biotechnology

The biotechnology (biotech) industry is incredibly diverse. Recently, I wrote about the size of the biotech industry, which is, of course, related to how biotechnology is defined. As a strict definition, biotechnology is the use of biology to turn raw materials into useful products. However, the act of developing a biotech product requires many enabling technologies, reagents, and services that form today's modern industry. ... Read more
A simple web search says biotech is really big. One estimate indicates that the industry will have $400 billion in sales in 2017 with growth to over $775 billion by 2024 [1]. Another report suggests there are over 77,000 employers [2]. That’s big, but is it real, and what you can do with this information?
Worldwide locations of biotechnology employers.   ... Read more
We've been fans of the Molecule of the Month series by David Goodsell, for many years. Not only is Dr. Goodsell a talented artist but he writes very clear descriptions of the ways molecules like proteins, RNA, and DNA work together and function inside a cell. To learn about proteins and their activities, I like to go directly to the Molecule of the Month page, where I can find a list of articles organized by molecule type and name.  Many of these articles can also be downloaded in a PDF format. A really nice of his articles is that he includes PDB IDs ... Read more
In my last post, I wrote about insulin and interesting features of the insulin structure.  Some of the things I learned were really surprising.  For example, I was surprised to learn how similar pig and human insulin are.  I hadn't considered this before, but this made me wonder about the human insulin we used to give to one of our cats.  How do cat and human insulin compare? It turns out, that all ... Read more
In 1925, dogsledders raced through the frozen Alaskan bush to bring antiserum to the isolated village of Nome.  The antiserum arrived in time, saved the lives of many villagers from the horrors of diphtheria, and inspired the Iditarod, a famous race in celebration of the dog sledders' heroic feat. West Africa could use a similar effort today.  Richard Harris's blog at NPR has a good story about doctors' efforts to develop and use antiserum to treat Ebola.  According ... Read more
Living in Seattle fosters a certain pessimism when it comes to large companies.  Boeing has always been a poster child for employment uncertainty, regularly hiring large numbers of people and just as regularly, laying them off.  Now, we have Microsoft and Amgen joining the club, with Microsoft layoffs impacting an estimate 1350 people in the area, and Amgen, planning to shed 660 jobs when it closes facilities in Seattle and Bothell.  Sometimes as a biotech educator, it’s hard to reconcile the prospects of knowing we're training students for well-paying, interesting biotech jobs, with the ... Read more
Why should students blog about science?  Don't they have enough to do already? Last Thursday night I participated in a panel discussion about science blogging (see the video) at ScienceOnline Seattle (#scioSEA)(video) and mentioned that we have two students blogging for us at Bio-Link.  A question I saw afterward via Twitter, from @NurhafizPiers was this:
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The Backstory:  As it stands today,when one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides the funding for a scientific research project, and those results are published, they must be made freely available to public, within a set period of time.  The reasoning behind this requirement is that taxpayers funded everything about the research except for the final publication, and so they have already paid for access. The Research Works Act (#RWA), HR 3699, is a bill in the House of Representatives that would roll back this requirement ... Read more
Like everything else, if we want to know what's going on, we have to ask. So, it's time once again for the 2011-2012 National Biotechnology/Life Sciences Program Survey. Yes, indeed. Federal and state agencies will use the results to determine how best to support programs like yours. This study will also help prospective students and industry employers find your program. Survey results will be available to you to help with program planning, grant activities, and more. We only want one person from each biotechnology / biomanufacturing / bioscience program to complete the survey. If you ... Read more
What roles should community colleges play in training the bioeconomy workforce of the future? Send your answers to bioeconomy@ostp.gov by Dec. 6th. One night towards the end of October, we happened to meet with someone who could tell us more. We asked him about a request for information (RFI) soliciting input on the bioeconomy, that some of us saw posted on the Federal Register web site. "What could ... Read more

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