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A World Beyond Images


There’s something beautiful about images generated from live cells, organisms, or even screening assays. But don’t get too attached to them — if the experts we interviewed are right, bioimaging is moving forward with such speed that one day scientists will never actually see the images produced in these high-throughput experiments.

Did I say high-throughput? While you may think of bioimaging as scientists taking single snapshots of the view through their microscopes, the field is actually developing into the scale we’re used to seeing in genomics, proteomics, or any of the other systems biology disciplines. The technology is used in whole-genome screens, for example, spewing out billions of images at a go that are then assessed and analyzed automatically by computer algorithms. For more on the advancement of the technology and how leading scientists are using the tool together with their other large-scale biology work, check out our cover story.

Beyond bioimaging, we’ve got a number of great articles to keep you away from your work. In reporting a feature story on SNP genotyping, GT’s Jeanene Swanson found that the field will be shaped less in the coming years by additional content on chips and more by improved analysis tools. Vendors also told her that they’ll focus on tweaking systems to make their platforms more user-friendly. Scientifically speaking, the major advance in this field has been the recent addition of copy number variation data, which is proving especially powerful in combination with information about SNPs.

We’ve also got a special edition of our high-performance computing column for you. Reporter Matt Dublin discovered that not only is the idea of energy-efficient computing finally taking hold, but also that this month’s Supercomputing Conference in Reno, Nev., will feature a number of “green” initiatives. Don’t miss the article, and if you’re attending the conference yourself, track down Matt to get even more nitty-gritty info that we simply couldn’t squeeze into this issue. Green computing so captured GT’s imagination that we used it as the basis for our humor page. In this month’s Blunt End, we took existing energy-saving technologies and suggested alternative uses of them to help power that hungry cluster you’re running.

For the final installment of our regional focus series, Ciara Curtin checked in on Wisconsin, where Madison in particular has made its name as a home for biotech, with Third Wave Technologies and NimbleGen among the companies that have their headquarters there. In her regional spotlight feature story, Ciara reports on what it’s like to live and work in the state, including helpful statistics such as salary data and federal funding awarded. To round out the focus, our Pattern Recognition and Under One Roof continue the Wisconsin theme. The institute profile examines Lloyd Smith’s Genome Center of Wisconsin, based at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where the school has come up with new hiring tactics to help promote genomics and proteomics. And for the funding page, Jeanene delved into the NIH database to compile this list of grants awarded to researchers in the state.

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.