Genomics Blog

June 20, 2016 1:12 PM
The Trillion Things Living Inside You
Filed Under: Mikenomics | 0 Comments
This is a guest post by Megan Ray Nichols, editor of Schooled By Science. She is a science writer who enjoys discussing the latest discoveries in biology, astronomy and psychology. She also enjoys learning about the latest innovations in technology. When she isn't writing, Megan enjoys hiking, biking and stargazing. You can follow Megan on twitter @nicholsrmegan or subscribe to her blog here.

You may not be aware that you have an entire ecosystem living inside you. This bacterial ecosystem is responsible for breaking down our food and converting it into nutrients. Scientists are interested in learning the hows and whys behind these microscopic creatures to better understand human health.
July 20, 2016 3:45 PM
Precision medicine: parallels in education?
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
We were discussing a recent blog on Farnam Street titled 'Our Genes and Our Behavior'. The author, through an interview or discussion with renowned psychologist Robert Plomin, makes some interesting conjectures regarding educators and the use of genetics in education. It was suggested that it might be possible in the future to “sequence a baby’s genome and predict to a certain extent their reading level, facility with math, facility with social interaction”. He makes this assertion based on the “general recognition that genes do indeed influence behavior and do have predictive power as far as how children perform.” But he says “So far, the track record on getting educators to see that it’s all quite real is pretty bad.” He laments the fact that “teachers get no training in genetics” and he goes on to say “Education is the last backwater of anti-genetic thinking. I want to get people in education talking about genetics because the evidence for genetic influence is overwhelming. You go to educational conferences and it’s as if genetics does not exist.”

I had several reactions to this blog.
July 4, 2016 8:21 AM
Cattle Genome Research Leads the Way with DNA


For many people, their first brush with DNA was Jurassic Park. Today, areas of life untouched by genetics are rarer than a dinosaur petting zoo. A perfect example is the Genome Alberta project to develop more accurate genomically-enhanced breeding values for traits critical to the commercial cattle industry.

June 29, 2016 2:02 PM
Why visit Botanical Gardens this Summer?
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
Now that the summer is here, we will have a lot more time for enjoying the outdoors, and public gardens are of especial interest to many of us. Even though it is a very short season in Alberta, we have many superb gardens that enhance our enjoyment and our education.
June 13, 2016 2:23 PM
A visit to Micropia - a new museum of the invisible in Amsterdam
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
If I were to ask you where in the world you would expect to find a museum dedicated to microorganisms, you would probably guess Holland since that is the country of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. He is known to most every school student as the Dutch lens grinder who discovered what he called animalcules, and is considered the ‘father of microbiology’ in introductory biology texts.

Arriving at Schiphol airport, I made my way to the baggage hall and there on the wall was a massive advertising poster beckoning me to visit the new museum showing the invisible, Micropia. As I awaited my luggage, I quickly connected to the WiFi and visited their website. “That’s where I’m going to spend my day in Amsterdam” I declared.
June 9, 2016 11:39 AM
WATCH: 360 Tour of University of Alberta's MBSU Lab
We're trying something new in this blog post that we hope will be the first of many. Arranging a full lab tour for the public isn't an easy thing to manage with limited time and resources on our part to co-ordinate things and on the part of the lab which has to make special arrangements. However with the help of some new technology we can bring the tour to you - in a 360 degree video.
June 9, 2016 9:15 AM
LISTEN: Newfoundland and Labrador get ready to give up their genomes for precision medicine project
There is a new 100K Genome Project on the block. This one is in Newfoundland & Labrador. Sequence Bio is leading the large-scale initiative to collect whole genome sequences from 100,000 volunteers over the next few years. The project will take advantage of a strong 'founder population' in the region to ensure a good data set.
June 8, 2016 9:28 PM
Lyonbiopole builds on success: A BIO Radio podcast
Lyonbiopole is an organization focused on the life science cluster in France's Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Three years ago the major focus for the organization was the fight against human and animal infectious diseases and cancers. They've been tackling that objective with a great deal of success and are expanding their horizons. They are taking an active interest in cancer, nutrition, metabolic diseases, and neuroscience, and have grown to190 member companies and 17 major research centers.
June 8, 2016 8:28 PM
Path for Precision Medicine was laid out 11 years ago - A BIO Radio Podcast
Sometimes you hunt around for a good interview and sometimes one just presents itself. The latter was the case with this interview.
I had just finished the Women in Bio discussion when a woman asked about the odd looking piece of tech sitting on the table (it was my Blue Snowball microphone). We talked a bit and I realised that there was an interview standing there waiting to happen.
June 8, 2016 3:25 PM
LISTEN: Getting Women Ready for Biotech Boards
Women are significantly under-represented around the Boardroom tables in biotech companies. More than 50% of biotech companies in the U.S. and Europe have all male Boards and makeup less that 25% of the leadership teams. Both a lack of structure in the recruitment and promotion practises and an element of unconscious bias are 2 of the reasons this is happening. The Women in Bio organization has some ideas to change that.
June 8, 2016 11:58 AM
BioGENEius Winners Never Cease to Amaze: A BIO Radio podcast
The BioGENEius Challenge gives high school student an opportunity to compete in three categories: Global Healthcare Challenge (Medical Biotechnology), the Global Sustainability Challenge (Agricultural Biotechnology), or the Global Environment Challenge (Industrial/Environmental Biotechnology). This is more than a Science Fair on steroids. The students work in university labs with mentors and researchers to develop the projects then work their way through regional competitions to end up at the annual BIO Convention and Conference for the final judging.
June 8, 2016 8:32 AM
LISTEN: 30 Years of Biotech takes the stage at BIO 2016
Chernobyl. Challenger. Two tragedies of 1986. On the more upbeat side a new Hepatitis vaccine entered the health care system and for $1,500 or so you could pick up the latest Tandy 'portable' computer.
Meanwhile the biotech industry was making some important new advances and we were getting some indications of what might be possible.
One of the panels at BIO this year was a look at what has transpired over 30 years of biotechnology and of course where it is headed next.
June 7, 2016 12:49 PM
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson talks about his Healthy City
In late April of this year Edmonton's Mayor Don Iveson gave a 'State of the City' address to a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Part of the speech was devoted to health related companies, products, and innovations that were developed in his city. He also talked about how some of those companies left Canada and said he didn't want to see that happening.
He announced the launch of a new industry strategy to help position Edmonton as a health innovation city. A tall order for a municipality.