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- 03/06/18--06:32: _The Airbnb Effect: ...
- 04/11/18--18:41: _Manmohan Singh dona...
- 04/14/18--10:55: _Can the Minerva Mod...
- 04/21/18--19:53: _A Chink in Bacteria...
- 04/22/18--19:01: _Silicon Valley is g...
- 04/23/18--08:58: _The dawn of precisi...
- 04/24/18--20:05: _This is the relatio...
- 05/11/18--20:50: _An AI that can pred...
- 05/11/18--21:01: _This “Smart Drug” C...
- 05/20/18--19:49: _For new medicines, ...
- 05/27/18--21:10: _A Resolution Revolu...
- 05/28/18--19:31: _2018 Military Stren...
- 06/02/18--19:22: _The 3 Types of Dive...
- 07/02/18--22:52: _India's Biotech Que...
- 07/17/18--21:55: _Why diagnosing Alzh...
- 07/20/18--00:39: _These Indian fisher...
- 08/09/18--05:33: _Rewiring STEM educa...
- 08/10/18--20:36: _Arctic river turns ...
- 08/11/18--08:08: _New technique can r...
- 09/24/18--08:20: _The 5 types of ment...
- 09/26/18--20:40: _Researchers discove...
- 09/26/18--21:01: _Scientists Are Deve...
- 09/26/18--21:15: _Tiny Human Esophagu...
- 09/27/18--02:58: _Gut Branches of Vag...
- 10/16/18--10:39: _The 4 Brain Superpo...
- 04/14/18--10:55: Can the Minerva Model of Learning disrupt higher Education...04-14
- 04/21/18--19:53: A Chink in Bacteria's Armor 04-22
- 04/22/18--19:01: Silicon Valley is going back to an ancient technology: People 04-23
- 04/23/18--08:58: The dawn of precision medicine 04-23
- 04/24/18--20:05: This is the relationship between money and happiness 04-25
- 05/11/18--20:50: An AI that can predict cell structures 05-12
- 05/20/18--19:49: For new medicines, turn to pioneers 05-21
- 05/27/18--21:10: A Resolution Revolution,Single-cell Sequencing Techniques, 05-28
- 05/28/18--19:31: 2018 Military Strength Ranking 05-31
- 06/02/18--19:22: The 3 Types of Diversity That Shape Our Identities.06-03
- 08/09/18--05:33: Rewiring STEM education 08-09
- 09/24/18--08:20: The 5 types of mentors you need in your life 09-24
- 09/26/18--21:15: Tiny Human Esophagus Grown in the Lab—Here's Why 09-27
Hotels enjoy their highest profits when rooms are most in demand, like during holidays and big events. Unfortunately for them, Airbnb is taking away some of that pricing power, according to new research by Chiara Farronato and Andrey Fradkin.
additional rooms available in the country's hottest travel spots during peak periods when hotel rooms often sell out and rates skyrocket, a new study shows.
"You might find a Fifth Avenue apartment or a place by the beach at a more reasonable price than you would if Airbnb wasn't an option"
Airbnb's rapid growth
Hotels fight back
"When the pope comes to Philly, and hotel prices are $200, it becomes worth your while to put your spare room out for rent"
Here's what the professor of Department of History told IANS:
Traditional universities — including Ivy League schools — fail to deliver the kind of learning that ensures employability. That perspective inspired Ben Nelson, founder and CEO of the six-year-old Minerva Schools in San Francisco. His goal is to reinvent higher education and to provide students with high-quality learning opportunities at a fraction of the cost of an undergraduate degree at an elite school. While tuition at top-tier universities in the U.S. can run more than $40,000 a year, Minerva charges $12,950 a year, according to its website. In a recent test, its students showed superior results compared to traditional universities while also attracting a large number of applicants.
Minerva is a disruptor and the traditional university establishment needs to adapt to its model and perhaps improve on it, according to Jerry (Yoram) Wind, emeritus marketing professor at Wharton. Nelson, who was previously president of Snapfish, an online photo hosting and printing service, and Wind spoke to Knowledge@Wharton about why the higher education model needs to change, and how the Minerva model could help.
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Knowledge@Wharton: Jerry, where is the future of education headed?
Jerry Wind: The future is now. It has been here for a while, and with Minerva, Ben has recreated the university of the future. Ben, describe briefly the Minerva concept, and then go into the recent findings of the CLA report (Minerva’s Collegiate Learning Assessment test).
Ben Nelson: We refer to Minerva as having been built as an “intentional university.” Everything about the design of the institution, what we teach, how we teach and where we teach it is based on what we know, and through empirical evidence, is effective.
In what we teach, we are classical in our approach, even though we’re [also] modern and progressive in the way we teach. For example, if you think about the purpose of a liberal arts education, or what the great American universities purport to teach, they will say ‘We teach you how to think critically, how to problem-solve, how to think about the way the world works and to be global, and how to communicate effectively.
“Universities … basically teach you academic subject matter and they hope you pick up all of the other stuff by accident.”
When you actually look at how universities attempt to do it, they basically teach you academic subject matter and they hope you pick up all of the other stuff by accident.
We decided to have a curriculum that teaches these things, that breaks down critical thinking, creative thinking, effective interactions, and effective communications into component parts. [We wanted to make] sure that we don’t just teach them conceptually, and don’t just teach them in a context, but actually explain the concept and then have our students apply them actively from context to context to context.
Knowledge@Wharton: Could you share an example of how you do that?
Nelson: One aspect of critical thinking, for example, is evaluating claims. There are various ways of evaluating claims. Sometimes you use logic, sometimes you use reasoning, which is different than logic, sometimes you do statistical analysis which is different than the other two, and sometimes you just think of a counter example.
Now there are different [types] of critical thinking. One example: making a decision tradeoff. Should we go down Path A or Path B? The technique for making a decision tradeoff is perhaps thinking through the cost-benefit analysis, which is a type of critical thinking.
If you say ‘I’m going to teach you critical thinking’ and you just try to teach it as a thing you will never succeed. [It is important to] go through it systemically and do the component parts – that’s the first aspect.
The second aspect is if you teach a person an idea, say evaluation of claims, the mind gets trained in a particular context. When somebody makes a claim, let’s say on an investment opportunity, or a political claim, the mind doesn’t really transfer those skills from one field to another. This is one of the fundamental problems of transferrable education. The way that you teach that is to provide exercise and applications in multiple fields.
