On the bear trail, when push comes to shove – students are expendable

By Grant Jacobs 07/02/2012 1

For a little mid-week light relief I’m giving you this humourous peek at counting bears in Canada that comes with a ‘cute alert’. The title comes from a line early in the video. It’s not that science-y, but it’s light relief – right?

I’m a computational biologist, stuck behind a desk. As a kid I saw myself becoming an outdoorsy zoologist spurred on by books of animal collectors and zoologists in remote locations. I can’t remember bears figuring in my daydreams.* I also can’t imagine many field trips haul a computational biologist around! What did you dream of doing as a kid and do now?

I’ve a bunch of things in the works, but am holed up reading research papers. I’ll get there. In the meantime if anyone cares (yeah, right…) my reading covers:

  • The three-dimensional structural organisation of genomes. I’ve recently written a book chapter on this. Maybe one day I’ll write something about this for the blog. There’s some interesting developments going on in this area.
  • CTCF, CCCTC-binding factor. CTCF is one of the ‘architects’ of the three-dimensional structure of genomes in (so-called) higher eukaryotes. I’ve mentioned (part of) it’s role in an earlier post – bear** in mind this post is now a little dated.
  • Prdm9, PR domain zinc finger protein 9. Prdm9 has some remarkable roles that I have meant to write about for too long.
  • A wide range of computational biology algorithm and method papers.
  • Probably some other cool stuff I run into. I always give a little leeway so that I can pick up new threads.

Yes, gene/protein names are very geeky. A connection between those two proteins (for me) is an interest I have in CCHH zinc finger proteins (and more generally DNA-binding proteins and gene regulation) going back to my Ph.D. student days. That’s the biological side; the computational side of me likes the nitty-gritty of new algorithms.

I’ll be getting back to my reading… but feel free to share what did you dreamt of doing as a kid and do now in the comments.

Hat tip to Sandra Porter (@digitalbio) for video.


* I was more of a small animal kid. I think.

** Um, no hidden meanings intended.

One Response to “On the bear trail, when push comes to shove – students are expendable”

  • Sorry about mucking up the video URL – fixed now. I’ve gotten so used to inserting YouTube video ‘just working’ I didn’t preview the page. That’ll teach me :-/

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