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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-05-2011
If you are interested in meaningful, accessible news about biotechnology and its impact on our lives without all the hype that is usually associated with tabloid journalism be sure to watch the video below and show your support for BetterBio. According to BetterBio founder Khadijah Britton, the reality of every day science does not usually involve earth-shattering breakthroughs or setbacks as is often reported in the popular media, but it does involve a more complicated set of circumstances with small steps forward and (hopefully) few steps back.
Like Khadijah, I too am disappointed with the way science is portrayed in the media and I would love to see meaningful, accessible news that presents the reality of biotechnological progress to a diverse public audience. I believe that most members of the scientific community share my sentiments and I encourage you to show your support.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-06-2010
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition is back for the 8th year and entering its final day on Monday November 8th. The competition involves teams of undergraduate students from various universities who are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer which are used to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. This year’s competition taking place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the largest yet boasting 130 teams and 2,000 participants.
The competition encourages both intellectual exercise and interpersonal skills. According to the iGEM judging criteria, requirements for earning a gold medal include:
- building biological systems and operate them in living cells
- helping another iGEM team
- Developing and documenting a new technical standard
- Outlining and detailing a new approach to an issue of Human Practice in synthetic biology
iGEM is an international event and has attracted contestants from all across the globe. Watch the video below to see news coverage of the Dutch team’s project on oil degradation using microorganisms as covered in the Dutch news (subtitles)
and an inspiring video from the 2010 U of Illinois team
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-20-2010
In a statement released earlier this month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it has awarded the first new grants under the Biomedical Research on the International Space Station (BioMed-ISS) initiative, a collaborative effort between NIH and NASA. Using a special microgravity environment that Earth-based laboratories cannot replicate, researchers will explore fundamental questions about important health issues, such as how bones and the immune system get weak.
The National Laboratory at the ISS provides a virtually gravity-free — or microgravity — environment where the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie human diseases can be explored.
NIH is hosting three rounds of competition for the BioMed-ISS initiative. The first round of grants for the ground-based phase — totaling an estimated $1,323,000 included an award to Millie Hughes-Fulford, from the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, San Francisco who is studying immune system suppression in space. A reduction in the immune response also occurs in the elderly, who, like astronauts, are at increased risk for infection. As a former astronaut, Hughes-Fulford aims to apply lessons learned from studies of immune cells in microgravity to a new model for investigating the loss of immune response in older women and men.
For more information on this exciting new initiative see the NIH website.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-09-2010
The American Biotechnologist is always on the lookout for science fun! If you will be anywhere near North Carolina sometime between September 11 and September 26, 2010 check this out.
Life Is Your Lab! The 2010 North Carolina Science Festival is a multi-day celebration that will showcase science throughout the state, featuring hands-on activities, lab tours, science talks, exhibits, performances and more. Just when you thought it was safe to assume that science happens only in a laboratory, now is your chance to discover otherwise! Go to www.ncsciencefestival.org to find out more!