MedTech UCL – Reading List

Written by MedTech UCL

We asked the MedTech UCL committee members what their favourite MedTech related books are and we’ve put together a reading list! We split the books up into categories with a brief description so you can see which is best for you, enjoy!

Categories 
The Future of MedTech: 1-4 
Genetics: 5-8 
Neuroscience: 9-10 
AI and Machine Learning: 11-13 
Data Science: 14-15 
Regenerative Medicine: 16
Corporate MedTech: 17
Quantum Biology: 18

The Future of MedTech

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1. Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

‘Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow examines what might happen to the world when old myths are coupled with new godlike technologies, such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Humans conquered the world thanks to their unique ability to believe in collective myths about gods, money, equality and freedom – as described in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. In Homo Deus, Prof. Harari looks to the future and explores how global power might shift, as the principal force of evolution – natural selection – is replaced by intelligent design.

2. Brutes or Angels: Human Possibility in the age of Biotechnology – James T. Bradley

A guide to the rapidly progressing Age of Biotechnology, Brutes or Angels provides basic information on a wide array of new technologies in the life sciences, along with the ethical issues raised by each. Brutes or Angels will facilitate informed choice making about the personal use of biotechnologies and the formulation of public policies governing their development and use. Ten biotechnologies that impact humans are considered: stem cell research, embryo selection, human genomics, gene therapies, human reproductive cloning, age retardation, cognition enhancement, the engineering of nonhuman organisms, nanobiology, and synthetic biology.

3. The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest To Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind – Michio Kaku

Recording memories, mind reading, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis – no longer are these feats of the mind solely the province of overheated science fiction. As Michio Kaku reveals, not only are they possible, but with the latest advances in brain science and recent astonishing breakthroughs in technology, they already exist. In The Future of the Mind, the New York Times-bestselling author takes us on a stunning, provocative and exhilarating tour of the top laboratories around the world to meet the scientists who are already revolutionising the way we think about the brain – and ourselves.

4. The Edge of Medicine: The Technology That Will Change Our Lives – William Hanson

Experts agree that we are entering the Golden Age of Medicine, when our everyday experience of being ill and getting better will be more like science fiction than today’s routine trip to the doctor. Bill Hanson, director of the surgical intensive care unit at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and an inventor of medical technology, offers true-life and intensely intimate stories about the way biotechnology is changing people’s lives. An electronic nose that detects infection, such as pneumonia, based on a person’s breath; Robots with appendages that can feel their way around tissue, which will augment the hands of surgeons in the operating room; Computer health wizards that will advise and prescribe through your home computer; Computerized psychotherapists dispensing advice about emotional problems; Telehealth software that serves as a monitoring nurse for difficult to manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes; Wheelchairs operated by reading electrical brainwaves for patients with severe neurological deterioration.

Genetics

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5. A Crack in Creation – Jennifer A. Doudna, Samuel H. Sternberg

A trailblazing biologist grapples with her role in the biggest scientific discovery of our era: a cheap, easy way of rewriting genetic code, with nearly limitless promise and peril. Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR–a revolutionary new technology that she helped create–to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers, and will help address the world’s hunger crisis. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences–to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans.

6. The Gene: An Intimate History – Siddartha Mukherjee ** NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER **

The story begins in an Augustinian abbey in 1856, and takes the reader from Darwin’s groundbreaking theory of evolution, to the horrors of Nazi eugenics, to present day and beyond – as we learn to “read” and “write” the human genome that unleashes the potential to change the fates and identities of our children. Majestic in its scope and ambition, The Gene provides us with a definitive account of the epic history of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans – and paints a fascinating vision of both humanity’s past and future.

7. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters – Matt Ridley

The genome is our 100,000 or so genes. The genome is the collective recipe for the building and running of the human body. These 100,000 genes are sited across 23 pairs of chromosomes. Genome, a book of about 100,000 words, is divided into 23 chapters, a chapter for each chromosome. The first chromosome, for example, contains our oldest genes, genes which we have in common with plants. By looking at our genes we can see the story of our evolution, what makes us individual, how our sexuality is determined, how we acquire language, why we are vunerable to certain diseases, how mind has arisen. Genome also argues for the genetic foundations of free will. While many believe that genetics proves biological determinism, Ridley will show that in fact free will is itself in the genes. Everything that makes us human can be read in our genes. Early in the next century we will have determined the function of every one of these 100,000 genes.

8. Genomics and Personalized Medicine: What Everyone Needs to Know – Michael Snyder

In 2001 the Human Genome Project succeeded in mapping the DNA of humans. This landmark accomplishment launched the field of genomics, the integrated study of all the genes in the human body and the related biomedical interventions that can be tailored to benefit a person’s health. Today genomics, part of a larger movement toward personalized medicine, is poised to revolutionize health care. By cross-referencing an individual’s genetic sequence ― their genome ― against known elements of “Big Data,” elements of genomics are already being incorporated on a widespread basis, including prenatal disease screening and targeted cancer treatments. With more innovations soon to arrive at the bedside, the promise of the genomics revolution is limitless.

