Robust life extension reaches the Washington Post on Halloween day

AubreyandAdelaideSENS3Let’s meet the informal version of the ‘pro-aging trance’ in a portrait on Aubrey de Grey in the Washington Post (thanks for the tip, Jim):
Why is it, when you bring up the idea of living forever — even if robust and healthy, not drooling on your shoes — some people just recoil viscerally?

“It’s probably the majority that recoils viscerally,” de Grey says. “It’s what I call the pro-aging trance.

“Since the beginning of civilization, we have been aware that aging is ghastly and that aging is utterly inevitable. . . . So we have two choices. Either we spend our lives being preoccupied by this ghastly future or we find some way to get on with our miserably short lives and make the best of it.

“If we do that second thing, which is obviously the right thing to do, then it doesn’t matter how irrational that rationalization might be. . . . It could be, well, we’re all going to go to heaven. Or it could be, we’re going to have overpopulation. Or it could be, it will be boring. Or, dictators will live forever.

“It doesn’t matter what the answers are. It’s so important for them to maintain their belief that aging is actually not such a bad thing, that they completely suspend any normal rational sense of proportion.”

But if people don’t die, won’t we indeed fill the planet shoulder to shoulder?

“The birthrate is going to have to go down by an order of magnitude,” de Grey acknowledges. “But even if that is going to be a severe problem, the question is not, do problems exist? The question is, are they serious enough to outweigh the benefits of saving 100,000 lives a day? That’s the fundamental question. If you haven’t got an argument that says that it’s that serious that we shouldn’t save 30 [bleeping] World Trade Centers every [bleeping] day, don’t waste my time. It’s a sense of proportion thing.”

Picture made by me with the iPhone on Aubrey and Adelaide on the SENS3 conference in the dining hall of Queens’ College.

Will Nature Network join to the Google Gang to use Open Social?

Google will launch this Thursday a new project, called Open Social, a set of software tools for developers to create applications for multiple social networking sites. The standards are accepted so far by Hi5, Orkut, LinkedIn, Friendster, Ning, Salesforce.com, and Oracle, and not accepted by MySpace and obviously Facebook (the whole project could be interpreted as a gigantic anti-Facebook move or positively as a revolutionary pass over Web 2.0 step).

My question for today concerning the scientific web community: Will Nature Network accept to use Open Social and when? With the focusing on the most common usages Open Social apps are open to cover the general activities of scientists joining to any network, while specialized functions/data can be accessed from the hosts directly via their own APIs.

According to Techcrunch: OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:

  • Profile Information (user data)
  • Friends Information (social graph)
  • Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)

Links:

Google Launches OpenSocial

Google rushes to open itself up

Google and Friends to Gang Up on Facebook

P.S. I wonder what effect Open Social will have on the identity and uniqueness of different social networking sites?

What is your (science) blogging writing style?

jokerkillingjokeYesterday I’ve sent the following (slightly edited) email to a bunch of science bloggers I know and respect for very different reasons. I plan to blog the answers (if they come) one by one:

Dear Fellow Science Blogger,

Every blogger has his/her blogging writing style and in many cases we do know the components our style is made of and recognize the different sources we use and mimic. Would you be kind enough to answer this question shortly in your style for me in order to show the variety of the genre called ‘science blogging‘?

Thanks in advance,

Attila Csordas

P.S. For instance I am fully aware that my style is made out of the following components amongst others: spontaneity (to the extreme of originality sometimes), experimentalism, idiosyncratic non-native speaker errors, lack of time, partial attention, insider science heavy lingo that is “terminological arias” (by default), (brackets), question and exclamation marks, science essay writing style educated on British and American analytic philosophers, movie, literature and comics experiences, Wired type tech hype journalism and first of all…enthusiasm about science and technology.

The official method, the DIY solution and the science hack

Original title, let’s call it subtitle: Can we isolate human cell clone derived colonies with an inoculation loop?

The following post is dedicated for scientists who ever faced with a similar problem, that is running out of cloning disks and working late.