How we teach is also radically different. The science of learning shows that the dissemination of information [through] lectures and test-based methodology simply doesn’t work. Six months after the end of a traditional lecture and test-based class, 90% of the material you were supposed to have learned is gone from your mind. In an active learning environment you struggle through information, and two years after the end of the class you retain 70%.
All of our classes, despite [being] small seminars with 15 to 19 students at a time, are done via live video online where there’s a camera pointed at every student’s face. The students are actively engaged with the materials, [and it is] not the professor lecturing — professors are not allowed to talk for more than four minutes at a time. The students get feedback on how they apply what they [learn].
“Six months after the end of a traditional lecture and test-based class, 90% of the material you were supposed to have learned is gone from your mind.”
Lastly [it is about] where we teach. We have created a university that takes advantage of the best the world has to offer. Being a Penn graduate, I always gravitated towards the idea of the urban campus. Our students live in the heart of cities in residence halls together, and have a very strong community. They spend their first year in the heart of San Francisco, but over the next three years across six semesters, as a cohort, as a group, they will travel and live in six different countries. So in their second year they go to Seoul and Hyderabad, and then to Berlin and Buenos Aires, then London and Taipei, and come back to San Francisco for a month to manifest their education and graduate.
Wind: While the concept is appealing, does it work? Describe the CLA test, and then talk about the implications of [your approach].
Nelson: The Collegiate Learning Assessment is provided by a third party nonprofit that has been testing and assessing students’ progress on critical thinking, problem-solving, scientific reasoning and effective communication skills for many years. It’s been administered to hundreds of thousands of students across hundreds of universities. It is administered to students at the beginning of their first year and at the end of their fourth year, and so you can measure [the] progress of students.
We provided [our students] the first-year test just before they started the first class at the beginning of the year. But rather than waiting four years, we gave our students the fourth-year test at the end of their first year, Eight months later, the results shocked us. Not only did our students after eight months have the highest composite score in the country compared to any other university that was assessing their students, the delta improvement they accomplished was higher than what the CLA has seen any university accomplish over four years.
Knowledge@Wharton: What drove those results?
Nelson: The silly answer would be to say, ‘Oh we’re brilliant and we’re great, and look at how amazing what we do is.’ The fact of the matter is we’ve got a lot of room to grow and improve. These results in many ways are much more damning of the existing system than they are generating praise for our brilliance.
We have taken publicly available scientifically published data on how the mind works. We’ve broken down the things that every university says that they teach or that they want to teach, and merely spent time putting together a curriculum that does that, and we’ve offered it to students. We’ve just done what anybody who would rationally approach trying to create a solution to a problem do.
I would bet you that if you had 100 institutions or 100 groups of people that were to do the same thing we would have done from scratch, we would have probably been better than some of them, maybe most of them, but not all of them. There would be some that on their first try would be even better than [us].
Wind: This is the value of idealized design. As opposed to trying to fix the current educational system by adding another course or trying to create a cross-disciplinary course, [Minerva] reexamines the whole purpose of education.
They didn’t go far enough, which is they are still within an academic context, and probably they will relax the academic context that is [with] semesters and the like, and get even better results. But even within this academic context and constraints, what they have done is amazing – the curriculum, the concept, and the way it’s developed for the benefit of the learner, and not the benefit of the faculty.
The [first] implication is, if you had a choice and you wanted to go to a university now, where would you go? If you want really great education, go to Minerva; [but if] you want to network, go to one of the top five schools — Penn, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and MIT. Minerva offers probably a different network than the traditional ones because it is a network of people who are willing to do it.
Nelson: Last year, for our third class ever, we received 20,400 applications. That is more applicants than MIT or Dartmouth got. The network you get in a Wharton or Harvard or Yale or what-have-you is [of] a certain kind. It is overwhelmingly American, [with] 80% or 90% from the U.S., and usually from particular socioeconomic backgrounds. Even though there is some diversity, it’s heavily weighted [in favor of that profile].
The Minerva network is radically different because 80% of our students are not from the U.S. — they come from 61 countries. We received these 20,000 applications from 179 countries. The experience and the network you build as you travel and live as a resident in these seven countries is unparalleled. If you want a global footprint, that’s what we provide.
Wind: The current educational system does not work. Implication two is that [universities] have to realize that they are being disrupted. At this stage [it is on a] small scale, but if other universities start adopting it, it can [become] large scale. [Minerva is] the disruptor here, and the signal to the legacy universities is, our model does not work. Stop trying to fix it by adding another Band-Aid, but try to rethink the educational system. And here you have a wonderful blueprint that works.
Nelson: We just wrote a book called Building the Intentional University, which is a blueprint for how other universities can create their own Minervas or reform in that sense. We are a residential university that grants undergraduate degrees with 120 credit hours, with majors and minors and electives and a general education curriculum. We are plug-and-play for universities. We offer potential salvation from disruption.
“The future is now. It has been here for a while, and with Minerva, Ben has recreated the university of the future.”
–Jerry (Yoram) Wind
What I have worried about is the other kind of disruptive force that can attack universities [and be] destructive, in the sense that in six months you get a high school degree, go to a boot camp and then get a six-figure job being a software programmer. We have put together an educational experience that enables university graduates to be better prepared than [with that] six-month boot camp. Because they are able to do higher level problem solving, they are going to be [software] architects as opposed to the programmers. They’re going to the ones that in a world of Watson and artificial intelligence and outsourcing are going to be much more future-proof.
Wind: An increasing number of people view employability as being critical, and a traditional university degree does not guarantee employability, [but] the new non-degree programs guarantee you a [job] position.
Knowledge@Wharton: Three or four years ago, a big potential disruptor was the so-called MOOC, or the Massive Open Online Course. A number of platforms came up [such as] Coursera, Udacity and EdX. It seemed like they were going to be disruptive, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. What happened with that so-called disruption and why did it fail?
Nelson: The jury is still somewhat out on that, and let me give you an example of what I think is happening on the surface. MIT had a master’s program in supply chain logistics, and it cost $60,000 for a two-semester program. As an experiment, [they put the] first semester on MOOCs, and rather than charging $30,000 for it, [gave] it away for free. If you want to get credit for it pay $250, [write] an exam, and then if you score well you [go] to campus, do a one-semester supplement, pay $30,000 and get a master’s degree.
