Saturday, March 7, 2015

For whom does active learning work ?

Dr Hogan's group has published an interesting  paper  that provides evidence that active learning strategies selectively enhance comprehension of Biology concepts  in first generation and underrepresented minority students.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Seminar in Biotechnology - Tuesday Meeting - 9th Sept 2014 - Room 919

The use of electronic devices in the classroom is currently being debated. Some instructors allow access to all devices whereas some instructors have a “no device “ policy.  The authors of today’s paper, conclude that multitasking on electronic devices impairs learning.  In today’s journal club,  we will examine whether the data supports this conclusion.    

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The road less travelled

 A very relevant podcast from the Life Scientific  

"Carol Robinson describes her remarkable journey from leaving school at 16 to work as a lab technician at Pfizer, to becoming the first female Professor of Chemistry at both Oxford and Cambridge University, despite an eight year career break to bring up three small children."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Trevi raises 25 million !

Local Biotech company, Trevi raised 25 million to start trial on new anti-iching medication.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Human mutation that prevents Diabetes

Investigators at Amgen, Pfizer and DeCODE  have discovered a mutation in a zinc transporter that appears to prevent the onset of Diabetes.  This will likely have significant therapeutic interest.

Friday, February 28, 2014

How to develop a clear and engaging presentation

A key part of the training in the Capital Biotechnology program is to enable students to develop a clear and engaging presentation. In this video,  Susan  McConnell  presents some very useful tips on creating a clear and interesting scientific presentation.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Scientists Transform Skin Cells into Functioning Liver Cells

In our intro Biotechnology course , there  has been considerable interest in generating reagents  useful for the development of functional liver cells.  In this report, investigators at the Gladstone Institute  report success in  transforming  human skin cells into functioning liver cells. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Foundations of Molecular Cloning - Past, Present and Future

A very useful and practical article  on the history and application of molecular cloning.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Maintaining curiosity: a survey into science education in schools

 A recent report from Ofsted  provides an analysis of the  successful application of inquiry based learning to science  education.
" Physicians take an oath that commits them to ‘first do no harm’. The best science teachers, seen as part of this survey, set out to ‘first maintain curiosity’ in their pupils. The most successful schools visited during this survey had adopted this as a key principle in teaching science and this not only fostered enthusiasm for the subject in their pupils but helped them to fulfil their potential.
We need better science education to secure a strong foundation for a successful and technological society. The new National Curriculum for 2014 sets out why we teach science in schools:
‘A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.’
This report highlights the importance of teaching science for understanding. For pupils to achieve well in science, they must not only acquire the necessary knowledge, but also understand its value, enjoy the experience of working scientifically, and sustain their interest in learning it. Pupils in schools need to discover the concepts revealed through observing scientific phenomena and conducting experimental investigations for themselves. Then they are more likely to continue to study science and use that learning for work, for family, and to contribute as informed citizens."

Inquiry Exercise 20 - Patient sera challenge - Student Results November 2013

Excellent  results  !
All groups correctly identified patient 1 as negative and patients 2 and 3 as positive.  Some examples of Agarose Gel  electrophoresis of small RNAs in serum  are shown below:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inquiry Exercise 20 - An Assay to Diagnose Cancer - Student results - Nov 2013

An excellent  interactive session in the lab today . Everyone worked together to get the analysis done ! Below is the agarose gel electrophoresis that we ran today. The small RNA can be seen in all samples ! Very cool !

Building it big in Texas: Community college program trains biotech workforce

A very useful review of the ways in which NSF-ATE  support,  BIO-Link  and Community Colleges  are  training a vigorous Biotech work force in Texas.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Inquiry Exercise 30 - Purification of plasmid DNA

Challenge - To  develop a purification method for plasmid DNA from first principles .

Students are provided with a bacterial culture that harbors plasmid DNA. After a review of the properties of plasmid and chromosomal DNA, students will develop a method to purify plasmid DNA.


 Demonstration of the purity of the plasmid DNA preps.