ScientistLive.com, September 17, 2009  —  Stem cells have a unique ability: when they divide, they can either give rise to more stem cells, or to a variety of specialised cell types. In both mice and humans, a layer of cells at the base of the skin contains stem cells that can develop into the specialised cells in the layers above. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, in collaboration with colleagues at the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas (CIEMAT) in Madrid, have discovered two proteins that control when and how these stem cells switch to being skin cells. The findings, published online today in Nature Cell Biology, shed light on the basic mechanisms involved not only in formation of skin, but also on skin cancer and other epithelial cancers.

At some point in their lives, the stem cells at the base of the skin stop proliferating and start differentiating into the cells that form the skin itself. To do so, they must turn off the ‘stem cell programme’ in their genes and turn on the ‘skin cell programme’. Researchers suspected that a family of proteins called C/EBPs might be involved in this process, as they were known to regulate it in other types of stem cell, but had so far failed to identify which C/EBP protein controlled the switch in skin. Claus Nerlov and his group at EMBL Monterotondo discovered it was not one protein, but two: C/EBPα and C/EBPβ.

The EMBL researchers used genetic engineering techniques to delete the genes that encode C/EBPα and β specifically in the skin of mouse embryos, and found that without these proteins the skin of the mice did not form properly.

“Mice with neither C/EBPα nor β had taut and shiny skin that couldn’t keep the water inside their bodies”, Nerlov explains, “they lacked many of the proteins that make skin mechanically strong and water tight, and they died of de-hydration shortly after birth”.

However, a single working copy of either the gene for C/EBPα or the gene for C/EBPβ was enough to ensure that skin developed properly. This means that the two proteins normally do the same job in the skin’s stem cells – an unexpected redundancy, which may have arisen because there are so many stem cells in skin that a tight control on proliferation is needed to avoid problems like cancer. Or it may simply be a by-product of the fact that these two proteins have different functions in other situations, such as wound healing or repair of sunlight-induced skin damage.

One of the hallmarks of epithelial cancers – which include skin, breast, and oral cancers – is that they have genes turned on which would normally only be expressed in embryonic stem cells, and which may help cancer cells divide indefinitely. Such genes become re-expressed in the skin in the absence of C/EBPs. So, by understanding how C/EBPα and β turn off such ‘stem cell’ programmes, researchers hope to come a step closer to finding ways to fight such cancers.

When Nerlov and colleagues looked at how C/EBPα and -β work in the skin, they found that these proteins also regulate a number of other molecules that control skin development. Several important pathways known to control skin and hair formation were improperly activated in the mice lacking C/EBPα and -β.

“This is a very important discovery”, says Nerlov. “It opens up a lot of new areas, because we can see how these proteins control virtually every other molecule known to regulate skin cell differentiation. It seems to be a key piece in the puzzle of how our skin is formed and maintained throughout life.”


Dr. Leslie Spry of the National Kidney Foundation contributing ………..


The New York Times, September 16, 2009, by Jane E. Brody  —  Carol Johnson, an otherwise healthy woman in her 60s, was at her wits’ end. Despite a good diet and regular exercise, she was gaining weight – 20-plus pounds. Her blood pressure was too high, even though she was taking three drugs for it. And she didn’t feel well.

Since 2005, two doctors had told her she had a high blood level of creatinine, a product of muscle breakdown that can suggest abnormal kidney function. Yet neither doctor could figure out why. Even repeated kidney infections failed to alert her current doctor to the real problem.

Then, in March 2008, Mrs. Johnson, a retired special-education teacher living in Independence, Mo., noticed an advertisement for a free screening test offered by the National Kidney Foundation.

The test, part of a nationwide program called KEEP (for Kidney Early Evaluation Program), can serve as an early warning sign for a disease that often shows no symptoms until patients are on the verge of kidney failure. It uses a formula to convert the creatinine reading to a better measure of how well the kidneys are filtering wastes from the blood – the EGFR, or estimated glomerular filtration rate. (The precise rate, called the GFR, is measured by a much more involved test.)

Mrs. Johnson’s EGFR was 49, well below the normal reading of 90 or above and a sign that she had chronic kidney disease. Suspecting that she was taking more medication than her kidneys could handle, her doctor stopped two of them.

And using information she found on the Web, Mrs. Johnson made some changes on her own. She cut out red meat, colas and sweets. She started eating still more vegetables and whole grains. And she kept to her daily exercise program, alternating among a gym workout, water aerobics and brisk walking.

