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HUPO Education Initiative in the Works: Universal Online Lectures, Courses Planned

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The Human Proteome Organization is fleshing out its education initiative into a two-part program that involves both universal PowerPoint lectures on common topics in proteomics, and proteomics lab courses given around the world, said Peter James of Sweden’s Lund University, who is spearheading the initiative.

The main goal is to develop a universally adaptable proteomics curriculum.

“If you have to develop something, you have to do it in a format that everyone can access,” he said. “How do you make something that can score points on [degree programs] in the States and that will be valid in a PhD program in Japan?” And, he asked, “How do you keep the whole thing up to date, because proteomics is very much a moving target?”

The working group on the education initiative has answered these difficult questions by defining ten topics in proteomics and related areas, each of which is subdivided into theory and applications, James said. On each topic, a group of editors will develop a PowerPoint presentation that is “mostly pictorial, with accompanying texts.” The idea is that each country’s proteomics organization can download the presentation and translate the text into its own language.

These presentations, which are to represent about 100 hours of lecture-equivalent classroom time, will be posted on HUPO’s website as well as selected journal websites.

Additionally, as a “carrot” to the researchers who are putting these presentations together, the text will be published in a major protein science or proteomics journal as a review article in the particular area. Journal illustrators will be enlisted to provide the illustrations for both the review article and the PowerPoint presentation.

On the laboratory instruction side, HUPO plans to take advantage of existing courses of instruction around the world, and universalize them. For example, Angelika Görg at the University of Munich runs a 2D gel course “that’s kind of a prototype” for this kind of instruction. The HUPO education initiative — in which Görg is involved— wants to “take that and de-Europeanize it-”world-ize it and adopt a standard protocol,” James said. Participants could then propagate a universal standard for 2D-gel analysis.

But on the more practical side, HUPO is aware that somebody has to pay for this course time and lab time, and the participants are exploring industry sponsorships in course areas where their instruments are used. Most participants would be expected to pay for their travel to the course, with some possible sponsorships from big pharma for participants from “less solid markets” such as Taiwan or Mexico, James said.

HUPO still has to firm up particulars, and announce the names of the journals that it is collaborating with in the publication of proteomics foundation articles. But these articles, which could number as many as 100, will begin trickling out soon, James said.

— MMJ

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