Next-generation Genomics And Nanotechnology Ninja Particles.

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As our understanding of the genomic makeup of humans increases, so does the ability to manipulate genes and improve health diagnostics and treatments. Next-generation genomics will offer advances in our understanding of plants and animals, potentially creating opportunities to improve the performance of agriculture and to create high-value substances from ordinary organisms.

Take for example some of the new nanotechnologies being engineered by IBM in collaboration with the Henrick-Yang Group, which includes “ninja particles” made from biodegradable polymers that use electrostatic attractions to target and kill specific drug-resistant bacterium. Once the job is done, they simply leave the body. Or the use of PET (yep, the stuff plastic bottles are made of), to produce non-toxic and biodegradable nanofibers that kill fungal infections on contact, the implications of which are reduced plastic waste and petrochemical consumption.

They have also made headway in drug delivery, “coaxing nanoparticles to self-assemble into a gel-like material that can encapsulate molecules of a drug and release them at a particular location in the body over an extended period of time. Potential medical and consumer applications for materials coming out of the nanomedicine program are practically limitless: they could be injected; applied as a topical gel to treat wounds and infections; included in products such as soap, hand sanitizer, and shampoo; or applied as a germ-fighting coating on everything from medical devices to cutting boards and toothbrushes.” —Fast Company

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