Within six months Mrs. Johnson, now 67, had lost the extra weight, and her blood pressure and EGFR were normal. “If not for going to KEEP and finding out what was really wrong,” she said in an interview, “I would have accepted the fact that nothing more could be done.”

Multibillion-Dollar Problem

Like many other Americans with chronic kidney disease, Mrs. Johnson might have ended up with a heart attack or stroke, bone disease or kidney failure. Once kidneys fail, patients must undergo regular dialysis or have a kidney transplant, procedures that add billions of dollars to the nation’s health care costs.

The kidney foundation undertook the KEEP program nine years ago because family doctors and internists often fail to order an EGFR when performing routine blood tests on patients at risk for kidney disease – even, as happened to Mrs. Johnson, when there are hints of kidney malfunction.

Fully half of the first 11,000 people whose blood and urine were tested in the KEEP program had evidence of kidney disease, but only 3 percent of them knew that before being screened.

Belgian nephrologists writing in The Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2006 reported that physicians were often unaware of the severity of kidney malfunction because they relied solely on a creatinine measure. They noted that as many as four out of five patients with chronic kidney disease were referred to a specialist for treatment late in the disease, within six months of needing dialysis or a transplant.

According to the latest national surveys, 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, and the numbers rise daily as more people become overweight and develop diabetes or high blood pressure, the two leading causes of kidney malfunction.

The KEEP program, which has so far examined more than 130,000 participants, screens adults with the most common risk factors for chronic kidney disease – diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease.

To find nearby upcoming screenings, go to www.kidney.org and click on the “Get Tested” box, or call the foundation at                (800) 622-9010        .

Follow-up surveys of 72,000 people who have taken advantage of the free community-based screenings indicate that the test has prompted many to take action, like seeing a physician, adjusting their diets and doing more to control their blood pressure and diabetes.

Constellation of Risks

Chronic kidney disease is a life-threatening condition even for the young and middle-aged. Men under 55 and women under 65 identified through the KEEP program as having chronic kidney disease had twice the risk of heart attack or stroke, and four times the risk of dying, as those free of the disease, according to a study led by Dr. Peter A. McCullough of the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

Dr. McCullough explained that kidney damage caused biological changes that accelerated injury to blood vessels throughout the body. He urged that all adults at risk for kidney disease, including smokers, be routinely checked for protein in their urine and reduced kidney function. Those found to have a kidney problem should also be tested for abnormalities that can result in bone disease or calcium deposits in blood vessels, he said.

Dr. Joseph A. Vassalotti, chief medical officer of the kidney foundation, said that in addition to the leading risk factors, many other conditions could increase the risk for chronic kidney disease. Among them are heart disease, lupus, amyloidosis (a buildup of amyloid proteins in the body), chronic kidney infection, polycystic kidney disease, hepatitis B or C, and multiple myeloma.

In addition, kidney damage can result from overuse of corticosteroids or of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen, from excessive cola consumption and from exposure to certain environmental toxins and radiological materials like barium.

The risk of developing kidney failure is also higher among Hispanics, African-Americans and American Indians than other ethnic groups, partly because of higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes and poorer access to medical care.

As with Mrs. Johnson, if kidney problems are caught early and their underlying cause is corrected or properly treated, kidney damage and other complications can be slowed or halted, and sometimes even reversed.

As Sally Burrows-Hudson, a registered nurse in Sunnyvale, Calif., and a specialist in kidney disease, wrote in The American Journal of Nursing, “When patients at risk for chronic kidney disease are identified early and treated aggressively, the disease progression can be slowed or stopped, complications can be prevented or controlled, and clinical outcomes can be favorable.”

By Gabe Mirkin MD, September 20, 2009  —  As you age, you lose

muscle size and strength much faster than you lose endurance or



Researchers at the University of Nottingham in England show that a major

Cause of loss of muscle is that aging prevents muscles from responding

to insulin and that exercising helps to slow this loss of muscle

size and strength (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

September 2009).


Insulin drives amino acids into muscles to help them

recover from exercise and maintain their size. Researchers traced

radioactive amino acids and showed that insulin drives the amino

acids into muscles much more effectively in 25-year-olds than in

60-year-olds.  They also showed that the blood flow in younger

people’s legs is much greater and supplies far more nutrients and

hormones.   However, three exercise sessions per week over 20

weeks markedly increased blood flow in the legs of the older

subjects, enough to reverse muscle wasting.