This [halves] the cost of higher education for a master’s degree. Imagine if the Ivy League – or any university – [extended that to] all the courses they give academic credit for. Of the $250,000 that they are used to collecting and are reliant on [for each degree course, they] can only collect $100,000 because $150,000 is effectively given away for free. So far no university has an incentive to rock the boat too much on this. [However,] just because the disruption does not happen immediately doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Wind: The concern is that especially for the leading universities, it’s an excuse not to innovate. They are saying, ‘Look how innovative we are; we have MOOCs, or we offer classes on Coursera,’ and basically the rest of the education stays exactly the same way as it was before. Some of the findings suggest that less than 5% of the people who start ever finish the courses on Coursera or EdX. But there are some encouraging signs that if you add to the traditional Coursera course or EdX interaction, and if you provide some more gamification principles in terms of getting involved, you can increase the numbers significantly.
The advantage of this — with MIT, Stanford, Penn and other universities putting all of these courses online — is that the role of the faculty becomes easier as a curator. This is the fundamental change that we have to see in education.
Knowledge@Wharton: [In addition to] a network, one other factor that the Ivy League universities offer is the brand. When you have this innovative model like Minerva, how do you establish a brand that is acceptable to students as well as employers?
Nelson: Minerva was built as a positive brand. When you meet somebody at Minerva you know that they have … been given systematic frameworks of analysis that they can apply effectively to the rest of the world. Our challenge is to propagate that brand, to get people aware of it. The good news is that the internet is a very good way of disseminating information. Brand building in today’s world doesn’t take centuries; it doesn’t even take decades.
Wind: The final word on branding is always [from] the consumer. One, the best carrier of the brand, and especially on the positive side, would be the alumni. So the value of the degree, the value of the Minerva experience is a function of how good the alumni are. Two, a lot [depends] of the employability and demand for the Minerva students.
Nelson: It’s too early to tell.
Building the bacterial wall: The blue balls are wall-making proteins. The yellow represents a newly synthesized bacterial cell wall. The green color represents "scaffolding" proteins. Video: Janet Iwasa for Harvard Medical School..
They’re doing so because of a high-profile series of failures of automation, which have prompted a wave of intense pressure from investors, the public, and governments.
Tesla’s highly automated production line failed to produce cars at the rate CEO Elon Musk promised, prompting questions about the electric-car maker’s solvency. Systems at Google’s YouTube failed to flag extremist and exploitative videos. Russian operatives have worked to influence elections using Facebook, whose systems separately created categories of users with labels such as “Jew hater” that it then allowed advertisers to target.
While companies such as Google and Facebook still insist that they’re just distribution platforms rather than content creators and bear limited, if any, responsibility for most of the content they host, they’re increasingly acknowledging they need to do something to curb abuses. In the short-term at least, that approach usually involves more humans.
“Human are underrated,” tweeted Musk, as the company struggles to ramp up production of its Model 3 sedan. Musk has blamed an overly automated production process. “We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts… And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing,” he told CBS.
Meanwhile, Google and Facebook have been hiring thousands of people to monitor content and advertising on their platforms, amid backlash against their hosting of extremist videos and messages, videos depicting the exploitation of children, propaganda, and content created to manipulate electorates in the US and elsewhere.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reiterated to US legislators last week that the company planned to double its security and content moderation workers to 20,000 people by the end of the year—an investment that he acknowledged would hurt its profitability.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in December said the Google-owned video site aimed to have 10,000 people working to find and combat content that violates its policies, a 25% increase according to BuzzFeed.
Artificial-intelligence experts say Zuckerberg and other tech executives are over-optimistic about the timeline for computers identifying things such as toxic speech, and point to existing systems that fail at that task. A new Barclays research report says that humans are better than robots at “sensorimotor skills” and “cognitive functionality,” meaning humans are less clumsy than robots and are better at making decisions factoring in context and in cases where there’s incomplete information. There are reasons to be confident that humans will retain some of those advantages for decades into the future.
But any surge in hiring by tech companies is unlikely to significantly offset the toll on employment from the current wave of automation. And the jobs that such companies are hiring for at scale—such as people to watch videos for offensive content—tend to require lower skills, and pay lower wages.
Finding Five Unknown Variables
“The Smartest Immunologists I Know”
Outliers No More
Fluorescent-labeled cells used to train neural networks. Image: Allen Institute.
New 3D models of living human cells generated by machine-learning algorithms are allowing scientists to understand the structure and organization of a cell's components from simple microscope images.
Why it matters: The tool developed by the Allen Institute for Cell Science could be used to better understand how cancer and other diseases affect cells or how a cell develops and its structure changes — important information for regenerative medicine.
"Each cells has billions of molecules that, fortunately for us, are organized into dozens of structures and compartments that serve specialized functions that help cells operate," says Allen Institute's Graham Johnson, who helped develop the new model.
What they did: The researchers used gene editing to label the nucleus, mitochondria and other structures inside live human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) with fluorescent tags and took tens of thousands of images of the cells.
They then used those images to train a type of neural network known as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). That yielded a model that can predict the most likely shape of the structures and where they are in cells based on just the cell's plasma membrane and nucleus.
Using a different algorithm, they created a model that can take an image of a cell that hasn't been fluorescent-labeled — in which it's difficult to distinguish the cell's components ("it looks like static on an old TV set," Graham Johnson says) — and find the structures.
What they found: When they compare the predicted image to actual labeled ones, the Allen Institute researchers said they are nearly indistinguishable.
The advance: Gene editing and fluorescent dyes often used to study cells only allow a few components to be visualized at once and can be toxic, limiting how long researchers can observe a cell.
Plus, "knowledge gained from more expensive techniques or ones that take a while to do and do well can be inexpensively applied to everyone’s data," says the Allen Institute's Greg Johnson, who also worked on the tool. "This provides an opportunity to democratize science."
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The Science of Nootropics
Nootropics, broadly speaking, are substances that can safely enhance cognitive performance. They’re a group of (as yet unclassified) research chemicals, over-the-counter supplements, and a few prescription drugs, taken in various combinations—that are neither addictive nor harmful, and don’t come laden down with side-effects—that are basically meant to improve your brain’s ability to think.
