Monday, May 30, 2011

Overlapps: 'cause we need some apps to re-love

A couple of months ago, shared this Apple apps site on Twitter.


overlapps
http://www.overlapps.com


The site has a clean outlook. One addition I'd like is showing one sentence description of the app when I hover my mouse over the icons.

It's a great site to check out for app suggestion for your iOS and Android devices.

Follow Overlapps on Twitter or like their Facebook page.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kolony is biohazard!

Kolony by Celcom:



Who don't wanna join? Come let us go into a biosafety lab!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Only learn to appreciate when it's gone

Watched this scene from a Cantonese drama. From a season of "Healing Hands" if I'm not wrong. Like it a lot.

(in a hospital)

A patient was complaining about his pain on his leg on a wheelchair, pressing at the site of the pain. A doctor attended to the patient. The patient, unable to hold on, slided his hand to his empty trousers - we learnt that the patient had his leg amputated earlier and was experiencing phantom limb.

In the next scene, the doctor turned to his female colleague: "There are things that we only learn to appreciate only after it's gone....."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I can design molecular graphics

histidine

Histidine is one of the amino acids making up proteins.

I made the image above using PyMOL, a molecular visualisation software used by scientists in the labs to see protein structures. Beautiful, right?

You can download PyMOL for educational use free of charge.

I got the file for histidine here.

How to use PyMOL? You can follow a few links here:

http://ihome.cuhk.edu.hk/~b102142/pymol/pymol_tutorial.html
http://people.mbi.ucla.edu/sawaya/tutorials/Graphics/pymol.html
http://www.bio.ph.ic.ac.uk/~scurry/Tips.html

http://www.bi.up.ac.za/homolcourse2005/Exercises/arv_pymol_tut.pdf (opens in Adobe Reader)
http://novacripta.cbm.uam.es/bioweb/soft/pymol_tutorial.pdf (opens in Adobe Reader)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The grand picture of molecular life science

Drawing to almost half of my third year of university studies, in one semester of my third year, I have covered so many things. Contents were fleshed out in great, intricate details.

My lecturers are from Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Melbourne. Each time, during a lecture, they always have interesting story to tell about what's happening inside cells. Every time when I'm asked on what I'm doing, saying biochemistry to be specific, sounds like something so advanced. The truth is, studying biochemistry in the 21st century is like playing LEGO at the molecular level and involve lots of storytelling about molecular processes.

How to excel in studies? I can't emphasise more and more that you must show an interest in the subject matter, be it academic, artistic or professional. The next thing is to actually understand what you are studying and not simply blind memorisation. With the understanding in a few topics that make up the whole subject, comes appreciation - the big picture, knowing that topics do not exist in isolation but instead connected to each other.

When you can finally appreciate the contents in a subject, you have achieved the learning outcome.

Only upon arrival at third year of university studies, I begin to realise that biochemistry and molecular biology is a grand masterpiece of painting. "Biochemistry and molecular biology" is for the naming sake; in actual fact, the picture consists of parts from the molecular to cellular level, hence it is really "biochemistry, molecular and cell biology". To gain an even greater appreciation, I need to know physiology - how things work in living things at the systemic level - but I admit I'm deficient in it beyond uni first year level.

What subjects am I taking? I shall name them and give you a brief description:

Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics: Study of gene expression (transcription and translation) in great detail, regulation of gene expression and experimental approach to extract information encoded in genes.

Molecular Aspects of Cell Biology: Taking things beyond the DNA level to look at the happenings inside and outside the cell. Proteins are made, but it's the work that proteins do that make the cell comes alive. Each have their role to play to make the cell happening. Also some experimental techniques to see what's happening in cells.

Advanced Techniques in Molecular Science: How to work in a biochemistry/molecular biology lab using your hands. A lab based subject.

Biotechnology in Practice: The business of biotechnology.

Functional Genomics and Molecular Aspects, from the way I see it, actually forms a big picture that you can't really separate from one another into subjects. What's more, both subjects are taught by the same people and use the same lecture theatres - until I can't really tell which subject I'm attending!

I can't stress more on the importance of the lab subject because it's from the lab techniques I learnt, that's how discoveries are made. The methods are always at disposal but it's just how to use them for a purpose.

Semester is drawing to an end, so it's time to go for Gold!