People of all ages can use this information to help

themselves become stronger.  Athletes in all sports train by

stressing and recovering. They take a hard workout, damage their

muscles, feel sore the next morning, and then take easy workouts

until the muscles heal and the soreness goes away. The athlete

who can recover the fastest can do the most intense workouts and

gain the most strength.


Eating a high carbohydrate-high protein meal within half

an hour after finishing a workout raises insulin levels, increases

amino acid absorption into muscle and hastens recovery (Journal of

Applied Physiology, May 2009).  The carbohydrates cause a high

rise in blood sugar that causes the pancreas to release insulin.

Insulin drives the protein building blocks (amino acids) in the meal

into muscle cells to hasten healing from intense workouts. Muscles

are extraordinarily sensitive to insulin during exercise and for

up to a half hour after finishing exercise, so the fastest way to

recover is to eat protein- and carbohydrate-rich foods during the

last part of your workout or within half an hour after you finish.


Here’s how Diana and I (ages 67 and 74) use this

information on insulin sensitivity. We ride hard and fast for about

20 miles on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.   On our recovery

days, we ride slowly for one to three hours. 


Mid-day we go to a buffet restaurant and eat a large meal with fish,

shrimp, vegetables and other sources of protein and carbohydrates. 

After eating, we ride slowly for one or two more hours.  Riding before

we eat makes our muscles very sensitive to insulin. This causes

insulin to drive amino acids rapidly into our muscles and help them

recover faster.  Riding after we eat helps us to avoid a high rise

in blood sugar that damages cells.  You can use either plant or

animal sources of protein; both contain all of the essential amino

acids necessary for cell growth.


By Gabe Mirkin MD, September 17, 2009  —  We don’t know, but a study

from Harvard School of Public Health shows an association between the

common sexually transmittedinfection, Trichomonas vaginalis, and risk of

the type of prostate cancer that kills (Journal of the National Cancer Institute,


September 9, 2009).  Researchers analyzed blood samples collected

in 1982 from 673 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer more

than ten years later.  Trichomonas vaginalis infection was

associated with a more than triple risk for the type of prostate

cancer that kills.


Trichomonas vaginalis infects about 174 million people

each year and is the most common non-viral sexually transmitted

infection.  Up to three-quarters of men infected with Trichomonas

vaginalis may have no symptoms at all.  Trichomanes can usually

be cured just by having all sexual contacts take metronidazole

for five to ten days.


       Several other cancers are caused by bacterial infections.

For example, the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is the most

common cause of stomach cancer. Bacteroides fragilis, a

bacterium that causes diarrhea, has been associated with colon

cancer (Nature Medicine, September, 2009).  Chronic infections

activate your immune system to cause inflammation, which can

block apoptosis to cause cancer.


        More than 90 percent of prostate cancers probably should

not be treated because they cause no harm.  A study in the Journal

of the American Medical Association (September 15, 2009) followed

men with early stage prostate cancer who were cared for without

surgery or radiation.  Ten years later, only six percent had died

from prostate cancer.  


The average time from diagnosis to death for untreated prostate cancer

is more than 22 years.  However,five percent of prostate cancers may need

immediate treatment as they grow rapidly and can kill.  A reliable test that

tells which prostate cancers are likely to kill would save anxiety, potency

and continence for a lot of men.  Such a test is not available at

this time.  The authors of this study recommend that doctors and

patients reconsider the watch and wait option.   More on prostate

cancer at http://www.drmirkin.com/men/1434.html

GoogleNews.com, Sept 16, 2009, by Ma Ceres P. Doyo, MANILA, Philippines-Physician, lawyer, chemist, molecular biologist, Ph.D. and MBA holder, professor of medicine, cancer director in US hospitals, leading figure in stem cell research, cancer therapy and bioregenerative medicine. Cancer survivor.

“Before I became a medical doctor,” says Dr. Samuel D. Bernal, “I was a hard-core chemist.”

As a lab nerd, he poked, coaxed and tweaked the smallest particles of life. He then segued into medicine. His specialization: Stem cells in regenerative medicine and oncology, or the treatment of cancer. But he never really left behind the amazing world of molecules.

