The newsletter to fuel — and thrill — your mind. Read for deep dives into the unmissable ideas and topics shaping our world.
Jan 05, 2022
Science and health have been foremost on everyone’s minds for going on two years now. Round after round of COVID-19 variant has us wondering: What’s next? Where (and when) will this all end? What we do know is that science, once cast aside as something other people worked over and worried about, is now and perhaps ever more set to play a critical role in our collective everyday thoughts and actions. With that in mind, today’s Daily Dose is here to deliver some of the most important upcoming names, in no order of priority, in the worlds of science and health.
1 - Jennifer Doudna
The CRISPR pioneer is facilitating research that explores gene therapy for everything from Down Syndrome to Huntington’s disease. Teaming up with Umea University molecular biologist Emmanuelle Charpentier, Doudna unearthed the first clue when she found that a protein called Cas9 acts like a pair of molecular scissors. A CRISPR RNA fragment hooks up with Cas9 to precisely target the DNA of an invading virus, which it then cuts and destroys. Her game-changing technology takes a mysterious bacterial genetic code and transforms it into a powerful tool for cutting and pasting bits of genetic material. She also won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry.
2 - Brian Arbogast
His friends call him “Mr. Shit” — and that’s a compliment. The former Microsoft VP has gone from software to toilet tech. Now the director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Gates Foundation, Arbogast is paving the way for life-saving tech at a time when 4.5 billion people lack access to safe sanitation. The Gates Foundation has created a global challenge that over the past decade has encouraged innovators to design toilets that effectively and affordably manage human waste — from solar-powered ones to “Tiger Toilets” that utilize a worm to break down waste.
3 - Neha Satak
The Indian scientist entrepreneur challenging some of the giants of the private space industry. While Elon Musk’s SpaceX is mastering launch vehicles and OneWeb, Jeff Bezos’ and Greg Wyler’s firm, is developing satellites, Satak’s startup Astrome is promising something none of those tech biggies can offer yet: high-capacity satellite transponders that could revolutionize access to the internet in remote parts of the world. The main subject of her research, though she took several side projects, was called incomplete information games. It takes off from John Nash’s game theory, but here the goals of other players are not known.
His company, Strand, is rooted in technology he built while earning his doctorate at MIT — a delivery platform that allows you to “turn vaccines on and off” with a pill that triggers the release process. The implications of such tech are powerful: Many vaccines include two doses plus a booster administered weeks apart, which makes them difficult to get to rural areas, where poor and less-educated patients may face challenges getting to the doctor’s office even once. That’s the idea Becraft’s working with: a single dose can be administered, with the patient taking a pill to trigger the second part of the process later.
After spending 15 years as a public relations and marketing executive, it wasn’t until 2015 that Rice started practicing yoga as a form of stress relief. Looking around the room, though, it became very clear that there weren’t many Black yogis — despite the clear ways the mental and physical effects could help them in particular. Two years later, Rice started OMNoire — a yoga and spin class geared toward diverse practitioners. She’s part of the many yoga studios shaking up the wellness industry by ensuring health brands typically marketed exclusively to white, affluent communities are accessible to people of color as well.
7 - Yaron Segal
When Israeli geophysicist Yaron Segal’s son was born with familial dysautonomia, a rare disorder of the autonomic nervous system, he decided it was time for a career change. Partnering with two friends, Segal’s startup, BrainQ, has developed a device that promises to revolutionize the treatment of brain disorders by identifying neural damage early and then getting an algorithm to devise a personalized treatment for traumatic brain injuries or strokes. It has also developed an electromagnetic, wave-based therapy for stroke patients that in a recent small study helped reduce disability.
8 - Richard Brookshire
When Brookshire left the Army, he seemed to be doing fine, but then his world came crashing down as he battled depression. He had been inspired to serve during Barack Obama's barrier-breaking presidency and ended up being deployed to Afghanistan. Brookshire struggled to reenter civilian society amid the start of the Black Lives Matter movement and America’s recent bout with racial turmoil. His experience inspired him to co-found the Black Veterans Project to help preserve their history and provide them with resources to readjust to civilian life.
9 - Fabiola Piñacué
Colombia has long struggled with drug trafficking. Fabiola Piñacué is helping Colombia create a new identity using the same coca that also goes into making cocaine. She’s relying on the spiritual and medicinal qualities of the plant as the founder of the country’s first company to sell commercial coca-based products. But coca is also becoming a fixture in everyday lives. More people are replacing coffee with coca while these products are increasingly easy to find in outdoor markets, alternative medicine shops and even airports. Try her coca tea and you’ll never need energy drinks again.
10 - Naoko Yamamoto
A trained epidemiologist, Yamamoto has served in multiple health-related positions in the Japanese government and worked at the WHO. But it’s as a member of the Global Happiness Council — a collective of scientists and researchers focused on happiness and well-being — that she’s proposing the most radical shift for Japan. Yamamoto believes the Dutch de-stressing method of doing nothing (called niksen) is the need of the hour. The inability of her Japanese compatriots to accept stillness might explain why the country is so unhappy.
In a rush to work? Don’t have time to read your favorite newsletter? We’ve got you covered — when it comes to your daily news, don’t miss a beat and follow OZY on Instagram. That way you can stay informed and up-to-date with the news of the day even when you’re on the go.
OZY is a diverse, global and forward-looking media and entertainment company focused on “the New and the Next.” OZY creates space for fresh perspectives and offers new takes on everything from news and culture to technology, business, learning and entertainment.