Jesse A. Soodalter, MD, MA is a Palliative Care physician and a post-doctoral research fellow in the Section of Palliative Care & Medical Ethics, Division of General Internal Medicine, at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed clinical fellowships in Hospice & Palliative Medicine and Hematology/Oncology at the University of Chicago, where she also received a Masters degree in the Humanities. She attended both medical school and Internal Medicine residency at Brown University in Providence, RI, where she previously received her B.A. in Classics (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa).
Her research areas of interest include racial, ethnic and socioeconomic justice in intensive-care decision-making, particularly in the setting of advanced life support technologies; affective science and doctor-patient communication; and clinical and societal problems related to talking and thinking about death. Her educational interests focus on Medical Humanities and Bioethics, and she is a Faculty Fellow of the University of Pittsburgh Honors College. In 2017 she taught an Honors College/graduate seminar entitled “Biopower: Biopolitical Readings of the Body,” in collaboration with Paul Bové, Distinguished Professor of Literature at Pitt. She serves as an attending physician on the inpatient consultation service for UPMC Palliative Medicine, and also as the attending Palliative Care physician in the Sickle Cell Program in the Division of Hematology & Oncology.
Ryan O’Shea is a television producer, entrepreneur, and futurist speaker from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He is the host of the Future Grind podcast, which focuses on topics relating to science, technology, and futurism. Ryan also is the Head of Media and Business for the biotechnology company Grindhouse Wetware, which creates technologies that augment human capabilities. This has earned him considerable media attention from those who rightly feel that they are “building the future.
Dr. Anna Wexler is a fellow in Advanced Biomedical Ethics at the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding emerging technology, with a particular focus on do-it-yourself medicine and direct-to-consumer health applications. She received her Ph.D. from MIT in the HASTS (History, Anthropology, Science, Technology & Society) Program, where her dissertation centered on the DIY brain stimulation movement. Dr. Wexler also completed her undergraduate work at MIT, where she received two Bachelor’s of Science degrees, one in Brain and Cognitive Science and the other in Humanities and Science with a focus in Writing. Prior to her Ph.D., Dr. Wexler worked as a science writer and documentary filmmaker, and she co-directed and co-produced the feature documentary film Unorthodox (2013).
Jack Forman is a Senior at Carnegie Mellon University studying materials science and biomedical engineering. Additionally, he is a researcher at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science. In the Morphing Matter Lab, led by prof. Lining Yao, Forman has been investigating smart material-human interaction. Over the last year and with support from the lab, Forman has led a team of researchers to develop, design, and showcase a clothing line of transformative heat-responsive garments. Actuation behavior was made possible through the implementation of twisted-then-coiled polymer muscles, which are 100x stronger than human muscle of the same weight and size. Forman believes the arrival of smart clothing is rapidly approaching, and predicts materials design will play a key role in overcoming the final hurdles.
Byron Rich is an artist, professor, and lecturer born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work exploring speculative design, biology futures, and tactical media ecology has been widely shown and spoken about internationally. He was the recent recipient of an Honorary Mention from Ars Electronica (2017), and runner-up at the Bio-Art & Design Awards in 2016. He pursued a BFA in New-Media from The University of Calgary before finding himself in Buffalo, New York where he received an MFA in Emerging Practices at The University at Buffalo. He no teaches Electronic Art & Intermedia at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
Ron Cole-Turner holds the H. Parker Sharp Chair in Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion, an honorary society that he currently serves as vice president. His research focuses on human evolution and human enhancement–in other words, where have we come from and where are we going? His most recent book is The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins (2016), and he is currently at work on Humanity Transcendent: Technology, Theology, and the Human Future. Previous books include Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement (edited, 2011). He serves as co-chair of the AAR Unit on “Human Enhancement and Transhumanism.”
Some call him the “sex mad cyborg”. Other people call him Rich Lee, the biohacker, cyborg, and Grinder. Rich made headlines in 2013 after he implanted his own headphones as a part of a series of cyborg audio experiments. Rich is the CEO of Cyborgasmics, developers of the Lovetron9000 vibrating pelvic implant.
Shriya is a PhD student in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics through the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, with a concentration in biomaterials.
Shriya is currently working on a proprioceptive, regenerative peripheral neural interface that will ultimately enable patients to control their prosthesis with native neural signals. She is also exploring optogenetic techniques to create novel strategies to accelerate and improve neural regeneration.
Shriya’s undergraduate research focused on developing chemotheranostic agents to assess the efficacy of chemotherapeutics in real-time using imaging. Shriya was a former director of MIT Hacking Medicine and works passionately on global health projects.
Listen to Shriya’s Interview on NPR’s Science Friday to hear about the how her research enables sensation of bionic limbs!