biotechnology

Sometimes words fail me. Luckily, we have videos. Many of you have probably read about Roger Tsien receiving the Nobel Prize this work for his work with the green fluorescent protein (GFP), but I bet some of you are wondering, why a jellyfish protein is worth a Noble Prize. i-2bac28c826d66cfb3913c23f6b532986-jove_image.gifI think one of the best places to see why GFP is ... Read more
Over the years, I've seen many biotechnology education programs at community colleges embrace outreach to high schools as part of their mission. This kind of enthusiasm for outreach seems unique to biotech. No other kind of science or engineering program seems to do this sort of thing, at least not on the nationwide basis that I've seen demonstrated in biotechnology. And yet, even though I've always admired and often participated in these efforts, some aspects are a little puzzling. How do the colleges reconcile the energy spent in outreach efforts with the energy spent ... Read more
Long Branch, NJ, is a lovely town on the Atlantic Ocean, with long beaches and brand new shops and condos. It is also part of an area in, central New Jersey, where biotechnology education is entering an exciting time thanks to efforts of NJBEC, Bio-1, and a WIRED grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. NJBEC, Bio-1, WIRED? What do all these acronyms mean? I get these things confused all the time, so I'll take a quick moment and explain. NJBEC is the New Jersey Biotechnology Educators Consortium. Bio-1 is a partnership between five counties and several schools in ... Read more
ScienceBlogs and science bloggers, in general, have enthusiastically supported fund-raising efforts by DonorsChoose for the past two years, and we're doing it once again for 2008. DonorsChoose works like this: teachers write descriptions of what they want and how they'll use it for teaching, and submit their proposals to DonorsChoose. We pick the projects we like and if you like them, too, you can help get these projects funded.
Donate to schools! Win a prize!
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I learned via e-mail yesterday that the biotechnology program, that I taught with for ten years during the 90's, is ending due to low enrollments. I also learned yesterday, via the Seattle Times, that a resurrected version of ICOS called CMC Icos Biologics is planning a $35M expansion of their biotech manufacturing plant in Bothell and talking about hiring lots of students with two-year degrees. The irony isn't lost on me. We struggled with variable enrollments too, when I was at Seattle Central ... Read more
This First Annual Conference for New Jersey Biotechnology Educators will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4th at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. I'm excited about attending this conference, not only because of the biotechnology part, but because I've reading Sarah Vowel's book ... Read more

Every fall, we had to confront it. People would let their dogs run around on the field in the morning and by the time soccer practice started, the field would be full of deadly doo.

i-a95895440768dd778c90dd5ee356b5b2-koko_face.jpg
Koko

There's nothing that hurts soccer practice more than a soccer ball or shoes that went through a pile of dog poo. ... Read more

A few days ago, I wrote about a cool project that some high school students did where they used DNA sequencing to identify seafood. One question that came up from one of my commenters was how a school would start a project like this. I'm totally biased, but I think DNA sequencing (well, actually the data analysis) is one of the most interesting things that a class can do as part of a research project. These days, getting started with this kind of project, wouldn't be so hard. Here's are ... Read more
Two teenagers, Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss, carried out their own science project over the past year. They visited 4 restaurants and 10 grocery stores and gathered 60 samples of fish and sent them off to the University of Guelph to get sequenced. I like this story. One of my former students did a project like this for the FDA years ago, sampling fish from the Pike Place Market and identifying them with PCR. He was an intern, though. Here we have students identifying sushi on their own! Quoting the ... Read more
Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to respond to a specific thing. Most of the vaccines we use are designed to prime the immune system so that it's ready to fight off some kind of disease, like whooping cough, polio, or influenza. Some vaccines can have more specialized functions, like stimulating the body to attack cancer cells, kill rogue autoimmune cells, or prevent pregnancy. We'll look at what they do in later posts, for now, let's look at the kinds of things that can be used as vaccines.

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