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Showing posts from February, 2020

Talking Biotech #227 - Anti CRISPRs

The arms race between bacteria and the viruses that infect them brought the Cas9 and similar editing systems.  These enzymes are essentially a bacterial immune system, and now are being exploited as important tools in genetic engineering.  To counter the bacteria response viruses produce inhibitors of the Cas enzymes. Dr. Joseph Bondy-Denomy is a professor at the University of California San Francisco that studies these inhibitors.  He discusses their discovery and potential applications. 

Listen to Talking Biotech Podcast #227 here. 

The Inspiration of Being Un-Nominated

Awards and recognition are nice, not to litter the walls and mantle, but because they show that you have had impact and influence with a given group of respectables. It is a little pat on the back that your efforts are appreciated and meaningful. When your efforts sometimes came at personal and professional cost, that can mean a lot. 


Not so fast, someone online says you have skeletons in your closet, and that could make things uncomfortable!

I'm not going to provide details.  However, I recently found out that I was to be nominated for a rather prestigious recognition.  That's great, and I was honored that people I deeply respect felt that I was worthy of the opportunity.  That's a win right there. 

Today I found out that they are not going to continue with the nomination. Turns out that a discussion of the politics and optics suggest this maybe best be done sometime in the future.  Of course, it is no reflection on the body of work or impacts. It's just politics and opt…

Talking Biotech Podcast # 226 - The Global Gene Editing Tracker; Remembering Dr. Chad Finn

In the first part of today’s podcast Dr. Kayleen Schreiber and Jon Entine discuss the latest addition to the Genetic Literacy Project, a website called the Global Gene Editing Regulation Tracker.  This online resource provides instant access to the current state of gene editing approvals, along with information on gene drives and other important regulatory updates.  In the second half Dr. Bernadine Strik remembers her colleague Dr. Chad Finn.  Dr. Finn contributed in massive ways to plant breeding, particularly in the development of new berry varieties for the Pacific Northwest.  He also shared a tremendous interest in service to his community and to the scientific community, and was invested in students and the development of others. He was everyone’s friend. He left us suddenly and unexpectedly and leaves a palpable gap in our community. Dr. Strik memorializes his contributions and character.
Listen to Talking Biotech Podcast Episode #226 Here. 

Talking Biotech Podcast #225 - Fake News Survivor; Corona Virus Update

Dr. Ilaria Capua is an internationally recognized virologist, and a world expert in avian influenza and other animal viruses.  Following her effort to make genetic information about viruses more accessible in the interest of finding faster cures, she was unknowingly put under investigation, as she was central in moving viral information and samples to colleagues worldwide.  Wire taps and clandestine evidence gathering filled a file, that eventually would be discovered, leaked and maliciously reinterpreted, alleging that Dr. Capua was the mastermind of an international virus trafficking ring. She was accused in the media, without evidence, of providing viruses for others to spread so that she could profit from vaccines produced. These false allegations left her facing life in prison. Years later the charges were completely dismissed as manufactured claims by the media. However, the events were life changing. Today Dr. Capua has channeled her energies into broadening science education,…

Folta Returns as Talking Biotech Host

In November of 2019 I was told to end the long-running podcast series Talking Biotech.  I was devastated, and requested that the recorded episodes be allowed to run, which would take the podcast through 2019. 

I then decided to continue the podcast using guest hosts. Modesta Abugu stepped into that role, and hosted four weeks of outstanding content. 

I will return as podcast host on February 8, 2020.  The appropriate paperwork has been filed with my university for me to continue this outreach and education, but only to do it as "outside activity" -- a non-work-related effort executed outside of work time.  That's easy. It always was. 

Having a clear delineation from the university allows new flexibility in funding. I have elected to not pursue advertising (although it was lucrative for a podcast with this much traffic).  Instead I'm requesting small support form this loyal audience, as even a few dollars per month can translate into better products and penetration.  

Fun…