IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences Newsletter

I've just got my email notification that the quarterly IBM Life Sciences Newsletter is out. Here's the new articles produced for this newsletter. Some of them require that you register (free) with IBM first before viewing...

Information You Can Use

o New report forecasts seven key technologies that will revolutionize pharmaceutical industry by 2010

o Complimentary Seminars on Clinical Genomics

o Web Lecture: "Corporate Information Asset Management"

Customers and Business Partners in the News

o IBM and Affymetrix team to deliver tools to accelerate information-based medicine

o Axeda and IBM: Keeping the life sciences enterprise up and running with a total service solution for device relationship management

o Matrix Science and IBM deliver affordable turnkey package for high-throughput protein identification

IBM Life Sciences in the News

o IBM Announces University Grid Computing Projects

o IBM Launches New Software for Healthcare and Life Sciences

Monster Resume Writing Service

I'd like to recommend the Monster resume writing service. Recently I decided it was time to update my resume, especially since my entire career history before Macromedia was in Biology, and I had nothing to reflect the professional computer skills and web-related technologies I've learned in the last 4 to 5 years. I've come a long way since my first BASIC program in 1981 or my first HTML page in 1994.

The service requires that you first complete one of 4 resume wizards, depending on which type is appropriate for your industry or career level. That wizard entails a very lengthy and highly detailed battery of questions requiring not only details and facts but short answers or essays. These questions address your professional career, educational background, certification levels, and has a variety of customizations. I spent 6 hours on a Saturday afternoon completing a wizard because I put a lot of thought into how I responded to questions such as:


Cameron Childress Kicks Off A New Blog

I know Cameron Childress as a frequent contributor to the ColdFusion mailing lists, and his posts are usually well informed and educational. Cameron has recently initiated a technology focused blog here. I look forward to watching it regularly. Welcome! ... now where did put that blog aggregator? ...

Continuing Education at M.I.T. Professional Institute

Did you know MIT is offering continuing eduction courses this summer? The MIT Professional Institute offers the categories of Bioinformatics, Computer Engineering, Physics/Astronomy, and System Design amoung others. The courses each run a few days to a week, and generally cost about $2-3000.

MIT Professional Institute Summer Session

Neliano Lab

Click for Large Image Brandeis Castle Cape Cod Rail Trail

Photos of the Nelson and Turrigino Labs (Neliano) at Brandeis University, where I worked from 1998-2000.

Hurray For The Proposed Harvard Stem Cell Research Center

It's not every day that I find an article about someone I know as the front page story of the Boston Globe. I was very pleased this past Sunday to read about Harvard University's initiative to launch a center for the study of human embryonic stem cells, and as a follow-on to the main article about fund-raising for the proposed center there was an article about Dr. Ole Isacson of Mclean Hospital in Belmont, MA. Harvard's new center will be comprised of an amalgamation of various existing laboratories throughout the greater Boston area, including Mclean Hospital. Since the federal government currently limits funding of stem cell research to existing (aged) cell lines while prohibiting funding for research conducted from newly generated cell lines, Harvard is skirting the ban by funding its center through privately raised money.

Dr. Isacson, a professor of neuroscience and a director for the center of regeneration at Mclean, focuses on the transplanation of fetal brain tissue into the degenerated area of the brain for those afflicted by Parkinson's disease [listen]. The brains of Parkinson's patients exhibit a degeneration of the Basal Ganglia (striata or corpus striatum), a dopaminergic center of the brain involved in (extra pyramidal) regulation of fine movement (or motor control). Some degree of this type of degeneration occurs "normally" in the aging process and can be noticed by the slight shaking of the hand of an elderly person for example, but this condition is exacerbated in Parkinson's patients to the point of spasms and the complete inability to walk or sit still. A type of cell therapy to treat Parkinsons harvests young cells from that part of fetal mamalian brain that would normally develop into the Basal Ganglia (corpus striatum), and transplant it into the equivalent area of the host brain in the patient. The transplanted cells would recognize the cellular signals given off by neighboring areas of the brain, which would cue the cells to develop normally and replace those that have died in that brain area. Those cells have been shown to take hold in the patient's brain, develop properly, and begin producing dopamine, hopefully in the desired levels to restore the neural networks that govern fine control of movement. The result is the amelioriation of Parkinson's symptoms indefinitely. Some day this type of therapy may be replaced by the use of neural tissues grown from embryonic stem cells instead.


BNUG Linux BootCamp

The Boston Network Users Group will be presenting a 1 day "bootcamp" introduction to Linux on Saturday, March 20 from 8:30 to 4:30, at Mount Ida College in Newton, MA.† I'm always looking to pick up useful bits of Linux information, tips, and tricks whenever I can, so I'll be there.†


  • Introduction to Linux including considerations in selecting a distribution.

  • Basic Linux Commands, common directories and file structures.

  • Advanced Applications including networking and desktop applications.

  • System Administration: user accounts, privileges, and security considerations.

The cost is $100 in advance or $115 at the door.† Seating is limited, so for more information and to register see the BNUG website.

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:

Cringely and Edwards: On Why Outsourcing is Bad for Our Economy

I'm a frequent reader of Robert Cringely's weekly tech column on I value them for the educational value as much as the humor and sarcasm. His latest article was very informative, and I learned quite a bit more about what I thought I knew about outsourcing.† Bob is predicting that this will be one of the important issues in this year's Presidential election.† This week's article is:

Thick as a (Campaign) Plank
U.S. Leaders Either Don't Understand or Prefer Not to Understand the IT Outsourcing Crisis, So Here's the Cliff Notes Version (Full Article)

In a recent Boston Globe special section, the Primary Source,†on the current cohort of Democratic Presedential Candidates, I discovered that this is already†one of John Edwards platforms, in that he would end tax breaks†for companies that move jobs overseas.† Go John!† (I'm actually a big fan of a Kerry/Edwards ticket as the Democratic nominee and future President and Vice President).†

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