Right now, it’s not entirely clear how nootropics as a group work, for several reasons. How effective any one component of a nootropic supplement (or a stack) is depends on many factors, including the neurochemistry of the user, which is connected to genes, mood, sleep patterns, weight, and other characteristics.
However, there are some startups creating and selling nootropics that have research scientists on their teams, with the aim of offering reliable, proven cognitive enhancers. Qualia is one such nootropic. This 42 ingredient supplement stack is created by the Neurohacker Collective, a group that boasts an interdisciplinary research team including Sara Adães, who has a PhD in neuroscience and Jon Wilkins, a Harvard PhD in biophysics.
Some of Qualia’s ingredients are found in other stacks: Noopept, for example, and Vitamin B complex are some of the usual suspects in nootropics. Green tea extract, L-Theanine, Taurine, and Gingko Biloba are also familiar to many users, although many of the other components might stray into the exotic for most of us. Mucuna Pruriens, for example, is a source of L-Dopa, which crosses the blood–brain barrier, to increase concentrations of dopamine in the brain; L-Dopa is commonly used to treat dopamine-responsive dystonia and Parkinson’s disease.
Most transformative medicines originate in curiosity-driven science, evidence says....
Would we be wise to prioritize “shovel-ready” science over curiosity-driven, fundamental research programs? In the long term, would that set the stage for the discovery of more medicines?
To find solid answers to these questions, scientists at Harvard and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR), publishing in Science Translational Medicine, looked deep into the discovery of drugs and showed that, in fact, fundamental research is “the best route to the generation of powerful new medicines.”
“The discoveries that lead to the creation of a new medicine do not usually originate in an experiment that sets out to make a drug. Rather, they have their origins in a study — or many studies — that seek to understand a biological or chemical process,” said Mark Fishman, one of three authors of the study. “And often many years pass, and much scientific evidence accumulates, before someone realizes that maybe this work holds relevance to a medical therapy. Only in hindsight does it seem obvious.”
Fishman is a professor in the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, a faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and former president of NIBR. He is a consultant for Novartis and MPM Capital, and is on the board of directors of Semma Therapeutics and the scientific advisory board of Tenaya Therapeutics.
CRISPR-cas9 is a good example of discovery biology that opened new opportunities in therapeutics. It started as a study of how bacteria resist infection by viruses. Scientists figured out how the tools that bacteria use to cut the DNA of an invading virus could be used to edit the human genome, and possibly to target genetic diseases directly.
The origins of CRISPR-Cas9 were not utilitarian, but those discoveries have the potential to open a new field of genomic medicine.
Blood pressure medicines would never have been created without the discovery of the role of renin (a renal extract) in regulating blood pressure in 1898.
Blood pressure medication is another example of how fundamental discoveries can lead to transformative medicines.
People who suffer from high blood pressure often take drugs that act by blocking the angiotensin-converting enzyme. Those medicines would never have been created without the discovery of the role of renin (a renal extract) in regulating blood pressure in 1898, or without the discovery of angiotensin in 1939, or without the solid understanding of how the enzyme works, shown in 1956.
This work was not tied earlier to making pills for hypertension, mainly because hypertension was generally believed to be harmless until the 1950s, when studies showed its relationship to heart disease. Before then, the control of blood pressure was itself a fundamental science, beginning with Stephen Hales’ measurement of blood pressure in a horse in 1733.
The discovery of ACE inhibitors really reflects the convergence of two fields of fundamental, curiosity-driven discovery.
Yet some observers believe that projects that can demonstrate up front that they could produce something useful should take priority over projects that explore fundamental questions. Would there be many more medicines if academics focused more on programs with practical outcomes? How would that shift affect people in the future?
To find answers, Fishman and his colleagues investigated the many scientific and historical paths that have led to new drugs. The study they produced is a contemporary look at the evidence linking basic research to new medicines.
The authors used a list of the 28 drugs defined by other scientists as the “most transformative” medicines in the United States between 1985 and 2009. The group examined:
Whether the drug’s discovery began with an observation about the roots of disease;
Whether the biologist believed that it would be relevant to making a new medicine; and
How long it took to realize that.
To mitigate bias, the researchers repeatedly corroborated the assignment with outside experts.
They found that eight out of 10 of the medicines on their list led back to a fundamental discovery — or series of discoveries — without a clear path to a new drug.
The average time from discovery to new drug approval was 30 years, the majority of which was usually spent in academia, before pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies started the relevant drug development programs.
Fishman concluded, “We cannot predict which fundamental discovery will lead to a new drug. But I would say, from this work and my experiences both as a drug discoverer and a fundamental scientist, that the foundation for the next wave of great drugs is being set today by scientists driven by curiosity about the workings of nature.”
What industry and academic leaders say..
Leaders in biomedicine from industry, business, and academia warmly welcome this new body of evidence, as it supports the case for funding curiosity-driven, non-directed, fundamental research into the workings of life.
“This perspective on drug discovery reminds all of us that while many in both industry and academia have been advocating for a more rational approach to R&D, the scientific substrate we depend on results from a less than orderly process. The impact of basic research and sound science is often unpredictable and underestimated. With several telling examples, the authors illustrate how they can have a ripple effect through our field.”
– Jean-François Formela, M.D., Partner, Atlas Venture...
“The paper presents a compelling argument for investing in fundamental, curiosity-driven science. If it often takes decades to recognize when a new discovery should prompt a search for targeted therapeutics, we should continue to incentivize academic scientists to follow their nose and not their wallets.”
– George Daley, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School
“There is a famous story of a drunk looking for his lost keys under a streetlight because the light is better there. As Mark reminds us, if we only look for cures where the light has already shone, we will make few if any new discoveries. Basic research shines a light into the dark corners of our understanding, and by that light we can find wonderful new things.”
— Dr Laurie Glimcher, M.D., President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
“The importance of fundamental discovery to advances in medicine has long been a central tenet of academic medicine, and it is wonderful to see that tenet supported by this historical analysis. For those of us committed to supporting this pipeline, it is a critical reminder that young scientists must be supported to pursue out-of-the-box questions and even new fields. In the end, that is one of the key social goods that a research university provides to future generations.”
