The Audacious Project, TED’s philanthropic collaborative dedicated to bold, actionable ideas, announced the 2019 Audacious projects. The Science Philanthropy Alliance is thrilled to report that two of the projects show the power of basic science to tackle society’s most pressing challenges:
- Dr. David Baker’s team at the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design is conducting ground-breaking research to design new synthetic proteins that may fundamentally change how drugs, vaccines, fuels and new materials are made. Their work will focus on five Grand Challenges: (1) universal vaccines for flu, HIV and cancer, (2) advanced medications for chronic pain and neurodegenerative diseases, (3) protein nano-containers to bring medicines to specific cells, (4) smart protein therapeutics that can recognize cancerous or otherwise unhealthy cells, and (5) next-generation nanoengineering for solar energy capture and storage.
- Dr. Joanne Chory and the plant biology team at the Salk Institute are helping to address climate change through basic research that may allow plants to reach their full carbon storage potential. By creating plants that have deeper root systems and that produce more suberin in them, they could sequester 20 times the amount of carbon they do now, and bury it in the ground for hundreds of years to come. Based on Salk’s research models, once these plants are performing at peak levels, they could achieve a 20 to 46% reduction of excess CO2 levels every year.
The Alliance congratulates the project winners.
The Science Philanthropy Alliance partners with The Audacious Project at TED by providing the team with advice on the scientific credibility of basic science proposals submitted.
Read more about the 2019 Audacious Project ideas here.