July 15, 2020

The Future of Synthetic Biology, Pandemics, and their Impact on Economies and National Security

Dr. Tara O'Toole

Utilizing her extensive background in biotechnology, Tara O’Toole shares insights into the ongoing ‘bio revolution’ worldwide. Having hands-on experience in biotechnology during her time at In-Q-Tel, she strongly advocates for the pivotal role of biotech in our expanding global landscape. O’Toole emphasizes the significant impact biotech knowledge can have on various sectors, such as agriculture, energy, material science, and manufacturing. She makes a compelling case for the rise of synthetic biology, foreseeing its contribution to a range of products from fuel to medical advancements and even the creation of replacement organs for transplants. Recognizing the potency of biotech and AI in healthcare and the military, O’Toole expresses disappointment in America’s insufficient investment in the field. In contrast, she points out China’s aggressive approach to becoming the global leader in biotechnology. Towards the end of her presentation, O’Toole calls on America to allocate funds and to highlight the crucial role of biotech, especially in the context of biodefense technology amid global conflicts and epidemics. Highlighting the growing competitiveness in biotechnology, she stresses that for the U.S. to uphold its global standing, substantial investments in the system and the talented individuals driving its advancement are essential.

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