Under the Spotlight:

Chibeza Agley

What should we do with GM cows?  Are super-human powers a thing? What makes CamBioScience the premium supplier of cutting edge scientific knowledge? Find out all this and more in our Under The Spotlight interview with CEO Chibeza Agley.

What is CRISPR technology, and what are it's potential applications?

It's a way that scientists are able to edit any gene within any genome. The reason the technology is so amazing is because the genetic edits can be done quickly and easily and without leaving any trace. It's as if the gene were untouched; there's no "scar" genetic material inserted. This is used when you're making something called a "knock-in", which is a way of potentially correcting genetic diseases. If you have a mutation in a particular gene, you can make your CRISPR come along, cut the DNA, and then insert something which will correct that gene. Thats just one of many applications across biotechnology, agriculture, healthcare and it's going to change the way we do basic science as well - it will speed up the rate of gene discovery and how different genes work together. 

What can delegates learn from CamBioScience's intensive two day courses?

We focus on breakthrough technologies in the life-sciences, gene editing being one of those and types of technology that will change the face of science. When people come to our two days, they learn a technique that will transform their research, and give them the power to answer questions which they may have found difficult or expensive to do otherwise. They can come along, learn how to edit genes in their own cell-type and in their own system to answer their own scientific questions all learnt within a two day format.
Another course is on organoid culture, which is a new system of making mini organs outside the body to see how they function in an isolated environment, and work out how drugs and other manipulations will effect the tissues. This helps to make assertions about what may happen in someone's body without having to give the drug to a human

You can learn about stem cells; cells which can make lots of different cell types in your body, and understand their nature and how their regulatory circuits are put together and how to modify them to work towards solutions for regenerative medicine. These are all techniques which will transform everything from basic science up to translational research in healthcare.

So who are the courses aimed at?

One of the missions of CamBioScience is to really break down barriers which exist between separate fields in science. We see lots of evidence of that; there are still barriers in one sector or another which stop information filtering through. The courses are open to doctors, basic scientists, professionals in industry etc. We encourage all these people to attend, and there is only one standard fee for any delegate no matter whether you're the queen, or the CEO of a big pharma company or a research scientist. We want everyone to come in on a level playing field, learn the ropes and then go and apply the technology. One of the benefits of bringing all these people together is the excellent networking opportunities; people start talking to each other! Imagine if one of the delegates has an idea and wants to commercialise it, they've made a connection with someone else on the course who is an industry-person and has already shown interest. Or when a doctor really wants to translate some of this basic science into a clinical application, they've got both the academic input and the industry input required to make that transitional leap.

And do you repeat the courses, or once a topic is finished do you then move on to the next one?

While technologies are "hot" and still developing and haven't reached their pinnacle, we will continue to do courses on them. As an example, with our CRISPR courses, the technology is changing so fast; week to week in fact. So we need to run more courses, there is a demand to get that information consolidated in a place where people can just come and get it off the shelf from us. We are a premium supplier of cutting edge scientific knowledge. 

What do you enjoy most about working at the Eagle Labs?

The atmosphere creates this motivation to be successful, thats one of the key things. There is this atmosphere that is created by all of the great members that are here, and your interactions with them and the desire and push to grow businesses. Although there are a lot of different businesses, the collective desire to successfully build your own industry and make money is there, and it's really nice to be part of that.

Disregarding the ethical ramifications, how long will it be before we can genetically engineer a cow to make chocolate milk? 

Very good question! There are already people in China who have engineered goats to make softer cashmere, so I think it's not much of a step! It's a tricky one, but you might be able to get milk which tastes like chocolate straight from a cow in a few short years.

And finally, you have a twin brother, do you have any special twin powers?

Not really - apart from liking all of the same food, same beers, same clothes...

So your twin power is a superior sense of taste?


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