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ASU Regents' Professor a finalist for World Technology Award


ASU Regents' Professor Stuart Lindsay
November 08, 2013

The World Technology Network (WTN) has announced that Arizona State University professor Stuart Lindsay has been named a finalist for a prestigious 2013 World Technology Award in the Biotechnology (Individual) category.

Lindsay joins a roster of 50 corporate finalists (in 10 categories) and 100 individual finalists (in 20 categories) deemed by members of the WTN to be doing the “most innovative work of the greatest likely long-term significance.”  

The World Technology Awards have been presented annually by the WTN since 2000 as a way to honor those in 20 different categories of science and technology, and related fields. Nominees for the 2013 World Technology Awards were selected by the WTN membership (spread over 60 countries) through an intensive, global process lasting many months.  

“I am delighted to be a finalist for this award. The other nominees and finalists have all made amazing contributions to biotechnology, so I am surprised by the WTN’s choice of a technology that is in a very early stage of development. Perhaps they share my view that our new single-molecule chemical analysis will eventually have a major impact on medicine,” said ASU Regents’ Professor Lindsay, who holds the Edward and Nadine Carson Presidential Chair in Physics and is director of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Single Molecular Physics. 

In the not too distant future, scientists envision an age when going to the doctor for a routine checkup also includes getting the vital signs of one’s genetic health. For every individual, obtaining his or her complete set of genetic information, called a genome, will become a key component to fulfilling the promise of personalized medicine.

The trends in innovation for DNA sequencing have paralleled those often seen in the adoption of new technology in computing and electronics, where improved automation and miniaturization caused dramatic price drops. The price to sequence an individual genome has fallen from tens of millions to just thousands of dollars. Now, several startup companies and research teams are in hot pursuit of a breakthrough technology to make DNA sequencing a routine aspect of health care.

Lindsay’s team was recognized by the WTN for his pursuit of a new method of DNA sequencing to allow much faster and cheaper sequencing of individual human genomes and help usher in the era of personalized medicine. His radical approach, called “sequencing by recognition,” in concept, is a bit like sewing, with DNA as the thread, passing through a nanopore like the eye of a needle. Scientists use an electric current to thread the DNA through the nanopore to read genomic DNA at a speed of hundreds to thousands of bases per second.

In 2011, the technology was licensed to the pharmaceutical and diagnostic giant Roche by the technical transfer arm of ASU, Arizona Technology Enterprises.

The winners of the 2013 World Technology Awards will be announced during a ceremony at the historic Time-Life Building in New York City, on the evening of Nov. 15, at the close of the 12th Annual World Technology Summit, a two-day (Nov. 14-15) "thought leadership" conference held at the TIME Conference center, and presented by the WTN in association with TIME magazine, Fortune, CNN, Science/AAAS and others.   

“This year we are more eager than ever to pay tribute to the talent and innovation of our individual and corporate honorees," said James P. Clark, founder and chairman of the World Technology Network.  

Clark continued, "This event is the ultimate global platform to honor visionary contributions in the science and technology arenas. The World Technology Awards program is not only a very inspiring way to identify and honor the most innovative people and organizations in the technology world, but it also is a truly disciplined way for the WTN membership to identify those who will formally join them, as WTN Fellows, and as part of our global community. By working to make useful connections among our members, we look forward to assisting professor Lindsay in continuing to help create our collective future and change our world."