In experimental science, when people are facing with a problem need to be solved within a restricted time frame, they can choose out of 3 main scenarios: the official or the received method, the DIY solution and the shortcut hack. (There is also a ‘fourth’ solution: outsourcing, using networking capabilities). People in the lab are different by their affinity to these patterns: engineering, tinkering, hacking or ‘networking’. Here is a recent example.

Continue reading

My Arduino and home electronics starter kit

starterkithomeelectronicsAfter a hard experimental week (I have now around 55 T-75 or T-175 flasks with 6 different growing cell lines in the incubator) finally I have been able to turn a little weekend attention to move a step further with my home electronics “maker” plan. Instead of buying a complete Arduino starter pack ($65) I’ve just bought an Arduino diecimila open source microcontroller and a tiny breadboard on the Austin Maker Faire. But now I moved to the closest Radio Shack to get some capacitors, resistors and transistors. With all this investment so far I am still under $70. Bu I forgot to buy wires, hookup for the breadboard, stranded to panel-mounted components like LEDs, and I don’t have proper tools yet, like soldering iron and wire striper, multi-meter and loupe. Basic reference: MAKE The home electronics issue, particularly Charles Platt Your Electronics Workbench For programing an Arduino you need a PC, and my backup laptop, the iBook G4 is just perfect for that purpose. Next issue was to make the system work, and here is a step by step process, basically you download the programing environment and install it with the USB driver, then connect a LED (positive (longer) leg of the LED to pin 13 and the negative (shorter) leg to ground (marked “GND”), plug in the Arduino and upload the first trial Blinking LED code to the board and run it. Voila, you have the system.

blinkingLEDwith Arduino

Meeting with Mark Zupan at Juan’s Flying Burrito in New Orleans

Murderball’s Mark ZupanMark Zupan is a tough guy, he is the captain of the United States quadriplegic wheelchair rugby team. Mark was the main character in the award-winning documentary entitled Murderball, a film I was impressed so much when I had seen it back at home in my favorite Toldi mozi. Mark was restricted to a wheelchair due to a truck crash when he was thrown into a canal and was stuck in frigid water, barely clinging to a tree branch, for fourteen hours and had broken his neck. Mark co-authored a book, called GIMP in which he tells his story on how he could totally redefine his life “through love, friendship, and an introduction to a new sport. Mark realized that he could live a more-than-full life in a chair and has gone on to create an existence that’s truly exceptional. Now a Paralympic athlete (playing quad rugby, aka “murderball”) who’s starred in a movie, Mark explains in his memoir that, in a way, getting hurt was the best thing that could ever have happened to him—and that despite people’s prejudices, a guy in a chair still gets to have sex with his girlfriend, party with his friends, and even crowd-surf at Pearl Jam shows.

And yesterday at the Juan’s Flying Burrito Restaurant on Magazine Street, New Orleans (Irish Channel neighborhood) we’ve just ran into Mark Zupan. Normally it is not my taste to bother celebrities, but Mark is different, I found his real life character respectable so I dared to approach him and ask. Finally Anna shot the following picture: Continue reading

Science’s Netwatch: Aging blog in focus

Here is another sign that the editors at Science Magazine are taking more and more attention to the web and the scientific blogosphere: Ouroboros (that is: Chris, Okie and Lev) was picked up in the Random Samples column of the current Science issue: “But research on aging is booming, and the field’s good health is on display at the blog Ouroboros, which is named for a symbol of endlessness. Three postdocs from leading aging research labs offer their takes on the latest results from conferences and the literature. The site is aimed at researchers, but it can also help beginners get up to speed.”
It seems that the editors are sharing my opinion that Ouroboros is one of the best science blogs out here and it is also worth mentioning that Chris Patil’s incentive of Ouroboros was Science Magazine’s SAGE KE.
Another remarkable thing is Chris’s approach of developing a group blog instead of building an individual brand and focusing exclusively on biogerontological peer review literature and conferences.

Feed reading trends: I am a Valleywag addict, help me!

