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A Simple Approach to Learning

Biotechnology

How to turn “I wonder if....”


into a lifetime of constructive thinking

By Gregory I. C. Simpson, PhD

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Redefining science education globally

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A Simple Approach to Learning
Biotechnology

Gregory I. C. Simpson, PhD

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A Simple Approach to Learning
Biotechnology

Editor:
Marianne Bergenholtz Book Design:
Marianne Bergenholtz
Design and Production:
bioAnswers, LLC Illustrator Graphics:
Marianne Bergenholtz
Photography:
Patrick O’Connor Stock Photos:
Patrick O’Connor Photography Getty Images

Illustration:
Mike McMenemy

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
No part of this work covered
by the copyright hereon may
COPYRIGHT be reproduced or used in any Library of Congress
© 2010 bioAnswers, LLC. form or by any means–graphic, Cataloging-in-Publication
bioAnswers™ is a trademark electronic, or mechanical, Data
used herein under license. including photocopying, Simpson, Gregory I. C.
recording, taping, web A Simple Approach to
Printed in the United States of distribution or information Learning Biotechnology /
America storage and retrieval systems– Gregory I. C. Simpson
without the written permission p. cm.
Fonts: Optima, Palatino, of the publisher. This work is 1. Biology 2. Chemistry
Helvetica Not For Sale. 3. Bioinformatics
4. Education 5. Introduction to
For more information contact For permission to use material Biotechnology I. Title.
bioAnswers LLC, 24 Topsfield from this text or product,
Circle Shrewsbury, MA 01545. contact us at
Tel (508)925-5148
or
gsimpson@bioanswers.com

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TO

FAMILY, FRIENDS, MENTORS,

AND THE CREATOR WHO MAKES

ALL THINGS POSSIBLE,

WE GIVE THANKS.....

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Table of Contents
About the Author.................................................................. 7
A Message to Students........................................................... 8
Chapter 1 - Introduction............................................................... 9
A Tale of Two Gifts.......................................... 10

Chapter 2 - Scientific Thinking...................................................... 11


Why I became a Chemist................................. 14

Chapter 3 - Developing Qualities for Career Success.................... 19


Group Exercise I........................................................................ 21

Chapter 4 - Scientific Integrity....................................................... 23


Group Exercise II....................................................................... 24
Group Exercise III...................................................................... 26

Chapter 5 - Studying Genomes..................................................... 27


Group Exercise IV...................................................................... 28
Group Exercise V........................................................................ 32

Chapter 6 - Bioinformatics............................................................ 34
Tackling the Data Supercomputing............................. 36

Chapter 7 - Summary.................................................................... 37

Chapter Terms and Glossary............................................................ 41


Additional Questions ...................................................................... 46
Young Bio-Entrepreneur MasterMind Application............................. 51
Contact Information......................................................................... 53

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“Since new developments are the products of a creative
mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage
that type of mind in every way possible.”
George Washington Carver

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Dr. Gregory Simpson has developed innovative
training methods and strategies to teach biology and
chemistry to diverse student populations. He has spent
over 25 years teaching, training and mentoring
students from high school to post graduate level.

He holds a doctorate in organic chemistry from the


University of the West Indies, focusing on the analysis
and synthesis of flavor and fragrance molecules in
essential oils. Under the mentorship of Professors John
Fray and Jack Leonard, he completed post doctoral
training in genomic physiology and molecular biology
at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Simpson is Principal of BioAnswers, LLC is an


executive coach and business consultant. His
executive coaching practice has evolved out of his
deep passion for applying tools and systems to
increase individual and organizational vision
achievement.

He was Deputy Chairman of the Jamaica Society for


Scientists & Technologists and Chairman Young
Scientists and Technologist Group. He is Director,
Nexus Alliance Inc, Massachusetts and has served in
as advisory or consultative capacities on a numerous
science education boards and committees.

His personal vision is “to help every individual on the


planet to best understand how to use technology and
science to achieve their personal and professional life
dreams.”

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A Message to Students
Dear Future Scientist,

This book all began with me asking myself one simple question…
“I wonder if I can teach chemistry and biology to anyone, even if they are not science students and
aren’t interested in these subjects?”

Next I formed a hypothesis.

“Students who learn chemistry and biology using bioinformatics tools are better equipped to
understand complex concepts and principles in biology and chemistry and can more quickly
experience the joys of scientific creativity and discovery.”

