biotechnology

I'm in Berkeley right now at the annual Bio-Link Summer Fellows forum. We're getting to hear talks from people in the biotech industry, listen to enthusiastic instructors describe their biotech programs and ideas, and try out new educational materials. Yesterday, two speakers (Damon Tighe and Jason Baumohl) from the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, CA, gave a fun talk about DNA sequencing and sequence assembly. They also showed some very nice Flash animations, made by Damon Tighe, at the JGI, that illustrate how DNA sequencing is done ... Read more
A little over ten years ago, Dr. Elaine Johnson obtained funding from the National Science Foundation to start Bio-Link, an Advanced Technology Education center, focused on biotechnology. Since that time, Dr. Johnson has become a national leader in biotech education, enlisting the country's top educators and industry captains to ensure that community college students receive a quality education and the best preparation possible for entering the workforce. In this radio interview from Tech Nation, Dr. Johnson talks with Dr. Moira Gunn about the ... 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
Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing Where do all the flowers gone? Long time ago Where do all the flowers gone? Young girls picked them everyone, When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? -Pete Seeger Where do graduate students and post-docs go when they decide it's time to leave the pipeline? And, if they're thinking about going, how do they find a path into something new? These questions are especially timely given all the current NIH funding issues. It's odd, too, that we probably have the data, that is, I think we can count the number of people ... Read more
In part I, I wrote about the shortage of technicians in the biotechnology industry and the general awareness that this problem is getting worse. This part will address the challenge of getting more students into programs that will prepare them for jobs in the biotech field. I've also been asked to write a bit more about finding jobs in companies, that post will be a bit later. Before proceeding, there are two points that need a bit of discussion. The first point is the whether there's a ... 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
Workforce shortages are a growing problem in the biotech industry. Communities are concerned that a lack of trained workers will either keep companies away or cause companies to move. If companies do have to move, it's likely those jobs might be lost forever, never to return. According to Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of labor, now a professor at UC-Berkeley, biotech companies that can't hire in the U.S. will recruit foreign workers or open research centers overseas (Luke Timmerman, Seattle PI). ... Read more
One of my favorite web 2.0 technologies is the webinar. When you work at a company and not a University, with constant seminars, it gets a bit harder to hop on a bus and travel across town to learn about new things. Webinars are a good way to fill that gap. I grab my coffee cup, put on my headphones, and I get to listen to someone tell me about their work for an hour and show slides over the web. It's nice. Our company is even going to be involved in two webinars in the next two months. One of us is giving an Illumina webinar tomorrow ... Read more
Have you ever wondered how to view and annotate molecular structures? At least digital versions? It's surprisingly easy and lots of fun. Here's a movie I made that demonstrates how you can use Cn3D, a free structure-viewing program from the NCBI. Luckily, Cn3D behaves almost the same way on both Windows and Mac OS X. ... 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

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