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Showing posts from February, 2013

Science: GWAS = genome wide association study

As a molecular biologist/biochemist trained in the 20th century, I have to say my head is on a swivel trying to keep up with all the new technology being used in research.

Old school molecular biology and biochemistry techniques are being pushed to new levels made possible by the nanotechnology and computer revolutions. One such implementation is the GWAS, genome wide association study.

The idea is based on the fact that there are genetic variations in the human population. Thus, population X (without disease condition Y) is compared against population Z (with disease condition Y). Do the genetic variants distribute the same in population X and population Z?

For example, let's say there is a gene variant P that exits in 75% of the study population (X + Z). If P is NOT associated with disease condition Y then P should show up in population X and Z at 75%. But, in an extreme example, variant P shows up in 55% of population X and 95% of population Z then you would say variant P is as…

News: Medal of Honor to Clint Romesha

The incredible story of the battle at COP Keating and the role of Clint Romesha had on that day by Jake Tapper.

The base was attacked from all sides by Taliban early in the morning and nearly overrun. Romesha and his team was able to fight back.

An amazing story of courage under fire.

Valor according to Merriam Webster:
strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness : personal bravery

Of course, Romesha, as have other recent recipients of the Medal of Honor have said, they simply did what they had to do.  Romesha said after the ceremony:
"I stand here with mixed emotions of both joy and sadness for me today," he said. "I don't think I'm much different than Medal of Honor recipients Sergeant First Class Petry and former Staff Sergeant Giunta and feeling conflicted with this medal I now wear. But joy comes from recognition for us doing our jobs as soldiers on distant battlefields, but is countered by the constant reminder of the l…

Theology: What does Psalm 110:5 mean?

"The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath." Psalm 110:5 (TNIV)

I've seen three interpretations of this verse:
(1) The Lord God is at Messiah's right hand; God will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
(2) Lord God, at your right hand is Messiah who will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
(3) Messiah is at God's right hand; Messiah will crush kings on the day of his wrath.

For the kings who get crushed on the day of wrath, it doesn't really matter which of the three is the correct interpretation!

Nonetheless, which interpretation is most likely to be correct and why?

Are there some other interpretive options to consider?

In memoriam: Kuan-Teh Jeang, 1958-2013

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Earlier this week, I was working on slides for our departmental research seminar where I would present results from our collaborative research project we have with a clinical group at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The talk was informatively if dryly titled, "Immunomodulatory Effects of Vitamin D3 Supplementation in Children, Adolescents and Young Adults with HIV/AIDS." As I prepared, emails starting arriving in my inbox from all over the world with news of the sad and sudden death of Kuan-Teh Jeang. I decided to include some brief remarks at the beginning of the seminar. I hope in some small way these thoughts could honor Teh's memory and encourage the young researchers in the audience. Text of what I shared this morning are below.
Before I start today’s seminar, I would like to offer some brief remarks in memory of Kuan-Teh Jeang who died last Sunday, January 27 at age 54. I was a post-doctoral fellow in his lab at the NIH from 1993 to 1997 working on the…