Finally I set about developing a program that would test that hypothesis. This involved;

Writing this book, training students/clients and measuring the effectiveness of the program.

That’s it. That’s the magic that I hope to share with you in a fun and exciting way.

This book is written for interactivity and discussion. I’ve put in a few web links and resources that you
can tap into easily and quickly. As you go through, write down any words and phrases that you don’t
know for class discussion or your own research. This is very important.

One of the tricks I always share with my science students, trainees or clients, is that they approach the
subjects/topics as if you are learning a new language. You need to learn and understand the
vocabulary to become proficient in languages, chemistry, biology, biotechnology, physics etc.

I’m looking forward to your input and who knows maybe we’ll write the next version together. Happy
reading and make sure you are having FUN every step of the way.......

Sincerely,
Gregory

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Chapter 1 - Introduction

This training program is designed to


help you think through scientific • Computer research skills,
problems. Why is this so important?
• Investigation skills,
It’s because many times students don’t
have access to expensive tools or • Basic scientific terminology
laboratory equipment. So what do you
do then? • Basic scientific thinking strategy,
and
Easy, you develop the key skill sets
that will help you understand • analyzing scientific information.
scientific principles. This is far more
important for you to learn how to This is where you must begin,
think through the science early in your regardless of where your career takes
career. you.

The experiments are a very important So let me tell you a story about how I
part of the process, but learning how became a scientist.
to think scientifically can be 5X more
important. So learning processes that
involve developing and building

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A Tale of Two Gifts

I got the chemistry set and my


brother ended up with the guitar.

What makes this story even more


interesting is that my brother went
on to become a musician. He’s
travelled to every continent on the
planet and played in front of huge
audiences.

When I was about 9 years old, my


father who is an electrical engineer,
bought my brother and myself two
gifts. A chemistry set and a guitar.
Both of us wanted the guitar, so just
like siblings we got into an
argument, a tussle, a fight!! Maybe
you and your brother or sister fight
over stuff as well.

Well, as much as I hate to admit it,


my brother was a much better
guitarist than I was.

So happened next? You guessed it. So have I, with the exception of


Asia, but some how I think I’ll
correct that soon enough.

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Chapter 2 - Scientific Thinking

We will go through the thought processes to build a simple hypothesis. The


process will be to look at a problem, develop a hypothesis, think through a
series of possible experiments to test that hypothesis, and then answer two
simple questions.

What would you do if your


Hypothesis proves to be false?

What would you do if your


Hypothesis proves to be true?

Answering these two questions before you start a single experiment prepares
you to dig deeper, opens your mind to so many more possibilities and gives
you a huge advantage over other students. Also, I promise you if you begin
your scientific studies this way, you will impress your teachers, those around
you and open doors you could ever imagine.

This is how you begin to learn how to begin pushing your mind, your abilities
and capabilities just one step further than other students. This simple
approach is so important for you understand that it’s not even funny. With
this base much more complex scientific information becomes easier to
learn!!

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Answering these questions provides
an opportunity to continue thinking
and developing testing strategies
around your challenge.

How could this benefit scientific discovery?

Answering these questions you use a computer. There is a


provides an opportunity to method and an order to how you
continue thinking and must proceed to complete each
developing testing strategies of these tasks.
around the problem.
Think of other examples where
The point is to continue thinking you already use a method and an
through the problem so that order every day.
when you can actually do the
experiment and it is easy to Although we are practicing a
execute. thinking strategy, observing,
collecting and reporting data
You can apply this way of from actual experiments is
thinking to things you do on a absolutely essential to the
daily basis; how you brush your scientific process.
teeth; how you get dressed; how

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Dare to Dream

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Why I became a Scientist-
RED, GREEN & BLUE Solutions

I need to share another story with you That experience changed my life forever
before I go on. and created more and more question for
Remember I told me. What I mixed solution A with solution
you about the B, what color would I get? or solution B
two gifts, the with solution D or C or F? It was all those
Guitar and the colors that got me excited, hooked and
chemistry set? determined to find out why???
Well for a few
weeks I was so As I grew as a scientist, I began to learn
upset about my brother and the guitar that chemist, biochemists, physicists,
that it became unbearable. actually really looove colors. Below is an
example of iron storage protein called
My brother would sit on the fence and ferritin. Each of the colors you see are
play the guitar to all the kids in the actually combinations of amino acids
neighborhood and I remember feeling so joined together. What questions do you
left out all the time. That was when I have now? Write them out for discussion.
decided, hmm wonder what this chemistry
set is all about?

