Are Art and Design the Future of Biotech?

When you think about biotech and medical devices, do you connect their design with art and design students? Traditionally, tech and devices have been born from the minds of engineers and scientists, but the Biodesign Summit in New York City hosted these students to show off their conceptual designs.

Students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute designed a filtration system aimed at combating the problem of estrogen in wastewater. As estrogen is naturally expelled from the body, it ends up in wastewater. A number of other drugs (illicit and otherwise) and chemicals make their way into wastewater too, to be turned around to be used as drinking water after treatment. It’s a problem that often doesn’t make the news, but is a looming threat.

A product lines the toilet, working to clean up and filter the compounds from waste that treatment plants are not able to handle. It is made of silicone and has a microbial membrane that binds the estrogen in order to filter it and break it down. The team drew their inspiration from cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are found in the liver and used to metabolize drugs, toxins, and others.

Scientific American took a look at the current challenge with drugs and wastewater. Only about half of the drugs in sewage are removed by treatment plants as noted by a study done by the International Joint Commission, a group of officials from Canada and the United States that study the Great Lakes.

It’s unclear how much impact chemicals will have on people and aquatic life, but the water treatment system needs an overhaul.

There were many other teams present at the expo, a team from the Art Institute of Chicago designed a device modeled after the Opuntia genus of cacti as a sustainable supplement to the water supply. A team from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC sought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from textile manufacturing by 3-D printing a mesh made from biodegradable filaments that act like yarn. Finally, a team from the University of Pennsylvania found a way to use spider webs as an air purification cartridge to trap pollen, pollutants, and other particles.

The sky’s the limit for the future of Pharmaceuticals and Biotech with the continual development of technology with a dash of creativity. For now, the future of Pharma and Biotech manufacturing regulations comes in the form of Electronic Batch Records. Learn more about InstantGMP™ PRO and sign up for a live demonstration. We’ll show you how our software can integrate with your current manufacturing process.