EurekAlert: Machine learning takes on synthetic biology: algorithms can bioengineer cells for you. “…scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new tool that adapts machine learning algorithms to the needs of synthetic biology to guide development systematically. The innovation means scientists will not have to spend years developing a meticulous understanding of each part of a cell and what it does in order to manipulate it; instead, with a limited set of training data, the algorithms are able to predict how changes in a cell’s DNA or biochemistry will affect its behavior, then make recommendations for the next engineering cycle along with probabilistic predictions for attaining the desired goal.”
EurekAlert: Human Brain Project launches ‘Brain Matters’ webinar series. “The hour-long sessions will focus on different areas of brain research and feature expert speakers, with the goal of highlighting the HBP’s scientific achievements and the state-of-the-art services offered by its new infrastructure for brain research, EBRAINS.” The webinars are free and open to the public.
Taipei Times: Taiwan’s wildlife database the second-largest in Asia . “A database on biodiversity in Taiwan has compiled records of almost 10 million wildlife sightings, making it the second-largest wildlife index in Asia, with the vast majority of data coming from volunteers, the Council of Agriculture’s Endemic Species Research Institute said. The Taiwan Biodiversity Network, which was launched in 2007, has recorded 9.87 million animal and plant sightings, Ko Chih-jen (柯智仁), an assistant researcher at the institute, said… adding that India maintains Asia’s largest database with up to 19 million recorded sightings.”
Universiteit Leiden: New database brings structure to global fungal diversity. “An organized overview of the current global fungal diversity, that is what Irene Martorelli and colleagues try to achieve with the new MycoDiversity Database (MDDB) she builds in collaboration with Naturalis Biodiversity Center. The new database will make it easier and quicker to observe which fungi are known and how they are distributed over the globe. This may lead to discovery of new fungal species.”
PLOS Blogs: Introducing the Biodiversity Conservation Collection. “It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of our Biodiversity Conservation Collection. This Collection showcases research on a broad range of conservation science related topics, including anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity, such as habitat degradation, the spread of invasive species and global warming; conservation of key ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and pest regulation; and new management strategies to prevent further biodiversity loss.”
University of Virginia: UVA Creates Important New Tool For Developing Covid-19 Treatments, Vaccines. “Wladek Minor of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and other top structural biologists have led an international team of scientists in investigating the protein structures contained in the virus – structures that are vital to developing treatments and vaccines. The team has created a web resource that provides scientists an easy way to see the progress of the structural biology community in this area. It also includes the team’s assessment of the quality of the individual models and enhanced versions of these structures, when possible.”
Yale News: Yale, Field Museum map species diversity in South American national parks. “Park rangers, naturalists, tourists, educators, and land managers can now take a virtual tour of species diversity across three South American countries thanks to a new information dashboard created by researchers at Yale University and the Field Museum in Chicago. The Biodiversity Dashboard lists almost 5,500 species found in and around national parks in three of the world’s most biodiverse countries: Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.”
PLOS Blogs: Introducing the Life in Extreme Environments Collection. “We are delighted to introduce a Collection entitled Life in Extreme Environments, consisting of papers published in PLOS Biology and PLOS ONE. This interdisciplinary Collection helps us better understand the diversity of life on Earth in addition to the biological processes, geochemistry, and nutrient cycling taking place in many of the Earth’s most inhospitable environments, while also enabling us to make inferences about the potential for life beyond Earth.”
Wolfram Blog: 15 Ways Wolfram|Alpha Can Help with Your Classes. “Thinking back on those late-night study sessions, I would have saved a lot of time if I had properly used Wolfram|Alpha as a study tool. Because I was a biology major, many of the areas in which I most frequently sought information were related to scientific fields such as chemistry, but Wolfram|Alpha can be a valuable resource in so many more areas. Here are 15 applications of Wolfram|Alpha in topics beyond mathematics. I hope you will find these to be useful both inside and outside the classroom!”
Wired: Pop Culture May Evolve at the Same Rate as Birds and Bugs. “We like to think modern culture moves at a dizzying pace, fueled by a relentless parade of new works of music, literature, and technological design. Change in nature, by contrast, seems to follow a slower trajectory as genetic mutations over generations give animals bigger teeth, say, or a better camouflage. But maybe the opposite is true, and human culture doesn’t move so fast and we consumers are less eager to embrace change than we realize.”
BusinessWire: Kramer Levin Launches Biologics Law Blog (PRESS RELEASE). “Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP today launched the Bio Law Blog, which provides insights into intellectual property law and regulatory developments for biologic medicines. The blog is edited by Kramer Levin partners Irena Royzman, Ph.D., Jonathan S. Caplan and Hannah Lee.” I wasn’t sure what “biologic medicine” was, but MedicineNet helped me out.
Phys .org: Finally, machine learning interprets gene regulation clearly. “In this age of “big data,” artificial intelligence (AI) has become a valuable ally for scientists. Machine learning algorithms, for instance, are helping biologists make sense of the dizzying number of molecular signals that control how genes function. But as new algorithms are developed to analyze even more data, they also become more complex and more difficult to interpret. Quantitative biologists Justin B. Kinney and Ammar Tareen have a strategy to design advanced machine learning algorithms that are easier for biologists to understand.”
UCLA Newsroom: Researchers convert 2D images into 3D using deep learning. “A UCLA research team has devised a technique that extends the capabilities of fluorescence microscopy, which allows scientists to precisely label parts of living cells and tissue with dyes that glow under special lighting. The researchers use artificial intelligence to turn two-dimensional images into stacks of virtual three-dimensional slices showing activity inside organisms.”
Spectrum: Decades-old collection of monkey brain tissue goes virtual. “The material comes from Pasko Rakic and the late Patricia Goldman-Rakic, who began studying brain development in macaques more than 50 years ago. Their original collection contains roughly 300 brains. About 10,000 slides from 185 of these sectioned specimens have been digitized so far, says Alvaro Duque, a research scientist in neuroscience at Yale University.”
Tech Xplore: Telescope: a tool to manage bioinformatics analyses on mobile devices. “A team of researchers at UCLA, the University of São Paulo, the Federal University of São Carlos and the University of Southern California has recently developed an interactive tool for managing large-scale bioinformatic analyses in real-time and from portable devices. This new tool, called Telescope, was first presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv.”