Science 26

Personalized cancer therapy

Personalized cancer therapy

The BC Cancer Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program is a world-leading research program that is using intensive genomic data collection and analysis to identify and better understand the genomic alterations that drive cancer growth, metastasis, and the biological evolution and responsiveness to therapies.

Organic food is a lie

Organic food is a lie

Walking into a supermarket has become a bombardment on your senses. A barrage of words and terms that sound somewhere between science-fiction and extreme farming. Eggs come with terms with “caged” or “barn-raised” to “free-range” or “grain-fed”. Some …

The problem with reading about cancer

The problem with reading about cancer

Cancer. The scariest word in the world. For many people, cancer is the last word that they ever want to hear. In living memory, cancer was not a word that was dared to be spoken aloud. In this modern world, most people still read cancer as a death …

Drug delivery

Drug delivery

When you’re sick with headache or flu, you likely reach for the aspirin and the Tylenol. At your lowest point. When you feel like things can’t get any worse. With your head pounding. Your nose running a marathon. You reach for pills. You …

The dangers of positivity, or "Why we shouldn't ignore bad news"

The dangers of positivity, or "Why we shouldn't ignore bad news"

Everywhere you go. Everything you read. All that you see. Everything is positive results. “Science finds this new thing!” they exclaim. Lives will be changed! What a breakthrough! What no press release tells you is the blood, the sweat, the tears. No …

Antibiotic Armageddon

Antibiotic Armageddon

Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era. No. this will be a post-antibiotic era. In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry. A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we …

Personalized medicine

Personalized medicine

It seems that the latest buzz phrase to be going around the medical world is the notion of “personalized medicine”. Which sounds like a bit of a joke, because isn’t all medicine personal? I mean, I’m the only sick person here, and I’m the only one …

What is Big Data?

What is Big Data?

The world is being reshaped by the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data, community and other powerful forces. The combination of these technologies unlocks an incredible opportunity to connect everything together in a new way and is …

Hot drinks cool you faster - fact or fiction?

Hot drinks cool you faster - fact or fiction?

Imagine you’re sat on a tropical beach. The sort of beach they only have in magazines and nature documentaries. The sun beating down on paradise. The humidity and cooling sea breeze is just enough to make anything other than another cocktail …

10 steps to making your graphs not suck

10 steps to making your graphs not suck

Recently I wrote about how your graphs suck. It even generated a little bit of a stir over on LinkedIn. I am not however, the kind of person that points at a problem and walks away. I taught lab classes full of trainee chemists, biochemists and …

Your graphs suck!

Your graphs suck!

Your graphs suck! Bold statement huh? I don’t even know you, Mr or Ms Anonyomous Internet Reader. Yet I know that your graphs suck. I know that when things get tough, and you really need a graph, you’ll suck the air between your teeth, quietly swear …

3x deadlier than ISIS

3x deadlier than ISIS

The cholera had broken out at the post, and five or six men were dying daily. – Buffalo Bill We are in the middle of a global pandemic. In one small country, population 10 million, 4000 dead. Another 200,000 infected. All in under 3 months. …

Vaccination doesn't cure fear

Vaccination doesn't cure fear

Trust is not simply a matter of truthfulness, or even constancy. It is also a matter of amity and goodwill. We trust those who have our best interests at heart, and mistrust those who seem deaf to our concerns. – Gary Hamel The year is 1998, a …

Eugenics – From designer babies to the Holocaust

Eugenics – From designer babies to the Holocaust

You can tell when something’s not moving forward anymore. When the doubts you have about it don’t go away. – Jeffrey Eugenides 18,000 children die every day from starvation.1 The fact of the matter is the world is only so big. We …

Pluto - the planet of surprises

Pluto - the planet of surprises

We explore because we are human – Prof. Stephen Hawking Pluto is in the news this week and with good reason. Pluto, as most people are aware, is more than just a beloved Disney character or Roman God of the underworld. However, most people …

The rise of artificial intelligence

The rise of artificial intelligence

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race – Prof. Stephan Hawking Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, founder of a solar power company, founder of an electric car company, founder of a company with a …

Vitamin pills and the hard to swallow truth

Vitamin pills and the hard to swallow truth

There is a major problem with reliance on placebos, like most vitamins and antioxidants. Everyone gets upset about Big Science, Big Pharma, but they love Big Placebo. – Michael Specter Study after study show vitamins do not lower cancer or …

You, pot, and politics

You, pot, and politics

Winners don’t use drugs – William S. Sessions, Director, FBI Ever noticed how a bad hangover feels like your body is dying? The truth is, it sort of is. What you did the night before was knowingly load your body full of a poison. Anyone …

Bacteria are going to kill you

Bacteria are going to kill you

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. – Voltaire (1694-1778) Bacteria ancestors were the first organisms on the planet. Bacteria have survived around 4 billion years on this lump of rock, flying …

The world is going to university

The world is going to university

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. – Kofi Annan In the last few years I have experienced many universities, all of them are building. New campuses, new …

Why trust is vital to science

Why trust is vital to science

To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved. – George MacDonald This week in America we have once again seen how difficult it is to build trust and how quickly it can be taken away. Four of the largest cancer charities in the US have …

Why I'm choosing to give up academic science

I have held off writing this blog post for some time now. It has been a long time in the making. A very long time. Part of my reason to hold off for so long is due to the very public nature of the medium and part of it has been that sitting down to …

PyMOL visualising e2 rotamers

This morning whilst writing some reports I wanted to show some rotamer populations of my spin label attached to the protein. Whilst MMM provides visualisation, and having had discussions with Jeschke I understand just how difficult it is to do, I do …

PyMOL visualising binding interfaces

Today I’ve been trying to come up with a nice way of visualising the binding interface between protein-protein or protein-DNA complexes. What follows is a quick little walk-through mostly for my own purposes so that I can remember what …

Copenhagen: who do we believe?

As a scientist I am trained nay indoctrinated to find the truth, whatever that may be. Right or wrong. And no matter what the out come ultimately the job requires a certain amount of starring at nature, observing what happens and trying to make …

A future in science?

Approximately 2 months ago the first knock-ons from the Government’s spending decisions was announced to the research community. Whilst the Government as a response to the Science is Vital campaign acknowledged not to cut science research …