Molecular Biology and IT Classes at Harvard Extension School

The Harvard Extension School offers a great selection of courses in both Biology and Computer Science, making a great combination of classes to help ramp up on Bioinformatics. Having been working in IT for 4+ years now, I've been growing rusty on my Biology skills and knowledge, and in an effort to refresh myself and make some gains towards my interest in Bioinformatics I've decided to take a couple courses this semester.


Starting tomorrow, I'll be taking Principles of Genetics and Biochemistry II, on Monday evenings. In addition, I'll be adding to my programming skills with XML with J2EE on Thursday nights.


Thinking ahead a bit, this sequence might be well followed by the Genomics and Computational Biology and Introduction to Proteomics in for the Fall semester, and then Web Services in the Spring of 2005.


On a related note, the Bio-IT World Expo will be held in Boston again, March 30 - April 1, at the Hynes Convention Center. Although I have attended some of the past I3C meetings, I feel that I'm still a bit premature to get much out of this year's conference. I think I'll be better prepared to attend the expo in 2005.


Ten years ago I completed Neurobiology, Signal Transduction, and Molecular Biology at the Harvard Extension School, and more recently a Java course. I feel that enables me to make a fair comparison. I elieve that the quality of courses at Harvard, with regard to both the faculty and facilities, is superior to any of the other local universities also catering to the continuing education crowd. I especially enjoyed the MolBio class by David Dressler at Harvard. Dr. Dressler was especially articulate, comfortable, and knowledgeable in front of the class, although I don't see any courses benefiting from his instruction in recent semesters.


At Brandeis, I took an Intro to XML course, an Advanced Java course, and a Cell Biology course, and only the XML course met my expectations for faculty, and all of them fell way short in my expectations for quality of facilities. All of the CS courses at Brandeis@Night are held in a single deteriorating building with poor HVAC, kindergarten-like wooden chairs, and sardine-like seating arrangements. My advice is to avoid Brandeis if at all possible.

Novell Moves Headquarters to Waltham, MA

I'm excited to see that Novell is moving their corporate headquarters to Waltham, MA, just a couple miles up the road from our Macromedia office in Newton, MA.† Hopefully this will drive up the local interest in Linux, now that Novell has acquired Suse, and perhaps bring a new pool of speakers to the Boston Linux and Unix group (BLU).† Novell acquired Ximian a while back, and their offices are in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.† Ximian is a popular suite of Linux tools for the desktop.† It would be great if Novell offered Linux training and certification in the Waltham office, and with Red Hat not too far away in Westford, MA I'd like to see competition between the two†bringing down the cost of training classes.† I'm still itching for a RHCE, but a Suse cert would fit right in too!


News on the move to Waltham:


http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Jan/01292004/business/133502.asp
http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2004/01/30/novell_moves_headquarters_to_waltham/