— Katrina Armstrong, M.D., M.S.C.E., Physician-in-Chief, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
“Human genetics is powering important advances in translational medicine, opening new doors to treatments for both common and rare diseases at an increasingly rapid pace. Yet, these discoveries still require fundamental, basic scientific understanding into the drug targets’ mechanism of action. In this way, the potential of the science can be unlocked through a combination of curiosity, agility, and cross-functional collaboration to pursue novel therapeutic modalities like gene and cellular therapies, living biologics, and devices. This paper illustrates the value of following the science with an emphasis on practical outcomes and is highly relevant in today’s competitive biopharmaceutical environment, where much of the low-hanging fruit has already been harvested.”
– Andy Plump, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.
“Medicine depends on scientists asking questions, collectively and over generations, about how nature works. The evidence provided by Fishman and colleagues supports an already strong argument for continued and expanded funding of our nation’s primary source of fundamental science: the NIH and the NSF.”
– Douglas Melton, Ph.D., Xander University Professor at Harvard, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute
“Just as we cannot translate a language we do not understand, translational medicine cannot exist without fundamental insights to be converted into effective therapies. In their excellent review, Fishman and his colleagues bring the factual evidence needed to enrich the current debate about the optimal use of public funding of biomedical research. The product of public research funding should be primarily fundamental knowledge. The product of industrial R&D should be primarily transformative products based on this knowledge.”
— Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President Global R&D Sanofi, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, 2002-2008
“Fundamental research is the driver of scientific knowledge. This paper demonstrates that fundamental research led to most of the transformative medicines approved by the FDA between 1985 and 2009. Because many genes and genetic pathways are evolutionarily conserved, discoveries made from studies of organisms that are highly tractable experimentally, such as yeasts, worms, and flies, have often led to and been integrated with findings from studies of more complex organisms to reveal the bases of human disease and identify novel therapeutic targets.”
– H. Robert Horvitz, Nobel Laureate; David H. Koch Professor, Member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“This meticulous and important study of the origin of today’s most successful drugs finds convincingly that the path to discovery lies through untargeted fundamental research. The authors’ clear analysis is an effective counter to today’s restless investors, academic leaders, and philanthropists, whose impatience with academic discovery has itself become an impediment to the conquest of disease.”
— Marc Kirschner, John Franklin Enders University Professor, Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
“Some ask if there is a Return on Investment (ROI) in basic biomedical research. With transformative therapies as the ‘R,’ this work traces the path back to the starting ‘I,’ and repeatedly turns up untargeted academic discoveries — not infrequently, two or more that are unrelated to each other. Conclusion? A nation that wants the ‘R’ to keep coming must maintain, or better, step up the ‘I’: that is, funding for curiosity-driven, basic research.”
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Despite its promise, a lack of spatial-temporal context is one of the challenges to making the most of single-cell analysis techniques. For example, information on the location of cells is particularly important when looking at how a common form of early-stage breast cancer, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) progresses to a more invasive form, called invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). “Exactly how DCIS invasion occurs genomically remains poorly understood,” said Nicholas Navin, Ph.D., associate professor of Genetics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Navin is a pioneer in the field, developing one of the first methods for scDNA-seq.
Cellular spatial data is critical for knowing whether tumor cells are DCIS or IDC. So, Navin developed topographical single-cell sequencing (TSCS). Navin and a team of researchers published their findings in February 2018 in Cell. “What we found was that, within the ducts, mutations had already occurred and had generated multiple clones and those clones migrated into the invasive areas,” Navin said.
Navin and his colleagues are also using single-cell techniques to study how triple-negative breast cancer, becomes resistant to the standard from of treatment for the disease, neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. In that work, published in an April 2018 online issue of Cell, using scDNA-seq and scRNAseq, Navin and his colleagues found responses to chemotherapy were pre-existing, thus adaptively selected. However, the expression of resistant genes was acquired by subsequent reprogramming as a result of chemotherapy. “Our data raise the possibility of therapeutic strategies to overcome chemoresistance by targeting pathways identified in this study,” Navin said.
The authors of research published in 2017 in Genome Biology also identified lineage tracing as one of the technologies that will “likely have wide-ranging applications in mapping developmental and disease-progression trajectories.” In March researchers published an online study in Nature in which they combined single-cell analysis with a lineage tracing technique, called GESTALT (genome editing of synthetic target arrays for lineage tracing), to define cell type and location in the juvenile zebrafish brain.
The combined technique, called scGESTALT, uses CRISPR-Cas9 to perform the lineage tracing and single-cell RNA sequencing to extract the lineage records. Cas9-induced mutations accumulate in a CRISPR barcode incorporated into an animal’s genome. These mutations are passed onto daughter cells and their progenies over several generations and can be read via sequencing. This information has allowed researchers to build lineage trees. Using single-cell analysis, the team could then determine the diversity of cell types and their lineage relationships. Collectively, this work provided a snapshot of how cells and cell types diverge in lineages as the brain develops. “Single-cell analysis is providing us with a lot of information about small differences at cell type-specific levels, information that is missed when looking at the tissue-wide level,” said Bushra Raj, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Alex Schier’s lab at Harvard University and first author on the paper.
Raj’s collaborators included University of Washington’s Jay Shendure, Ph.D., and Harvard Medical School’s Allon Klein, Ph.D., pioneers in the field of single-cell analysis. The team sequenced 60,000 cells from the entire zebrafish brain across multiple animals. The researchers identified more than 100 cell types in the juvenile brain, including several neuronal types and subtypes in distinct regions, and dozens of marker genes. “What was unknown was the genetic markers for many of these cell types,” Raj explained. “This work is a stepping stone,” she added. “It’s easy to see how we might one day compare normal gene–expression maps of the brain and other organs to help characterize changes that occur in congenital disease or cancer.”
Raj credits single-cell analysis with accelerating the field of developmental biology.
“People have always wanted to work at the level of the cell, but the technology was lacking,” she said. “Now that we have all of these sequenced genomes, and now that we have these tools that allow us to compartmentalize individual cells, this seems like the best time to challenge ourselves as researchers to understand the nitty-gritty details we weren’t able to assay before.”