FeedreadingtrendsShow me your feed reading habits and I’ll tell you who you are! I hope this statement is not true as according the item reading trends on Google Reader I have been a serious Valleywag addict in the last 30 days and more, I suspect. Although extensively reading a funny, well-informed but malicious tech gossip site like Valleywag of the Gawker Empire admits no excuse my explanation is this: after 10-12 hours of experimental lab work I do need something light and ridiculous for mental regeneration at home before switching to more serious content. I want to laugh and for some reason Valleywag is tuned to the frequency I need for entertainment (and also gives me the option to instantaneously present the posts to my wife disturbing her web time). If my click path is a body with different physiological functions, then Valleywag is my Continue reading

Flourishing lab site culture around the Laboratory Website Awards!

LaWVas logoLaWVas nominateYou can still nominate your favorite lab websites at the Laboratory Website and Video Awards or LaWVAs (pronounced like “lava) hosted by The Scientist. (Disclaimer: I am a consultant to The Scientist on the LaWVA project and a member of the judging panel.)

I’ve just checked the candidates and they are amazingly versatile ranging from little academic labs to industry heavyweights.

The winning sites as selected by the editorial team, judging panel and the readers will be announced in this December.


Greg Block’s Oracy and science as an exercise in humanitarianism

oracygregDid you now what oracy means? Never mind. From late September, Oracy is the blog of Tulane grad student and colleague Gregory Block, whom you can catch now just in the middle of finding his blog voice. Topics are focused on rants about science (specially stem cells), Greg’s melancholy music and stories from New Orleans. His intro post says: My old supervisor, David, taught me that science is an exercise in humanitarianism, and that if balanced properly can be an enriching experience and a gratifying lifestyle. So, if you want to complain about your western blots not working or chat about whether your formamide has gone off, this probably isn’t the best place to be.
For advanced scientists I suggest Greg’s favorite thoughts on the The Mortality of Immortal DNA.


Craig Venter and Tim O’Reilly chat: when 2 worlds meet

Biotech is the next infotech (or at least the 2 worlds need to be merged) and it is good to detect the signs of the growing biotech interest on part of the general tech crowd. At the Web 2.0 summit (organised by and for the Silicon Valley tech-media establishment) Tim O’ Reilly asked Craig Just Sequenced Venter. I suggest everyone watching the video below. It was not a terrific dialogue though as we’ve seen 2 people with a very different background talking about Venter’s discipline. I loved to hear the words ‘SNPs’ or ‘mitochondria ‘coming from Venter’s mouth in front of the biotechnologically still illiterate IT and web technology elite (my assumption, not tested statistically).

The other remarkable thing was Venter’s doubts regarding the current commercialized genetics service that personalized medicine and bioweb startups like 23andMe Continue reading

Thoughts on Open Source Hardware at the Austin Maker Faire

For open source hardware you need open source software and a modular hardware design that makes building customized hardware just as easy as writing software or web apps. In order to make the idea mainstream you need to commercialize it and that’s what exactly Bug Labs is planning to do. (Again, my bioDIY brain says, that we should apply this concept to biological components too on different levels, just like nucleotide (DNA, RNA), protein, organellar, cellular, tissue level, and make them available to home tinkerers).

One interesting session at the Austin Maker Faire was the chat on Open Source Hardware with Limor Fried and Phil Torrone and Anna recorded it with her new camcorder, so please check Anna’s comments to learn more and see the talk:

Arduino Diecimila: my first microcontroller ever

arduinodiecim

The biggest impact of the Austin Maker Faire on me was that yesterday I bought an open source, CC licensed Arduino microcontroller and a breadboard for building prototype electronic circuits. I am a total rookie in home electronics but I thought it’s never too late to learn completely new things with the help of our extended memory, the web.

In the long run I’d like to utilize my microcontroller (or the acquired knowledge) for biological purposes in the lab and not just blinking LEDs.

Have you heard of any quality biotech-biology based community (blog, forum, network) specialized in electronics or coding for researchers, online?

Links: How to buy

Arduino Guide

MAKE Arduino Archives

Multitalent in science

mulliscosmoThere are scientists who became big players in a particular discipline but before that they made also more or less successful efforts in an unrelated branch of science. For instance, Kary Mullis, inventor of the Polymerase Chain Reacion (PCR) wrote an early and pretty bizarre cosmological letter entitled Cosmological Significance of Time Reversal published in no other science journal, than Nature. Or there is Robert Lanza, regenerative medicine expert, who had psychological papers in his Harvard youth. Whatever is the value of those early and usually B contributions, they say us something on the nature of specialization in science. I suspect that sometimes multitalent is just by coincidence, but there could be cases, when there is a deeper relation behind the multifaceted energy. In art, multitalent is a well-known phenomenon, think about the drawings and paintings of Goethe, or the violin of Ingres.

Help me collect other recent examples of surprising multitalent in the natural sciences.

Venter on the Web 2.0 summit, Mayer on Google Health and petabytes

The ongoing mainstream Web 2.0 summit has a little coverage on health and biomedicine too:

an upcoming conversation with genomics maverick, uncovered Craig Venter and

a past presentation by Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President for Search Products & User Experience, on health information. Sarah Milstein says: “They’re also interested in helping you store and access your own health records. While giving people more control over their own data is an important idea, not to mention a trend we hope to see more of, Google may have to build (or rebuild?) user trust before people make it the repository of their most sensitive information.”

From the Wired post: “Mayer mentioned that 2 billion x-rays are taken every year, each of which would take 10 megabytes of data. That’s 200 petabytes of info. “The word petabytes gets us really excited,” says Mayer, “because that’s what we’re good at: handling large amounts of information, organizing and storing it.”

This reminds me of another Google project, nicknamed Palimpsest.

more on Medicine 2.0

BioMed Search relaunched

BioMedSearchcytochromebBioMed Search, the Google-like BioMedical Image Search Engine is alive after a long off period as it was relaunched about 1 month ago.

Current informal science communication in the lab (say in lab meetings or in journal clubs) is centered around interpreting figures. BioMed Search catches somehow the essence of this communication with indexing the images, figures, diagrams, tables of about 1 million images from peer review articles. The primary source is Highwire press and Biomed Central – informed me Alex Ksikes, sole creator of BioMed Search.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one day Google (whose Scholar does not have a special figure search engine) bought this pretty useful service.

Looking forward to further updates.

The busy life of a stem cell (biotech) startup founder

gahagalogoIf you ever thought of launching a biotech startup… the following blogterview is for you. Jim Hardy is a long time insighful commenter of Pimm and he shared with me his brand new experience as the founder of a biotech startup in the much hyped field of regenerative medicine. The transparency of the interview makes it really valuable besides its information richness thanks to Jim. I found especially useful the used equipment network by necessity, which could be the base of a worldwide biotech startup network and could serve a biodiy movement. Make no mistake: biotech is the next IT.

ACs: Would you be kind enough to introduce your background?

JH: My name is Jim Hardy and I have a BA in Biology and Chemistry from Wittenberg University, a small Liberal Arts school in Ohio. I sold Xerox office equipment for a couple years after school before getting back into science. I was large-scale chemical mixer making laundry detergents, a lab tech at the University of Rochester for 3 years and dabbled in graduate classes before moving to Maryland in 1988 to work in R&D at Life Technologies, which is now Invitrogen (a subject for a separate post). I have always found R&D rather boring and would rather finish one project and move on to the next, so the rest of my career has been in Manufacturing.

ACs: What is the story of Gahaga BioSciences?

JH: Gahaga is an acronym for the three founders: Garner-Hardy-Gage. That’s always the first question. We started the company to commercialize a proprietary method for extracting 3-5 times the number of implantable HSC from afterbirth than is achievable from traditional Cord Blood recovery procedures. Our current business has drifted away from the initial goal. I found your blog, because I was googling amniotic stem cells, or something of that nature. The initial process I am using for producing MSC’s is almost precisely as you describe in the “Make Stem Cells at Home” post and in your poster. Dissect amnion, digest, plate or freeze. So, by classification, my cells would be Amniotic Membrane-human Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (AM-hMSCs).