This Filipino-American doctor is a moving force in the regenerative medicine department of The Medical City (TMC) where he holds clinic when he’s not abroad.

Whether health practitioners and medical schools realize it or not, molecular is the way to go in the brave new world of medicine. In the smallest and basic particles of the human body-the cells-are contained a wealth of information and potent forces that could open doors to new ways of treating ailments.

Bernal, 59, brings to his medical practice an approach that is personalized and customized down to the molecular level. This means debunking the one-size-fits all standard-of-care approach that puts patients in neat categories or assembly lines.

Impersonal care

“When I ask how a patient is and an intern just gives figures, I become red. I want to know how is the patient faring emotionally, spiritually? Is he comfortable, happy, sad, in pain?” Bernal says.

He rues the way patient care has become impersonal.

This is what moved him to file on behalf of a Filipino-American family, a landmark malpractice suit against a group of doctors, a hospital and a health insurance group in the United States that he accused of hiding behind so-called standard of care procedures. The respondents settled out of court for an unprecedented sum.

Born in Iloilo, Bernal went abroad after his father became a US consultant.

The third of four siblings, Bernal finished chemistry at the University of Illinois in 1969. He already had a doctorate in biochemical pathology when he took up medicine at the University of Chicago.

In 1979 he was a fellow in internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and, later, in medicine at the Peter Brent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He trained in oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard.

Multidimensional person

Bernal is a board-certified oncologist and is a diplomate of the American Board of Cancer Specialists. He has authored papers and books on cancer.

Bernal earned his Doctorate in Jurisprudence from Loyola University and is a licensed attorney. He also has an MBA degree from the Pepperdine University on biotechnology business strategies.

Since 1992, Bernal has been with the University of California in Los Angeles where he is professor of medicine. He is connected with several hospitals and biotechnology institutions and still finds time to teach at the Ateneo School of Medicine.

A multidimensional person, he is also into theater and literature.

Cancer strikes

In 2000, Bernal was stricken with cancer.

“I had no clue, I was completely healthy, writing a book,” he remembers. “I was doing the chapter on kidney cancer.” He noticed a change in the color in his urine and looked at a sample in the microscope. He could not believe what he saw.

Examinations later showed the cancer had invaded his abdomen, left kidney, liver and lung.

“You could be dying and you don’t know it. My head was floating, my mind went numb. It was a totally surreal experience. I was given a pronouncement of death, three to four months,” he says.

“I was on top of my profession and in control. Suddenly I was vulnerable. It was a setback. I had several papers and two more books in progress. I kept telling myself that my work was not finished.”

Customized treatment

Bernal consulted colleagues all over the world. He was advised to enter into a protocol. “I had to customize my own treatment,” Bernal says.

He went for abdominal and thoracic surgery even if it meant working around a major blood vessel to scrape and carve out the damaged parts.

“I was in the ICU for three weeks because my lungs would not re-expand,” he said.

“During the operation they got live cancer cells that were then cultured so we could observe their behavior and response to treatment. This is not ordinarily done,” he says.

Bernal’s cancer was the type that will not respond to radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The treatment he drew up for himself was admittedly expensive and difficult.

“A lot of it was based on molecular biology work of scientists and this knowledge was not available to clinicians,” he says.

Bernal devised his own dendritic immune therapy, using his own stem cells.

“The experts around the world encouraged me to do it myself. But at that time, they wouldn’t recommend it to their own hospitals. They said it was difficult, impractical and expensive. It was being done but on an experimental basis,” he says.

Intimations of mortality

“I prepared myself to face my mortality. I fixed my finances and properties. I was already divorced then,” Bernal says.

He lost 40 pounds. But after six months things began to clear up. After more than a year, Bernal was back on his feet.

No wonder Bernal is passionate about customized medicine and is on a personal mission to promote it. “The one-size-fits all protocol for serious diseases does not work. But 99 percent of cancer specialists cannot do it if their hospitals cannot do it,” he says.

Stem cell therapy, Bernal points out, is only one of the components of regenerative medicine. And because cells are not drugs that are mass-produced, they are not for food-and-drug approval.

He shares a 2006 study that shows the significant impact stem cell technology could have on poor, developing countries in addressing their health concerns.

“Even if 99.99 percent of doctors here would say it is inappropriate, here are these world experts saying otherwise,” he says. “The most powerful force for healing our body is in our own body.”