With the help of my dad, we opened up


the set, read the instructions and started
doing experiments.
I don’t recall the exact experiment it was,
but what I remember was the excitement I
Recombinant protein Structure of
felt when I mixed two colored chemical
Ferritin, an iron storage protein.
solutions together and got a completely http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/explore.do?
structureId=2FHA
different color!

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Class Notes

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Class Notes

______________________________
Even for the best scientists, developing a
hypothesis is not easy. Scientists often work
______________________________
together during this process.

______________________________ It takes
curiosity,
observation,
______________________________
inspiration,
creative
______________________________ thought,
knowledge
and
______________________________ experience.

______________________________ Scientists often have to modify the wording


of their hypotheses after they learn more
from their experiments.
______________________________

As long as your hypothesis is testable and


falsifiable, and is simply worded, you are on
______________________________
the right track. Experience will take care of
the rest.
______________________________

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Class Notes

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A Simple Approach to Learning Biotechnology

Write this thinking approach out on a card to study.

1) Look for a something you are curious about

2) Ask a Question - I wonder if…

3) Develop a hypothesis

4) Test that hypothesis by thinking through the


experiments you would do.

5) Answer two questions.


If the hypothesis is false, then…,
If the hypothesis is true, then…

6) Write up the information and present to peers,


teachers and mentors for their opinion.

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Chapter 3 - Developing Qualities for Success

What are some of the qualities that What other activities do you
will help you succeed, not only in participate in that benefit from these
science, but also in any path you qualities?
choose in life? These are only a few of the same
qualities that make accomplished
Persistence – continue firmly or musicians, exceptional sports
endure figures, talented writers, and great
Tenacity – cling firmly to leaders incredibly successful!
something, sticking firmly together
Consistency – conforming to a Honing these traits and developing
regular pattern or style the skills that go with them will help
Dedication – to devote oneʼs time you become more valuable as a
and energy to a special purpose leader and help you accomplish
Confidence – a feeling of certainty, your own goals.
self-reliance, boldness
Discipline – training that produces However, the single most important
a particular skill success quality that you absolutely
Integrity – with honor must have is a clear LIFE VISION.

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Without a vision that is large and attitude. The people who you
enough, engaging enough and most respect, begin to define and
focused around what you are most mold your character. and character.
passionate about, you will be lost.
For me, Iʼve developed my life
Lost to negative influences, lost to vision around my passion for
those you love and lost to achieving science. Itʼs taken me 30+ years to
your life goals. be able to articulate, and I am
hoping that it doesnʼt take you
Weʼll get into how you go about 1/10th of that time!!! So here it is...
building a life vision in much
greater detail, but for now, what you My life vision is to “help every
absolutely must do is answer two individual on the planet to best
questions. understand how to use technology
and science to achieve their
What are the things that you are personal and professional life
most passionate about? List dreams.”
them.
Folding what I am passionate about
Who are three people, who you in my vision opened a whole new
know or donʼt know, but who you world of possibilities for me and it
respect greatly? List the will do the same for you too!
qualities that you admire most
about them.

The things you are most passionate


about help to define your values

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Group Exercise I
for Classroom Discussion
Level of Chemistry or Biology needed -

Consider a team of scientists who work for 10 years to solve an incredibly


complex challenge. Let’s say for example this challenge was to find a way
to increase the amount of energy we get from plant waste. The scientists
developed a hypothesis and set about doing experiments. Testing,
measuring and analyzing the data. It costed millions and millions of
dollars and they found out that their hypotheses was false.
Was their work a failure?

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

Were the scientist time and taxpayers money wasted?

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

What do you think drove them to keep doing the research?

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

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Class Notes

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Chapter 4 - Scientific Integrity

The key is to stay focused. It is reviewed by other scientists


You cannot build good science on with the same or higher levels of
faulty science. Every scientific training. This ensures that the
discovery is built on work gone information meets the highest
before. Truthfulness in observation, standards of the field. The process
recording and reporting findings is called a per review and this
from experimentation is a hallmark provides a way of making sure that
of good science. This the reason the scientific principals are correct.
why the scientific community takes
great steps to ensure the soundness It must be a consistent progression
of the data that is reported to the that they recognize from all the
world. underlying principals coming
before. In other words, it must
Once the idea becomes a make scientific sense.
hypothesis, scientists perform
experiments. They observe and Finally, that manuscript, is
record findings, then report these accepted, becomes a published
findings in a disciplined writing work in a scientific journal or
form called a manuscript. textbook to be read by many, many
scientists all over the world. This in
This manuscript is submitted to a turn, allows those scientists to
journal or textbook for publication. create new and better science.