I just learned our cells stain intensely positive for Nestin (a neural stem cell marker), by Cellomics Array scan and CD 44+ (hematopoietic stem cell marker) by FACS. Right now I am just looking to get these cells into as many places as possible to learn what exactly they are. Continue reading

How to get the number of feed subscribers via Google Reader?

Problogger reveals that Google Reader Reveal Subscriber Numbers to Feeds which is a good way to monitor blog popularity. The problem is that Problogger’s howto is not a good one and hard to follow: “The subscriber numbers can be seen simply by doing a search for a blog’s name after clicking the ‘Add Subscription’ link once you’ve logged into your Google Reader account.” You don’t even need to subscribe to a site to know its subscribers. (I tried to follow Probloggers cloudy words and then Anna solved the problem at once.)

Here is how to get those numbers for a particular blog feed in 3 steps:

1. Click Browse: Continue reading

Where are the quality stem cell blogs?

Honestly, there are not too many good, stem cell related blogs out there. By “good stem cell blogs” I mean blogs that are regularly updated in a niche stem cell related field full with quality science information followed by original opinions and ideas and not just human or algorithmic link blogs.

Here are 3 solid and trustworthy stem cell related blogs I regularly (but not every day) follow:

The Niche: The blog of Nature Reports Stem Cells by Monya Baker.

The California Stem Cell Report: Former political reporter and business journalist David Jensen reports every public movement around the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

The Stem Cell Blog: Although it is definitely not THE Stem Cell Blog, written by Christopher Thomas Scott, Director, Stanford University Program on Stem Cells in Society (PSCS), but worth checking.

Let me know what are the SC blogs you like!

Lanza up, West down at Advanced Cell Technology

Robert Lanza is now the Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technology, while Michael West is voluntarily stepping down as the companys President and Chief Scientific Officer and jumps into the CEO seat of BioTime Inc..

Lanza and West are 2 legendary figures in the biotech industry, and here are 2 interesting things concerning them:

West is in the science, telomerase, stem cell, regmed, biotech business because of his strong life extension commitment and had a big effect on Aubrey de Grey (see How to Live Forever or Die Trying: On the New Immortality by Bryan Appleyard or the highly entertaining Rapture by Brian Alexander).

Lanza was the disciple of the founder of behaviorism, psychologist B.F. Skinner and they had some articles together, say this Science article on the “Self-Awareness” in the Pigeon.

source: Advanced Cell Technology Announces the Promotion of Dr. Robert Lanza to Chief Scientific Officer

Nature’s history site: how to keep the tradition and identity alive

Disciplinary science has a rather short-term memory (see the reference section of peer review articles) while science publishing is relying on the long-term version, especially if it is the journal Nature, published first in 1869.

Now they launched an innovative new site dedicated solely to the history of the journal, full with multimedia snippets and short stories. Source: Nascent

As Reb Tevye says: How do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: Tradition. Continue reading

Wired style SENS3 conference intro or be aware of your audience

journalismAs this very site here is embedded in the blog medium, we could and should be experimental and eclectic in our style as we cannot control (just target) our audience, thank the web. Now a report on a science conference could be addressed to very different audiences, and yesterday I showed an example on how to present an unconventional science conference to the mainstream science establishment. But if I’d like to target, say, the geeky-layman Wired audience, than I should find another angle on the SENS3 conference which is not restricted to the science content but highlights the inconvenience around it. (Just take a look on how journalists at the Wired Science blog are considering to cover their subject.) Say the story would look like this:

Summary (Lead): A recent unconventional strategic conference on translational science in ageing related damages and diseases shows the benefits of mixing the traditionally homogeneous audience of science conferences with visitors from outside science in order to gain new insights, and put ageing and lifespan extension in a broader cultural context.

First paragraph: Question: Which science conference has such a variety of participants that includes hardcore life scientists from top-notch universities, entrepreneurially inclined benefactors, former IT professional turned bioinformaticians, practicing life extensionists, high school talents, fitness fanatics, lawyers, and even a Hollywood scriptwriter, or an investment banker turned biology student due to a recent cancer survival? Answer: The SENS3 conference in Cambridge.

Compare this to that: Continue reading

Unpublished SENS3 conference report for mainstream scientists!

SENSintroslidesRecently I wrote a meeting report on the SENS3 conference for a very prestigious science journal, but finally it did not go through the filters. I knew that the chance for publication is small as the journal rarely publish such meeting reports and as it was in many respects an unconventional science conference. The standards were really high and the genre itself is strictly restricted: no more than 900 words and only 1-2 conference topic could be covered focusing on new data. On the whole it was a really good science writing experience for me. I finally realized how challenging it is to introduce the concept of robust scientific life extension for the mainstream science audience although it is not impossible at all.

But if a man has an interactive blog with a quality readership even an officially unpublished text could be useful, so please read my draft in its final form and think about it. Links of the video versions of the referred presentations and references are included, a perpetual advantage of the web comparing to offline publication. I’d like to say thanks for the folks who helped me with the draft: Aubrey de Grey, Michael Rae, Mark Hamalainen from within the SENS camp, Matthew Oki O’ Connor and Chris Patil, fellow scientists-bloggers and first of all, Anna.

Subject scrapline: Biotechnology

Title: Translating ageing

Summary: A recent unconventional strategic conference on translational science in ageing related damages helps to put some puzzle pieces together.

Changes in the adult tissue stem cells or in the mitochondria are two main processes under constant investigation amongst researchers curious about the ins and outs of the ageing process. At the SENS3 conference in Cambridge scientists and laymen shared their results and ideas, respectively.*

Despite its mixed population with a scientist majority, the conference resembled a mainstream life science conference due to its topic sessions focusing on the different types of lifelong, ageing accumulated damages. SENS decodes as Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, which aims to suggest a panel of interventions on how to robustly extend the mean and maximum human life span and claims to identify the adequately exhaustive list of main age-related pathologies ranging from cell depletion to mitochondrial mutations. SENS is by definition a flexible enough umbrella term to include other coming life extension technologies and concepts under its brand. Also, it is an engineering project compiled by main organizer Aubrey de Grey, a computer scientist turned theoretical biologist with a grand mission and hypotheses yet to be experimentally tested. The presentations were mainly reviewing the progress in the related branches, with enough new data to keep the experts interested.

Stem cells exhausted Continue reading

The Laboratory Website and Video Awards by the Scientist!

LaWVas logoLaWVas nominateHere is a classical web story told in links: a niche blogger got an idea and tries to outsource it, it is popularized by other bloggers, then goes mainstream with the help of a science journal, grows over little blogger’s head and get realized by another powerful science institution.

That’s what happened with my unofficial lab website competition idea, which was featured in Nature back in May.

Let me introduce you to the Laboratory Website and Video Awards or LaWVAs (pronounced like “lava) hosted by The Scientist. (Disclaimer: I am a consultant to The Scientist on the LaWVA project and a member of the judging panel.)

The algorithm is as follows:

1. readers nominate their favorite academic or industrial lab websites

2. editorial team will review the nominations and provide up to 30 outstanding sites to the panel of judges

3. panel of judges (e.g. Elizabeth Kerr from Apple Inc. amongst others) will then carefully review these nominations, ranking their top choices in each category (design, usability, content, community), as well as making a selection for our “Judging Panel’s Best of the Web” award.

4. Once the panel of judges has completed their review, it’s time to turn the voting back to you. The winning sites as selected by the editorial team, judging panel and the readers will be announced in this December.

Wow! Let’s make together a web-savvy laboratory culture!

The first stem cell related Nobel prize: Martin Evans, 2007

martinevansThe Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute has today decided to award The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2007 jointly to Mario R. Capecchi, Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies for their discoveries of “principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells” Link

It’s rather a 2/3 gene technology, 1/3 stem cell methodology Prize, but shows how those technologies are interrelated.

