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Researchers Make Colon Cancer Breakthrough

The findings could predict who will get the disease and even lead to new therapies to prevent it.

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Researchers Make Colon Cancer Breakthrough

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Foreign accents make speakers seem less truthful to listeners

A foreign accent undermines a person’s credibility in ways that the speaker and the listener don’t consciously realize, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

Because an accent…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Using Bacteria to Fight Bacteria

A recent article in the New York Times is a good primer on the astonishing variety of bacteria that colonize our bodies, and what they may be doing there. It turns out that our individual microbiomes (all of the microbes in a defined environment within our bodies) are quite different. And at any one time, each of us probably has only about 20% of the species of bacteria that can inhabit the human body.

An interesting new idea is that the “good” bacteria in certain people’s microbiomes might actually be used to treat certain diseases. Doctors have actually cured several stubborn cases of severe diarrhea caused by a particularly difficult bacterium to treat (Clostridium difficile) by transplanting human fecal matter from a healthy person into the patients’ colons! Granted, having a fecal transplant in order to cure disease sounds a bit strange. But apparently the “good” bacteria in the fecal transplant outcompete the C. difficile and wipe them out.

Someday maybe there’ll be ointments or pills containing especially “good” bacteria for treating certain antibiotic-resistant infections such as flesh-eating Staphylococcus aureus or diarrhea-causing C. difficile. Using bacteria to kill bacteria – like using fire to fight fire.

Reference: Zimmer, C., How Microbes Defend and Define Us. New York Times, July 13, 2010.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Finding a Postdoc Position is a Difficult Journey but here are 15 Tips to Help You Along the Way.

My impression, from the anecdotes of others as well as my own experience, is that finding a postdoctoral position is a widely unknown and undiscussed process that one learns about via “trial by fire.” For example, Mitch wrote about the surprises he experienced during his interview last January.

Unlike applying for college or graduate school, there is no formal application process for obtaining a postdoc. From what I have been told it more closely resembles the job search process, but for further complication, many postdoc openings are not advertised and only become available when the right applicant inquires. In an effort to support future postdoctoral hopefuls, I am going to expand on Mitch’s prior post with insight and advice I acquired through trial and error and gleaned from the stories of others. It is a long list but hopefully some of this information will be helpful.

Get your foot in the door…
1. Begin your search one to two years before graduation. A few professors shared this insight with me after they learned I began my postdoc search only nine months before my own graduation (oops). It makes sense now when I think about it because potential advisors need time to allocate money, resources and a project for your estimated date of arrival.

2. Find four or five research groups you are interested in working with. I focused primarily on finding groups working in the flavor of research I am interested in. Other searchers may prioritize location. Another variable, more important than either, is whether the lab you are interested in will serve as a stepping stone for your long-term professional goals.

3. Write a cover letter to each professor. This letter should include a brief overview of the research you have conducted and why you are interested in their work. I recommend subtly incorporating the skills, tools, and ideas you would bring to their research. I would also mention a willingness to pursue external funding sources or to request recommendations for any fellowships they may know that you could apply for.

4. Ask your advisor to send a short email on your behalf. It is not unusual for a top research professor to get several postdoctoral applications each week. Regardless of how good your qualifications may be it can be difficult to differentiate your email from the others. If your advisor is willing, have them send a truncated recommendation email saying something like, “I have a spectacular graduate student that is interested in being a postdoc in your research group and you would be a fool to pass them up. They will be sending you their CV and cover letter shortly.” If the professors know each other it can be huge advantage in your favor and sometimes this email is all it takes to get an offer.

5. Send an email with cover letter and CV attached. Example email text: “I am a fifth year graduate student in the …. research group at the University of …. This email is to express my interest in joining your research group as a postdoc starting in Month 201x. Attached are a cover letter and curriculum vitae. Letters of recommendation are soon to follow. I am happy to provide any other information you may find helpful.”

6. Send a hard copy of the cover letter and CV. Even if your email gets ignored you can pretty much guarantee that a physical letter will at least be opened and your name will cross the professor’s mind at least one more time.

7. Wait for a reply. Hopefully you hear back from the professor with good or at least a neutral (not no) reply. In the best case scenario you get a job offer or an interview. If they do not extend an invitation for a campus visit, you can insist on paying for your own visit and offer to give a talk. This option of course depends on how badly you want the position, as well as the state of your bank account. My theory is that it would be much more difficult to say no after a person has demonstrated that they are highly interested and competent (assuming you demonstrate these qualities). If you do not hear back in several weeks you should send a follow up email asking for an update on the postdoctoral position.

