and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin. His research has centered on the genes that control animal body patterns and play major roles in the evolution of animal diversity. Major discoveries from his laboratory have been featured in TIME, US News & World Report, The New York Times, Discover, and Natural History.

Sean is the author of Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), The Making of the Fittest (2006, W.W. Norton) and of Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo (2005, W.W. Norton). He also writes a monthly feature “Remarkable Creatures” for the New York Times Science Times.

Sean is also author of the student text Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution (2008, Pearson, Benjamin Cummings), co-author with Jen Grenier and Scott Weatherbee of the textbook From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design (2nd ed, 2005; Blackwell Scientific) and with Anthony Griffiths, Susan Wessler, and John Doebley of the textbook Introduction to Genetic Analysis (10e, 2011, W.H. Freeman and Co.). He is also the author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers.

Sean is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Shaw Scientist Award of the Milwaukee Foundation, the Stephen Jay Gould Prize for promoting the public understanding of evolution, the Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator Prize, the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers, and numerous honorary lectureships. Sean was named one of America’s most promising leaders under 40 by TIME Magazine in 1994.

He earned his B.A. in Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, his Ph.D. in Immunology at Tufts Medical School, and carried out his postdoctoral research with Dr. Matthew Scott at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He received an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Minnesota in 2009.

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