GoogleNews.com, by Ma Ceres P. Dovo, Sept 16, 2009, MANILA, Philippines-In the Philippines, a name that has become synonymous with stem cells, and in a bigger dimension, with molecular and regenerative medicine, is Dr. Samuel D. Bernal.

“Molecular medicine,” Bernal proclaims, “is now, the present. Not the future. In this era of molecular biology, we are now recognizing even more that personalized medicine involves analyzing the molecular characteristics of a patient.”

The Filipino-American doctor is a cancer survivor who applied on himself his knowledge of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy when he was thought to be dying nine years ago. He stresses that the body holds a potent army for healing that needs to be harnessed and trained to recognize the enemy.

Bernal holds clinics at The Medical City (TMC) in Pasig City when he is not treating patients in Los Angeles or Prague. (More on Bernal tomorrow)

“We constantly gather objective data so that we have a basis to follow scientifically what is happening to the patients’ bodies and their cells,” Bernal emphasizes. “We recognize the uniqueness of individuals at the molecular level.”

He cites the case of a 38-year-old patient from Las Vegas who was “essentially dying.”

Oncologist Dr. Marina Chua-Tan says of the case: “He had cancer in the lungs, spleen, brain, spine. He had already stayed at a hospice and was expected to die in a few months. His father checked us out and brought him to TMC. On his fourth stem cell injection the CT scan imaging showed that his tumor had receded, then the spinal fluid became clear of cancer cells. He is alive, functional, jogging. He even got married.”

“We are not saying that he is completely cured,” Bernal adds, “but his quality of life dramatically improved. Prolongation of life-that is a major achievement. There are patients that doctors have given up on. Four years ago we had this doctor who had cancer all over her body. Now she is free of the disease.”


Another patient at TMC, Androclus Ranises, 69, has been receiving dendritic cell therapy using his own adult stem cells. Autologous, it is called, or reimplanting cells that have gone through a laboratory process. The businessman from Cagayan de Oro City was diagnosed in 2007 as having Stage 3-4 multiple myeloma or cancer of the bone marrow.

He now raises his arms to show how increasingly strong he has become and how the disease has been kept at bay. “I hope to live beyond 80,” he exclaims.

Interior designer Marisa Oreta, 53, was diagnosed in 2006 as having stage 4 colon cancer. In the Philippines, she underwent resectioning of the colon and in Singapore she went through peritonectomy, a high-risk surgery to clean out her affected peritoneum. She had chemotherapy, six stem cell injections plus three boosters at TMC. So far, she’s been holding up well, enjoying life and traveling every now and then.

Former Labor Secretary Nieves Confesor, now associate dean at Asian Institute of Management, was discovered in 2006 to have Stage 1 leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer in her uterus. “It took five months for doctors to discover what was wrong,” Confesor says. “I had lost 45 pounds and I had fevers of unknown origin.”

Confesor had surgery and six cycles of chemotherapy but in 2007, nodes were discovered in her left lung and she again had to go under the knife. Before that she had thyroidectomy. She decided to have stem cell therapy.

“It has really helped me,” Confesor says. “It’s been three years.” She continues to teach and to participate in peace negotiations involving groups in conflict.


More than 100 patients had either undergone or are undergoing stem cell therapy at TMC. The procedure does not come cheap and because it is classified as “innovative,” it is not covered by insurance. But it is hoped that in the future, just like all breakthroughs in technologies, it will be within the reach of many.

At St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) in Quezon City, scientists and doctors broke new ground in 2006 with the use of stem cells in treating patients that have been blinded or partially blinded because of surface damage.

Dr. Jessica Abano headed the transplant which successfully resurfaced the left eye of a 52-year-old man who had been blinded by a chemical burn years before and could not be effectively treated with conventional surgery. It was the first limbal stem cell transplant in the country.

Abano describes the procedure while showing an actual video: “A small biopsy (1mm x 2mm) of stem cells was harvested from the healthy conjunctiva of the patient’s right eye in a painless procedure that lasted less than 10 minutes. The biopsy was then brought to the hospital’s Research and Biotechnology Division.”

Using a piece of amniotic membrane (the wrapping of newborns) as medium, scientists coaxed the cells to grow over two weeks into a film of tissue about 25mm x 25mm. After the abnormal fibrovascular growth was removed from the patient’s damaged eye, Abano stitched the bioengineered epithelial sheet on the eye.

