George Church: musings on society and science, and a dash of CRISPR

The Science Soapbox team sat down with Dr. George Church to talk everything from the dawn of CRISPR to the place of science fiction in society.

Dr. Church is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, leader of the Synthetic Biology Platform at the Wyss institute, and director of His three-decade long career includes major contributions to both the reading, and writing of genomic material. The jump in our ability to edit existing genomes within less than a decade has opened the door to a wealth of applications. But genome editing has raised some challenging questions and concerns about how these new technologies will be applied and regulated.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

For more information about the research of Dr. Church, we recommend browsing his website:

This episode was recorded on January 21, 2016 in the Science Outreach Lab at Rockefeller University. Special thanks to Visager for music and to Marius Bugge for the photo.

The 2016 Research Budgets Are In

The 2016 budgets for federal research agencies!

Right before the holidays, the 114th Congress passed the 2016 omnibus spending bill for the fiscal year (which started back in October). As reported on FYI: the AIP bulletin, from the total $3.99 trillion budget, the following has been allocated to the major research institutes (2016 budget (millions)/ percent increase):

NASA: 19,285 / 7.1%
NIH: 32,084 / 5.8%
DOE: 29,717.3 / 8.4%
NIST: 964.0 / 11.6%
DOD: Science and Technology: 13,250.7 / 8.2%
NSF: 7,463.5 / 1.6% :

  • Falls below the 5.2% increase in overall budget
  • Eliminates wording from earlier House bill that would restrict research funding for geosciences and social, behavioral and economics sciences

For further details visit the FY 2016 Omnibus: Agency R&D Tables.