A gold leaf paint and ink depiction of the Plasmodium falciparum lifecycle by Alex Cagan.
Human disease-relevant scRNA-seq is not just for vertebrates. For example, a team of researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute are working on developing a Malaria Cell Atlas. Their goal is to use single-cell technology to produce gene activity profiles of individual malaria parasites throughout their complex lifecycle. “The sequencing data we get allows us to understand how the parasites are using their genomes,” said Adam Reid, Ph.D., a senior staff scientist at the Sanger. In March 2018, the team published the first part of the atlas, detailing its results for the blood stage of the Plasmodium lifecycle in mammals. Reid contends these results will change the fight against malaria. “Malaria research is a well-funded and very active area of research. We’ve managed to get quite a bit of understanding of how the parasite works. What single-cell analysis is doing is allowing us to better understand the parasite in populations. We thought they were all doing the same thing. But, now we can see they are behaving differently.”
The ability to amplify very small amounts of RNA was the key innovation for malaria researchers. “When I started doing transcriptome analysis 10 years ago, we needed to use about 5 micrograms of RNA. Now, we can use 5 pico grams, 1 million times less,” Reid said. That innovation allows scientists like Reid to achieve unprecedented levels of resolution in their work. For Reid, increased resolution means there is hope that science will be able to reveal how malaria evades the immune system in humans and how the parasites develop resistance to drugs. Reid predicted the Atlas will serve as the underpinning for work by those developing malaria drugs and vaccines. “They will know where in the life cycle genes are used and where they are being expressed,” he said. Drug developers can then target those genes. The Atlas should be complete in the next two years, Reid added.
In the meantime, Reid and his colleagues are focused on moving their research from the lab to the field, particularly to Africa. “We want to look at these parasites in real people, in real settings, in real diseases states,” he explained. Having access to fresher samples is one reason to take the research into the field. “The closer we can get to the disease, the better chance we have of making an impact.” Reid anticipates that RNA-seq technology is on the verge of being portable enough to go into the field (see Preparing scRNA-seq for the Clinic & the Field). Everything from instrumentation to software is developing rapidly, he said. Reid also said that the methods used to understand the malaria parasite will likely be used to understand and create atlases for other disease vectors.
It is clear to those using single-cell analysis in basic research that the path ahead includes using the techniques in the clinic. “As the technologies become more stable, there will be a lot of opportunities for clinical applications,” Navin said. These include early detection by sampling for cancer markers in urine, prostate fluid, and the like. It also includes non-invasive monitoring of rare circulating tumor cells, as well as personalizing treatment decisions using specific markers. These methods will be particularly useful in the case of samples that today would be labeled QNS, or ‘quantity not sufficient.’ “Even with QNS samples, these methods allow you to get high-quality datasets to guide treatment decisions.”
The complete Global Firepower list for 2018 puts the military powers of the world into full perspective.
The finalized Global Firepower ranking relies on over 55 individual factors to determine a given nation's PowerIndex ('PwrIndx') score. Our unique formula allows for smaller, more technologically-advanced, nations to compete with larger, lesser-developed, ones. Modifiers (in the form of bonuses and penalties) are added to further refine the list. Some qualities to observe in regards to the finalized ranking:
+ Ranking does not rely solely on the total number of weapons available to any one country (though it is a factor) but rather focuses on weapon diversity within the number totals to provide a better balance of firepower available. For example, fielding 100 minesweepers does not equal the strategic / tactical value of fielding 10 aircraft carriers.
+ Nuclear stockpiles are NOT taken into account but recognized / suspected nuclear powers do receive a bonus.
+ First World, Second World, and Third World statuses are taken into account.
+ Geographical factors, logistical flexibility, natural resources, and local industry influence the final ranking.
+ Available manpower is a key consideration; nations with large populations tend to rank higher due to the availability of personnel for supporting both war and industry.
+ Land-locked nations are NOT penalized for lack of a navy, however, naval powers ARE penalized for lack of diversity in available assets. For example, 100 patrol boats does not equate the same advantage that fielding 4 guided-missile frigates and 2 nuclear-attack submarines does.
+ NATO allies receive a slight bonus due to the theoretical sharing of resources should one of the members commit to war.
+ Financial stability / strength is taken into account as finances represent one of several important factors in running a successful campaign.
+ Current political / military leadership is NOT taken into account as this can be highly subjective and not necessarily influence in-the-field indivudal combat performance.
For 2018 there are a total of 136 countries included in the GFP database. New to 2018 are Ireland, Montenegro, and Liberia.
Arrow graphics correspond to each nation's placement against the previous year's list. Green Arrows indicate an increase in rank whilst Red Arrows reflect a decline. Gray 'Double Arrows' reflect no change in ranking; this does not necessarily indicate that no changes occurred across individual values but more so that changes were not great enough to affect year-over-year ranking. Increases/declines are based on many factors and can be related to attrition, financial instability, population fluxes and the like.
View the Global list
View India's Firepower Details
View comparison between the fire power of China and India
Diversity means different things to different people. In a study of 180 Spanish corporate managers, we explored perceptions of diversity and found that depending on who is answering, diversity usually means one of three things: demographic diversity (our gender, race, sexual orientation, and so on), experiential diversity (our affinities, hobbies, and abilities), and cognitive diversity (how we approach problems and think about things). All three types shape identity — or rather, identities.
Demographic diversity is tied to our identities of origin — characteristics that classify us at birth and that we will carry around for the rest of our lives. Experiential diversity is based on life experiences that shape our emotional universe. Affinity bonds us to people with whom we share some of our likes and dislikes, building emotional communities. Experiential diversity influences we might call identities of growth. Cognitive diversity makes us look for other minds to complement our thinking: what we might call identities of aspiration.
It is important to remember that categories only serve the purpose of classification; in the real world, differences between these categories are blurred. Diversity is dynamic. But we believe this diversity framework, though somewhat artificial (as all frameworks are) can be useful to companies who are trying to refresh their approach to managing diversity. What kind of diversity does your company focus on? Could you benefit from broadening your perspective? Let’s take a closer look at each in turn.
Managing identities of origin. Since the 1980s, most global companies have developed diversity and inclusion policies led by human resources. The most frequent include: assessment tools (climate surveys, statistics monitoring, minority targets), human resources programs (flexible policies, mentoring or coaching), communication campaigns, and training programs.
