Mark Roth: Suspended animation is within our grasp
Mark Roth studies suspended animation: the art of shutting down life processes and then starting them up again. It's wild stuff, but it's not science fiction. Induced by careful use of an otherwise toxic gas, suspended animation can potentially help trauma and heart attack victims survive long enough to be treated.
As a cell biologist in cancer research, Mark Roth studies genes, chromosomes and autoimmune disease. But he's best known for his research into suspended animation. Already, Roth has managed a world first: putting a vertebrate -- a zebrafish embryo -- into an oxygen-deprived state for several hours, then restoring it to completely normal development. He's been able to reduce the core temperature of mice to 10 degrees Celsius, and then revive them, harmlessly.
This MacArthur "genius" grant winner may spur the next big leap for lifesaving medical systems with techniques that buy time for critically ill trauma patients -- people in desperate need of organ transplants, for example -- whether in emergency rooms or on battlefields. DARPA is a major supporter of this work. At TED2008, geologist Peter Ward was passionate enough about Mark Roth's work to devote several of his own 18 minutes to talking about it ...