The Lybbaverse / jesse-dylan  

What happens when science collides with art?


“The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.” – Theo Jansen

Every invention begins with a spark of creativity. With that in mind, Rhode Island School of Design’s  STEM to STEAM program is leading an initiative to add art and design to the national agenda for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

STEAM education in practice

What happens when you combine art with science in the real world? Innovators like kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen emerge:

Why have educators historically treated art and science as separate disciplines, and how can we help make a shift toward more integrated curricula?

We’re a proud sponsor of #SageCon


Lybba looks forward to next week's Sage Bionetworks Commons Congress, April 19 and 20, in San Francisco. This year, Lybba is a sponsor of “The Truth of Personalized Medicine: Our Commons Future." Sage Bionetworks is piloting components needed to build a biomedical research commons,creating computational models of disease, releasing infrastructure for collaborative data-driven research, and exploring the boundaries of commons-based governance in health and medicine.

After hearing a lot about personalized medicine, what it will be in the future, and seeing some of the progress made by individuals or single organizations, Sage is now considering how to best address this complex and moveable concept. This year, the Congress is not going to center on how the public can help Sage Bionetworks; it’s about how Sage Bionetworks can help the public build the commons.

Lybba looks forward to engaging with the organizations and individuals that are real cornerstones to success in achieving this goal, as we define projects to take on clinical studies, modeling challenges, patient community formation, and moving forward long after the conference is over.

Schools of thought: Lybba examines STEM education


Policy makers agree that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education should be a top priority in American schools, but we are just beginning to discover the best ways to integrate STEM into existing curricula. Lybba is actively collaborating with thought leaders in STEM education to both shape the conversation and directly impact students.
Most recently, Lybba collaborated with The California Endowment, The California Biotechnology Foundation, and Wondros, to create the first Biohackathon event for high school students in Los Angeles. The Biohackathon event spotlighted educators who are making science exciting to a new generation of students and most importantly, it generated awareness about careers in biotechnology among students who may not have considered such a path. Other STEM initiatives are underway all over the country, and educators working hard to address questions with exciting implications for students and our future economy: 
  • How can we ensure that STEM education translates into real jobs? 
  • Which influencers are doing the best job of making science, technology, engineering and math compelling to students from all walks of life?
  • What STEM success stories have we seen so far and how can scale them?

In a series of upcoming blog posts, Lybba will explore these questions and more. We will examine the current state of STEM education and spotlight some of the innovators who are making STEM accessible to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. We’ll also look at STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) and spotlight some of the fascinating work being done at the intersection of art and science. 
We invite you to share your thoughts about STEM education as our series continues. What aspect of STEM would you like us to cover here?

Gene therapy cures fatal cancer in eight days


You can do a lot in eight days.
You can walk from California to Canada. 
You can drive from Lisbon to Singapore.
You can cross the Atlantic Ocean on a barge.
And now, in eight days, gene therapy can cure fatal leukemia
Doctors at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York have conducted an experimental gene therapy treatment with five patients suffering from relapses of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 
This cancer, while usually a death sentence, disappeared entirely from one trial patient in only eight days. Eight weeks later, four other patients in this trial were also cancer-free.  
As reported by New Scientist, “The key to the new therapy is identifying a molecule unique to the surface of cancer cells, then genetically engineering a patient's immune cells to attack it.” 
The Sloan-Kettering team is preparing for a second trial of fifty patients and is currently exploring more opportunities to battle other cancers with this groundbreaking genetic approach. 

Photo Credit: Scientific American

#LA2050 voting is open – vote for OPENHealth Central!


Voting has begun on the "My LA2050" challenge. That's your opportunity to vote for Lybba's vision for how Los Angeles can be a healthier, happier place to live for its residents between now and the half-century mark. Click here to vote.

Given the geographic, economic, and social disparities in LA County, meeting the needs of our residents is a huge challenge. After all, L.A. County's healthcare systems serve more people than any other place in America. When the newly insured enter the system, experts agree they will bring with them significant health needs and social circumstances that will make it especially difficult to take full advantage of healthcare services. This population is often treated at clinics where caseloads are high, funding is minimal, and compensation is restricted to face-to-face services only. On top of that, a shortage of primary-care doctors in these communities already makes it more difficult to help patients achieve optimal health.

Fortunately, these challenges offer an opportunity to cultivate innovative solutions that enhance the healthy connections between clinics and the populations they serve, and which will forge partnerships with the power to systematically improve care for everyone in Los Angeles.

While there are many promising political, economic, and social initiatives underway to create a more equitable and effective healthcare system in the county, we cannot allow the connection between healthcare providers and their patients to be the weak link. Specifically, primary care practices are already struggling to serve people with complex chronic conditions in proactive, comprehensive, and effect ways, and if they don't have the tools to rise to the occasion, access to care will matter little.

Among the most promising advances in clinical care is the emergence of physician-led interdisciplinary "care teams" that flesh out the "medical home" approach to managing patient populations. Care teams of community-based healthcare workers complement the expertise of MDs in ways that address the physician shortage while improving care and driving down costs. These teams permit a more comprehensive approach to patient needs while boosting the number of patients a practice can manage.

But how can Los Angeles increase the effectiveness of care teams at scale, thus expanding access to high-value care as the patient population expands?


We believe that Lybba's OPENHealth Central is a fundamental pathway toward a healthier L.A in 2050. OPENHealth Central is a web- and mobile-based system that helps clinical care teams better manage the health needs of patients with complex and costly chronic conditions, while prompting patients to collect the kinds of information between visits that can dramatically improve their care and the system as a whole.

OPENHealth Central is an open-source software service whose purpose is to put the 'care' back into the healthcare system. It helps doctors and patients plan for visits more effectively, track experiences between visits, boost the quality of care and self-care, and provide the psychological support that comes from a rich human feedback loop. The system triggers action on the part of doctors, while also collecting data that drives evidence-based improvement in patient care, population health, and healthcare costs.

Vote for OPENHealth Central here!