Evans is still an active scientist but here are 2 famous papers he authored or coauthored:

1. First teratocarcinoma paper (always those cancer cells), how to isolate and maintain them, Evans is the single author: The isolation and properties of a clonal tissue culture strain of pluripotent mouse teratoma cells. J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1972 Aug;28(1):163-76.

2. And then the switch to embryonic stem cells a decade later, a protocol lead to the 1998 Science paper by Thomson et al. on human ES cells: Evans, M. J. & Kaufman, M. H. Establishment in culture of pluripotential cells from mouse embryos. Nature 292, 154-6. (1981).

Bill Dye’s hope for an early regenerative medicine therapy! Please help.

Bill Dye has a serious muscle-tendon damage and is looking for an experimental regenerative medicine therapy (stem cells or tissue engineering or both) after 2 years and many surgical interventions. If any out of the expert readers of this blog can help or knows someone, who can help, please do comment or email Mr. Bill Dye. For details, please read the emails below:

Subject: Tore my right pec major sternal head off of my humerus

Hi, my name is Bill Dye. I live in Louisville Ky. I had a very bad injury on 3/17/2005, while doing the decline bench press, and completely tore my right pec major sternal head from my humerus. It was initially misdiagnosed as a partial tear. I had my 1st failed surgery on 7/26/2205 in Birmingham Alabama. The doctor did not even reattach my tendon, which I did not realize till a few months after the surgery.

I did some more research online, and came across Dr C. B., who was then at Duke University Med Center. On 9/6/2006, Dr B. did successfully reattach my tendon to my humerus, but there is so much scar damage from the original injury, that my muscle is still extremely disfigured.

I came across an article on Acell Inc, and got to researching more online about Regenerative Medicine. I was wondering if you knew of any new technology in Regenerative Medicine, that could regenerate my muscle and tendon, to pre injury, such as the “concept” behind the Urinary Bladder Matrix that Acell has, and is attempting to market in the near future. Thanks. Continue reading

Going to the Austin Maker Faire, October 20-21

At last a real family event for Anna and me: we are heading to Travis County Fairgrounds, Austin, Texas on October 19th to visit the MakerFaire. This will be the 3rd American MakerFaire, and the first outside the Bay Area. I am prepared to meet enthusiastic makers and mind-blowing DIY projects there, as well as to say hello to Phil Torrone, Dale Dougherty or Mike Hendrickson, the latter 2 I met at the Euro Maker Faire in Brussels (and Mike as an old Foo was at the SciFoo Camp too, offering me to laser etch my then-new and then-beloved iPhone).

AustinMakerFairetickets


Biopolis profile and cancer stem cells in current Cell Stem Cell

CellStemCellissuesIt is now the 3rd issue of Cell Stem Cell, which is the official journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). From the current issue:

In human pancreatic cancer a distinct subpopulation of migrating CD133+ CXCR4+ cancer stem cells turned out to be essential for tumor metastasis different from the ones responsible for tumor growth: Distinct Populations of Cancer Stem Cells Determine Tumor Growth and Metastatic Activity in Human Pancreatic Cancer

Ann Parson highlights Singapore’s Biopolis with a 3.5 billion budget for 10 years:

Biopolis, a broad and busy spectrum of largely government-funded stem cell research—everything from ES to adult cells, basic to clinical—is clear indication of a small nation eager to stay at the forefront. “One of the attractive aspects of Biopolis is that it’s the way a small island can artificially create critical mass,” Alan Colman noted. “It takes the view that there’s no way it can sustain the number and quality of scientists that you’ll find in a Continue reading

The Open Aging Journal wants you to submit articles!

benthampublishersMy gmailbox says and I see no reason not to share it: The Open Aging Journal is an Open Access online journal, which publishes research articles, reviews and letters in all areas of aging science.

