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Biology

NIH scaling back on model organism database funding: what you can do

TL;DR: NIH are scaling back funding on model organism databases, which will degrade annotation quality.  This can have far-reaching implications in many aspects of biology and computational biology. There’s a letter you can sign electronically, please do.  <http://www.genetics-gsa.org/MODsupport> I am hoping to write a more detailed post on why this is important, but for the […]

Predicting protein function: what’s new?

(New: the paper was recently published in Genome Biology!) Long time readers of this blog (hi mom!) know that I am working with many other people in an effort called CAFA: the Critical Assessment of protein Function Annotation. This is a challenge that many research groups participate in, and its goal is to determine how […]

Family genetics in Star Wars (Warning: Episode VII spoilers)

So I saw Star Wars VII: “The Force Awakens” the other day. Great movie, which has mostly erased the shame of episodes I-III. Despite even more than the usual suspension of science, it’s a great SF flick. (Major spoilers below! You have been warned!) One mystery which will hopefully be resolved in the upcoming episodes […]

The Dark Matter Metaphor in Biology

Dark matter is a proposed kind of matter that cannot be seen, but that we believe accounts for most of the mass in the universe.  Its existence, mass, and properties  are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter. The most favored hypothesis is that dark matter is not  composed of baryons, the basic components […]

On cross-disciplinary ambiguity and conference comfort zones

I recently attended a conference which was unusual for me as most of the speakers come from a computer science culture, rather than a biology one. Somewhat outside my comfort zone. The science that was discussed was quite different from the more biological bioinformatics meetings: the reason being the motivation of the scientists, and what […]

I’m Moving and Hiring

Starting June 1, 2015, my lab is moving to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and I’m very excited about this. I’ll be joining a growing cohort of researchers as part of a presidential “big data” hire the university has started a year ago. The research environment is superb, and there are some great bioinformaticians and genomics […]

Why scripting is not as simple as… scripting

If you haven’t read the transcript of Sean Eddy‘s recent talk “On High Throughput Sequencing for Neuroscience“, go ahead and read it. It’s full of many observations and insights into the relationships between computational and “wet” biology, and it is very well-written. I agree with many of his points, for example, that sequencing is not […]

A Simple Genome Annotator?

A question to genome annotators out there. I need a simple genome annotator for annotating bacteriophage genomes in an undergraduate course. Until now, we used DNAMaster but for various reasons  I would like to move away from that. Here’s what  I need for class: 1. Annotate a single assembled linear chromosome, about 50,000 bp, 80-120 genes, no […]

Friday bits and pieces: ebola, old software patches, microscopy and microbiomes

  Scammers are cashing in on the ebola scare. The news media is cashing in on the ebola scare. Politicians are cashing in on the ebola scare. Unfortunately, neither international healthcare nor biomedical research  are cashing in on the ebola scare.   I found the first software patch. Seems pretty robust.   Diet can influence certain autoimmune […]

Sequencing the frog that can save lives

TL; DR:  The genome sequence of the North American Wood Frog will tell us a lot about the genetic control of freezing and reanimating whole organisms. My friend and colleague, Dr. Andor Kiss is crowdfunding this project. If you would like to help, please go to experiment.com. You will get acknowledged by name in the paper. To […]

Estimating how much we don’t know

Or: “Estimating how much we don’t know, and how much it can hurt us”. This post is about a paper I published recently with Predrag Radivojac’s group at Indiana University, who lead the study. One of the main activities I’m involved with is CAFA,* the critical assessment of function annotations.   The general idea of CAFA […]

The genome of nerds

What makes a nerd a nerd? The stereotype is that of someone with a high intelligence, coupled with  social awkwardness and a wardrobe that may alert the fashion police. Now scientists think they may found the genomic links to these traits. There was always a strong suspicion of a genetic component in people that are […]

Top 5 in Bioinformatics

I recently applied for a Moore Foundation grant in Data Science for the biological sciences. As part of the pre-application, I was asked to choose the top 5 works in data science in my field. Not so sure about data science, so I picked what I think are the most influential works in Bioinformatics, which […]

Carnival of Evolution, February 2014 Edition

Wow, I haven’t posted anything in quite a while. Things are busy outside blogoland. But committing this blog to the February edition of the Carnival of Evolution just made me do it, so here goes. We’ll do this by scales, bottom up. Molecular Prions are the infective agents that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as […]

BOSC 2014 Guess the Keynote Competition

(From Peter Cock, via the OBF News Blog)   We’re pleased to officially confirm that one of the two keynote speakers for the 15th annual Bioinformatics Open Source Conference (BOSC 2014) will be C. Titus Brown, as he announced on Twitter recently: Titus Brown (@ctitusbrown): Excited to be a keynote speaker at BOSC 2014! My […]