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teaching

Category archives for teaching

Three (or more) operating systems times three (or more) versions of software with bugs unique to one or systems (that I don’t have) means too many systems for me to manage teaching. Thank the FSM they’re not using Linux, too. (Let me see that would be Ubuntu Linux, RedHat Linux, Debian Linux, Yellow Dog Linux,…

For the past few years, I’ve been collaborating with a friend, Dr. Rebecca Pearlman, who teaches introductory biology at the Johns Hopkins University. Her students isolate bacteria from different environments on campus, use PCR to amplify the 16S ribosomal RNA genes, send the samples to the JHU core lab for sequencing, and use blastn to…

yep, I’ve become a videoblogger, at least sometimes. See the first video below. Be kind in the comments, this is a new thing for me. This video introduces the different blast programs, discusses word size, and how blastn works, the blastn score and the E value. The treatment is light and not too in depth,…

A few weeks ago I attended a education conference at Pacific Science Center entitled, “A Conversation that Can Change the World.”

A long standing debate in my field is whether or not biologists, who work with computers, need to learn how to program. I usually say “no.” Let the programmers program, the biologists interpret the results, and let everyone can benefit from each other’s expertise. Well, I’ve changed my mind in one respect. Most biologists need…

Which read(s): 1. contain either a SNP (a single nucleotide polymorphism) or a position where different members of a multi-gene family have a different base? C 2. doesn’t have any DNA? B 3. is a PCR product? A, B, and C.  All of three reads were obtained by sequencing PCR products, generated with the same…

Since DNA diagnostics companies seem to be sprouting like mushrooms after the rain, it seemed like a good time to talk about how DNA testing companies decipher meaning from the tests they perform. Last week, I wrote about interpreting DNA sequence traces and the kind of work that a data analyst or bioinformatics technician does…

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself biology. Digital biology, the field that I write about, is particularly well-suited to this kind of fun and exploration. Last week, I wrote some instructions for making a phylogenetic tree from mitochondrial genomes. This week, we’ll continue our analysis.

DNA sequence traces are often used in cases where: We want to identify the source of the nucleic acid. We want to detect drug-resistant variants of human immune deficiency virus. We want to know which base is located at which position, especially where we might be able to diagnose a human disease or determine the…

The Wired Campus has an interesting article on nursing students at Tacoma Community College. In John Miller’s class, the students practice interviewing patients in Second Life. This sort of activity, of course, is one that could be carried out in a classroom, but I can see the advantages of having student interview other “people” who…