Imagine knowing years in advance whether you are likely to get cancer or having a personalized understanding of your individual genes, organs, and cells. Imagine being able to monitor your body’s well-being, or have a diet tailored to your microbiome. The Secret Body reveals how these and other stunning breakthroughs and technologies are transforming our understanding of how the human body works, what it is capable of, how to protect it from disease, and how we might manipulate it in the future.
Taking readers to the cutting edge of research, Daniel Davis shows how radical new possibilities are becoming realities thanks to the visionary efforts of scientists who are revealing the invisible and secret universe within each of us. Focusing on six important frontiers, Davis describes what we are learning about cells, the development of the fetus, the body’s immune system, the brain, the microbiome, and the genome—areas of human biology that are usually understood in isolation. Bringing them together here for the first time, Davis offers a new vision of the human body as a biological wonder of dizzying complexity and possibility.
Written by an award-winning scientist at the forefront of this adventure, The Secret Body is a gripping drama of discovery and a landmark account of the dawning revolution in human health.
Awards and Recognition
- Finalist for the PROSE Award in Neuroscience, Association of American Publishers
- A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
"An elegantly written and splendidly concise Cook’s Tour of the frontiers of medical biology."—John J. Ross, Wall Street Journal
"A big-picture forecast of how medicine stands on the threshold of a revolution that will radically change all of our lives."—John Naish, The Times
"This is not a subject that popular writers have ignored, but Davis, a professor of immunology, refreshingly avoids the low-hanging fruit (life extension, designer babies) and digs into the actual science. While acknowledging the many miracles this new science will lead to (most of which will not occur in the immediate future), the author explores what contemporary scientists have learned and how they learned it. . . . Dazzling discoveries in expert hands."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"In The Secret Body, Davis connects the past, present, and future of scientific advancements with aspects of human health. . . . By focusing on the successes as well as the struggles researchers responsible for each tool experienced, Davis personalizes the science and fosters an appreciation for the complexities of scientific discovery. . . . Appropriate for both scientific and general audiences, the book leaves readers with a deep sense of the impact that the large volume of data being produced through these technologies will have, not only on human health itself but also on decisions regarding health."—C. Kale, Choice
“A perfect blend of cutting-edge science and compelling storytelling. Daniel Davis has a rare knack for making complex science comprehensible and thrilling.”—Bill Bryson, author of The Body: A Guide for Occupants
“A brilliant deep dive into the latest discoveries of human health. An inspiration!”—Tim Spector, author of Spoon-Fed
“Reading The Secret Body is like spending time with an eloquent, well-connected, and entertaining enthusiast who has intimate knowledge of the secret worlds that lie within all of us.”—Roger Highfield, coauthor of The Dance of Life
“An extraordinary journey that reveals the magnificence, intricacy, and beauty of the human body, fundamentally changing the way we see ourselves. Masterful.”—Alice Roberts, author of The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being
“With masterful storytelling and deep scientific knowledge, Daniel Davis presents a fascinating modern history of the most consequential biomedical innovations of recent decades. A gifted scientific communicator, Davis translates complex processes into compelling stories of discovery, making a powerful case that these innovations are shaping and sometimes even defining our human destinies.”—Barbara N. Horowitz, MD, coauthor of Zoobiquity and Wildhood
“What we now know about the human body would seem magical to people just a hundred years ago. Davis takes us on a grand voyage to see how we reached our current understanding, along the way interweaving accounts of amazing discoveries with the very human stories of the many scientists who made them possible. Anyone interested in biology will learn much from this enjoyable book.”—Venki Ramakrishnan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and author of Gene Machine
“Daniel Davis writes with passion and clarity, presenting the cutting edge of technology that is revolutionizing our understanding of how the human body works. His narrative style whips you along from innovation to innovation while maintaining scientific accuracy throughout—a first-class read.”—Jack Gilbert, coauthor of Dirt Is Good
“A beautifully rendered picture of the startling new discoveries in human biology that are radically altering our understanding of how we function and what our future holds.”—Brian Cox, coauthor of Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos