Archive for December, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Santa is gearing up for his big annual journey. As Terry Pratchet noted in his novel “The Hogfather”, he must be a quantum being, in all places at once, at his will. We never see him, because if we did, then his wave function would collapse.
In the meantime, all the best to members of the lab, past and present. Time to relax, consume lovely foods painstakingly produced by amazingly skilled people and recharge the batteries.


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A slow review for this one but now Ula and Tarja’s paper Co-operation of FGF receptor and Klotho is involved in excretory canal development and regulation of metabolic homeostasis in C. elegans is out in J Biol. Chem. “Growth factors are hormones” to quote Gordon Sato, it really does work. The link between morphogens and the control of development and metabolic regulation is both deep and very intriguing: both are integral to the metazoan “lifestyle”, both are dependent on integrated cell communication systems, yet the two are pursued by people in very different fields, except for those working on FGFs.

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Impact Seminars

This series of seminars continues with two seminars looking at the reality of academia’s contribution to the development of improvements in health.

The first one is this coming Friday
Friday 3rd December, 2010,
1.00 pm, Lecture Theatre 2 (Life Sciences Building)
Dr Neil Murray, CEO Rodx Pharma Ltd, Merseybio
“Can academia solve Pharma’s Pipeline problems?”
Discussion of the factors impacting major pharma’s growth ambitions and the potential for academic research to help plug the gap. But is it that simple?

The second seminar is the following week.
Friday 10th December, 2010, 
1.00 pm, Lecture Theatre 3 (Life Sciences Building)
Dr Neil Gibson, Research and Development Genetics, AstraZeneca, Alderley Park
“Using genetics to improve patient outcomes”

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Lab meeting

The lab meetings started up again with a great presentation from Lara. She introduced the entire EPSRC programme from the biology to the chemistry to the physics and had fantastic control over those parts that are miles away from her comfort zone, the biology and the chemistry. The physics, aka the microscopy for detecting the SPIONs and the velocimeter are intriguing and some great ideas here.

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Great trip back from Singapore. The plane was full and I didn’t have the luxury of an empty seat next to me. However, my traveling companions were slim and the intensity of the last few days in Singapore (18 h days) meant that I was in no particular time zone. The result was a pleasant 8 h sleep and I woke up (Singair are nice, only waking you up 5-10 min before landing) to a landing in a blizzard in Munich! A bit of a delay getting out, as the plane was de-iced and the runaway ploughed and then into Manchester to be greeted by frost. Some change, 30 C in Singapore, -2C at home!
I never cease to be amazed at our ability to adapt. Dressed for the tropics, -2C is bearable. Put on a thick jacket and comfort is restored. There is a symmetry in terms of clothing. In the tropics, a slight overdressing is useful to deal with aircon, particularly in some taxis, which can be quite frigid. removing the outer layer (aka a thin jacket) one handles the outside world with comfort. At home, jacket for outside, take it off and one is comfortable inside.
The next job on the Singapore front are to identify graduate students willing to travel and to help organise a UoL-A*STAR workshop just before ICMAT.

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