Last Thursday, we hosted a special event – a comedy game show dedicated to science – “You Should Know This! Tissue Engineering! Lab-Grown Cells, Organs, and More!”
Need a new lung? Or a leather jacket? Why not grow it in the lab? That is the future we’re racing towards with advances in tissue engineering. Cell-based organs, meat, and leather goods are opening up new frontiers and changing how we eat, repair our bodies, and clothe ourselves. To help us understand these amazing developments we hosted biomedical engineer dr. George Engelmayr, former professor at Pennsylvania State University and currently VP of Research and Development at VitroLabs, and Kevin Whittinghill, a San Francisco-based comedian.
The audience listened to important topics related to tissue engineering, took part in a science quiz and won fun prizes for being nerds. They answered very serious questions, such as: if people are the equivalent of cells, what is the equivalent of tissue. They named a near-term disruptive technology that may threaten the future availability of donor organs. They also reflected on the issue: if scientists were to grow human meat in a lab, would they take a nibble.
The show was presented by:
Kevin Whittinghill is a San Francisco-based comedian and host who has performed at multiple comedy festivals and comedy clubs throughout the U.S. He produces and hosts the popular nerd comedy show You Should Know This!, the public radio spoof show NPR-Rated Comedy, and Better Luck Next Time, a storytelling show about epic failures. Before performing comedy, he worked as an actor in theater and film.
George C. Engelmayr, Jr., PhD is a biomedical engineer specializing in the field of tissue engineering. Currently, he leads research and development at VitroLabs, where he is developing tissue-engineered leather without harming animals. Outside of the sciences, he is an avid fiction writer. In 2017, he self-published his debut novel, a paranormal techno-thriller titled Proof of the Existence.