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An example of when things go wrong is
given below.

In December 2005 a report was


presented in Science News and carried
in all the major news networks about a
South Korean scientist, Woo Suk
Hwang of Seoul National University,
who made claims about his laboratory’s Group Exercise II for
success in cloning the first human Classroom Discussion
embryonic stem cell.

In that article it was reported that the Level of Biology -


researcher along with his US co-author,
Gerald P. Schatten wished to retract Think about this example in the
some of the published work first context of scientific integrity and
reported on March 12, 2004 in one of what would have happened if the
the most prestigious international publication were accepted by the
scientific journals, Science. larger scientific community.

This paper was communicated by 15


scientists with the highest level of
training and required several million
dollars in infra structure and support
staff over several years to complete
these experiments.

That article was retracted, because of a


combination of procedural mistakes For more information on this visit these web sites
made by the researchers, contamination http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040214/fob1.asp
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20051224/fob7.asp
of the cells and the possible falsification
of data. Woo Suk Hwang et al., Science 12 March 2004:
303 (5664), 1669-1674.

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How Embryonic Stem Cells
Are Collected for Research
One of the most challenging issues
surrounding Human Embryonic
Stem Cell Research, is whether or
not using/harvesting embryos goes
against natural laws.

The critical issue at the center is


whether or not these embryos
really are people and what is the
do scientist’s moral, humanitarian
or ethical responsibility in doing
this type of research!!

There have been many many


debates and arguments put
forward either in support or against
embryonic stem cell research.

As a future biotechnology leader,


what is very important for you to
consider, is what you believe, from
a religious and society perspective.

So consider this, suppose you had


to make a decision to fund/invest
in human embryonic stem cell
research. What factors would you
consider in making your decision
and why?
You can find more information about embryonic
stem cell research at these web sites

1. http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics3.asp
2. http://stemcells.nih.gov/
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embryonic_stem_cell
4. http://www.isscr.org/public/ethics.htm

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Group Exercise III for Classroom Discussion

Level of Biology -
Scientific discovery prompts discussion at so many levels. Religious leaders, scientists
and policy makers are debating the rules that govern the field of stem cell biology.
What are some of the concerns that have been raised about stem cell biology?

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What countries are doing research in stem cell biology?

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

What are your ideas about stem cell biology research?

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

What are other types of stem cells that scientists are studying?

___________________________________________________________________________

*Use newspaper articles, magazines and talk to friends and family to help you.

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Chapter 5 - Studying Genomes
The Human Genome Project which With their cooperation, not only was
began in the early 1990’s is an the objective accomplished, but it
example of global collaboration was achieved more than two years
which required the highest levels of ahead of schedule. Since then, the
cross country scientific integrity. discoveries that have been generated
as a result have changed the face of
Everyone had to have the same high biology as we knew it.
standards to produce high quality
work. This would ensure that the This has given us great
results would be a benefit to all. A understanding about all types of
solid foundation for future work. diseases and how new methods of
treatment can be developed. Visit
The original researchers, had a this website to learn more about
worldwide vision. Scientists joined genes and proteins.
together with creativity and http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/
Human_Genome/posters/chromosome/
determination to accomplish the
goal map the human genome.

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Group Exercise IV for Classroom Discussion

Level of Biology -

What does the human genome project mean to you?

______________________________________________________________________

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As young scientists, you become Class Notes
aware of the problems and issues
___________________________________
that arise when the science is done
badly. Making mistakes, whether
in the design of the experiment, ___________________________________
faulty science or falsifying data the
cost is far reaching. What is
important is that you learn to ___________________________________

appreciate good science.

___________________________________
Develop the skills to make an
exceptional contribution in to
what ever profession you choose ___________________________________

by holding true to your principles,


and values. This will distinguish
___________________________________
you from your peers.

This is why you must always ___________________________________

remember the importance that the


peer review process. It is essential
___________________________________
to ensuring scientific integrity. As
students, don’t be afraid to have
your work reviewed and examined ___________________________________
by others. It is a critical part of
your training, learning and
___________________________________
thinking.

