TED, the nonprofit organization “devoted to spreading ideas” that has grown from a single conference to a global powerhouse, has selected a talk by MBL Fellow Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado to feature on its homepage at TED.com.
Sánchez Alvarado’s talk, “To Solve Old Problems, Study New Species,” begins at the MBL, which he calls “arguably the greatest marine biology lab in the world.” He takes a small boat into Vineyard Sound and drops a plankton net, taking the audience along on the adventure. His net brings up “things that humanity rarely pays any attention to, and oftentimes has never seen before,” he says — a vast diversity of marine species, with traits that highlight the endless innovations of nature. Sánchez Alvarado then gives an inspired argument for the need to study many, many species to solve fundamental problems in biology, such as the biology of cancer.
Sánchez Alvarado is an investigator of both the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a recent co-director, faculty member, and alumnus of the MBL Embryology Course. His TED video was originally recorded at TEDxKC in Kansas City.
Photo: Thalia democratica. Credit: A. Sánchez Alvarado