Thursday, July 31, 2008

lab design

For most biology research (especially molecular biology), lab design is an art. Poorly designed labs will "effectively" limit your productivity, including moving around, organizing equipment, communication, storage, wasting space, etc. All these things must be considered. In order to do that, the actual researchers have to be actively involved.

Our lab has moved a few times in the last two years, either moving across states, or from one building to another building. The building I am currently in is brand new. But we've already seen a lot of design problems.

To name a few:
1. No storage space. Biology research utilizes a lot of tubes, dishes, and so on. It is impossible to buy new one every day or every week. So, you always buy in boxes, even in 10-20 boxes each time. Therefore you have to have space to store them. However there is absolutely no space designed for this purpose. As a result, our lab manager had to personally buy shelf material from Home Depot and ask carpenter to put shelves on the walls, which are not as stable of course, but is much better. Now, everytime our big boxes come, we have to unpack them and put the contents onto the shelves (obviously the boxes are too big for regular shelves).

2. curtain and emergency light for microscopy room. Modern microscopy mainly refers to fluorescent microscopy. This requires dim or no light while working --means dark room. This was designed badly with an emergency light right above the microscope. It is emergency light, you have to leave it on all the time -- how do you use the microscope then since darkness is needed? Also microscopy rooms usually have curtains to block lights out. Ironically they designed white curtain for dark room!

3. Conference room. You have to present your powerpoint slides - always with images - so you want the lights in the conference room adjustable. This was designed. However, the rooms have two big windows facing south. The regular blinds let lights in easily. Bad hah. This is worse -- the room is about 2 meters wide and 5 meters long with the screen installed at the long side. You know what I mean, when you want to see the presentation, you have to bend your whole body back. No one's neck likes that. If there are more than 5 people, you'll have to watch the presentation half meter in front of the screen. Like it?

There are more...

Who the hell designed the building???

by Beyond Lab

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

another stupid microsoft thing

Have you ever tried to set up two internet connections for your labtop? --Are you tired of changing between static IP address and DHCP?

Will, microsoft actually has this function. How to use it? -- This is the help page.

Follow this, can you find the "alternative configuration" tab??

If you are lucky, you will see it. But very likely you don't see it. --Why? Simple! It only shows up if you select DHCP (automatical). If you set a static IP etc., there is no alternative configuration tab.

Why? Ask Bill Gates. (Oh, I guess he's off the hook already. But sorry, we have to blame him.)

by Beyond Lab

Monday, July 28, 2008

better than others?

Something I am doing right now requires me to demonstrate that I am better than others with the ame levels of education. What thing I can do but others cannot?

While thinking about this question, I remember something like "if you cannot describe what you are doing in one sentense, stop doing it. you are wasting your time."

Sure I can do that. But my training has been a bit diverse, although always in life science -- from medical school gradually shifted toward basic pathology research to current biological research. I'll have to explain some basics before people really gets what I am doing. On the other hand, this really gives me something special than others. I will have to take advantage of my training background.

However, I understand that to succeed, it is necessary to be able to clearly explain to lay people my research in PLAIN language. So that people understand the importance of my research and therefore provide support. This is not just grant writing, which is for experts to review. This is for everyone else. I will post it here once I am done.

by Beyond Lab

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

DNA for dating??

by Beyond Lab

It has always been said that it is chemistry brings two people together. Probably it is right (lol) - check out this site: .

When doing transplant, you always need to match certain genes for example MHC, but in the future, before date someone, test his/her DNA first. --Or try to steal some of stuff he used on your first date to get the DNA tested.

This is a joke. --That's all I can say.

But will the company profit? probably. There are enough idiots in this world. Only marketing matters in business.

Friday, July 18, 2008

where is your saliva samples being analyzed?

by Beyond Lab

it is clear that 23andme uses Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) as its genotyping service lab with Illumina chips (arrays). --Beyond lab is wondering how much 23andme will pay LabCorp for each sample, how much is the chip and how much can they get from what customres pay. --This market is huge but is absolutely quantity-dependent. The more customers, the more profit. What will the customres get and how will the information help the customres? --that's something else.

money, money

by Beyond Lab

Research is extremely expensive -- even more than drug development. NIH is throwing $8 million to epigenome and human disease studies, starting next year. Is this a big amount? No. absolutely not. it is just a few R01 grants. Epigenetic studies require a lot of new/expensive equipment and techniques, such as microarray, sequencing. in many cases, new methodologies have to be developed. Also, when focusing on human diseases, it needs more resource input.

More importantly, epigenetics is an expanding area with new markers appearing one by one. Which one of the epigenetic markers is more important? How could $8 million be balanced properly to all these markers?? WE NEED MORE!!!

Hopefully this is just the beginning.