Dr. Christopher Mason | The Next 500 Years | Talks at Google
Dr. Christopher Mason discusses his book "The Next 500 Years: Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds".
Inevitably, life on Earth will come to an end, whether by climate disaster, or by cataclysmic war, or when the sun runs out of fuel in a few billion years. To avoid extinction, will we have to find a new home planet, perhaps even a new solar system, to inhabit? In this provocative and fascinating book, Christopher Mason argues that because we are the only species aware that life on Earth has an expiration date, we have a responsibility to act as the shepherd of lifeformsnot only for our species but for all species on which we depend and for those still to come. Mason argues that the same capacity for ingenuity that has enabled us to build rockets and land on other planets can be applied to redesigning biology so that we can sustainably inhabit those planets. And he lays out a 500year plan for undertaking the massively ambitious project of reengineering human genetics for life in other worlds.
Dr. Christopher Mason is an associate professor of genomics, physiology, and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction. The Mason laboratory develops and deploys new biochemical and computational methods in functional genomics to elucidate the genetic basis of human disease and physiology. The laboratory creates and deploys novel techniques in nextgeneration sequencing and algorithms for: tumor evolution, genome evolution, DNA and RNA modifications, and genome/epigenome engineering. Dr. Mason has won the NIH’s Transformative R01 Award, the NASA Group Achievement Award, the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance Young Investigator award, the HirschlWeillCaulier Career Scientist Award, the Vallee Scholar Award, the CDC Honor Award for Standardization of Clinical Testing, and the WorldQuant Foundation Scholar Award. He was named as one of the “Brilliant Ten” Scientists by Popular Science, featured as a TEDMED speaker, and called “The Genius of Genetics” by 92Y. He has over 230 peerreviewed papers and scholarly works that have been featured on the covers of "Nature", "Science", "Cell", "Nature Biotechnology", "Nature Microbiology", and "Neuron", as well as legal briefs cited by the U.S. District Court and U.S. Supreme Court. Coverage of his work has also appeared on the covers of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, TIME, The LA Times, and across many media (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, PBS, NASA, NatGeo). He is an inventor on four patents, cofounded five biotechnology startup companies, and serves as an advisor to 17 others, as well as 3 nonprofits.