You have planned a visit. Before you go…
8. Do your homework. Looking into the research group’s goals and methods should be a no-brainer. It is unlikely that you will get a pop quiz on their research. However, your general dialog with the adviser and group members will flow much better and you will leave a better impression. Nothing says “I have a scientific mind” like asking a really insightful question. If possible, think of a proposal or direction they could shift their research. They might not want to pursue your ideas but it does show that you have them.

9. Have a one hour talk prepared. Instinctively you might feel the need to include as much of your PhD work as you can cram into an hour but it is much more effective to present a small subset of your research with a coherent storyline. This talk should also be tailored in a similar manner as your cover letter as to clearly demonstrate skills/tools/ideas you can bring to their research.

During the visit…
10. Consider how to dress. This is a point where I respectfully disagree with Mitch. If you are someone that is comfortable or enjoys wearing a suit by all means look more professional. However, I am not willing to sacrifice my comfort for appearance. The more relaxed I am the better I will perform in both my presentation and one-on-one meetings. For my postdoc interviews (and defense) I wore a nice pair of jeans and a suite coat.

11. What to expect. Your visit will most likely be comprised of a lab tour, possibly a short campus tour, a meeting with the adviser/grad students/postdocs, lunch and a presentation (either to the group or the entire department). Not necessarily in that order. If there are in-house collaborators, a meeting with them can be expected but thanks to Mitch I now know that you might also be asked to meet with other professors in the department.

12. Be prepared for a long, energy consuming day. You will likely be putting in an 8-hour day of constant discussions. I have heard rumors that when veteran professors are interviewing a candidate they will set up a meeting in the morning and one at the end of the day. The reason they do this is to first catch you in the morning to see how awake and energetic you are, and then at the end of the day to see if you are the same way. It is a method of finding out who you really are. It is very difficult to keep up a facade for 8 hours. Also if you can keep up your energy that entire time you are probably going to get a lot of work done.

After your visit…
13. Send a follow-up email. A few days after the interview I sent a follow-up email thanking the professor and their group members for their time, reemphasized my interest in their research group and closed by asking for updates on the position. If I did not hear back within a month I sent a second email asking for an update.

14. Funding. Even if you have received an offer that includes full financial support it is still a good idea to apply for postdoc fellowships not only for the money but also the prestige that comes with receiving a fellowship. Most advisors are willing to help you write a proposal based on their work or an original proposal idea. Whether or not you get the fellowship you will still learn a lot about your future projects.

15. Making a decision. Believe it or not, this might be one of the more difficult parts of the process. If you only receive one offer out of several attempts it greatly simplifies your decision. However, if you get a few offers it may be more difficult. This is the time to ask some honest questions about your future advisor and group members. Will they help you find a job? Do they like the area? What is it like working their? Many of us also have to consider the two body problem. Can my significant other find a job there?

The final advice I will give is that the process is so individualized that you should consult everyone you can that has undergone their own postdoc adventure. If others have any more information to share, please do so.


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Brown rice and other whole grains can prevent type 2 diabetes

Natural health advocates have long advocated nutrient-dense whole grains over the bleached and processed kinds, like white rice and white bread. Brown rice, for example, is loaded with fiber, B vitamins, phytochemicals and other nutrients. Scientists are now documenting that it has specific disease-fighting properties, too. For example, NaturalNews recently reported on Temple University research that found a compound in brown rice which lowers blood pressure and may prevent heart attacks (http://www.dreddyclinic.com/diet/alcaline/alk_diet.php). Now Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) investigators have discovered eating two or more servings of brown rice per week slashes the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“Rice consumption in the U.S. has dramatically increased in recent decades. We believe replacing white rice and other refined grains with whole grains, including brown rice, would help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes,” Qi Sun, who headed the research while at HSPH and is now an instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in a statement to the media. Read more…

Body cleansing

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

» RegenMedToday_085_July2010.mp3 Immortality Medicine

Regenerative Medicine Today welcomes Thomas Starzl, MD, PhD.

