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Doug Macron is the editor of GenomeWeb's Gene Silencing News. He covers research and therapeutic applications of RNAi, miRNA, and other gene-silencing technologies. E-mail Doug Macron or follow his GenomeWeb Twitter account at @Genesilencing.
Winning Westerns: Tips and Techniques for Improved Western Blotting Workflows
Western blotting is a powerful and sensitive technique used to detect low amounts of proteins in complex samples, or to monitor protein expression and purification by protein blotting and immunodetection. Difficulties with this technique arise from poor protein transfer and antibody performance, both complicated and critical parts to the procedure, but completely optimizable with some key knowledge on membrane and antibody mechanics. Please view this online seminar, recorded Nov. 5, to gain more technical insight on the science and optimization of Western blotting.
The first speaker, Dr. Tim Nadler, is a Western blot veteran. Running hundreds of Western blots per year and assisting with customer technical issues, his group has amassed a wealth of information on this technique. In his presentation, he shares some tips and techniques that may enhance your current capabilities to run "Winning Westerns."
Following his talk, Dr. Natalie Tronson discusses how the use of optimal detection reagents and systems has enabled her to speed up her Western blotting workflow.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The Mystery of Sleep
Susan Harbison started out as an aerospace engineer, determining the service life of aircraft parts. But, her interest in genetics was piqued after she got Basenjis, a type of dog, that she entered into dog shows.
Harbison began looking into different labs and became interested in Trudy Mackay's lab at North Carolina State University because it focused on how genetic variation and the environment influence complex traits in flies, one of those traits being sleep.
Now at NHLBI, Harbison is following up on a genome-wide association study she performed on a natural population of flies. From that GWAS, she came up with a number of polymorphisms associated with sleep. To determine whether any of these SNPs might be causal, she is conducting artificial selection studies in flies of long and short sleep.
National Center for Biotechnology Information representatives report on a publicly available resource for scrutinizing ties between a given variant in the human genome and potential phenotypic effects. That database — ClinVar — is linked to other variant and phenotypic databases, the team says, and includes information on variants deemed medically important from past studies, their apparent effects, data behind the proposed relationships, and so on. "Building from the foundation of the variants submitted with minimal phenotypic descriptions to dbSNP and dbVar, ClinVar now accepts directs submission with rich, structured details of phenotype, interpretation of functional and clinical significance, methodology used to capture variant calls and supporting evidence," study authors say.
Researchers from the US and China describe recombination patterns detected in the dog genome using genome sequence data for 51 village dogs. Past studies have indicated that pooches lack a functional copy of the PRDM9 gene, which codes for a trimethylase enzyme that seems to situate recombination hotspots in other mammalian genomes, the study's author note. Their genetic maps suggest that broad recombination patterns in the dog genome are similar to those in other mammals, even without that PRDM9-mediated hotspot localization. But a closer look at the data also revealed a tendency for dog recombination to occur in and around regions rich in cytosine and guanine nucleotides, particularly in parts of the genome containing gene promoters.
People on the Move
Waters' John Ornell plans to resign from his post as chief financial officer, effective Feb. 1, 2014, after which he will continue to serve the company as an advisor on a part-time basis. Eugene Cassis, who currently is corporate VP of worldwide business development and investor relations, will step into the CFO role on an interim basis when Ornell leaves the position. Cassis has been with the company for 33 years and has an extensive background in the firm's financial, operational, and technical activities.
RainDance Technologies has appointed Alfred Merriweather as CFO. He most recently served as CFO of Verinata Health prior to its acquisition by Illumina.
Previously, Merriweather served as CFO and in senior executive positions with several life science and clinical diagnostics companies, including Celera and Monogram Biosciences.
NuVasive, a medical device company that develops spinal surgical products and procedures, has appointed Greg Lucier to its board of directors.
Lucier is the chairman and CEO of Life Technologies, which is in the process of being acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific. He has also held senior management positions at General Electric.
PerkinElmer has appointed Jon DiVincezo to be president of its Environmental Health business and senior VP of the PerkinElmer. Maurice Tenney, who has led the Environmental Health business for four years, will start in a new position at PerkinElmer overseeing global operations and customer logistics. DiVincenzo will assume the new post on Dec. 2, and will report to Chairman and CEO Robert Friel. Prior to joining PerkinElmer, DiVincenzo served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Enzymatics, and before that he worked at Millipore for 18 years where he last served as president of the Bioscience division.
A Washington University-led team has used a family-based approach to track down low-frequency Alzheimer's risk variants, sequencing the exomes of individuals from more than a dozen families impacted by late-onset Alzheimer's disease. The search led to a rare variant in a phospholipase D3 gene called PLD3 that was subsequently shown to double Alzheimer's risk. Authors of the study found 14 PLD3 variants that were more common in those with Alzheimer's disease than those without.
Life Technologies has become a partner in two research projects, the Saudi Human Genome Program and the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project. The goal of the Saudi Human Genome Project is to sequence 100,000 genomes from individuals from the region and study the genetic basis of disease in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. For the iBOL project, Life Tech will use its capillary electrophoresis sequencers to generate species-specific genetic barcodes and deposit them in a reference library.
Advocates for federal spending on biomedical research have launched a series of researcher 'profiles' that aim to tell the story of how both the slow erosion of federal appropriations for NIH, and the roughly five percent slice to its budget under sequestration have impacted labs around the country. According to United for Medical Research, 25 percent has been eroded out of NIH appropriations over the past decade due to inflation, and $1.6 billion was hacked from its annual spending this year.
GenomeWeb and Asuragen invite you to view a webinar discussing the use of next-generation sequencing to illuminate druggable targets in oncology while addressing the limitations in DNA quality and yield from formalin-fixed specimens.
Register here to view the playback or download the recording.