Amazing investigations into the life sciences abound under the sponsorship of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the U.S. Department of Defense. Under program director Alan Rudolph, more than 25 projects around the nation and overseas will receive a total through 2004 of about $84 million.
Launched in 1998, the research efforts are divided into three broad categories: Controlled Biological Systems that deal directly with living organisms; Tissue-Based Biosensors that are biological-artificial hybrids; and Biomimetics that reverse-engineer the mechanics of organisms into devices. Successful innovations will be applied to help cope with various threats of chemical and biological warfare, but much of the work derives from previous research aimed at eventual biomedical uses. Following are reports on six of the projects, selected on the basis of their appeal to readers of The Scientist.
Liver on a Chip
The fit between medical and defense research is seamless...