Neuroscience

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9. The Brain: The Story of You – David Eagleman

Locked in the silence and darkness of your skull, your brain fashions the rich narratives of your reality and your identity. Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human? In the course of his investigations, Eagleman guides us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the search for immortality. Strap in for a whistle-stop tour into the inner cosmos. In the infinitely dense tangle of billions of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see in there: you.This is the story of how your life shapes your brain, and how your brain shapes your life.

10. Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain – David Eagleman

 The greatest technology we have ever discovered on this planet is the three-pound organ carried around in the vault of the skull. This book is not simply about what the brain is, but what it does. The magic of the brain is not found in the parts it’s made of, but in the way those parts unceasingly re-weave themselves in an electric, living fabric. Surf the leading edge of neuroscience atop the anecdotes and metaphors that have made Eagleman one of the best scientific translators of our generation. Covering decades of research to the present day, Livewired also presents new discoveries from Eagleman’s own laboratory, from synaesthesia to dreaming to wearable neurotech devices that revolutionise how we think about the senses.

AI and Machine Learning

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11. Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning – Christopher M. Bishop

This is the first textbook on pattern recognition to present the Bayesian viewpoint. The book presents approximate inference algorithms that permit fast approximate answers in situations where exact answers are not feasible. It uses graphical models to describe probability distributions when no other books apply graphical models to machine learning. No previous knowledge of pattern recognition or machine learning concepts is assumed. Familiarity with multivariate calculus and basic linear algebra is required, and some experience in the use of probabilities would be helpful though not essential as the book includes a self-contained introduction to basic probability theory.

12. NLP: The Essential Guide to Neuro-Linguistic Programming – NLP Comprehensive

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) has already helped millions of people overcome fears, increase confidence, enrich relationships, and achieve greater success. Now, from the company and training team behind NLP: The New Technology of Achievement, one of the bestselling NLP books of all time, comes NLP: The Essential Guide to Neuro-Linguistic Programming . Written by three NLP Master Practitioners and training coaches, including the president of NLP Comprehensive, with an introduction from the President of NLP Comprehensive, NLP: The Essential Guide to Neuro-Linguistic Programming guides users to peak performance in business and life, and gets specific results.

13. Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control – Stuart Russell

In the popular imagination, superhuman artificial intelligence is an approaching tidal wave that threatens not just jobs and human relationships, but civilization itself. Conflict between humans and machines is seen as inevitable and its outcome all too predictable. In this groundbreaking book, distinguished AI researcher Stuart Russell argues that this scenario can be avoided, but only if we rethink AI from the ground up. Russell begins by exploring the idea of intelligence in humans and in machines. He describes the near-term benefits we can expect, from intelligent personal assistants to vastly accelerated scientific research, and outlines the AI breakthroughs that still have to happen before we reach superhuman AI. He also spells out the ways humans are already finding to misuse AI, from lethal autonomous weapons to viral sabotage.

Data Science

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14. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men – Caroline Criado Perez

From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, and the media. Invisible Women reveals how in a world built for and by men we are systematically ignoring half of the population, often with disastrous consequences. Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the profound impact this has on us all.

15. Information: A very short introduction – Luciano Floridi

Information: A Very Short Introduction explores the concept of information, central to modern science and society, from thermodynamics and DNA to our use of the mobile phone and the Internet. It moves from a brief look at the mathematical roots of information — its definition and measurement in ‘bits’ — to its role in genetics, and its social meaning and value, before considering the ethics of information, including issues of ownership, privacy, and accessibility; copyright and open source. This VSI also considers concepts such as ‘Infoglut’ (too much information to process) and the emergence of an information society.

Regenerative Medicine

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16. Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves – George Church, Ed Regis

In Regenesis, George Church and science writer Ed Regis explore the possibilities of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. These technologies-far from the out-of-control nightmare depicted in science fiction-have the power to improve human and animal health, increase our intelligence, enhance our memory, and even extend our life span. A breathtaking look at the potential of this world-changing technology, Regenesis is nothing less than a guide to the future of life.

Corporate MedTech

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17. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

Quantum Biology

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18. Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology – Jim Al-Khalili, Johnjoe McFadden

Each chapter in Life on the Edge opens with an engaging example that illustrates one of life’s puzzles – How do migrating birds know where to go? How do we really smell the scent of a rose? How do our genes manage to copy themselves with such precision? – and then reveals how quantum mechanics delivers its answer. Guiding the reader through the maze of rapidly unfolding discovery, Al-Khalili and McFadden communicate vividly the excitement of this explosive new field of quantum biology, with its potentially revolutionary applications, and also offer insights into the biggest puzzle of all: what is life?

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