Scientific MOOCs follower. Author of Airpocalypse, a techno-medical thriller (Out Summer 2017)

Welcome to the digital era of biology (and to this modest blog I started in early 2005).

To cure many diseases, like cancer or cystic fibrosis, we will need to target genes (mutations, for ex.), not organs! I am convinced that the future of replacement medicine (organ transplant) is genomics (the science of the human genome). In 10 years we will be replacing (modifying) genes; not organs!

Anticipating the $100 genome era and the P4™ medicine revolution. P4 Medicine (Predictive, Personalized, Preventive, & Participatory): Catalyzing a Revolution from Reactive to Proactive Medicine.

I am an early adopter of scientific MOOCs. I've earned myself four MIT digital diplomas: 7.00x, 7.28x1, 7.28.x2 and 7QBWx. Instructor of 7.00x: Eric Lander PhD.

Upcoming books: Airpocalypse, a medical thriller (action taking place in Beijing) 2017; Jesus CRISPR Superstar, a sci-fi -- French title: La Passion du CRISPR (2018).

I love Genomics. Would you rather donate your data, or... your vital organs? Imagine all the people sharing their data...

Audio files on this blog are Windows files ; if you have a Mac, you might want to use VLC ( to read them.

Concernant les fichiers son ou audio (audio files) sur ce blog : ce sont des fichiers Windows ; pour les lire sur Mac, il faut les ouvrir avec VLC (

An open letter to my Regina Holliday jacket

A few years ago, Regina Holliday, yes the famous US health care activist, painted this jacket for me. Dying Steve Jobs: "IT and biology have merged. Time to learn about it." I was a middle and high school German teacher, and an executive assistant in "big corporate". Trying to learn the lesson, i earned myself 4 biology MIT MOOC certificates (working on a fifth one)
Dear jacket,

Who would go attending health care congresses, boasting around, wearing you, saying something like "I represent dying Steve Jobs and I learned biology at MIT" (and i'm full of shit)? Thanks, but no thanks. Miss me with the bloody hype. Those MITx MOOC courses on EdX are providing a great hype filter, by the way, you were right, dear jacket.
The reason i met with this famous transplant patient, a cancer patient, had nothing to do with mHealth hype. It had to do with intelligence regarding brain death science and organ trafficking in China. It encompassed geopolitical stuff, surgical stuff, and human rights. We are talking about China, aren't we, dear jacket? Not wanting to be manipulated, i (wearing you) went to see my former professor of Geopolitics, Jean-Christophe Victor. Discussed with him what i had told the patient who is painted on your back, dear jacket, seeking advice. Wanting to stay under the radar, i thought studying biology and genomics with you and earning ourselves MITx MOOC certificates would compensate for Regina's painting efforts and generosity. And you too, dear jacket, thought this was a great idea. Oh, we got on so well together, didn't we? We had so much fun learning about digitised biology. It wasn't always easy, though. There were days i wasn't quite sure if you were a congress uniform (business smart dress code) or a zip-up sweatshirt.
Turns out me and my jacket, we didn't get "touched" by airpocalypse in Beijing a couple of years ago; i'm afraid it's the opposite. Both of us could "touch" that thick, polluted air with our fingers instead, when travelling to Beijing (that human rights activist thing, remember?). 
The whole thing must have been brewing inside me, a modest blogger and MOOC student, for some time, though, I guess. Flashback of people being slaughtered for their organs (yes, i had witnessed such things in China, having worked for surgeons), air pollution killing people, the arrogance of power (some establishment doctors: transplant surgeons, and other VIPs) showing too little concern about human rights in China (great source of transplantable organs, worldwide)... Both of us, as you know only too well, dear jacket, started writing (we had just completed MITx MOOC 7.28.x part 2 and we were exhausted, but never mind that) and refused to move from that Beijing airport (leaving China) without first talking to Beijing authorities. It was in winter 2015, do you remember? Neither of us was fluent in Mandarin Chinese, far from that, but after three or four days spent at Beijing airport (which we now know like the back of our hands: showers, restrooms, water dispensers for Instant Noodles, etc), we finally managed to speak to someone. In a mix of broken Mandarin Chinese and English, we both did our best to explain we were MITx students and had things to tell regarding geopolitics in China. All you remember from this period is me as a nervous wreck, refusing to admit i would be blocked from going to China because i had worked with Canadian human right activists who had accused the government of crime against humanity (human organ trafficking with the complicity of Chinese army). At this point i must thank you for your help. You successfully conveyed the message to Beijing authorities that we were both scientists (MITx students) willing to help Chinese people get excited about science, synthetic biology, CRISPR, genomic precision medicine and the potential of this new science to battle air pollution and cancer. I (fashion-) showed you to Chinese politicians, and little by little the craziness of the situation settled down. Police told us they wanted to hear what we had to say because they thought we both were very sick (true, duh, that pollution thing). The incident was "settled" (no money involved, only good will from all parties), and somehow (i will never pretend i understand what is going on in China and how networking kind of works there), we managed to build a small network, explaining we wanted to write "made-in-China" science-fiction. Even more determined than when learning for those MITx MOOCs, we settled to work and imagined the story we would both write. Yup. My jacket is my dear co-writer. Thank you for that, jacket. You were a great co-writer. We have come up with a 300-page-fiction (PDF), getting ready to be published as a book (French, Chinese, English). Congratulations, trilingual jacket! You made it ;-) What helped us through the ordeal is our Chinese network (businessmen, students, scientists from academia, all of them great fan of yours, dear jacket), and our passion for made-in-China science-fiction. 
When you find yourself not being able to breathe, and see others suffer around you, you come to think that there must be more to a bloody congress uniform painted by Regina than just hype, mHealth yada yada yada. Wouldn't you agree, dear jacket?
I am fully aware, dear Jacket, that writing this techno-medical thriller, "Airpocalypse", is certainly not the task that was assigned to us by Regina. We both had to agree very early on one strategy: head off the beaten path. Speaking of which, dear jacket: wouldn't you agree? This maybe was the hardest part.
"Airpocalypse", our first techno-medical thriller, will be out this summer, French version. English and Chinese versions will follow...
"Find out what it is that touches you most deeply. Pursue it, learn about it, explore it, expand on it. Live with it and nurture it."
Surviving this accident (famous Nimoy quote hit us like a train, i'm afraid), we just know one thing: we've been through hard things in China, saw traumatic stuff, have been to dark (and dirty) places, so please, let us learn and write in peace. Dear jacket, thanks for proving to me that we ain't no circus animal and that the agenda is ours.

Aucun commentaire: