Halcyon Molecular: whole genome sequencing well under $1000?

Halcyon Molecular is a quite ambitious startup,  don’t you think?

What we do:
Halcyon Molecular is developing an ultra-low-cost DNA sequencing technology. Our single molecule approach does not require PCR amplification and will allow for megabase read lengths with simultaneous determination of methylation pattern. We aim to sequence entire human genomes de novo for well under the “holy grail” cost-to-consumer of $1000.

Going to LA to end aging for 3 days & maybe more

It is just good to go to a conference where the overwhelming majority of attendees think (and many of them act) that by science & technology we can actually get rid of aging related health problems and develop a robust life extension technology. I sense a lot of freedom here which I sense since the age 15 but now – thanks to Aubrey de Grey – this is all happening in a community (with a diverse chronological age distribution) that is becoming more established and more funded. Whether this is only a freedom to do something or also a freedom from a constraint or from interference… well you are free to decide it dear readers.

The “Understanding Aging: Biomedical and Bioengineering Approaches” conference will be held from June 27-29, 2008 at UCLA organized by Aubrey de Grey, Irina Conboy and Amy Wagers.

The emphasis this time (just check the coorganizers Conboy and Wagers) is on stem cell research and regenerative medicine, which I think is the only coherent engineering concept outside for robust life extension in the form of systemic regenerative medicine while SENS by definition (strategies) is a flexible enough umbrella term to include other coming life extension technologies and concepts under its brand.

In the age of Twitter and FriendFeed the blog genre is just too slow to cover the event, so I use the FriendFeed room for the conference as it seems to be a perfect place of live microblogging the conference, sharing any kind of links, videos, comments, feeds and feedbacks. I hope others will make it too.

Alexis writes on Wired: Continue reading

Petabyte Age Wiredesque lesson on what science can learn from Google

I argued many times here that biology based biotechnology is the next information technology but in order to do so, biotech should harness good IT patterns and mimic its massive computing practices to handle the enormous amount of constantly accumulating data. Often this trend could be summarized in a simple way: keep your eye on Google and conduct thought experiments in advance in which science is done in a Googleplex like environment in terms of the computing & financial resources and algorithm heavy engineering culture. Use Python and learn cluster computing and MapReduce. With the expected launch of the massive scientific dataset hosting Google service – nicknamed Palimpsest – this year finally a direct interface between scientists and Googlers emerges and hopefully opens up possibilities for scientists to cooperate with Google. (Remember my joke on Google BioLabs back in 2006)? I get emails from biologists, bioinformaticians asking me how to be hired by Google ever since then. As I tweeted yesterday: I growingly have the impression that “being ambitious” today = ‘worked, is currently working, is going to work at/for Google’ Taking Google’s inter-industrial power into consideration I see a real chance that some day the “Google of Biotechnology” title goes not to a startup yet to be emerged, not to Genentech or to 23andMe but……to Google itself. No kidding here. Fortunately Google’s model is “to build a killer app then monetize it later” says Andy Rubin, the man behind Google’s Android mobile software in the July issue of Wired so scientists working for the big G probably won’t have to worry about turning their scientific killer app into an instant cash machine.

And now in the very issue of Wired magazine (not online yet ) there is an exciting cover story on the same pattern I talked about concerning the life sciences but in the broader context of every kind of science with the provocative, Fukuyama-like title The End of Science. There is a witty and short essay from editor-in-chief Chris Anderson entitled The End of Theory followed by examples of the ‘new science’ like the The Large Hadron Collider expected to generate 10 petabytes if data/second, The Sloan Digital Sky Survey heaven catalog maker accumulating 25 terrabytes of data so far, the skeleton scanning project of Sharmila Majumdar and the Many Eyes project “where users can share their own dynamic, interactive representations of big data”.

For many people around the globe, Chris Anderson is a freeconomist & the author of a popular airport book but fewer people are aware that he was actually trained as a (quantum) physicist and even worked at Los Alamos Continue reading

Compare scientific websites with a new Google Trends layer!

I always had the feeling that the Natureplex (the web division of the Nature Publishing Group headed by Timo Hannay) is ahead of most scientific journal publishing conglomerate’s similar departments. Now with the help of a new Google Trends layer that compares websites in terms of traffic this impression was confirmed again without strict numbers. I hope that more and more scientific journals gain incentives finally to experiment with new web technologies. Also a quick look to the Regions comparison on the bottom left helps you give up the history based conclusion that Science is the number 1 on the web in the US compared to Nature while Nature is so UK and Europe centric.

“Today, we add a new layer to Trends with Google Trends for Websites, a fun tool that gives you a view of how popular your favorite websites are, including your own! It also compares and ranks site visitation across geographies, and related websites and searches”

Source: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog via Webmonkey

The same comparison with Alexa: Continue reading

UCSF Memory & Aging Center channel on YouTube & ‘Fight for Mike’

Even tech people in Silicon Valley need to join their powerful forces and sources when it is about aging related neurodegenerative diseases and help research and the clinic.

UCSF Memory and Aging Center channel on YouTube 

Om Malik: A Personal Note: Pause & Read via John Battelle


Innovation stop: “All they’ve done is created an extra billing event for the doctor”

It’s my first real encounter with a situation in which the officials of the state of California are clearly against innovation for financial reasons obvious enough (is enough):

Wired Science, Alexis Madrigal, upcoming BioBarCamper:

Exclusive: DNA Tester Reveals Cease-and-Desist Letter

Wired.com has obtained a copy of the cease-and-desist letter sent to Navigenics by the state of California’s Public Health Department from a company spokesperson.

The letter’s strongest wording is reserved for another section of the law, Business and Professions Code Section 1288, which requires a doctor’s note for all laboratory tests, unless, like pregnancy tests, they are exempt from that law.

“Genetic tests are NOT exempt,” the letter reads. “As such, the test must be ordered by a physician or surgeon.” Continue reading