Read more:
» RegenMedToday_085_July2010.mp3 Immortality Medicine

Recommendation and review posted by sam

More than half the world’s population gets insufficient vitamin D, says UCR biochemist

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Vitamin D surfaces as a news topic every few months. How much daily vitamin D should a person get? Is it possible to have too much of it? Is exposure to the sun, which…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Young children especially vulnerable to effects of 9/11

Two new longitudinal studies show that age played an important role in the effects of the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on New York City. Both studies appear in a special section on…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Caltech scientists measure changing lake depths on Titan

PASADENA, Calif. — On Earth, lake levels rise and fall with the seasons and with longer-term climate changes, as precipitation, evaporation, and runoff add and remove liquid. Now, for the first…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Insulin signaling key to caste development in bees

What makes a bee grow up to be a queen? Scientists have long pondered this mystery. Now, researchers in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University have fit a new piece into the puzzle of…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Heritable, Non-Genetic Behavioral Patterns

Why do abused children grow up to be abusive parents? Why do people raised in lower socio-economic environments tend to have more long-term health problems? Why is it so hard for drug addicts to kick their habit?

For possible answers, behavioral neuroscientists are turning to a hot new field called behavioral epigenetics. Behavioral epigenetics is the study of inherited changes in behavior or gene expression that are caused by factors other than changes in DNA, i.e., that are epi– (Greek: over, above) genetics.

According to epigenetics theory, environmental factors such as the degree of nurturing (or lack of it) by one’s parents early in life can alter the chemical structure of DNA (specifically, the degree of methylation of DNA and its associated histones). This in turn affects how and when certain genes are turned on and off. In theory, such chemical alterations in DNA could last for multiple generations (i.e., be heritable) even though the nucleotide sequence of the genes themselves hasn’t changed.

So far, there’s very little evidence to suggest that epigenetic mechanisms influence human behavior, mostly because human brain tissue is not readily available for research. However, laboratory studies show that rats raised by less-nurturing mothers tend to be more prone to stress as adults and to exhibit increased methylation of certain genes. It’s worth keeping an eye on this developing field to see where it leads.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Common Student Difficulties in Organic Chemistry

While cleaning out my newly assigned “war room” (the setting where I’ll strategize on how best to torture students this fall), I came across some fairly interesting documents that were buried in far corners of crowded file cabinets.  They’re nothing personal or discriminating (sorry TMZ), but I saw them as material I could use in upcoming classes.

One of the several I found, titled “Common Student Difficulties in Organic Chemistry,” caught my attention more than the others.  The document, which appears to have been assembled using a typewriter (for the unfamiliar, you can find information about typewriters here), lists problems students encounter while navigating through the dreaded “O Chem”.  In any case, at the bottom of the page, in bold, is the following message:

If you start to get into trouble in this course review this sheet.  Knowing what has gone wrong allows you to fix it.

This closing interested me from a historical perspective.  Did enough students bomb the course to warrant this document’s assembly?  Did the professor discover this or a similar list at an ACS meeting and felt it was prudent to include it in his/her course?  Did the document actually help students better understand the course material?

Although I can speculate until the cows come home, I’m throwing it out to you, the blogosphere.  Do you agree with this list?  Would you change anything on it?  I’m curious to see what the blogger generation thinks (FYI, I believe this list was developed in the 1980’s).

  1. Lack of organization
  2. Difficulty in keeping up with lecture while taking notes
  3. Failure to finish exams
  4. Inability to manipulate three-dimensional structures on paper
  5. Too little drill – lack of repetitive practice
  6. Falling behind
  7. Poor problem analysis
  8. Inability to see and mentally manipulate three-dimensional objects
  9. Insufficient energy and/or motivation for the challenges of this course


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Interferon might help asthma patients breathe easier, UT Southwestern study suggests

DALLAS — July 15, 2010 — An immune-system protein already used to treat diseases like multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and a variety of cancers might also aid asthma patients, UT…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

CWRU dental researchers discover human beta defensins-3 ignite in oral cancer growth

Detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages can save the lives of the nearly 40,500 people diagnosed annually. But early detection has been difficult.

Case Western Reserve University School of…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

New treatment for crippling diabetic Charcot foot

MAYWOOD, Ill. — The alarming increase of morbidly obese diabetics is causing more new cases of a debilitating foot deformity called Charcot foot.

Charcot foot can make walking difficult or…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Brain responses of obese individuals are more weakly linked to feelings of hunger

Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

For speediest athletes, it’s all in the center of gravity

DURHAM, N.C. — In the record books, the swiftest sprinters tend to be of West African ancestry and the faster swimmers tend to be white.

