Gunn, Moira A. 1949- (Moira Anne Gunn)

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Gunn, Moira A. 1949- (Moira Anne Gunn)


Born 1949. Education: University of San Francisco, B.S., 1970; Purdue University, M.S., 1972, Ph.D., 1974.


Office—Tech Nation Media, KQEDFM, 2601 Mariposa St., San Francisco, CA 94110, E-mail—[email protected].


Mechanical engineer, computer scientist, radio broadcaster, public speaker, and writer. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Institute for Advanced Computation, 1974-80; University of San Francisco, College of Professional Studies, San Francisco, CA, adjunct faculty member, c. 1983—, program director of information systems, 2006—; National Public Radio, host of Tech Nation and BioTech Nation, 1993—; The Tech Nation Group, San Francisco, CA, president and CEO. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, member of Dean's Advisory Council; Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, member of department of mechanical engineering advisory board. Other affiliations include board member emeritus of the Tech Museum of Innovation; advisory board member of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology; and advisory board member of the Trusted Computing Group.


Phi Beta Kappa.


College of Science Dean's Ovation Award, Purdue University College of Science, 2006, for outstanding contributions to the College of Science.


Welcome to BioTech Nation: My Unexpected Odyssey into the Land of Small Molecules, Lean Genes, and Big Ideas, AMACOM (New York, NY), 2007.


Moira A. Gunn, who has advanced degrees in engineering and computer science, is the host of the popular National Public Radio program Tech Nation and its segment BioTech Nation. The show, which airs weekly on more than 200 public radio stations, is geared toward making all aspects of science and technology meaningful to the general listening public. The show also airs on Sirius Satellite Radio and is broadcast internationally to 133 countries via American Forces Radio. In addition, the author is a public speaker who talks about the impact of technology on society, the current and projected state of global technology penetration, and her experience as a woman in technology, science, and engineering. Gunn is also a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engineer.

In her first book, Welcome to BioTech Nation: My Unexpected Odyssey into the Land of Small Molecules, Lean Genes, and Big Ideas, Gunn examines the biotech industry and profiles many of the characters who populate the industry, from an egotistic DNA scientist to a pharmaceutical executive who has a penchant for Viagra. In the process, she examines pertinent ethical and political issues such as the debate over genetically modified foods to the dying of the only stem cell lines that President George W. Bush approved for use in medical research.

"Today, one third of the world's economy is driven by biotech," the author noted in an interview with Guy Kawasaki on the How to Change the World Web site. "I was shocked to learn that, but think about it: There's the big pharmaceuticals, there's what we usually think of as biotech R&D and their start-ups, there's genetically-modified agriculture, there's the new biofuels like ethanol, there's manufacturing processes, there's bio-defense, and the list goes on. The growth potential in these industries can all be attributed to biotech." The author went on to note: "And let's not forget computers and the Internet. Biotech is contributing massively to the information explosion all around us."

In her book, the author delves into such biotech efforts as searching for a cure for cancer and studies to see if an individual's DNA/RNA combination will instantaneously reveal what drugs will work for a person and what drugs won't work. Diagnosis of depression and other illnesses is also an ongoing area of research discussed by the author, as well as the development of biomedical devices that will be able to continuously monitor a patient's status and phone it in to central Web sites. This wireless connection will enable computers to continuously check the data and, if needed, notify doctors of any problems.

In her interview with Kawasaki on the How to Change the World Web site, the author commented on the biotech story she discusses in the book that impacted her the most. Noting that "one out of six people worldwide are either pre-diabetic or diabetic," the author went on to tell Kawasaki: "Diabetes—and the lead up to fullblown diabetes—is a ticking bomb in our midst only we can't hear the ticking. There's new technology which can help us recognize this condition, and in my opinion, we need to jump on it. One example is a simple device over which you simply hold your arm for thirty seconds. You have to tell it your age, and it can easily tell you if you are likely in a pre-diabetic state."

In a review of Welcome to BioTech Nation, Mary Chitty wrote in the Library Journal that the author "does a good job of introducing us to the current landscape, with intriguing and colorful characters." A SciTech Book News contributor commented that the book is "clearly aimed [at] a general readership."



Journal of Chemical Education, October, 2007, Richard Pagni, review of Welcome to BioTech Nation: My Unexpected Odyssey into the Land of Small Molecules, Lean Genes, and Big Ideas, p. 1610.

Lawyers Competitive Edge: The Journal of Law Office Economics and Management, August, 2007, John W. Olmstead, review of Welcome to BioTech Nation, p. 12.

Library Journal, June 15, 2007, Mary Chitty, review of Welcome to BioTech Nation, p. 92.

SciTech Book News, September, 2007, review of Welcome to BioTech Nation.


All American Speakers Bureau, (April 8, 2008), "Detailed Biography of Dr. Moira Gunn.", (April 8, 2008), profile of author.

How to Change the World, (July 30, 2007), Guy Kawasaki, "Ten Questions with Moira Gunn: How Does an Internet Babe Make the Leap to Biotech?"

ITConversations, (April 8, 2008), brief profile of author.

Purdue University College of Science Web site, (April 8, 2008), profile of author., (August 8, 2008).

University of San Francisco College of Professional Studies Web site, (April 8, 2008), staff profile of author.