The long road to commercialization

Carmen Wong completed her PhD studies on creating viruses for cancer research. Since then, she has been working with inventors from universities, accelerators, and startup companies to commercialize their innovations. Carmen was a commercialization analyst with CCRM from 2016-2018. In her free time, Carmen is developing her design skills and hopes to incorporate them into science outreach and communication projects.  credit: CCRM At networking events, the following conversation typically takes place when I meet someone…

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$1.65M for synthetic biology research and training at Concordia

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has committed $1.65 million dollars over six years to establish a research and training program at Concordia’s Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology. The funds were awarded after Malcolm Whiteway (pictured, right), professor of biology and the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics, and the grant application team submitted a proposal to NSERC’s Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program. The Synthetic Biology Applications CREATE program…

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Heuristic models as inspiration-for and falsifiers-of abstractions

Last month, I blogged about abstraction and lamented that abstract models are lacking in biology. Here, I want to return to this. What isn’t lacking in biology — and what I also work on — is simulation and heuristic models. These can seem abstract in the colloquial sense but are not very abstract for a computer scientist. They are usually more idealizations than abstractions. And even if all I care about is abstract models —…

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Mitochondria and Atrial fibrillation – A project idea

                            A friend recently challenged me saying "you know about mitochondria, what can you tell me about mitochondrial disease and atrial fibrillation?" "What?" "I really don't know anything about it!" A quick search to answer my friend's question revealed numerous papers and discussions available online. The question had me thinking, "Isn't this a great idea for a STEM project?" I quickly dug out a sheet of paper and started mind mapping where I thought such…

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The STEM LGBTQ&A

Its July. Pride month has wrapped, though some parades will continue through the summer. It was a fairly busy month, blog-wise, for me, largely because The Lab and Field had been so quiet in the last few years (apologies). But one post from June stood out as the one that garnered more feedback than most – my LGBT STEM Q&A / Ask Me Anything. And I’ve had a couple of people say they had wished they…

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Microaggressions: The big impact of little things

lebeagle: By María J. Cabrera-Álvarez Sometimes there is more to conferences than the official talks. Last January, I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans to attend the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB). Apart from presenting my results, enjoying amazing talks, and discussing interesting research with poster presenters, I had the chance to participate in an interesting workshop called “Microaggressions: The big impact of little things”. The purpose…

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Weekend reads

Back on track with the weekend read posts.  Maybe not as many as usual but still quite interesting to read.Tree species identity and diversity drive fungal richness and community composition along an elevational gradient in a Mediterranean ecosystemEcological and taxonomic knowledge is important for conservation and utilization of biodiversity. Biodiversity and ecology of fungi in Mediterranean ecosystems is poorly understood. Here, we examined the diversity and spatial distribution of fungi along an elevational gradient in…

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Spider sex and silk: From mating threads and bridal veils to nuptial gifts and silk-lined chambers

I am very pleased to announce the publication of a review paper in the Journal of Arachnology (check out the full pdf here) about the fascinating uses of silk during spider sexual interactions coauthored with Alissa Anderson and my supervisor Maydianne Andrade. This paper has been several years in the making, and some of my very first blog posts were based on the research I did when I first started writing it back in 2013…

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