Introducing a New Contributor: Brian Mossop

Though predictive medicine and preventive health are common sense to some people, sometimes I have the feeling that I'm shouting into a hurricane about how the right tools & the right information can change healthcare. So I'm always thrilled - truly thrilled - when somebody tells me: "I read what you wrote - and I've been thinking the same thing." A couple years ago I had this experience when I got an email from a fellow with some astute questions about my approach to writing about science. Except this wasn't a journalist - this was from a scientist. And that both flattered and scared me. Flattered, in that a bonafide PhD took my stuff seriously. Scared, in that a bonafide PhD was reading my blog - and taking it seriously.

This fellow's name was Brian Mossop, and he proved an especially intriguing guy. I've spent 20 years figuring out how to keep abreast on the zeitgeist, but this guy - in his mid-20s - seemed to already be surfing the wave. He got the power, the promise, and the pitfalls of healthcare technology. And he understood that the real power of medicine wasn't when it was deployed on a one-to-one basis, but when it could be catylized to hundreds or thousands. In other words, giving people access to information could be more important than the creation of that information (research) in the first place.

And so we kept talking. And sure enough, when I came around to the whole Decision Tree idea, Brian Mossop was one of the first on board. Not only did he get what I was talking about, he was already starting to research the same stuff - predicitive medicine, personal metrics, genomic data, health information in the hands of the individual - all on his own.

Well, this made no sense to me. He didn't even have a blog, & here he was thinking the same stuff. So now he has a blog. This blog. I'm proud and happy and once again flattered to announce that Brian Mossop will be joining me here at, blogging about the frontiers of health care. And in the process, he'll be helping lay out the themes and particulars that I'll be exploring in the book.

Here are his bonafides: Brian received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2006, where he worked on electric field-mediated gene and drug delivery, primarily for cancer treatment.  He did postdoc work at UCSF, then a few a Bay Area companies, and now he focuses on basic neuroscience and neurodegenerative disease (using electrophysiology and imaging). He won't be blogging about his day-job here - he's here strictly as a science-savvy informed observer of where data and openness and prediction are taking our healthcare system.

In his own words: "The concepts behind the Decision Tree will help create a more proactive healthcare system, where consumers and patients take initiative in the prevention and treatment of disease.  I have worked in multidisciplinary teams since moving into the biomedical field, and I have learned that progress is best made when you look at problems from different points of view.  I hope to continue this philosophy here at the Decision Tree, and leverage my scientific training to address some of the issues facing the rise of predictive medicine in society."

It's a real thrill to have such a partner in making this blog all it can be. Please make Brian welcome - but hold him to the same standards you would me. In other words, feedback is welcome.