Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Animated 3D Video of Human Microbiome

A quick post on a really good video from the Knight Lab on how the Human Microbiome (wiki) varies across body space (skin, mouth, vagina, gut) and across time (from infant to adult). Its a really nice way to sum up years of data in three minutes! I can also imagine that we all can immediately use this video in teaching the microbiome. Hence, this is why I am posting to the blog rather than twitter, where it may get lost in the twittersphere feed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What is Open Access Publishing & Why Is It Important?

Answer: Open Access Publishing is the future.

This video should be mandatory watching for all scientists, students, and anyone remotely interested in using research to make decisions about your health and future.

Open Access Publishing allows you to read the articles you want for free. Afterall, you probably paid for some portion of the research through your tax dollars going to fund the federal science budgets.

The bearded guy with the plad shirt is Jonathan Eisen, who I credit for getting me interested in social media and open access publishing. He and others have done the same for countless other scientists. His Ted Talk on the ubiquity of microbes is worth a watch.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Animated Doodle Video of Wolbachia | Eliminate Dengue Project

As many readers of this blog know, the Wolbachia | Eliminate Dengue Project is a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project spearheaded by Scott O'Neill at Monash University in Melbourne.  Ive posted on it recently here. Yesterday, they posted this great animated doodle video for everyone to understand how Wolbachia, a bacterial infection of arthropods, is being used to stop mosquito transmission of dengue virus, the causative agent of Dengue (a.k.a bone break) fever.

Is this serious? You betcha. The World Health Organization estimates that over 40% of the world's population is at risk and a whopping 100 million dengue virus infections occur worldwide each year. Numbers of infection are also on the rise.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Symbiotic Control: Vietnam is next for Wolbachia-based eradication of Dengue

Source: ABC News 

Vietnam to replicate Cairns dengue project

Updated Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:36pm AEDT
Researchers trialling a technique to stop dengue fever transmission around Cairns in far north Queensland will replicate the experiment in Vietnam.
The Eliminate Dengue project involves releasing mosquitoes into communities after infecting them with the 'wolbachia' bacteria, which blocks the spread of the virus.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health has approved a trial on the small island of Tri Nguyen.
Program manager Dr Peter Ryan says it should begin in March.
"In Vietnam, particularly in the health system, the community is very involved in health programs there," he said.
"Essentially they're setting up the equivalent of a Neighbourhood Watch system for wolbachia.
"Representatives from the community will actually undertake releases of mosquitoes in their own and the neighbours' yards."
Dr Ryan says Vietnamese researchers have been involved in the program for several years.
"Scientists from Vietnam have visited Cairns and actually participated in some of the trials," he said.
"The Ministry of Health in Vietnam has just approved a field trial which will be undertaken in a small island called Tri Nguyen Island [with] about 700 households."
First posted Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:49am AEDT

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My talk at the University of Idaho

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of visiting a talented group of biologists who are passionate and collaborative about evolution, microbial ecology, genomics, phylogenetics, mobile elements, theoretical modeling of coevolution, statistics, mathematics, and programming. Its an evolution commune dream - like the Woods Hole of the Northwest. If you're interested in any of these topics, you need to visit them or check them out on the web. The Department of Biological Sciences and the IBEST institute at the University of Idaho are top notch. The director of the IBEST institute, Prof. Larry Forney, invited me out for a seminar. Below is the talk nearly in full on the genomics of microbial symbionts (1st half, up to 35:43) and symbiont-induced speciation (2nd half, starting at 35:44). The instant start into Slide 2 is part of the video.

Symbionts as Targets and Agents of Change - October 16, 2012

Below are pictures taken along the way between Salt Lake City and Moscow, Idaho. The landscape is beautiful. The first one is courtesy of the Facebook page of the University of Idaho. While I was there, there was a campus-wide email alert of a moose on the loose on campus. They are aggressive but thankfully no harm was done and it made for a good chuckle. The second picture is a shot of Salt Lake.