Horizons this time sees Adam Shaw focusing on the fields of engineering and medicine, which are increasingly merging, allowing us to do a lot more when it comes to tackling illness and disease. Adam interviews Professor Dame Julia Polak, founder of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre at Imperial College, London. In 1995 she was the recipient of a heart and lung transplant, making her one of the longest survivors of the procedure, an experience that led her to a pioneering career in the fledgling science of growing new organs from cells.
Huge advances in healthcare in the years ahead could be driven by collaboration between doctors and researchers working outside the traditional fields of medicine. We're now able to manipulate the basic building blocks of life, to regenerate damaged tissues or ageing organs. Biological engineers in the future could even cure heart disease and cancer. It is a daunting, but exciting time to be in this field.