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Precision Medicine: Unlocking the Future of Healthcare

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In a convergence of minds and expertise, the Biotechnology Conference 2024, hosted by the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, illuminated the transformative potential of precision medicine in healthcare. The event gathered luminaries, researchers, and innovators to explore the cutting-edge advancements poised to redefine the landscape of medical care. The event featured 19 guest speakers throughout the day, ranging from topics on precision oncology, artificial intelligence (AI), family medicine, and more.

Dean Babak D. Beheshti, Ph.D., set the stage with welcoming remarks, acknowledging the pivotal role of collaborative efforts in advancing biotech innovation. He underscored New York Tech’s commitment to fostering partnerships and collaborations, positioning the institution as a beacon of innovation in the biotech sphere.

Echoing Beheshti’s sentiment, President Hank Foley, Ph.D., underscored the institution’s vision to reach Research 2 (R2) status. “This program today is very much aligned with our aspirations as an institution to do state-of-the-art research, which will be at the nexus of medicine, engineering, and the sciences,” he concluded.

The conference unfolded with a series of engaging sessions and presentations, each delving into distinct facets of precision medicine. Dong Zhang, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical sciences at the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM), explained the nuances of precision oncology, shedding light on novel approaches in diagnosing and treating ALT-positive cancers.

Keynote speaker Samuel Bakhoum, M.D., Ph.D., from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, captivated the audience with insights into translating chromosomal instability into clinical practice, illuminating pathways for tackling previously ‘undruggable’ cancer drivers.

Throughout the day, panel discussions and presentations showcased the dynamic landscape of emerging biotech companies, with industry leaders sharing their visions and strategies for navigating the startup ecosystem. From discussions on data management for precision medicine to the integration of AI in bioelectronic medicine, the breadth of topics underscored the multifaceted nature of the biotech revolution.

The event also provided a platform for showcasing innovative projects and technologies, with lightning pitches highlighting groundbreaking initiatives poised to reshape healthcare delivery. The Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC), under the leadership of Michael Nizich Ph.D., presented a number of projects, such as their NASA prototypes, including the Portable Unit for Metabolic Analysis (PUMA) and Zeroing Out Negative Effects (ZONE) projects, all led and conducted by students working in the ETIC.

A standout presentation came from Ryan Ahmed, a sophomore at New York Tech and founder of the company Niura, who showcased its innovative earbuds designed to revolutionize personal wellness. “We created a product that has all the functionalities as your AirPods, but they can also track your productivity through a seamless feature and connected to the Deepwork App,” he said.

Amidst the vibrant sessions, a fireside chat featuring John Pennet of the National Technology and Life Sciences Group at EisnerAmper and Stacy Blain, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer of Concarlo Therapeutics, offered a glimpse into the journey from academia to entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of bold decision-making and steadfast commitment to innovation.

As the day drew to a close, Hina W. Chaudhry, M.D., professor of medicine and cardiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discussed regenerative gene and cell therapies for the human heart. Referring to her team’s research regarding human placental (protein) cells, she stated, “We hope to design new therapeutic strategies for heart repair and adult heart disease and congenital heart disease with these cells.”

With precision medicine emerging as a beacon of hope on the horizon, the Biotechnology Conference 2024 inspired dialogue, fostered collaboration, and ignited a sense of optimism for the future of healthcare.

This article was contributed by Paula Juric Kreuz, professional development specialist in the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences.

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