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!
A quick additional note: if you do download the adobe voice app, they’ve selected my second video in the series as part of their inspiration feed on the homepage of the app! So you’ll be able to see that within the app as an example video!
Continue reading Genetics: Back to Basics (insulin & genetic engineering)
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.
Continue reading Eyqew Inc.
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.
You should know about this. I’m hoping you do already but I’m concerned that not enough people do.
This year, a week and a half ago, BBC2 launched the new Longitude Prize 2014. Horizon has been on our TVs for 50 years now and to mark half a century of reporting on the most recent scientific, industrial and technological advances they are asking the public for help.
Continue reading Longitude Prize 2014
Originally posted on the node
I recently took part in the ‘I’m a scientist, get me out of here!’ outreach event. As soon as the school children found out I was a developmental geneticist and worked out what I did, one question I was repeatedly asked was: “what’s your favourite gene and why?” so for a bit of fun, I thought I’d share my thoughts and see what everyone else’s are too.
Now, I could have gone into detail about a gene of utmost importance in my work or one we literally couldn’t live without (although picking either of those would be tricky as that hardly narrows the list down). However, my first thought when picking my ‘favourite gene’ is always listing the funny-named ones that stuck out from my university lectures. That’s not to say these genes don’t also fit into the important and essential-to-life categories, but they have that added ‘pazzaz’ of an ear-catching name that would wake you from your university slumber, thinking “did he actually just say what I think he said…?”. So here is my shortlist, the top 5 genes based almost entirely on their names: Continue reading What’s your favourite gene?
Unfortunately this is quite a delayed post so I’d like to apologise for that but suddenly things got very busy around here…
I took part in the I’m a scientist competition from 10th March until my eviction on the 18th (sad to say I didn’t win!). I will start with this – I was not prepared for the sheer onslaught of questions, hard questions from the kids. I took part in a handful of live chats and I’m pretty sure I’ve worn down a few letters on my keyboard! Continue reading I’m a Scientist, get me out of here!
Yesterday, my evening was spent at Senate House in London for my first experience of a Crick Symposium run by the new/future Francis Crick Institute. Just so you know, The Francis Crick Institute is the developing giant biomedical research institute being built just by King’s Cross Station in London and will house researchers from Imperial College, King’s College, University College, The NIMR and the LRI. It’s huge, it’s a big deal and if (fingers crossed) everything goes to plan timing wise I will be finishing up my PhD there!
Now the symposium was about rare diseases, which weirdly enough are a big problem. Each individual rare disease is defined in the EU as affecting less than 5 in 10000 of the general population however with over 6000 recognised rare diseases that equates to a lot of people living with them. Rare diseases are often severe, chronic, life threatening, life debilitating and have large impacts on the patient and their families. Continue reading Crick Symposium: Rare Diseases