Consider Sodexho. In 2002 the company hired a chief diversity officer, Anand Rohini, to make diversity a priority. Some of the diversity priorities at Sodexho focused on gender, ethnicity, disabilities, and age. Its diversity strategy included a series of systems and processes covering human resources policies (such as flexibility measures, training, selection processes and career services); diversity scorecards; and quantitative targets, mainly regarding numbers of women and minorities, not only in the organization in general but also in leadership positions. By 2005 Sodexho was widely recognized as a diversity champion. For more than a decade it has been consistently ranked among the best of the DiversityInc top 50 list, and Anand Rohini has been widely recognized as a global diversity champion.
For Sodexho and other companies taking a similar approach, the result is an enhanced company image and reputation. Talented individuals in general, but from minorities in particular, select companies in which they expect to feel appreciated.
Managing identities of growth. Identities of growth often provide us with a feeling of security. Our likes and dislikes change over time, and so our affinity groups change. Identities of growth dictate who we spend time with.
Many companies have developed friendship-based communities among employees, typically organizing activities such as weekends away, departmental Christmas parties, and so on, in a bid to create emotional ties between workers and the company. But because emotional communities are held together as much by the likes as by the dislikes of members, they can be unpredictable and difficult to manage in the long term. As a result, these emotional communities can sometimes work to the benefit of organizations, but they can just as often end up having the opposite effect, particularly when people share a dislike for certain policies, a particular boss, or for what they consider to be an unfair situation.
Our research suggests that the best policy for dealing with communities of growth is through minimum intervention. Emotional communities will emerge in organizations, whether management likes it or not, and will have a life of their own. For that reason it is best to take a neutral position. Creating affinity groups is positive for the company. But these groups should always be voluntary and develop at their own pace, without management interference.
Managing identities of aspiration. Our cognitive differences find their place in a community of aspiration. In those communities, we are valued for our unique way of understanding and interpreting the world. A community of aspiration is a space where our ideas are valued for their contribution to a common project, regardless of our different traits or individual likes or dislikes.
Innovative organizations are shifting from managing units to managing challenges or projects, asking employees to voluntarily join projects, creating structures where employees can move out of their comfort zones to join temporary communities of aspiration that strengthen cross-organizational ties and help the company achieve its strategic goals.
Corporate experience shows that the most effective strategy for companies to manage communities of aspiration is to create the contexts and the projects for them to emerge.
Valve Corporation, a video game developer, has defined a unique corporate structure with no bosses or managers at all. Each member of the company is invited to define their contribution to the company according to their choices and preferences. A highly talented developer specialized in graphics animation might choose to work on a game by assuming a “group contributor role,” becoming part of the group developing that game.
After finishing this “group contribution,” the same person might choose to work in a more individualistic fashion on the next task. This “free to choose” approach is mirrored in the firm’s office design. Valve offices incorporate wheeled desks to foster mobility and allow the fast configuration and reconfiguration of groups as well as individual work.
Understanding multiple types of diversity is particularly relevant in our tribal times. Individuals now construct identities consciously. We want to play with a multiplicity of identities and use them in as many different roles as their different affiliations allow.
We live in complex times, when complex solutions are need it and where a one solution for all approach no longer works. Each form of diversity is different and requires its own management strategy to effectively integrate people. Diversity is a journey and, like any journey, requires careful navigation.
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Bill Gates's next investment in Alzheimer’s research is in a new fund called Diagnostics Accelerator. This project of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) aims to accelerate bold new ideas for earlier and better diagnosis of the disease. Bill Gates is planning to invest more than 30 million for this cause.
Now please read the article.....
When I announced that I was investing in Alzheimer’s research for the first time last fall, I thought I knew what to expect. I knew I would get to engage more deeply with the brilliant scientists and advocates working to stop Alzheimer’s—and I haven’t been disappointed. The things I’ve seen over the last seven months make me more hopeful than ever.
The idea that science skills are innate and great discoveries are made only by “lone geniuses” is losing traction in STEM.
Breaking the mindset
Hidden biases and combatting stereotypes
Changing the face of STEM
Learning to appreciate physics
Shocking : Water turns red,as nearby nickel processing plant says cause is decades of contamination in Soviet times which company is working to overcome.
Here’s how to assemble your personal dream team, with tips from business expert Anthony Tjan.
Mentor #1: The master of craft
Mentor #2: The champion of your cause
Mentor #3: The copilot
Mentor #4: The anchor
Mentor #5: The reverse mentor
Here’s something to digest: Scientists in Cincinnati have grown miniature versions of an esophagus, the organ responsible for guiding your food to your stomach. And in a first, they did it entirely using human stem cells.
Called organoids, these tiny balls of lab-grown tissue resemble a real human esophagus, the researchers report today in the journal Cell Stem Cell. Previously, scientists succeeded in growing all sorts of organoids—stomachs, kidneys, brains, and even an esophagus made using mature patient tissue as the starting material. (Here’s how one team used a spinach leaf to create a mini beating heart.)
These tiny organs-in-a-dish help scientists study how organs develop normally, and they’re used to figure out how these body parts go wrong, giving rise to cancer and other disorders.
“Three-dimensional laboratory models of human esophagus are badly needed, especially since the mouse anatomy is fundamentally different to a human’s,” says Rebecca Fitzgerald, an esophageal cancer researcher at the University of Cambridge who wasn’t involved in the study.
And since organoids act as a kind of stand-in for the real thing, they can also be used to test drugs to better predict how patients might respond to different treatments. (For instance, artificial wombs may help with premature births.)
“Because they grow in a petri dish, we can poke and prod them all we want,” says James Wells, senior author on the new study and chief scientific officer of the Cincinnati Children's Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine.
Follow the Recipe
Wells and his colleagues started with induced pluripotent stem cells, a kind of “master” cell that has the ability to become any other cell in the body. To make them turn into specialized esophagus cells, investigators added a mixture of chemicals and proteins to the stem cells.
“These act as cues or signals that help to guide those pluripotent stem cells into specifically forming esophageal tissues,” Wells says. “It’s like following a recipe.”
