Steps are continuing to be made to allow 3 parent IVF as a way of helping mothers with mitochondrial disorders have biological children according to this news in the metro today. See my previous article from when this was front page news here.
So here’s my third video to the mini series, introducing the idea of genetic engineering in a way that hopefully won’t sound as scary as some people might find the idea.
Genetic engineering is a wonderful tool allowing us to take genes from a human and put them into bacteria. Because every organism’s genetic code is made up of the same As, Gs, Cs and Ts the bacteria can interpret the genes and make the protein products we need. Also, because bacteria are so small and multiply so often, we can have a bacteria factory making things like insulin that we can use to treat people.
I was able to have a go at genetic engineering at university to make bacteria produce a blood thinner and the fact that a whole class of 3rd year students could do this successfully without ever trying the technique before is incredible and shows how far we’ve come in using genetic tools to treat medical conditions successfully.
What’s also great is that the protein made from the gene is a human version, not a bacterial version, as the original gene is from humans. This cuts out a whole number of potential problems!
So have a look at my video and let me know what you think!
I’m saddened to hear that this is happening at my old university, a place where I was proud of the attitude shown to research. In addition, King’s has been falling down the league tables thanks to shoddy student satisfaction and I hardly think something like this, which will drastically affect quality of teaching and even increase class sizes, is going to help that situation.
Science students, lecturers and researchers at universities like King’s stand side by side and build relationships based on excellent work and trust. The university is not showing any of these groups of people the respect they deserve and has annihilated any trust between themselves and their own scientific community.
Please show your support of the King’s staff and sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/rick-trainor-stop-kcl-health-school-redundancies
It’s all over the news, and it’s not looking good for Facebook and the researchers behind a newly published study. In case you haven’t heard, Facebook has teamed up with a group of researchers and manipulated the emotions of almost 700,000 of you during a week in January 2012 (http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full). The paper describes the occurrence of ‘emotional contagion’ where people exposed to more positive posts on their news feeds post more positive things themselves and vice versa for sad posts. However this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’m not saying the results are unsurprising, I’m saying that Facebook has manipulated your newsfeed to get an emotional response, and you shouldn’t be surprised.
Scientists both fear it and get excited goosebumps over it, but it’s not easy and it’s not quick. Publishing. Getting your work to a stage that’s ready to be seen by the masses, criticised by many and cited by whoever thinks it’s important.
I may only be a first year PhD student but already publishing my work is something I have to think about. It’s not like I’m even having delusions of grandeur as my boss has mentioned the P word to me many times now. I may not be first author on a (hopefully) near future paper but contributing is a massive step for me and fills me with excitement.
Before I started my research, I had very little knowledge of how publishing your work even worked. Now I’m a little wiser and have uncovered a dark, complicated route to getting your work seen. Here I outline a few of the things I’ve learnt…
I have never been shy about the fact that I love open access. That means I think all published research should be free for anyone to read and not hidden behind expensive paywalls. I also believe in making research accessible by explaining it to other researchers, academics and members of the public.
I was approached by Eyqew after publishing my Genetics: Back to Basics videos about putting them on their site and becoming a contributer.
This is the second video in my back to basics series, this time introducing the idea of genes being regulated differently in different cells. There’s more to it then just off or on but the concept is fundamental, especially in developmental biology (my broader field of work).
This time round with the video I decided to try and use the images that are readily available to any user to see how far I could stretch the app to my needs, and I think it worked out quite well for a non-specialised app!
Have a watch and let me know what you think. The video still stays along the ks4 science curriculum guidelines so hopefully it can be a useful resource.