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1916-2016

Glass and Genes: The 2001 W. E. S. Turner Memorial Lecture V44 1-10

Glass and Genes: The 2001 W. E. S. Turner Memorial Lecture V44 1-10

Introduction
Professor W.E.S. Turner showed through his research, teaching and international leadership that understanding nature and applying that understanding to benefit mankind is an important mission. This essay on glass and genes, exploring the relationship between the inanimate and animate worlds, is a tribute to Professor Turner’s vision of transcending disciplines. One goal of the essay is to describe our recent discovery of gene activating  glasses. A second goal is to summarise present day clinical applications of these glasses. The third goal is to  project their future use in regenerative medicine. In order to understand the origin of gene activating glasses and  their use in repair of bone it is first necessary to understand the origin of bone in the biological world. Bone is a  living composite material composed of cells, a blood supply that keeps the cells alive and a non-living matrix  wherein the bone cells live. The matrix is a complex three-dimensional structure of elastically tough polymer fibres, collagen, reinforced with a calcium phosphate mineral phase,  hydroxyapatite. This unique 3-D living composite material required many millions of years to appear on earth. Let us review its beginning.

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