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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

Study Reveals Details of SARS-CoV-2 Spread Across Brazil

A genomic analysis in Nature Microbiology explores how SARS-CoV-2 spread into, across, and from Brazil.

New Study Highlights Utility of Mutation Testing in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Genetic mutations in BRAF and RAS are associated with patient outcomes in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, a new JCO Precision Oncology study reports.

Study Points to Increased Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots in COVID-19 Patients

An analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that even mild COVID-19 increases risk of venous thromboembolism.

Y Chromosome Study Reveals Details on Timing of Human Settlement in Americas

A Y chromosome-based analysis suggests South America may have first been settled more than 18,000 years ago, according to a new PLOS One study.