Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Claire Fraser TEDx: "Im a microbiologist; I love Bacteria"

Just found this video which was posted today by the Institute for Genome Sciences. It appears to be a TEDx Mid Atlantic 2013 lecture by Dr. Claire Fraser.

Dr. Fraser, Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland, is a big deal in the science of genomics and microbiology. Her lecture is an introduction of ~17 minutes in length. It is worthy of your attention, especially if you need an introductory refresher on the microbiome or are just a fan of Dr. Fraser's science.

The only thought I'd add is that while ecology is a persistent theme in this talk, there is also an evolutionary story to be told as well. More to come on this later as our lab delves into the microbiome-evolution axis.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Congratulations to the 2014 Golden Goose Awardees

In 2012 I happened to sit on a plane next to Congressman Jim Cooper from Nashville, TN, where I learned of his brainchild, the Golden Goose Awards, to honor the serendipity of how basic federally funded research significantly impacts our daily lives (blog link).

The award program is first rate and has honored some notable scientists. Congrats to the 2014 awardees! Here is a well-done video of their stories.

A small investment in science brigs us the vastness of tomorrow.


What: The purpose of the “Golden Goose” award is to demonstrate the human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of seemingly obscure studies that have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact.  Such breakthroughs include development of life-saving medicines and treatments; game-changing social and behavioral insights; and major technological advances related to national security, energy, the environment, communications, and public health. Such breakthroughs may also have resulted in economic growth through the creation of new industries or companies.
Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) originally conceived of the Golden Goose award as a means of educating Members of Congress and the general public about the value of federal funding of basic scientific research. The name of the award is a play on the “Golden Fleece” awards issued between 1975 and 1988 by Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), which targeted specific federally funded research grants as examples of government waste. The name also alludes to the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Researchers who have used federal funding to make their research breakthroughs constitute the “goose,” and the innovations stemming from their work are the “golden eggs.” The Golden Goose Award explicitly links the two.