Our Vision - Agilent Research Laboratories
If the 20th century was the century of physics, we believe the 21st century will be defined as the century of biology. This refers to expanding our knowledge of living systems to the point where we can develop biology-based solutions to some of our planet's largest societal challenges -- healthcare, energy and the environment. The age of physics enabled huge advances in engineering, which brought forward incredible capabilities in electronics, computers, wireless communications and the internet – all mainstream contributions now ubiquitous in our daily lives. These areas are continuing to advance, and in addition, our understanding of biology is now developing at an unprecedented pace.
Decades of government and private investment in life science research has led to great advances in our understanding of how living organisms function. This understanding has been significantly aided by parallel advancements in computational capacity and understanding of genetic information through revolutionary improvements in our ability to sequence and synthesize DNA. We're right on the cusp of understanding cellular structure and function at an integrated, systems biology level that describes the complex roles and interdependencies of DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites, including glycans and lipids.
Importantly, high-performance analytical instrumentation, specialized reagents, and advanced computational methods and interfaces are all essential to better understanding biology at a molecular level, especially as biology transitions from a qualitative to an increasingly quantitative and measured discipline. To identify and quantify cellular and molecular composition, we take advantage of chemical and physical properties by utilizing a broad range of detection methods, including electrical, photonic, magnetic, spectroscopic and imaging modalities. Our continuing advancements in DNA and RNA synthesis capabilities will continue to be of fundamental importance to areas such molecular measurement, cellular reprogramming, next generation health care and the bio-economy. And our deep electronic measurement roots from what is today Keysight Technologies have provided us with world class capabilities in physics and engineering that we carry forward in our Agilent instrumentation research programs, complementing our deep core competences in life science and chemistry.
The Century of Biology
Personalized Medicine - the first wave in our Century of Biology - is an approach to the diagnosis and treatment of disease that goes beyond traditional medicine to include molecular analysis of patient conditions. Disease classifications of today are at very low resolution. Improvements in our ability to manipulate and measure changes in DNA, RNA, proteins, metabolites and other biological molecules provide immense insight into just what molecular changes are associated with a particular condition. This higher resolution molecular level understanding informs health care providers which therapeutic treatment will be most effective, and helps clinical researchers and pharmaceutical companies identify how different drugs will benefit specific patient populations. For some diseases, such as cancer, personalized medicine is now increasingly prevalent.
Synthetic Biology, the reprogramming of biological organisms to perform practical and useful purposes, is the next wave in our Century of Biology and it is just beginning. Synthetic biology takes our basic understanding of living organisms beyond health care applications into applied science applications such as the manufacture of chemicals, advanced materials, household goods and renewable fuels. While biological-based manufacturing is gaining traction, many opportunities remain; we are not even close to fully understanding of the complexity of biology and therefore harnessing the power of synthetic biology and realizing its full potential.
But the field is advancing rapidly, and in the coming decades synthetic biology can help us address some of the world's biggest challenges. Continually evolving pathogens and infectious diseases are a major health problem today, and synthetic biology is already helping us to speed response times to effectively address new viruses and strains. By 2050, as our global population passes 9 billion, food demand is expected to nearly double. Can in vitro meat grown in test tubes help us feed the world? In 2050, projections are that the majority of our global population will live in cities, increasing air pollution and waste management issues. Can microbes help us 'eat' and reduce waste? And finally, without change, air pollution will become the top environmental cause of premature mortality. Can plants someday help us generate clean energy from carbon dioxide and sunlight?
Unprecedented biological understanding will transform our world and help us nurture the health of our planet's people, environment and economies. In Agilent Labs, we help advance these goals through inter-related, multidisciplinary research programs, several of which are listed below and we invite you to explore further:
Cellular Imaging and Analysis
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
Nucleic Acid Synthesis and Function
Science Management Group