A study of the winning times by elite athletes over…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Women with gestational diabetes have increased risk of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies

(July 12, 2010) PASADENA, Calif. — There is an increased risk of recurring gestational diabetes in pregnant women who developed gestational diabetes during their first and second pregnancies,…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Pain, dry mouth may play role in sleep quality of head and neck cancer patients

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Head and neck cancer patients who reported poor sleep quality one year after diagnosis had more symptoms of chronic pain and complaints of dry mouth related to radiation…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Mouse stem cell study offers new insights into body fat distribution

New research being presented today (12 July) at the UK National Stem Cell Network Annual Science Meeting in Nottingham shows that adding fat to mouse stem cells grown in the lab affects their…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Anti-Aging Summer 2010 – Vermillion Dollar Lips

Anti-Aging

Aesthetic Trends & Technologies
Summer 2010
Anti-Aging Department

Vermillion Dollar Lips

By Robert W. Gordon, D.D.S.

Full luscious lips have always been sought after. Whether using liners to accentuate lip size or using more permanent methods of
enhancement, a prominent pout is what women want. Over the past decade, the popularity surrounding lip augmentation has
significantly grown.

Patients are not only partaking in the constant search of eternal youth, but the aspiration of sultry, sexy lips at any age. While the majority of lip and perioral augmentations up until now has been specifically focused on anti-aging, the aesthetics of lip enhancement are broadening, now appealing to individuals simply looking to improve their natural lips. The Vermillion Dollar Lips standard for lip and perioral augmentation allows doctors to accomplish the six signature lip styles designed to work with an individual’s unique set of lips, as well as their specific facial structure. READ ON – Click Here to Download Article

Dr. Gordon

About Dr. Gordon
Robert W. Gordon, D.D.S. has a passion for art and facial aesthetics. This passion shines through in his unique approach to lip and perioral augmentation: a direct result of his background in art education. Dr. Gordon lectures often, instructing oral/facial augmenters on his classification, diagnostic and reconstructive lip and perioral augmentation techniques. Dr. Gordon graduated from Marquette
University School of Dentistry in 1997 and continued his education in a residency program in periodontics, as well as additional oral/surgery training. In addition, Dr. Gordon was accepted to one of the nation’s top-ranked art schools: Savannah School of Art and Design, where he was accepted into the master’s program of Fine Arts in Painting prior to relocating to Florida. While practicing predominantly in cosmetic dentistry, he became aware of the intimate correlation of cosmetic dentistry and lip and perioral augmentation. It was this find that led him to author Vermilion Dollar Lips: a groundbreaking textbook that addresses the science and art of lip and perioral augmentation. In addition Dr. Gordon has been featured in several peer review journals. Dr. Gordon’s mission is to optimize lip and perioral aesthetics through the advancement of current techniques, dissemination of cutting-edge knowledge and the union of the vast body of practitioners participating in oral/facial augmentation. Visit Dr. Gordon’s websites at:
http://www.yourvdl.com and http://www.robertgordondds.com.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Chemists Purposely Withholding Information

I once saw an undergraduate setting up a reflux in my lab, and I could tell immediately it wasn’t going to work. The undergraduate didn’t take enough precautions to ensure that the liquid wouldn’t leak out from the joint connecting the round bottom flask and the condenser. I debated whether I should say anything, but decided that the reagents weren’t expensive enough to warrant my involvement. I also knew that once he made this mistake he would never make it again. The next morning when he came into lab his reagents were a black char at the bottom of his flask. Apparently, chemists not freely sharing all their techniques has historical precedences as professor Martyn Poliakoff explains below.

Mitch


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Mathematical formula predicts clear favourite for the FIFA World Cup

A sophisticated new analysis of team tactics predicts a Spanish win in Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final and also shows why England were beaten by Germany.

Mathematicians and football supporters…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Of mice and men: The ecological disasters–Deepwater Horizon and the Dust Bowl

The best laid schemes of mice and men

Go often askew

And leave us nothing but grief and pain,

For promised joy

From the Scots poem by Robert Burns, 1785

To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Biofuels sustainability: JRC designs methodology to calculate carbon stock changes

A key tool is the JRC’s methodology to quantify changes to the amount of carbon in soils and biomass when land use changes as a result of biofuels production. This is an important factor in the…

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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