One key step in this recipe was the gene Sox2 and its associated protein, which have been linked to esophageal conditions. The team found that this gene plays a central role in helping the esophagus develop in a human embryo. It took about two months to grow the tiny blobs—each about a millimeter wide—in the lab. (Other researchers have used human stem cells to grow sheep-human hybrids to help with organ regeneration.)
Wells and his Cincinnati team are already growing a few organoids to help diagnose patients who have medical conditions that affect the esophagus, like congenital birth defects. It’s part of the hospital’s bigger effort to create personalized mini-organs from pediatric patients with gastrointestinal disorders.
“So let’s just say, in the clinic they’ve done everything they can to figure out what’s wrong with the patient using all the standard clinical tests,” Wells explains.
The patient gets put into a custom-made MRI machine, which renders a 3-D image of the child’s organs. That image is sent to a team of surgeons, who will try to figure out if the organs can be surgically repaired. Meanwhile, doctors take a tiny piece of tissue from the patient and send it off to Wells’ lab, which makes stem cells from the tissue sample and then grows the organoids. Being able to examine these mini-organs up close, outside of a patient, can lead to a diagnosis.
Opening Up Possibilities
In the future, Wells hopes to be able to grow organoids that could be transplanted back into patients born with unhealthy or missing esophagus tissue. He says this could also work in adults who have had parts of their esophagus removed due to cancer.
“In the long term, we want to make tissue to help the surgeons reconstruct the esophagus in cases where there’s too much missing for the surgeon to correct,” Well says. But that’s likely several years away.
Using stem cells as a starting material “may be a major plus, since some patients may lack healthy esophageal tissue from which to try to engineer a new esophagus,” says Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell biologist at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine.
It’s also possible that esophageal organoids made from stem cells rather than patient tissue may grow bigger or produce more types of cells that occur naturally in the esophagus, he says. One thing that was missing from the esophagus-in-a-dish, for instance: The open space where food and liquids would go, called the lumen.
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Summary: Researchers report a gut-brain neural circuit establishes the vagus nerve as an essential component of the brain system that regulates reward and motivation.
Leaders who understand how brains work can make themselves and their teams more nimble, innovative, and resilient.
Kevin Chin wants his executives to limber up their brains.
Chin's investment company, Arowana, based in Sydney, Australia, is expanding into London, Los Angeles, and Asia, and "it is imperative to have a senior leadership team that is mentally agile and resilient," says Chin. Last year, the entrepreneur began working with Tara Swart, a neuroscientist, executive coach, and lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Now, he is extending that coaching to his top decision-makers so they, too, can get in touch with their amygdala.
Interest in applying neuroscience to business has been mounting for decades. One reason, according to Swart, is that leaders prefer the idea of optimizing an organ--which is tangible--to the idea of optimizing behavior--which is not. "If I say, 'You need to be more emotionally intelligent,' I have had people respond, 'I don't understand what I'm supposed to do,'" she says. "If I tell them, 'You can build a pathway in your brain that will make it easier for you,' then many are more willing to embark on that process."
Optimized thinking requires a healthy brain, and so part of Swart's advice falls into the familiar sleep-eat-hydrate-and-exercise domain. Disturbed sleep is particularly damaging. Your IQ can take a hit of 5 percent or more after a bad night. (Swart began working with Chin to combat the debilitating effects of jet lag on his sleep and, consequently, his thinking.)
A well-fed, rested, and oxygenated brain is necessary for mental resilience and peak performance amid stress and uncertainty. "When all other things are equal, mental resilience is the factor that really distinguishes the CEO," says Swart. To improve resilience and performance, Swart recommends leaders work on the following:
"Everything you have experienced in your life has molded and shaped your brain to favor certain behaviors and habits," says Swart. But those behaviors and habits may not be optimal. By focusing attention on and repeatedly practicing new, desirable behaviors, leaders can redirect their brains' chemical, hormonal, and physical resources to create new pathways. The old ones, meanwhile, wither from lack of use.
Learning--particularly attention-heavy subjects like a language or a musical instrument--is the best way to enhance plasticity. "The fact that you are forced to attend to things that your brain hasn't experienced before has its own benefit apart from what you learn," says Swart. "The brain becomes more flexible, which [supports] things like being able to regulate your emotions, solve complex problems, and think more creatively."
2. Brain agility
To be nimble, you must think nimbly. Brain agility is the ability to switch seamlessly among different ways of thinking: from the logical to the intuitive to the creative. Agility may be particularly important for entrepreneurs. "The fact that the brain is likely to think in diverse ways or absorb diverse ideas means that you are more likely to spot trends, pivot, be ahead of the curve," says Swart.
Multitaskers who try to use several modes of thinking at once generally do less well at all of them. Swart recommends working on problems consecutively and looking at them from different angles. Leaders can also leverage different thinking styles within their teams.
3. Mindset mastery
People with fixed mindsets believe traits like intelligence and talent are settled. People with growth mindsets see themselves as works in progress who develop their intelligence and talent through hard work. A fixed mindset leads to stagnation: a growth mindset to innovation and progress.
Leaders with fixed mindsets should use neuroplasticity to try to move themselves toward growth, according to Swart. For entrepreneurs, that may not be a stretch. "It is about your appetite for risk and attitude toward failure, so it makes sense that entrepreneurs are more comfortable with this," she says.
A hyperactive world places impossible demands on limited brains. Stress rises. Decision-making suffers. Swart advises that leaders practice mindfulness--focusing on their bodies, breathing, and thoughts in the moment--as a way to reduce stress hormones and multiply folds in the part of the brain associated with executive function. She is also an advocate of reducing noncritical decisions. "Figure out what you are going to wear the night before or wear the same thing every day," she says.
Leaders who know how to improve their own brain function can then apply those lessons to their companies. For example, by creating cross-functional work programs they help employees forge new neuro-pathways and develop brain flexibility as they master unfamiliar knowledge and skills.
Leaders can also use their understanding of the brain to drive fear and stress out of the workplace and to develop trust. Stress spikes cortisol in the brain, which negatively affects thinking and the ability to control emotions. At sustained levels, people go into survival mode.
By contrast, "if you are in a really exciting environment where you have got lots of the hormone oxytocin flowing around your organization, you are more likely to make decisions that are not based on scarcity and survival but on abundance," says Swart. Innovation and risk-taking flourish.
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