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Chromosome

DNA

Genes Transcription

Translation

Proteins perform
all the functions in
a cell for survival
and reproduction.
Genes contain the RNA Proteins
instructions for making
proteins

The diagram above describes shows how proteins are formed from genes. At
each step, large amounts of data can be produced, recorded, reviewed and
reported.

Imagine multiplying this process 20,000 times and trying to analyze the data
just by hand!!

This is where bioinformatics come in and why it is so important to how


biological research is done.

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Studying the genomes and genes By studying the similarities and
from a wide cross-section of differences between genomes and
animal, plant and genes from different
microbial species species we also learn
tells us a lot about about how each organism
how genes work, handles disease. With this
what they do and information we can
how they are understand humans
related to each other from species disease and develop treatments.
to species. For some biologists
understanding these relationships The challenge is how do you
gives information about how the compare the genomes and genes
different species evolved in the from different species? It sounds
environment. This field is called easy, but itʼs not. Look at the
“Evolutionary Biology”. numbers below to begin to
understand the complexity.

Marbled Lung Fish Zebra Fish


130 billion nucleotides 1.74 billion nucleotides

Green Puffer Fish


Cow 0.34 billion nucleotides
3.65 billion nucleotides

Mouse
3.45 billion nucleotides

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Group Exercise V for Classroom Discussion

Level of Biology -

What information can you find out about the dolphin genome?

______________________________________________________________________

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______________________________________________________________________

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______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

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For example, suppose you had We definitely would need some
gene sequence information from help here, with many many
four species, lets say the scientists and many many
human, yeast, mouse-ear cress computers to help sift through
plant, and the zebra fish. At a the data. This is what
first glance the bioinformatics
information Rice is about:
0.39 Billion
might look all solving these
nucleotides
the same, but types of
suppose we problems and
could compare providing
the sequence information to
data more Mouse-ear cress scientists
0.11 billion
carefully. nucleotides about the
structure of
We might find genes; the
similarities or structure of
differences in the sequence or proteins the genes produce; and
they might be all the same. In what these proteins do in the
these cases the information organism.
about the products of these
genes would help us understand Three examples of species that
how these genes are involved in life scientist use as model
various cellular functions. systems to study how genes
Thatʼs only for four species function are yeast, mustard
though. Suppose we could seed and the zebra fish. Weʼll
look at the gene sequences of learn more about biological
40 or 400 or 4000 species at models in life science research
the same time? as we go on.

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Chapter 6 - Bioinformatics
We’ve looked at a diagram of how Scientists must understand both the
proteins are made from genes. genes and the proteins structures to
We’ve also looked at the massive understand how the cells work.
size of the genomes of a few Massive amounts of data and
organisms. We saw that these computer processing capacity are
organisms can have from 110 needed to collect the data produced
Million to 130 Billion nucleotides in from these types of experiments.
there genomes!!
Bioinformatics is the field that has
The question you should be asking developed to help scientists, collect,
yourself is, How in the world did analyze and present biological data
scientist figure those numbers out? on the genes and proteins that
organisms possess.
In the human genome, there are
many, many, many more proteins Cheminformatics and Medical
than there are genes. In all living Informatics are two fields that
organisms, every single biological complement bioinformatics in
process is controlled by genes and biological and medical research.
the proteins that are produced by
them.

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Becoming aware of the many, many, many inputs that are
required to create and deliver good science for our world is
doesnʼt have to be complex.

In fact once you begin to see and understand the information, you
will soon recognize how simple it really is an how you, with your
life vision will fit into the puzzle.

For right know, your main job is to begin to learn the words and
phrases that scientists use and to try to relate that information to
your life vision. The closer it aligns, the faster your success will
come!!

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The Supercomputer Model

Connecting the processing capability of thousands and thousands of smaller,


inexpensive desktop computers all over the world can provide the power
needed to collect, analyze and process MASSIVE amounts of data. Those
computers are actually joined together in
a network through the world wide web.

This is equivalent to having millions and


millions of hands doing very complex
task instead of just one or two pairs!!

This process of joining many many


computers is called supercomputing
and provides a way through which
scientists can process complex data of
all types.

