Right Turn: Andrew Pelling inspires us to play with our food

Author: Stacey Johnson, 08/05/16

Andrew Pelling, University of Ottawa, is a biohacker.

Biohacking refers to the application of IT hacks to biological systems – most prominently, the human body – but also the entire biosphere. Biohacking encompasses a wide spectrum of DIY IT projects and ideas (Techopedia).

Watch Dr. Pelling’s TED Talk below and you may be tempted to become a biohacker too. From the sounds of it, Dr. Pelling and his colleagues play all day and let their imaginations run wild. No idea is too far-fetched. Create cellular scaffolds out of ear-shaped apples? Done that. Use asparagus as a conduit for axons and neurons to grow and form new connections between damaged and severed nerves or maybe even the spinal cord? Working on that too. Why? Why not? If you’re looking for a better answer, the cost of working with fruit and vegetables is negligible.

One can only imagine what he did with his brussels sprouts and turnips when he was a child.

In his bio, Dr. Pelling says he is interested in “understanding the dynamic mechanical properties of cellular systems across nanometer and micrometer length scales. The mechanical response and transduction pathways of living cells are explored using genetic manipulation and a variety of scanning probe and optical techniques.” His long-term research goals “are to understand the genetic and architectural control mechanisms of mechanotransduction pathways in health and disease.” If you’d like to join his lab, to spend your day being absurdly creative, you might need a substantial foundation in science or engineering first.

Do you want your mind blown? Andrew Pelling is the keynote speaker at an event hosted by the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto on August 10. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the discussion at #USRP2016 and #Pelling.



Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

For almost 20 years, Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
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