Mark Roth's research has reawakened an unusual notion from the annals of science: reversible metabolic hibernation. Yes, putting living organisms into suspended animation — and bringing them back safely.

Why you should listen

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 ...

What others say

“He'd had papers published in the most prestigious scientific and medical journals in the world, but Ripley's Believe It or Not!, for his work making suspended animation possible in human beings? [...] That was an honor. That was science.” — Esquire

Mark Roth’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Mark Roth

Live from TED

Suspended animation is within our grasp: Mark Roth on

March 15, 2010

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. (Recorded at TED2010, February […]

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