Last week I attended both the first ever workshop on Virtual Tissues conveniently (for me) held at the EPA’s RTP campus (though it was a EC-US Task for on Biotechnology event) and a partial reunion of the Lunchtime! crew. Dr. Tighe and Tina were in town and we managed to make it to the Ale House, though with no Martha and Dr. Bunton busy dealing with fires in Conway, some of the old magic was missing.
Efforts to create virtual tissues are certainly ambitious. The idea is to create a sufficiently accurate simulation of biology that the effects of perturbations (such as a toxic substance) are emergent;, rather than hard-coded. There are numerous challenges ahead and it may or may not even be possible, but as I mentioned tot he Ale House attendee’s someone presented an extremely pithy pair of quotes. They may or may not be apocryphal (a word whose own meaning is apparently somewhat dubious), since I cannot find either quote outside of this pairing, but it’s certainly an entertaining idea relevant to ;any technology on the cusp of feasibility:
On October 9, 1903 two interesting things happened.
The New York Times wrote “Hence, if it requires, say, a thousand years to fit for easy flight a bird which started with rudimentary wings… the flying machine that will really fly might be evolved by the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanicians in from one million to ten million years…”
On that same day in North Carolina, Orville Wright wrote in his diary.
“We unpacked rest of goods for new machine. We started assembly today.”
PS: I found a reference to the NYT quote!