A team led by scientists in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has engineered powerful new antimicrobial molecules from toxic proteins found in wasp venom. The team hopes to develop the molecules into new bacteria-killing drugs, an important advancement considering increasing numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can cause illness such as sepsis and tuberculosis.
In the study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers altered a highly toxic small protein from a common Asian wasp species, Vespula lewisii, the Korean yellow-jacket wasp. The alterations enhanced the molecule’s ability to kill bacterial cells while greatly reducing its ability to harm human cells. In animal models, the scientists showed that this family of new antimicrobial molecules made with these alterations could protect mice from otherwise lethal bacterial infections.
There is an urgent need for new drug treatments for bacterial infections, as
Bringing a new robot to market is exciting: new capability, new hardware, new services. The problem is when you get to software, where everything feels harder and takes longer than you think it should. Like Tesla’s full self-driving, which has all the hardware and intelligence it needs — with the possible exception of LIDAR — but is perpetually just … about … to … arrive … and even so, was recently savaged by Consumer Reports as buggy and ineffective.
Hardware is necessary, but software provides the animating intelligence that allows it to do useful, efficient, and safe work.
That’s why Nader Elm, CEO of autonomous drone company Exyn Technologies, compared robots today to the iPhone before the App Store: the hardware’s there, but the software layer is immature.
Technology is shifting the way industries market to, acquire, and serve consumers. To understand how technology will impact the financial services industry, I turned to Jonathan Metrick, the Chief Growth Officer for Portage Ventures, a fintech focused VC. Below are his insights.
Kimberly Whitler: How does your experience provide a unique perspective on tech and the financial services industry?
Jonathan Metrick: My unique perspective comes from my experience on both the investing & operating sides of fintech (financial technology). My role as Chief Growth Officer at Portage Ventures allows me to see the breadth of the industry, by advising over a dozen fintech businesses across our global portfolio on marketing & growth. Prior to this role, I was the CMO of Policygenius, the leading insurtech marketplace in the US, where I gained deep expertise building a marketing division of +40 and helping scale the business 10x in three