Bioengineered tissues

Says Dr. Mark Pierre Dimaymay: “With ocular stem cells, we demonstrate our ability to perform cutting edge basic laboratory research with direct clinical applications.” Set up in 2004, St. Luke’s stem cell lab is the first in the Philippines.

This is an important step toward the stage when tissue engineers may be able to produce readily cornea replacements that can be easily transplanted whole into patients with severe cornea damage, says Dimaymay. “Today we can do ocular surface tissue. In the future we could learn to do the retina. The technology to replace diseased cells in various organs with bioengineered tissues is rapidly moving from the realm of science fiction to reality.”

This breakthrough is significant in the Philippines where eye surface injuries are more common than in more developed countries.

SLMC is now pursuing a study using stem cells from the buccal mucosa (inner part of the cheek) to treat patients with injury on both eyes.

Lab monkeys

Since 1997, SLMC, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Simian Conservation and Breeding Center have been working together to develop a protocol to induce myocardial infarction (heart muscle damage) in monkeys. Stem cell technology is then used to treat the damaged heart.

Dr. Filipina Natividad explains that the monkeys (macaques) in the SLMC lab are the source of the stem cells and are also the recipients of the stem cell transplants. This is an autologous cell transplantation where the monkey patient is both the donor and the recipient.

Before damaging the monkey’s heart, scientists harvest stem cells from its bone marrow. These are then cultured in the lab and made to grow as heart muscle cells. Experiments are still ongoing. It will still be a while before this could be replicated on humans here in the Philippines.

Dr. Joven R. Cuanang, SLMC senior vice president and chief medical officer, discloses that SLMC has also performed stem cell therapy on someone with spinal cord injury. The stem cells were taken from the patient’s bone marrow and injected near the injury.
“We had to go through an ethical review of its value and risks,” Cuanang says. The stem cells were processed with the help of a Singapore partner.

The Singularity Summit. Thinking About Thinking

October 3-4, 2009, New York, NY


  • Artificial Intelligence is probably the most important technology in humanity’s future. Now is the time to be looking closely at its benefits and risks.

– Peter Thiel
President, Clarium Capital


Selected Summit Talks:


Ray Kurzweil

The Ubiquity and Predictability of the Exponential Growth of Information Technology
Founder and CEO, Kurzweil Technologies


Aubrey de Grey

The Singularity and the Methuselarity: Similarities and Differences
Chief Science Officer, SENS Foundation


Michael Nielsen

Quantum Computing: What It Is, What It Is Not, What We Have Yet to Learn
Quantum Computing Pioneer, Author


Peter Thiel

President, Clarium Capital Management; Co-Founder, PayPal; Managing Partner, Founders Fund; Seed Investor, Facebook


David Chalmers

Simulation and the Singularity
Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University, Director of the Centre for Consciousness


Anders Sandberg

Technical Roadmap for Whole Brain Emulation
Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University


The Singularity Summit Program

Saturday, October 3

9:00 am

Shaping the Intelligence Explosion
Anna Salamon, Singularity Institute

9:30 am

Technical Roadmap for Whole Brain Emulation
Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute

9:55 am

The time is now: As a species and as individuals we need whole brain emulation
Randal Koene, Fatronik-Tecnalia Foundation

10:20 am

Technological Convergence Leading to Artificial General Intelligence
Itamar Arel, University of Tennessee

10:45 am

Coffee Break

11:05 am

Pathways to Beneficial Artificial General Intelligence: Virtual Pets, Robot Children, Artificial Bioscientists, and Beyond
Ben Goertzel, Novamente

11:30 am

Neural Substrates of Consciousness and the ‘Conscious Pilot’ Model
Stuart Hameroff, University of Arizona

11:50 am

Quantum Computing: What It Is, What It Is Not, What We Have Yet to Learn
Michael Nielsen

12:35 am

DNA: Not Merely the Secret of Life
Ned Seeman, New York University

1:00 pm


2:20 pm

Compression Progress: The Algorithmic Principle Behind Curiosity, Creativity, Art, Science, Music, Humor
Juergen Schmidhuber, IDSIA

3:00 pm

Choice Machines, Causality, and Cooperation
Gary Drescher

3:30 pm

Simulation and the Singularity
David Chalmers, Australian National University

4:15 pm

Coffee break

4:35 pm

Synthetic Neurobiology: Optically Engineering the Brain to Augment Its Function
Ed Boyden, MIT Media Lab

