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This netcast explores the rapidly changing world of biotech, with a penchant towards getting a better understanding of who we are and where we are going. The living world will soon be a true substrate for engineering. Our world will change, and so will we. 
We bring a first hand account from the scientists that are moving us into this new technological era: the era of biotech. 

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    « FiB Episode 004 - Tackling Genomes with Dr. Marc Vidal (Part II) | Main | Some Basics »

    FiB Episode 003 - Tackling Genomes with Dr. Marc Vidal (Part I)

    Part I - The Nuts and Bolts of Systems Biology

    WARNING: The following episode is highly technical and classified as EXTREME BIOTECH, please proceed with caution.

    We spoke with Dr. Vidal, and I have to say that he is doing some really cool geno/proteo/interact- omics-- endeavoring to transform molecular biology into true systems biology. While most of us are using a reductionist approach to molecular biology, one gene/protein function at a time, Dr. Vidal tackles entire genomes single-handedly (well almost). His eclectic methodologies are changing the way geneticists think about everything from comparative and developmental biology to the genetics of disease.

    At the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Dr. Vidal and his team clone entire genomes and then engineer a model organism to express the genes in pairs. In doing so, they identify interactions among their encoded proteins. The result is a comprehensive protein interaction map - a bio-molecular "google earth" of sorts, by which scientists can visualize entire networks of proteins and assign function through association. Dr. Vidal begun this work on the nematode worm, and has now included the human cell to his cartographic expedition. Surprisingly, the human and worm genomes are not that dissimilar, each having approximately the same number of genes.

    Now with the human genome completed, Dr. Vidal has begun making the human protein interaction map. In his first round, he has discovered 300 novel protein-protein interactions with 100 disease-related proteins. Some of these newly found interactions have the potential to be pharmacological targets. 

    While we mostly covered the nuts and bolts of the technologies he uses, next week in Dr. Vidal part II, we will focus on the concept of networks in systems biology, that is, how one can examine complex networks of genes/proteins rather than looking at genetics on a one gene, one function basis. 

    You can find out more about Dr. Vidal's work at the Vidal Lab 

    Thank you to Abigail Bird for her assistance in setting up the interview and for wiring up the podcast at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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      Biotech - FiB Blog - FiB Episode 003 - Tackling Genomes with Dr. Marc Vidal (Part I)
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    Reader Comments (6)

    Cool! Dr. Vidal was great!

    August 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

    This is my favourite podcast so far. I like how Dr Marc Vidal interchanged between the science of his topic, for those in the field who can understand the technical terms, and an analaogy, like the plane or the network for the rest of us who are interested amateurs.

    I hope that you can encourage this with future guests, I got a little lost in the first two podcasts and was nearly about to give up.

    Leo, at one stage during the podcast you mentioned you were pretty much keeping up, and it's a fair chance that most of your listeners are on a similar wavelength to you, especially if they discovered this podcast like I did, from mention in your other shows.

    Overall though I think both Marc and Leo are doing an excellent job, and I'm glad that someone has ventured into this field. Just try to broaden the horizons a little for those of us with lower IQs :)

    August 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlady_lizard

    Thank you for doing this podcast!

    I'm a self-employed computer programmer but I'm originally trained in biochemistry at the University in Copenhagen. I find it very interesting and enlightening to rediscover my roots with the topics discussed in the podcast. While you do a good job at explaining the subjects discussed I certainly think knowing some of the terms in advance helps... :-)

    Keep up the excellent work!

    August 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMikkel Heisterberg

    Thank you for doing this podcast!

    I'm a self-employed computer programmer but I'm originally trained in biochemistry at the University in Copenhagen. I find it very interesting and enlightening to rediscover my roots with the topics discussed in the podcast. While you do a good job at explaining the subjects discussed I certainly think knowing some of the terms in advance helps... :-)

    Keep up the excellent work!

    August 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMikkel Heisterberg

    This is really awesome stuff. Can you possibly include some references to the processes that are used as well?
    thanks
    Chandru

    August 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

    I enjoyed the podcast and have recommended it to my friends.

    October 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjeffrhodes

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