3D Map of the World Wide Web illustrating


Some resources you can tap into to find actual domains and connections - any number of
these could be joined together to create a
out more about supercomputing can be supercomputer. http://www.vlib.us/web/ and
found at; www.opte.org.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Supercomputer
2. http://www.nrbsc.org/
3. http://www.psc.edu/

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Chemistry and biology are all It provides a way for you to shape
around us. Developing ways to your own future and as a leader, the
quickly learn the skills involved in future of others. It allows us to make
scientific discovery are life long informed decisions based on a
gifts. Conceiving, designing and systematic approach to dealing with
conducting experiments, requires, challenges. This in turn creates
knowing how to find information, opportunities for growth,
design experiments, analyze and development and the betterment of
interpret data and draw conclusions. society.

If you think about it, every single So how do this all relate to you and
profession on the planet, requires where you are going?
this type of approach in some way,
shape or form. Well I don’t honestly know, but what
I do know is that learning to think
As young scientists and budding bio- independently in science or in any
entrepreneurs, learning how to think profession is absolutely essential for
scientifically early on creates your future success.
avenues and possibilities way
beyond what you could ever In the book entitled The Thomas
imagine. Jefferson Education by Oliver Van
DeMille, there is a list of 10 things
that are considered most necessary

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for success in the job market of the As a scientist, I’ve acquired skills in
21st century. The list comes from the many different areas. From
Harvard School of Law and consists chemistry to biology, R&D and
of the following. marketing to general management,
coaching and training. Acquiring
The ability to these skills is based on a way of
1. Define problems without a guide. thinking, all of which started in the
sciences.
2. Ask hard questions which
challenge prevailing assumptions.
That is the gift I’d like to give to you
3. Quickly assimilate needed data and hopefully this will lead to you
from masses of irrelevant discovering and achieving your life
information. vision as it has for me!!

4. Work in teams without guidance.

5. Work absolutely alone.

6. Persuade others that your course


is the right one.

7. Conceptualize and recognize


information into new patterns.

8. Discuss ideas with an eye toward


application.

9 &10. Think inductively,


deductively and dialectically

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Some Words, Phrases
and Terms in biology

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New Words and Phrases

Allele: An alternative form of a gene or any other segment of a chromosome.

Bioinformatech™: A professional who is trained through BioAnswers, LLC’s


certification program to search, collate and present scientific information
using bioinformatics database search tools.

Bioinformatician: A professional who compares sequence information about


genes and proteins with similar sequences and understands what the
similarities and differences mean.

Bioinformatics: The analysis of biological information using computers and


statistical techniques; the science of developing and utilizing computer
databases and algorithms to accelerate and enhance biological research.

Biomarker: A molecular indicator of a specific biological property; a


biochemical feature or facet that can be used to measure the progress of
disease or the effects of treatment.

Complementary DNA (cDNA): DNA made from a messenger RNA (mRNA)


template. The single-stranded form of cDNA is often used as a probe in
physical mapping.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): One of two types of molecules that encode


genetic information. (The other is RNA. In humans DNA is the genetic
material; RNA is transcribed from it. In some other organisms, RNA is the
genetic material and, in reverse fashion, the DNA is transcribed from it.)

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DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): One of two types of molecules that contain (or
encode for) genetic information. The other is ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Expressed sequence tag: A unique stretch of DNA within a coding region of a


gene that is useful for identifying full-length genes and serves as a landmark
for mapping.

Gene: The basic biological unit of heredity; a segment of deoxyribonucleic


acid (DNA) needed to contribute to a function.

Genome: All of the genetic information or hereditary material possessed by


an organism; the entire genetic complement of an organism.

Genomics: The study of genes.

Genotype: The genetic composition of an organism or a group of organisms;


a group or class of organisms having the same
genetic constitution.

In vitro: Literally, “in glass,” i.e., in a test tube or in the laboratory; the
opposite of in vivo (in a living organism).

In vivo: In a living organism, as opposed to in vitro (in the laboratory).


Knockout: Inactivation of specific genes. Knockouts are often created in
laboratory organisms such as yeast or mice so that scientists can study the
knockout organism as a model for a particular disease.

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Mapping: Charting the location of genes on chromosomes.

Mass spectrometry: A method used to determine the masses of atoms or


molecules in which an electrical charge is placed on the molecule and the
resulting ions are separated by their mass to charge ratio.

Messenger RNA (mRNA): A type of RNA that reflects the exact nucleoside
sequence of the genetically active DNA. mRNA carries the "message" of the
DNA to the cytoplasm of cells where protein is made in amino acid
sequences specified by the mRNA.

Metabonomics: The evaluation of tissues and biological fluids for changes in


metabolite levels that result from toxicant-induced exposure.

