Startup Spotlight: PicnicHealth

Weeks before entering graduate school, I was asked to verify compliance with Penn’s vaccination policy. The request seemed simple enough: Are my records online somewhere? Do I have to get something in the mail? Can my old school just inform my new school that I am, in fact, well-immunized…? Ultimately, it took one game of phone tag and a trip to my beloved pediatrician’s office to gather everything I needed. 

I’m embarrassed to think that I was frustrated at the time, for this recount is laughably simple compared to what many endure on a daily basis. A troubling barrier exists between patients and their medical records; for patients of chronic and severe medical conditions, this barrier becomes truly and incredibly daunting. Appointments, tests, diagnoses, prognoses, prescriptions etc. rack up quickly, and when patients are seen at multiple practices simultaneously—which is all too often the case—things are repeated. Information is lost. Details are missed.

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Developing Human Connectome Project

The Developing Human Connectome Project aims to map the intricate neural wiring of babies from womb to birth in a revolutionary undertaking. Stunning high-resolution images from 40 newborns were just released, providing researchers an initial basis for analysis and feedback. Led by King’s College London, Imperial College London and Oxford University, the project runs for three more years and is expected to produce thousands of images in the coming months. Capturing the early stages of brain development offers tremendous insight into conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorders, The Guardian reports.


Image provided by The Developing Human Connectome Project via The Guardian

Brain in a dish

“This study is one of the first attempts to combine organoids with bioengineering. Our new method takes advantage of and combines the unique strengths of each approach, namely the intrinsic self-organization of organoids and the reproducibility afforded by bioengineering. We make use of small microfilaments to guide the shape of the organoids without driving tissue identity.” Madeline Lancaster of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology describes to Lab Manager. Organoid refers to lab-grown miniature organ or organ-like tissue, encompassing complex properties such as 3D multicellular composition and self-organization. For the full story, click here.


Image provided by Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences via Lab Manager