Andrew Torrance, Cesar Rodriguez, Justin Rebo, and Alex Peake discuss software tools for open biology.
Alex Peake is the founder and CEO of Primer Labs, a start-up that creates endless learning games to make all knowledge playable. Alex founded the alternative fashion company Tactical Corsets in 2009. Alex was the editor of Agile Journal, a web & mobile applications developer at Sling, and lead animation editor at Atomic Cartoons.
From a young age, Alex believed that games were going to change the world and he set out to gather the pieces to make it happen. His 3rd grade Open Alternative School allowed students to learn at their own pace, so he and his peers made a competitive game out of completing grade levels as fast as they could. In 4th grade, he designed his first RPG called Realms and taught himself C and HyperCard to computerize it. In middle school he divided his time between all-laptop Computer Immersion and mentoring with Professor Dave Fracchia in the Graphics Lab at Simon Fraser University.
He created an online empire simulation game called Mage Princes using play-by-email turn files to bypass FirstClass BBS systems' lack of game support. Hundreds of players signed up to pay for the sequel which he planned to include more sophisticated military, economic and tradecraft RPG elements to allow players to cooperatively build nations.
Dr. Rebo founded Open Biotechnology, Inc. initially because he wanted open source biotechnology tools to use personally. After two years experience as cofounder of a regenerative medicine startup, he perceived the use restrictions and, for lack of a better word, obscene profit margins seen in contemporary research tools products as extremely frustrating and limiting to progress by himself and all other researchers. So he founded Open Biotechnology with John Schloendorn, to make research tools without these restrictions and immense costs. In doing so, they were able to free themselves from many types of use restrictions, remove most of the cost of doing their own research, and continue their work in regenerative medicine. They also realized that they could not make regenerative medicine happen all by themselves. They decided to make their tools fully open source, and offer them to the world, so that other groups can join in the same benefits.
Prior to Open Biotechnology Justin co-founded ImmunePath, Inc. which was able to successfully treat cytopenia in a preclinical model using blood progenitors made from embryonic stem cells.Justin has worked as a research scientist with the Methuselah Foundation where he developed enzyme therapy for atherosclerosis and Macular Degeneration, and the SENS foundation where he led a team in a preclinical project to reverse immune decline with aging by targeting senescent cells. Justin received his undergraduate degree in Business from Miami University and his MD/MSc from St. George's University School of medicine.
Synthetic Biology Research Lead at Genome Compiler
Andrew W. Torrance joined the KU Law faculty in 2005 and, in 2009, was named a Docking Faculty Scholar, a university-wide program established with a gift from the late Mrs. Meredith Docking to honor faculty members who have distinguished themselves in their early careers. He was also a 2009-10 Fellow in Law, Innovation and Growth at the Searle Center at Northwestern University Law School. In August of 2010, Torrance was invited by Google Inc., to give a Google TechTalk at Google's main Mountain View campus in California; Google posted his entire presentation, "The Patent Game: Experiments in the Cathedral of Law," on its YouTube Google TechTalk channel. He received his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University in 1997 and is a 2000 graduate of Harvard Law School. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Queen's University in Canada. In 2003, he was named the Hrdy Visiting Professor of Conservation Biology at Harvard University and taught Biodiversity: Science, Policy, and Law at Harvard University from 1999 until his arrival at KU.
He practiced biotechnology patent law at Fish and Richardson PC, the world's largest intellectual property law firm, after working as a summer associate at both Morrison & Foerster LLC and Fish & Richardson P.C. Next, he served as in-house patent counsel at Inverness Medical Innovations, a global biotechnology company with headquarters in Boston, and helped start Stirling Medical Innovations, a cardiac diagnostics biotechnology company based in Scotland. He has presented his research across the United States, as well as in Canada, Finland, Scotland, England, France and Germany. His articles have been published in journals such as the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, and the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy. Several of his articles have been listed on SSRN (Social Science Research Network) Top Ten Lists. In the spring of 2009, Torrance was invited to present his research to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) at OECD Headquarters in Paris.
Since 2007, Torrance has run Biolaw: Law at the Frontiers of Biology, an annual conference that gathers leading scholars at KU Law to present their insights on the latest developments in biolaw. His interests in biology have led to research expeditions to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Banks Island in the Canadian High Arctic, and the Caribbean islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John, Jost van Dyke and Tortola. He has served as chairman of the Scientific and Creative Board of the Darwin Project, a major biodiversity institution planned for downtown Boston, is a member of the board of East Wind Power, and has assisted the BioBricks Foundation (BBF).
Torrance's research interests include intellectual property, patent law, innovation law, biotechnology, biolaw, food and drug law, biodiversity law, climate change law, and international environmental law. He teaches classes in intellectual property law, patent law, food and drug law, and biodiversity law. He served as marshall at the law school's December 2008 hooding ceremony after being elected for the role by the graduating class.
Torrance was featured with Princeton geneticist Lee Silver in a Kansas Public Radio story about the emergence of biolaw as an academic field, was quoted in the Salina Journal on the subject of intellectual property protection of genetically modified crops, and was commissioned by the magazine BioIT World to analyze the ACLU's lawsuit to overturn Myriad Genetics' patents covering genetic tests for diagnosing susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education referenced the Patent Game project that Torrance is collaborating on with William Tomlinson at the University of California-Irvine.
Recently, he has been quoted extensively in the Kansas City Star ("Patent lawyers give your big idea an edge"), the Chicago Lawyer ("Bringing predictability to the patent world"), the San Francisco Chronicle ("Patents' growing role in battle of mobile), and Dow Jones Newswires ("Biogen sues MS drug makers, citing Avonex patent"). The National Public Radio station KCUR broadcast an interview with Torrance ("Legal roadblocks to copyrighting natural remedies") on its program "KC Currents." Torrance was quoted in an ABC 49 News story about the Westboro Baptist Church being under fire for potential copyright infringement for its parody of the song "We Are the World."