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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 11, 2006 at 9:57 AM

Bionic biotech at UW

Here are some links with more info on the neuroengineering work in today’s column, and a little more ranting about misdirected subsidies.

Professor Yoky Matsuoka came from Carnegie Mellon University ,where she ran the Neurobotics Laboratory.

Carnegie is a leader in robotics, and also has lots of connections with Microsoft, which is increasing its focus on robotics and the use of computers in medical research.

UW’s dean of engineering, Matthew O’Donnell, has a background in bionengineering and previously directed the program at the University of Michigan.

Other local players include Northstar Neuroscience and a new startup, Neurobionics. I interviewed the founder of Neurobionics last summer for the Enterpreneurs & Innovators show I do for SCCTV; I’ll post a link to a Web version when it’s posted.

I was a little snarky about Paul Allen’s biotech office and condo developments in South Lake Union, but he’s also doing some really cool things a few miles away from at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Fremont.

Maybe it confuses things to talk about real estate subsidies and new research areas at the UW. But I think it’s worthwhile go discuss whether the public subsidies for tech office parks are appropriate, given our region’s ongoing failure to adequately fund education and the mixed record of biotech job creation.

Public resources may be better spent on education and research at schools like the UW, preparing people and hatching ideas that will create tomorrow’s companies. There will always be people willing to build more offices and condos if there’s demand.

Here’s a more eloquent plea to sharpen our focus on nurturing biotech companies.

Comments | More in | Topics: Biotech, Education, Public policy

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