Designer Organs on Spark

Back when I was on maternity leave, a senior producer from CBC Radio’s show Spark contacted me to ask if I could look into a story for them.  It was about a biophysics professor at the University of Ottawa who tinkers with living materials.  He stretches and pulls stem cells to get them to act differently. He also “hacks” into living systems, so in a way, you could call him a bio-hacker.  He’s hacked into steaks by removing all their cells, leaving scaffold, which could potentially one day become the framework for artificial human organs.

That got me thinking about two things: biohacking and designer organs.  After completely delving into these topics, I realized these are two very different things. Lucky for me, Spark wanted to hear about them both.

Here’s my first discussion with Nora Young about artificial organs of the future, which first aired in April 2012. (Wait for the next blog post to hear the second part of this discussion with Nora about bio-hacking.)