The Eye of the Microbiome

Microbes

“If you don’t like bacteria, you’re on the wrong planet” – Stewart Brand

When we refer to our gut feelings, we seldom think of what exactly is going on in the gut. Over the past couple of years, studies have shown that our feelings in fact do have a lot to do with the residents of our gut. The gut microbiome consists of a community of microorganisms flourishing and thriving inside the gastrointestinal tract, or gut for short. These microorganisms not only influence our feelings, but also have a huge impact on our metabolism and well-being.

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Meeting Jane Johnson

Interview with Jane Johnson, who studies nervous system development at UT Southwestern

After graduating from University of Washington, with a degree in Chemistry, Jane Johnson continued her studies with a PhD in Biochemistry at the same University. She Picture1then moved south, from Seattle to Pasadena, to embrace a postdoctoral position at the California Institute of Technology studying neural development. It was there where she discovered Ascl1, an essential transcription factor in nervous system development that plays a key role in the research of her laboratory. Johnson joined UT Southwestern in 1992, where she is currently a Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Neuroscience, Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, and holds the Shirley and William S. McIntyre Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience.

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Let’s Talk Science!

“If you cannot explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself” –Albert Einstein

We, as scientists, spend a lot of time and effort on our experiments. However, we don’t spend much time as we should be in communicating our science.  As an attempt to reconcile this, I grabbed one of the only seats left at the generously populated CoNNECT seminar series. The CoNNECT (Cultivating Narrative for Effective Communication) program is a pilot course in science communication for UTSW trainees. The goal of the program is to teach biomedical trainees to clearly explain their work and its significance through narrative, or storytelling. This seminar was on “How to design an effective talk” by Dr. Shannon Behrman, Associate Director of Scientific Training and Education at iBiology. Based at University of California, San Francisco, iBiology is a nonprofit organization that produces free videos and online courses about life science research.

Shannon
Dr. Shannon Behrman

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Understanding the speaker Dr. Jamie Vernon as he talks about “understanding the audience”

Jamie Vernon
Dr. Jamie Vernon

“He is very young for his job as the editor-in-chief of American Scientist magazine, intelligent and opportunist. You must meet him!” – Dr. Beth Schachter described Jamie Vernon to me as I was showing off Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture to her in UT Southwestern’s NC building. I have known Beth for more than two years now and I certainly value her advice. So the moment I saw Jamie Vernon was giving a talk on “Understanding the audience” as part of Ashley Lakduk’s CoNNECT seminar series at UT Southwestern, I made a mental note to cover his talk.

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