One of the things that drives me crazy on occasion is nomenclature. Well, maybe not just nomenclature, it's really the continual changes in the nomenclature, and the time it takes for those changes to ripple through various databases and get reconciled with other kinds of information. And the realization that sometimes this reconciliation may never happen.
One of the projects that I've been working on during the past couple of years has involved developing educational materials that use bioinformatics tools to look at the isozymes that metabolize alcohol. As part of this ... Read more
The first lab mouse I touched had soft white fur and a light pink tail. It looked cute enough to snuggle and take home as a pet and I was smitten. I slipped my hand into the cage, thinking the mouse would respond like my pet gerbils or my brother's pet rat. As my hand closed around its belly, that sweet little mouse sunk its teeth deep in my thumb. I screamed and shook my hand, smashing the mouse on the cement floor and killing it in an instant.
It's been many years now since I've been doing anything with mice or rats. There's much more oversight these days, as DrugMonkey ... Read more
This the third part of case study where we see what happens when high school students clone and sequence genomic plant DNA. In this last part, we use the results from an automated comparison program to determine if the students cloned any genes at all and, if so, which genes were cloned. (You can also read part I and part II.) Did they clone or not clone? That is the question. ... Read more
start all over again.
MDRNA Inc., a Puget Sound area company formerly known as Nastech, announced on Monday that they'd be laying off 23 people including their president and chief business officer. This might not sound like a lot, but according to Joseph Tartakoff, from the Seattle PI, this brings the total number of layoffs up to 145 since November.
These events present a challenge to those of us who teach in biotech programs or biotech-related fields. Nastech, the predecessor to MDRNA had been around for ... Read more
In part I, I wrote about my first semester of teaching on-line and talked about our challenges with technology. Blackboard had a database corruption event during finals week and I had all kinds of struggles with the Windows version of Microsoft Excel. Mike wrote and asked if I thought students should be working more with non-Microsoft software and what I thought the challenges would be in doing so.
I can answer with a totally unqualified "it depends."
... Read more
On-line courses were a still a new phenomenon when I was teaching full-time. Our school was pretty gung-ho about on-line education but many instructors were skeptical, some were still lamenting having to learn how to use a computer and losing the services that used to be provided by departmental secretaries. Other instructors simply distrusted the entire idea, seeing distance learning as the equivalent of an educational scam, a kind of "get rich quick scheme" that would allow the school to collect more tuition dollars without paying instructors.
I never did teach an on-line ... Read more
Students, teachers and scientists converge tommorrow morning from all around the Puget Sound region and elsewhere in Washington to share their experiences and talk about science. The students will present posters, science-themed music, art, drama, and many different types of projects that involved first-hand research and investigation. Scientists from the local biotech companies and research institutions talk with the students and judge the projects.
The public viewing time is tomorrow, May 28th, between 9 am-12 noon at the Meydenbauer Center. More information can be found ... Read more
Bio-Link is accepting applications for this year's National Summer Fellows forum, June 2-6th, in Berkeley, CA.
You can get an application at www.bio-link.org
I'll be there, doing some kind of bioinformatics workshop. I'll probably be talking about either metagenomics or comparing protein structures and drug resistance, but if you have topic requests, feel free to submit them in the comments. Read more
I've been writing quite a bit this week about my search for a cross platform spread sheet program that would support pivot tables and make pie graphs correctly.
This all started because of a bug that my students encountered in Microsoft Excel, on Windows. I'm not personally motivated to look for something new, since Office 2004 on Mac OS 10.5 doesn't seem to have the same bugs that appear on Windows. However, I would like things to work for my students. Since I don't want to have ... Read more