5:00 pm

Foundations of Intelligent Agents
Marcus Hutter, Australian National University

5:25 pm

Cognitive Ability: Past and Future Enhancements and Implications
William Dickens, Northeastern University

6:10 pm

The Ubiquity and Predictability of the Exponential Growth of Information Technology
Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies


October 4th

8:00 am

More than Moore: Comparing Forecasts of Technological Progress
Bela Nagy, Santa Fe Institute

8:20 am

The “Petaflop Macroscope”
Gary Wolf, Wired Magazine

8:40 am

Collaborative Networks In Scientific Discovery
Michael Nielsen

9:00 am

How Does Society Identify Experts and When Does It Work?
Robin Hanson, George Mason University

9:20 am

Future of Scientific Method Panel: Gary Wolf, Michael Nielsen, Robin Hanson. Moderator: James Jorasch

9:50 am

Coffee Break

10:15 am

Lev Grossman asks Gregory Benford for his thoughts on the Singularity

10:35 am

Critics of the Singularity
Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies

11:05 am

The Finger of AI: Automated Electrical Vehicles and Oil Independence
Brad Templeton, Electronic Frontier Foundation

11:50 am


1:10 pm

The Fallibility and Improvability of the Human Mind
Gary Marcus, New York University

1:35 pm

Artificial biological selection for longevity
Gregory Benford, University of California- Irvine

2:00 pm

Macroeconomics and Singularity
Peter Thiel, Clarium Capital Management

2:35 pm

Venture Capitalist Panel: Peter Thiel, David Rose, Mark Gorenberg. Moderator: Robert Pisani

3:00 pm

Coffee Break

3:20 pm

The Singularity and the Methuselarity: Similarities and Differences
Aubrey De Grey, SENS Foundation

3:45 pm

Cognitive Biases and Giant Risks
Eliezer Yudkowsky, Singularity Institute

4:15 pm

Discussion: Eliezer Yudkowsky, Aubrey De Grey, Peter Thiel Moderator TBA

4:40 pm

How much difference can one person make? A back of the envelope calculation
Anna Salamon, Singularity Institute

5:00 pm

Summit ends

The Singularity Summit Speakers


Anders Sandberg

Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University
Anders’ Site


Randal Koene

Director, Department of Neuroengineering, Fatronik-Tecnalia Foundation
Randal’s Site


Itamar Arel

Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Director of the Machine Intelligence Lab, The University of Tennessee
Itamar’s Site


Ben Goertzel

Director of Research, Singularity Institute, Founder and CEO, Novamente
Ben’s Site


Stuart Hameroff

Director, Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona
Stuart’s Site


Michael Nielsen

Quantum Computing Pioneer, Author
Michael’s Site


Ned Seeman

Professor, Department of Chemistry, New York University
Ned’s Site


Jürgen Schmidhuber

Director of the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA
Jürgen’s site


Gary Drescher

AI Researcher, Philosopher, Author of Made-Up Minds: A Constructivist Approach to Artificial Intelligence


Peter Thiel

President, Clarium Capital
Peter at CrunchBase


Ed Boyden

MIT Media Lab, Benesse Career Development Professor
Ed’s Site


Marcus Hutter

Australian National University, Associate Professor
Marcus’ Site


Ray Kurzweil

Founder and CEO, Kurzweil Technologies
The Singularity Is Near, Ray’s Site


David Chalmers

Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University, Director of the Centre for Consciousness
David’s Site


William Dickens

Distinguished Professor of Economics and Social Policy, Northeastern University
William’s Site


Béla Nagy

Postdoctoral Fellow, Santa Fe Institute
Béla’s Site


Gary Marcus

Director, NYU Center for Child Language
Gary’s Site


Gary Wolf

Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine, Author
Gary’s Site


Robin Hanson

Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
Robin’s Site


Gregory Benford

Dr. of Physics, Chair, Genescient Corporation
Gregory’s Site


Brad Templeton

Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Brad’s Site


Eliezer Yudkowsky

Research Fellow, Singularity Institute
Eliezer’s Site


Aubrey de Grey

Chief Science Officer, SENS Foundation
Aubrey on Accelerating Future


Anna Salamon

Research Fellow, Singularity Institute
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

The Singularity Summit 2009 | Hosted by Singularity Institute
October 3-4, 92nd Street Y Kaufmann Hall

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