Archive for May, 2014

May 08 2014

Looking back on a great year

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After a full year in the Biology 1406 class, I’m so glad I got this opportunity. Allow me to list Three Things That I Think I Thought about This year…

1. What a great group!

I absolutely loved getting to know everyone in the class – there’s only been a few times in my life that I’ve been part of a class where everyone (literally, everyone) was excited about the subject matter, extremely quick to pick up the material, and always willing to go the extra mile. This was by far my favorite class peer group of my freshman year.

2. Doing real science

While my friends complained about dissecting rats and memorizing the names of fungi, I had the chance to participate in truly novel research that has significance to science. Furthermore, I actually had the opportunity to work on an independent research project!

3. A true challenge

More than any other class, this class made me really work for my grades and I appreciate that very much. Dr. Adair and Dr. Gibbon made this class interesting and challenging, difficult but also engaging.

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May 08 2014

Thank You All So Much For A Great Year

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I can’t believe our Freshman year of college is almost over! It has been a whirlwind, a stressful, crazy, amazing mess that I am extremely grateful I got to spend with all of you. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to go through this program with. As finals come to a close, I wish you all the best of luck  with your summer ventures, whether that be research in Houston or simply relaxing at home. It has been a privilege to get to know each and every one of you.–And Dr. Addair and Dr. Gibbon, thank you both so much for all of the time and effort you have invested in us, I think I speak for all of us when I say that I’m eternally grateful for everything you have taught us.

I will see you all at the final!

–Chloë Sells

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May 08 2014

Predicting Global Warming

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As discussed in our last unit of freshman biology (can’t believe its almost over!), there are ways that ecologists and other scientists can predict global warming based on historical trends. In the textbook, the warming preceding the last ice age was characterized by glaciers and trees retreating to the north and south poles. It further states that based on the rate at which the biosphere is warming now, trees would need to retreat at about a 7-9 km rate whereas they are only moving at about a .2 km rate currently. The latest National Climate Assessment, released May 6, outlines the climate changes in the US; I have skimmed through the introduction (the whole document is 840 pages!) and have found a section on melting ice and glacier migration – here is a paragraph I found both relevant to our current unit (tundra biome, chemical cycles, and global warming) and interesting: “Glaciers are retreating and/or thinning in Alaska and in the lower 48 states. In addition, permafrost temperatures are increasing over Alaska and much of the Arctic. Regions of discontinuous permafrost in interior Alaska (where annual average soil temperatures are already close to 32°F) are highly vulnerable to thaw. Thawing permafrost releases carbon dioxide and methane – heat-trapping gases that contribute to even more warming. Recent estimates suggest that the potential release of carbon from permafrost soils could add as much as 0.4ºF to 0.6ºF of warming by 2100.” There are many implications associated with the many areas affected by dramatic climate change, and we must bring them to our attention. Good luck all on your finals! It’s been a great semester.

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May 02 2014

I love you all!

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I just wanted to thank everyone for a great year. You all are such a blessing in my life, and I’m glad to have gotten to know all of you. Good luck on finals, and I’ll see you next Saturday!

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May 02 2014

Beginning of the end

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It is unbelievable how fast this semester has gone. I can’t believe we are already here – almost approaching the end. I am really glad that I had the opportunity to be apart of the PHAGES experience this past semester. Not only have I learned a lot, but I have gotten to know you all a little better, and the experience has been amazing .

Flashback to  first few sections of lab, when we watched the Hatful lectures: I remember feeling so overwhelmed with everything that I didn’t know about bacteriophages and the bioinformatics software. Looking back, it’s crazy how much I’ve gained from this research experience, and I am incredibly grateful. For example, we’ve learned how to annotate DNA sequences and blast protein sequences and through these techniques found novel protein sequences, frame-shifts, and a BUNCH of NKFs. These accomplishments are nothing short of awesome!

As we close out this semester, I want to thank you all for including me in your class. Study hard and finish strong!

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May 02 2014

The End

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I can’t believe this year is coming to a close.  I never would have thought that I would be part of such an amazing research experience.  Our last class is tomorrow, and our last lab is done.  I’ve really enjoyed my time with SEA Phages, and feel like I have grown so much in knowledge and now I have more direction with what I want to do with my life.  It is such a bittersweet feeling to have such an experience end.  Thanks to my classmates for such a great atmosphere and thanks to Dr. Adair and Dr. Gibbon for their passion and dedication to our class.   Phages rule. <3

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May 02 2014

Sniffing Out The Opposite Gender

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Just today a research article was released on the study of chemical cues humans use to identify the opposite gender. It seems that as humans we have similar chemical cues as pheromones. Apparently just using our nose we can smell androstadienone (in males) and estratetraenol (in females) on an unconscious level. After smelling these hormones a person can identify of judge if the walk of a certain person is more feminine or masculine. However, this doesn’t mean that a woman can smell another woman’s estratetraenol and think her walk is more feminine. The study shows that only males smell the estratetraenol and judge the walk to be feminine. Similarly, the women can smell the androstadienone in men and judge the walk as being masculine, whereas men cannot do it. The article is linked below.

Humans Have a Nose for Gender

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May 01 2014

Dinosaur Blastulas!

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Hey guys!

Since the last unit we covered included animal development, I have been doing a little outside reading and came across this awesome article. Scientists have discovered the oldest fossilized evidence of dinosaur embryos. There are many difficulties associated with dinosaur embryos because as you know, dinosaurs laid eggs. There are many examples of fossilized eggs, but being able to find remnants of the actual embryo is extremely rare. This discovery is helping scientists trace the developmental pathways back to some hundreds of millions of years. Here’s the link if you’re interested!

 

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v496/n7444/full/nature11978.html

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