Posts tagged ‘education’

Stem cells/ regenerative medicine

  1. Zhong X, Gutierrez C, Xue T, Hampton C, Vergara MN, Cao LH, Peters A, Park TS, Zambidis ET, Meyer JS, Gamm DM, Yau KW, Canto-Soler MV. Generation of three-dimensional retinal tissue with functional photoreceptors from human iPSCs. Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 10;5:4047. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5047. PubMed PMID: 24915161.
  2. Reichman S, Terray A, Slembrouck A, Nanteau C, Orieux G, Habeler W, Nandrot EF, Sahel JA, Monville C, Goureau O. From confluent human iPS cells to self-forming neural retina and retinal pigmented epithelium. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8518-23. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1324212111. Epub 2014 May 27. PubMed PMID: 24912154.
  3. Chong JJ, Yang X, Don CW, Minami E, Liu YW, Weyers JJ, Mahoney WM, Van Biber B, Cook SM, Palpant NJ, Gantz JA, Fugate JA, Muskheli V, Gough GM, Vogel KW, Astley CA, Hotchkiss CE, Baldessari A, Pabon L, Reinecke H, Gill EA, Nelson V, Kiem HP, Laflamme MA, Murry CE. Human embryonic-stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes regenerate non-human primate hearts. Nature. 2014 Jun 12;510(7504):273-7. doi: 10.1038/nature13233. Epub 2014 Apr 30. PubMed PMID: 24776797.
  4. Normile D, Vogel G. Cell biology. STAP cells succumb to pressure. Science. 2014 Jun 13;344(6189):1215-6. doi: 10.1126/science.344.6189.1215. PubMed PMID: 24925996.

Eye diseases

  1. Agbaga MP, Tam BM, Wong JS, Yang LL, Anderson RE, Moritz OL. Mutant ELOVL4 That Causes Autosomal Dominant Stargardt-3 Macular Dystrophy Is Misrouted to Rod Outer Segment Disks. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 May 15;55(6):3669-3680. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-13099. PubMed PMID: 24833735.

Oxidative stress

  1. Moussavi Nik SH, Croft K, Mori TA, Lardelli M. The comparison of methods for measuring oxidative stress in zebrafish brains. Zebrafish. 2014 Jun;11(3):248-54. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2013.0958. Epub 2014 May 5. PubMed PMID: 24798242.

Molecular Biology

  1. Roberts JW. Molecular biology. Molecular basis of transcription pausing. Science. 2014 Jun 13;344(6189):1226-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1255712. PubMed PMID: 24926002.

Systems Biology

  1. Shalek AK, Satija R, Shuga J, Trombetta JJ, Gennert D, Lu D, Chen P, Gertner RS, Gaublomme JT, Yosef N, Schwartz S, Fowler B, Weaver S, Wang J, Wang X, Ding R, Raychowdhury R, Friedman N, Hacohen N, Park H, May AP, Regev A. Single-cell RNA-seq reveals dynamic paracrine control of cellular variation. Nature. 2014 Jun 11. doi: 10.1038/nature13437. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24919153.

Synthetic Biology/Gene regulatory Network

  1. Attwater J, Holliger P. A synthetic approach to abiogenesis. Nat Methods. 2014 May;11(5):495-8. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2893. PubMed PMID: 24781322.
  2. Brophy JA, Voigt CA. Principles of genetic circuit design. Nat Methods. 2014 May;11(5):508-20. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2926. Review. PubMed PMID: 24781324.

Behaviour

  1. Zhou Y, Cattley RT, Cario CL, Bai Q, Burton EA. Quantification of larval zebrafish motor function in multiwell plates using open-source MATLAB applications. Nat Protoc. 2014 Jul;9(7):1533-48. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2014.094. Epub 2014 Jun 5. PubMed PMID: 24901738.

Education

  1. Wieman CE. Large-scale comparison of science teaching methods sends clear message. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8319-20. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1407304111. Epub 2014 May 22. PubMed PMID: 24853505.
  2. Zhou M, Lee J. Assessing what is cultural about Asian Americans’ academic advantage. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8321-2. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1407309111. Epub 2014 May 29. PubMed PMID: 24876277.
  3. Freeman S, Eddy SL, McDonough M, Smith MK, Okoroafor N, Jordt H, Wenderoth MP. Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8410-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111. Epub 2014 May 12. PubMed PMID: 24821756.
  4. Hsin A, Xie Y. Explaining Asian Americans’ academic advantage over whites. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8416-21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1406402111. Epub 2014 May 5. PubMed PMID: 24799702.

Scientific Career

  1. van Dijk D, Manor O, Carey LB. Publication metrics and success on the academic job market. Curr Biol. 2014 Jun 2;24(11):R516-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.04.039. PubMed PMID: 24892909.

Lipid synthesis, stem cells, CRISPR, cell differentiation, coffee, faculty life in Puerto Rico, softball, ion channels, PhD in Europe, ball room dancing, buying a house in seattle, Epilepsy, larval Drosophila brain dissection – that’s an eclectic mix of topics to talk about for one day and this is not even an exhaustive list! These topics pretty much sum up my first day here at Woods Hole, where I am a part of the Neurobiology summer course at MBL with 13 other students from different parts of the US and Europe. I am housed at the Ebert hall with another student from the same course. The view from our room is gorgeous!

View from my room overlooking the Eel Pond

We started the day with an orientation/welcome brunch at the swope center. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of food and taste. For cafeteria food, it was really good. There was everything from cereal, to yogurt parfait, to your-style-eggs and toast, waffles, fruits and vegetables, juice and coffee. There was even ice cream at 9 am! Despite the scorching heat, after the orientation my roommate and I went exploring this quaint nautical town with several beautiful small beaches.

DNA Man

I also just had to try the coffee at the local cafe.

Ok, not an image of coffee. But this was an unusual yet appropriate sign at the cafe

We had to get back to our ‘base’ because of the heat but we got some rest before the course’s first meeting in the afternoon. This session was interesting and we jumped right into a lecture about ion channels and Graeme Davis, one of the directors of the course, outlined some of the questions we are going to work on in the following week. After the lecture, we headed to the lab where I met the larval drosophila for the first time. I have dissected testes from adult flies before, but today we learnt to dissect brain from 3rd instar larvae. The larvae were expressing GFP in their motorneurons which let us take a quick look under fluorescence to see if we destroyed the brain completely or managed to successfully practice isolating the tissue for FACS sorting tomorrow.

GFP expressing motor neurons in Drosophila larvae. I did not do this btw.

The day ended with passionate discussions about science interspersed with pizza and beer!

I visited Ho Yu College in Hong Kong last month. A good mentor Dr. William Mak has been running a great biotechnology education program for the primary and secondary school students, as well as the public there. See an old post about their outreach program in which they fit a whole research lab into custom-built bus! I shared the research program of our laboratory at Purdue University on using zebrafish to screen drugs for vision benefit.

 

I outlined our approach on using simple visual behaviour assays to identify positive effects of drugs. I specifically emphasized on the potential to analyze many of traditional Chinese medicines; the treasure that we have been consuming for generations. Some of these possibilities are outlined in our recent review paper:

Zhang LY, Chong L, Cho J, Liao PC, Shen F, Leung YF. Drug Screening to Treat Early-Onset Eye Diseases: Can Zebrafish Expedite the Discovery? Asia-Pac J Ophthalmol 2012; 1:374-383. [Full text][pdf]

 

The interaction with the students was fantastic. They were very imaginative and eager to ask questions all the time! Their enthusiasm was infectious and is the driving force of scientific progress. That also reminded me of the problem of our education in stifling creativity when students are “educated”, which I wrote in a separate post recently.

This is truly an enjoyable experience and I look forward to visiting them again soon!

Recently I have got the privilege to share my research work with secondary school students. During the talk, it was obvious to me  that the younger the students were, the more imaginative the questions that they could come up with and the more fearless they were in asking questions. One reason is that the eduction has often encouraged students to give the “right answer”; otherwise, they will not get good grades. So, when the students are growing up, they quickly learn how to shut up and only seek ways to give the “right answer”. That reminds me of several great talks by Sir Ken Robinson on education, including a TED talk on how schools kill creativity that I shared here before, and an RSA talk on Changing Education Paradigms. The latter is a very thought-provoking talk,  and the RSA has made a nicely animated version of the key part:

 The original talk is equally interesting:

In my last post, I provided several links to general introductions of stem cells. In this post, I will share several documentaries that show how bad people are taking advantage of desperate patients who have heard stem cells therapy may give them a last hope.

II. Desperate patients and people who take advantage of their situation

1. BBC Panorama – Stem Cells & Miracles (2009)

(2015-02-22) Youtube.com has taken this BBC video off from their site.

2. CBS 60 Minutes – Stem Cell Snake Oil (2010)

 

This is part 1 of the show; here are the links to part 2, part 3 and part 4.

3. CBS 60 Minutes – Stem cell fraud (2012)

Youtube link

CBS link

Over the years, I have been leading a discussion about the ethical and social issues of stem cells research in my class and have used a few useful videos on various aspects. You may find them useful too.

I. Introduction to the topic

References

Here are two recent scientific references that give the current status of iPSCs research and compared that with hESCs, as well as the challenges ahead in research and ethical issues.

  1. Robinton DA, Daley GQ. The promise of induced pluripotent stem cells in research and therapy. Nature. 2012 Jan 18;481(7381):295-305. PubMed PMID: 22258608.
  2. Hug K, Hermerén G. Do we still need human embryonic stem cells for stem cell-based therapies? Epistemic and ethical aspects. Stem Cell Rev. 2011 Nov;7(4):761-74. PubMed PMID: 21461713.

This reference is a general scientific review on various ways that one can reprogramming cells that may potentially be used for therapeutic purposes.

  1.  Gurdon JB, Melton DA. Nuclear reprogramming in cells. Science. 2008 Dec 19;322(5909):1811-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 19095934.

Retinal Development

  1. Kwan KM, Otsuna H, Kidokoro H, Carney KR, Saijoh Y, Chien CB. A complex choreography of cell movements shapes the vertebrate eye. Development. 2012 Jan;139(2):359-72. PubMed PMID: 22186726.
  2. Morgan JL, Soto F, Wong RO, Kerschensteiner D. Development of cell type-specific connectivity patterns of converging excitatory axons in the retina. Neuron. 2011 Sep 22;71(6):1014-21. Epub 2011 Sep 21. PubMed PMID: 21943599; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3184549.

Stem cells

  1. Salero E, Blenkinsop TA, Corneo B, Harris A, Rabin D, Stern JH, Temple S. Adult Human RPE Can Be Activated into a Multipotent Stem Cell that Produces Mesenchymal Derivatives. Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Jan 6;10(1):88-95. PubMed PMID: 22226358.
    • Commentary: Trounson A, Grieshammer U. Chimeric Primates: Embryonic Stem Cells Need Not Apply. Cell. 2012 Jan 4. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22225613.
  2. Phanstiel DH, Brumbaugh J, Wenger CD, Tian S, Probasco MD, Bailey DJ, Swaney DL, Tervo MA, Bolin JM, Ruotti V, Stewart R, Thomson JA, Coon JJ. Proteomic and phosphoproteomic comparison of human ES and iPS cells. Nat Methods. 2011 Sep 11;8(10):821-7. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1699. PubMed PMID: 21983960.

Genetics

  1. Zhang F, Vierock J, Yizhar O, Fenno LE, Tsunoda S, Kianianmomeni A, Prigge M, Berndt A, Cushman J, Polle J, Magnuson J, Hegemann P, Deisseroth K. The microbial opsin family of optogenetic tools. Cell. 2011 Dec 23;147(7):1446-57. PubMed PMID: 22196724.
  2. McMahon MA, Rahdar M, Porteus M. Gene editing: not just for translation anymore. Nat Methods. 2011 Dec 28;9(1):28-31. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1811. PubMed PMID: 22205513.
  3. Zhao S, Ting JT, Atallah HE, Qiu L, Tan J, Gloss B, Augustine GJ, Deisseroth K, Luo M, Graybiel AM, Feng G. Cell  type–specific channelrhodopsin-2 transgenic mice for optogenetic dissection of neural circuitry function. Nat Methods. 2011 Sep;8(9):745-52. PubMed PMID: 21985008; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3191888.

Genomics

  1. Kalhor R, Tjong H, Jayathilaka N, Alber F, Chen L. Genome architectures revealed by tethered chromosome conformation capture and population-based modeling. Nat Biotechnol. 2011 Dec 25;30(1):90-8. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2057. PubMed PMID: 22198700.
    • Commentary: Misteli T. Parallel genome universes. Nat Biotechnol. 2012 Jan 9;30(1):55-6. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2085. PubMed PMID: 22231096.
  2. Lam HY, Clark MJ, Chen R, Chen R, Natsoulis G, O’Huallachain M, Dewey FE, Habegger L, Ashley EA, Gerstein MB, Butte AJ, Ji HP, Snyder M. Performance comparison of whole-genome sequencing platforms. Nat Biotechnol. 2011 Dec  18;30(1):78-82. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2065. PubMed PMID: 22178993.
  3. Mercer TR, Gerhardt DJ, Dinger ME, Crawford J, Trapnell C, Jeddeloh JA, Mattick JS, Rinn JL. Targeted RNA sequencing reveals the deep complexity of the human transcriptome. Nat Biotechnol. 2011 Nov 13;30(1):99-104. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2024. PubMed PMID: 22081020.

Systems Biology

  1. Young JW, Locke JC, Altinok A, Rosenfeld N, Bacarian T, Swain PS, Mjolsness E, Elowitz MB. Measuring single-cell gene expression dynamics in bacteria using fluorescence time-lapse microscopy. Nat Protoc. 2011 Dec 15;7(1):80-8. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2011.432. PubMed PMID: 22179594.
  2. Dutkowski J, Ideker T. Protein networks as logic functions in development and cancer. PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Sep;7(9):e1002180. Epub 2011 Sep 29. PubMed PMID: 21980275; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3182870.

Neuroscience

  1. Kralj JM, Douglass AD, Hochbaum DR, Maclaurin D, Cohen AE. Optical recording of action potentials in mammalian neurons using a microbial rhodopsin. Nat Methods. 2011 Nov 27;9(1):90-5. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1782. PubMed PMID: 22120467; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3248630.
    • Commentary: Looger LL. Running in reverse: rhodopsins sense voltage. Nat Methods. 2011 Dec 28;9(1):43-4. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1817. PubMed PMID: 22205516.
  2. Pan YA, Choy M, Prober DA, Schier AF. Robo2 determines subtype-specific axonal projections of trigeminal sensory neurons. Development. 2012 Feb;139(3):591-600. Epub 2011 Dec 21. PubMed PMID: 22190641; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3252355.
  3. Nishimoto S, Vu AT, Naselaris T, Benjamini Y, Yu B, Gallant JL. Reconstructing visual experiences from brain activity evoked by natural movies. Curr Biol. 2011 Oct 11;21(19):1641-6. Epub 2011 Sep 22. PubMed PMID: 21945275.
  4. Cavallari N, Frigato E, Vallone D, Fröhlich N, Lopez-Olmeda JF, Foà A, Berti R, Sánchez-Vázquez FJ, Bertolucci C, Foulkes NS. A blind circadian clock in cavefish reveals that opsins mediate peripheral clock photoreception. PLoS Biol. 2011 Sep;9(9):e1001142. Epub 2011 Sep 6. PubMed PMID: 21909239; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3167789.

Vision

  1. Kingdom FA. Binocular vision: the eyes add and subtract. Curr Biol. 2012 Jan 10;22(1):R22-4. PubMed PMID: 22240475.

Education

  1. Vanderford NL. Broadening PhD curricula. Nat Biotechnol. 2012 Jan 9;30(1):113-4. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2091. PubMed PMID: 22231111.

Medical Research

  1. Reed JC, White EL, Aubé J, Lindsley C, Li M, Sklar L, Schreiber S. The NIH’s role in accelerating translational sciences. Nat Biotechnol. 2012 Jan 9;30(1):16-9. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2087. PubMed PMID: 22231085.
  2. Hudson KL. Genomics, health care, and society. N Engl J Med. 2011 Sep 15;365(11):1033-41. Review. PubMed PMID: 21916641.
  3. Devi S. Lasker Foundation honours malaria researcher. Lancet. 2011 Sep 24;378(9797):1129. PubMed PMID: 21969956.

Zebrafish

  1. Thummel R, Bailey TJ, Hyde DR. <em>In vivo</em> Electroporation of Morpholinos into the Adult Zebrafish Retina. J Vis Exp. 2011 Dec 27;(58). pii: 3603. doi: 10.3791/3603. PubMed PMID: 22231802.
  2. Lawrence C. Advances in zebrafish husbandry and management. Methods Cell Biol. 2011;104:429-51. Review. PubMed PMID: 21924176.

Evolution

  1. Pearlman SM, Serber Z, Ferrell JE Jr. A mechanism for the evolution of phosphorylation sites. Cell. 2011 Nov 11;147(4):934-46. PubMed PMID: 22078888; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3220604.

 

I have just received this article, “How America Messed Up Its Kids… And How We Can Fix Them“, from a fellow professor in the department. Here is an except of it:

Teenager: “Please, Mom and Dad, just let me do this, and I promise that I will take full responsibility for it.”

Parent: “Do you realize that taking full responsibility means that if it backfires and goes wrong, you will own up to it, pay back whatever it takes to make up for it going wrong and learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again?”

Teenager: “I didn’t agree to that.”

Parent: “Well, then what do you think taking full responsibility means?”

Teenager: “That if it goes wrong, I will say, ‘I’m sorry.’”

That reminds me of a clip from Branford Marsalis:

Let’s always remind ourselves to learn from others’ experience and become successful in our career.

Dr. William Mak, a good friend and a great role model, has been devoting his career to improving the biotechnology education for primary and secondary students and teachers over the years. He has established the Hong Kong Biotechnology Education Resource center with Sik Sik Yuen Ho Yu College and built a university-level research laboratory to facilitate the process. He has been working on another interesting project recently – a custom-built coach bus that serves as a mobile laboratory for the community. He made me feel proud to be a Hong Kong scientist.

More information can be found here:
http://www.hkberc.org.hk
http://mobilelab.hoyu.edu.hk

Here are a few pictures of my visit…