Microarray: A tool used to sift through and analyze the information


contained within a genome. A microarray consists of different nucleic acid
probes that are chemically attached to a substrate, which can be a microchip,
a glass slide or a microsphere-sized bead.

Northern blot: A technique used to separate and identify pieces of RNA.


Nucleotide: A subunit of DNA or RNA. To form a DNA or RNA molecule,
thousands of nucleotides are joined in a long chain.

Phenotype: The observable physical or biochemical traits of an organism, as


determined by genetics and the environment; the expression of a given trait
based on phenotype; an individual or group of organisms with a particular
phenotype.

Polymorphism: The quality or character of occurring in several different


forms.

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Proteome: All of the proteins produced by a given species, just as the
genome is the totality of the genetic information possessed by that species.

Proteomics: The study of the proteome.

RNA (ribonucleic acid): A nucleic acid molecule similar to DNA but


containing ribose rather than deoxyribose.

Signal transduction pathway: The course by which a signal from outside a


cell is converted to a functional change within the cell.

Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP): A change in which a single base in


the DNA differs from the usual base at that position.

Toxicology: The study of the nature, effects and detection of poisons and the
treatment of poisoning.

Toxicogenomics: The collection, interpretation and storage of information


about gene and protein activity in order to identify toxic substances in the
environment. This information helps us to treat people at the greatest risk of
diseases caused by environmental pollutants or toxicants.

Transcription: The process of constructing a messenger RNA molecule using


a DNA molecule as a template with resulting transfer of genetic information
to the messenger RNA

Transgenic: Having genetic material (DNA) from another species. This term
can be applied to an organism that has genes from another organism.

Translation: The process of forming a protein molecule at a ribosomal site of


protein synthesis from information contained in messenger RNA.

Additional resources for more terms used in biology and chemistry


http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/mplusdictionary.html

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Additional Questions

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1) What is a hypothesis?

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2) What is the difference between a philosophical and a scientific

hypothesis?

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3) What is bioinformatics and what is it used for?

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4) What does scientific integrity mean to you?

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Young Bio-Entrepreneur MasterMind Group
Application
NAME:___________________ DATE:____/_____/___________

EVENT:___________________ TEL #:____________________

EMail:____________________

ADDRESS:________________________________________________

For additional information/coaching and a FREE 30 minute consultation on


becoming a scientist, bio entrepreneur, and building career success in the Life
Sciences, complete the form below and fax it to 630.393.9901. When faxing make
sure to include your contact information and then call 508-925-5148 to schedule
your appointment.

Level 1 Questions
1. What is the biggest challenge or problem you are facing right now in any area of
your life or studies?

2. If you could have help in any area of your life/studies, what would you loove help
on?

3. On a scale of 1 to 4, 1 being your most favorite and 4 your least, which of these
shapes would you like the most?
Cube ____ Pyramid_____ Wavyline_____ Ball_____

4. On a scale of 1 to 4, 1 being the situation you most want to avoid, which of the
following would you most like to avoid.
Things not being properly done? ____

Things being out of control? ____

Things being boring or not fun? ____

Conflict with others? ____

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5. Is there anything about chemistry or biology that makes you uncomfortable?

6. What is the most interesting or exciting scientific discovery that you have ever made?

Please rate your interest/importance on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 = highest level of


interest/importance)

7. The BCL2 gene plays a critical role in myocardial infarction. _____

8. I would like to develop skills in Bioinformatics _____

9. The molecular formula of glucose is C6H12O6. _____

10. Doing research on the internet is important _____

11. I am interested in building a biotechnology business _____

12. I am interested in doing Medical Research _____

13. Your experience with past science teachers _____

14. Learning scientific & business skills using online university format _____

Is there any other information you would like us to know about you?

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For a FREE 30 minute Biotech Business
Strategy Session Contact

Gregory I. C. Simpson, PhD


Executive Coach and Business Consultant

24 Topsfield Circle
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, 01545
T 508-925-5148
gsimpson@bioanswers.com

COPYRIGHT © 2010 bioAnswers LLC

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

No part of this work covered by the copyright hereon maybe reproduced or used in any form or by any means-graphic,
electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, Web distribution or information storage and retrieval
systems without the the written permission of the publisher. For permission to use material from this text or product
please contact Dr. Gregory I. Simpson at the above address. This work is note offered for sale.

A Simple Approach to Learning Biotechnology

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