Monday, 07 January 2013 at 02:54 am
When I was a child, I had this persistent belief that I will live forever. Recently, I have been thinking if living forever is indeed a tangible thing or science fiction. To understand and think about ways of delaying or stopping ageing altogether, we need a solid definition of what constitutes ageing first. Without having any claims of being an expert in the field, I am going to try and present a comprehensive definition of the process and discuss some interesting directions in the field.
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 at 10:43 am
The Woodstock Road Delhi, 15 Woodstock Road, Oxford, www.oxfordfinefood.com
On the edge of St Giles and heading into Jericho this little lunchtime eatery serves some of the most wholesome food I have eaten, at prices out of tune with some of its expensive neighbours. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, their is reasonable wireless access and a spread of plug points, making this a dangerous territory for anyone prone to procrastination... especially since the coffee is right up their with the best I've had. But it is at lunchtime that this place comes alive.
Staffed by a revolving team of friendly staff this delhi has many shelves of fru-fru wines, coffees, sauces and cheese but it is the freshly cooked lunchtime fair that brings the local workforce, students and academics in their droves. On the busiest days in full swing their is sweet spot of 10 minutes just around 1 o'clock when every seat is taken and the queue from the serving counter reaches the door and customers exchange awkward looks as they position themselves for the next seat. I like to arrive 20-30 minutes earlier and deliberate over a Flat White (the coffee is excellent, but slightly dependent on which member of the team makes it for you).
Lunch consists of a main course of one of 3-4 options, at least one of which is vegetarian. These range from stews and tangines with beef or lamb through too lentil dahl, often served with rice, cous cous or some other carb source. But the kicker is the salad choice that goes with these. 6-7 exotically colourful salads await you perusal and the standard lunch deal allows you to pick two helpings of these. Finally you get to choose whether or not to top everything with a spoon of mixed toasted seeds (its always a rhetorical question).
With the bill weighing in at a diminuitive £6 (if you include a soft drink) even our graduate students can afford to eat here.
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 at 9:34 pm
Stem cells have revolutionised the field of biological research. The holy grail of the stem cell research have been embryonic stem cells whose harvesting and exploitation is drowned in controversy because of their origin. A well-known fact is that these cells are totipotent, i.e. capable of differentiating into virtually any other cell type. However, programmed for fast growth, they bear a high risk of tumor formation post-transplantation (Nussbaum et al., 2007; Wakitani et al., 2003) and are subject to potential rejection by the host recipient.
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 at 9:22 pm
Edamame, 15 Holywell Street. Oxford www.edamame.co.uk
Tucked away from the painfully beautiful town center on Holywell Street is this charming little restaurant. When we arrived, there was quite a good spirited queue of people standing outside and we too soon found ourselves cheerily waiting for a table. Once we stepped inside we knew we were on to a winner. The place was tiny, no bigger than an average living room and it was full of people all eating ‘family style’ and sharing their choices from the fairly trim lunch menu. The atmosphere was so relaxed that it felt like having food at a mates; and that is the vibe that Edameme has intentionally contracted –with their super fresh and super authentic Japanese style cooking.
For a really reasonable £8 all main dishes came with rice and the best miso soup I have ever tasted..Oh and a cup of green tea. Frankly it was totally sensational and well worth a visit!
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 at 12:25 pm
Regeneration is the process by which animals replace tissue or structures after they are lost. Regeneration abilities vary within the Animal Kingdom. For example, many invertebrates such as planarians and hydra can regenerate all of their bodies even after they have been cut into small pieces. Some vertebrates are also capable of complex regeneration. Salamanders and zebrafish are research model systems which regenerate a plethora of body parts, including limbs and heart. However, mammals have limited regenerative ability and in humans and mice it is limited to regeneration of digits in childhood and liver regeneration.
Friday, 10 August 2012 at 09:33 am
At the end of June I had the the pleasure of visiting Jochen Rink's fairly new group at the MPI, Dresden. Jochen also works with planarians on some similar topics to us so it was fantastic to talk to him and members of his group about our worms. However, I also had the pleasure of seeing my old friend Pavel Tomanak who continues to perform the most amazing interdisciplinary research, from homemade SPIM microscopes to understanding the evolution of developmental processes (and constraints therein) at the systems level. Luckily for me also Elly Tanaka, one of the worlds major salamander regeneraton researchers also had some time to give me (as well as quite a grilling regarding our own work).
Friday, 13 July 2012 at 3:46 pm
Information theory as an interdiciplinary field consisting of engineering, physics, bioinformatics, mathematics, and many others started with Claude E. Shannon's 1948 paper, "A mathematical theory of communication". Advancements in this field have been instrumental in improving communication across the world from data storage on disc drives to satellite communcations.
In this blog post, I will briefly go over what information theory is all about in an intuitve way and it's practical application to the field of bioinformatics and evolution. I am not an expert on information theory, so I welcome any corrections.
The blog is posted on my personal site. Please go here for the rest of the blog post.
Friday, 13 July 2012 at 12:29 pm
In February 2001 after an intense 10-year research effort and billions of dollars spent, the journal Nature was first to publish a draft sequence of the human genome. Two years later the project, which was spearheaded by the American Government Department of Energy ended, and the projects goal of developing a reference human genome was achieved.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 1:50 pm
I recently had to write a Summary of our work on telomere biology in planarians for the public, so I thought I would post it here as well, as its likely to missed on a dusty beurocratic website somewhere.
Thursday, 19 April 2012 at 4:11 pm
We had a lot of great questions/comments posted in the comments section of the youtube video released a month ago. I've copied and categorized all the relevant questions and comments in this entry. There were a lot of people asking the same questions, so I've also filtered the questions for redundancy (what do you expect from the computer guy -Aziz). We will answer them as we get to them. Check back often for updates to this Q/A.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 at 10:48 pm
I gave an overview of the 3 planarian transcriptomes in my last blog post. Since we do not have immediate access to all the raw data that went into the transcriptomes, we have to resort to merging the assembled transcriptomes according to their strengths and weaknesses.
Here are some thoughts on the 3 transcriptomes that'll need to be address when performing the merge:
Read the rest of this entry here.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 at 1:48 pm
This post is taken directly from my blog at blog.nextgenetics.net.
In terms of sequences, there are currently quite a lot of data in the planarian (Schmidtea medterranea) field. We have an assembled genome from University of Washington's genome institute and various transcriptome assemblies using different sequencing platforms.