The journal aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in the field. The emphasis will be on publishing quality articles rapidly and making them freely available to researchers worldwide. All articles are deposited in at least one major international open digital repository (such as PubMed Central). All articles are indexed by Google and Google Scholar which offers additional massive world wide web exposure.

Wired on the emerging science video websites: see one, do one, teach one

Wired has a nice piece on Video Sites Help Scientists Show Instead of Tell by Alexis Madrigal focusing on the high-end, non-youtubish, let’s-build-the-pro-network-of-video-geeks-in-the-labs-out-there approach of JoVE. Video players mentioned on the pop side: LabAction and PloS backed SciVee. The real question of this niche market is: In order to penetrate the mainstream science audience what is the proper mix of anti-Web 2.0 professional science rules and Web 2.0 techniques science video site builders should apply. Profit is not on the agenda yet.

“Highlighting little tricks in a video that might not be apparent in a paper can save an enormous amount of time,” said Dr. Arnold Kriegstein, whose University of California-San Francisco lab has posted a video about “cortical neurogenesis,” or the growth of neurons in the cerebral cortex. “There’s an old adage in medicine about learning: See one, do one, teach one. It carries over to the research lab, too.”

Sharing those little tricks with scientists everywhere is the idea behind the Journal of Visualized Experiments, an all-video scientific journal that launched its microfluidics-focused eighth issue in early October.

Dry, jargon-laden scientific papers can leave out what scientist and blogger Attila Csordas calls “the tacit dimension” on his blog.”

Mr. Madrigal has chosen a good post of mine to refer as that early post, Science: video protocols can help to share the tacit dimension was the starting point in 2 respects: a., in the comment section Moshe Pritsker introduced JoVE one month later to the blogosphere, so I could spend the same day to cover it instead of hanging around in Cambridge with my girlfriend b., at the same time the idea of LabAction was born.

I finish the post later, just let me get the breakfast and go to the lab first…. ok, I am here again. Continue reading

Visiting the Nature Headquarters, part 1: the internal Nurture blog

MacmillanBuildingLondonMacmillanBuildingwholeEven those scientists, who don’t have any journalism, or out of niche discipline interests (the vast majority), would be eager to take a closer look at how Nature, the number one scientific weekly journal is made, how the articles are peer reviewed, how the column structure looks like, what are the future perspectives of Nature Publishing Group, how they are doing in the new web age, what the main problems are.

On the 10th, September I spent around 6 hours at the Nature Headquarters in London. The Macmillan building is an old Victorian house near King’s Cross at the Crinnan street.

For lunch I was happy to get the company of Nature’s Web Publishing group’s brain trust: Timo Hannay, Euan Adie, Ian Mulvany and Joanna Scott (pictures in the next post).

We started to talk about how work at NPG is organized and I asked the guys how functional the Nature email system (@nature.com addresses) is. It turned out that the mail storage capacity is poor (still in the MB range), so heroic manual delete fight is needed against full mailboxes. But instead of an efficient email system, there is an internal, email killer corporate blog called Nurture (don’t mix it with the Nurture’s magazine for Nature authors) which works perfectly well.

Ian Mulvany, Connotea experimenter, was kind enough to send me the first post of Nurture by Ben Lund (former Connotea project manager turned freelancer) from 2003 in the name of radical transparency. So here I am pleased to blog this historical first post accompanied by the current tag cloud of the Nurture blog. As Ian says retrospectively: By placing it on a blog the readership can self-select. It also allows for consumption independent from interruption. Continue reading

Biomarkers of aging conference in New York City

In order to slow the progress of aging and prevent age-related disease (which is not the same as figuring out a robust engineering plan for unlimited healthy life extension) biological measures (biomarkers) of aging or disease mechanisms are needed that anticipate clinical disease and are sensitive to functional organism aging.

The American Federation for Aging Research is the organizer of a one-day conference on October 2 in Manhattan focusing on current and future status of biomarkers as identifiers of rates of biological aging, predictors of longevity and predictors of susceptibility to disease.

biomarkersofagingconf

/Thanks for the tip, Jim Craig./