Increasing dimensions of evolution in life sciences will have a drastic impact on traditional education. Is the curriculum profound enough to cater the new gen skills?
Life Sciences is undergoing such transformations that our perception of ourselves and our take on our health and services will change radically. As per Mobi Health News, remote patient monitoring market grew by 44% in 2016. Swedish market research firm, Berg Insight mentions, “Bring-your-own-device connectivity will be preferred by select patient’s groups and will be used for the monitoring of 22.9 million patients in 2021.”
3D PRINTING AND LIFE SCIENCES
At the University of Melbourne, engineers and doctors have worked together to model and 3D print the heart arteries of patients. These models allow doctors to see the twists and blood flow in the vessels and accordingly construct an accurate heart stent, a mesh tube to support weak arteries.
In collaboration with researchers at the University of Wollongong’s ARC Centre of Excellence in Electromaterials Science, the team is able to print a patient’s artery within a day.
According to 3D Printing Progress, the 3D printing industry is estimated to grow to approximately $6 billion by 2024. Prosthetics, knee and hip replacements, implants, hearing aids, tissue and medicines are expected to drive 3D-printed biotech products.
Research is under the process to create a new norm of 3D printing the Tissue, organs, bones, muscle and skin to match samples taken from a patient in order to decrease rejection of surgeries. Medicines produced via 3D printing, will be tailored to each patient to provide a more personalized treatment.
Impact on education: As educators, expose students to 3D printing and make it a mandatory part of our curriculum. Students need to understand dimensions, materials and technology to 3D print.
ADOPTION OF IOT AND WEARABLES
Ubiquitous presence of Smartphone and Internet of things will help reduce the gap between patients and pharmaceutical industry. It will facilitate home diagnostic testing, self-management of chronic diseases and remote patient healthcare.
Wearables will track recovery from cardiac arrests, replace physical interaction with digital intervention and lower cost of treatment.
The Connected Patient
We are going to be a part of a world where every article comes with sensors which will detect our every movement. E.g., a pillbox has sensors and will relay information informing our near and dear ones of medicines taken or forgotten and subsequently further steps will be taken.
Impact on education: As teachers, we will need to make our students technologically savvy and make them understand that certain professions will go in for a huge makeover so be prepared for the tidal wave.
GENOMICS AND THE FUTURE
Do you remember watching the movies Elysium (2013) and Gattaca (1997)? They had spoken about the future of medicine. Well, Genomics plays a huge role in that. It is the study of understanding the structure of the genome, which contains all genetic instructions for developing and directing the activities within an organism in the form of DNA.
By sequencing individual genomes, researchers can uncover large amounts of information concerning all aspects of an individual’s physiology, from their susceptibility to certain diseases to the way they respond to specific drugs. A single strand of DNA will speak of our entire life processes. Amazing, isn’t it?
Impact on education: As educators, we need to make students question the ethical part of self-enhancement and its impact on society as a whole. Students need to learn to appreciate themselves as they are and not trade themselves away for an engineered gene therapy.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND LIFE SCIENCES
The promise of AI is to extend it in three crucial areas, complex computations, algorithmic assessments and making meaning from loose associations.
AI could add value by reducing time in the analysis of a bacterial swab or increasing accuracy in subsequent antibiotic prescription thereby giving doctors more time for clinical assessment.
Impact on education: As educators, this also once again reiterates that most jobs will be automated. A recent Gartner report noted that the next couple of years will be a defining period as AI will be a major job-creator. The report stated by 2020, AI will generate 2.3 million jobs, exceeding the 1.8 million it is expected to replace. It also revealed that the number of new jobs created by AI and AI-powered tools will reach 2 million by 2025.
Entirely new professions will emerge and students need to be equipped with the right skill-sets to face an unknown and challenging future. There is a need to orient curriculum to build skills, abilities and profound values and not basic content easily available at the push of a button.