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The Seventh Women in Science Switzerland Luncheon

posted Nov 8, 2018, 10:34 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Nov 13, 2018, 3:07 AM ]

What a nice afternoon in Montreux with the attendees of the 7th annual Women in Science Switzerland Luncheon, hosted by Lola Grace and highlighted by the talk of Claudia Bagna on 'Intellectual and Social Disabilities: from Molecules to Behavior.'  Her talk centered on Fragile X syndrome and autism, with some interesting points also about Alzheimer's disease, brain development and enriched environments.  I always thought of Fragile X syndrome as being less central to autism, but it turns out to be involved in about 60% of cases and the other 30% are due to an interacting protein, together regulating gene expression at synapses.  Again, from a certain perspective, one could say it is all about dynamics of genomic integrity!  The main Fragile X protein (FMR1) leads to disease when it is not expressed  (as for the BRCA genes, which in contrast are important for correct DNA repair), and the molecular mechanisms for the gene being 'turned off' (trinucleotide repeats) are well known in other diseases also (but not always affecting whether a gene is expressed or not). Again this is genomic integrity being affected, in this case at the DNA level.  

Most importantly, the neuronal connections between cells (especially dendritic spines at synapses, where localised translation can occur) are disrupted in the absence of FMR1, because the regulation of its target genes is disrupted, leading to incorrect responses to cell activation and faulty synapses.  Such 'synaptopathies' can lead to many diseases affecting brain development, cognitive function and neurodegeneration. 

The extra points in the talk about patient families and how women in science are being helped by research to help understand interview biases were also very appreciated.  

If you were there, and wonder about the AGiR! chocolate in your goodie bag, and, especially, would like to get more, maybe even to give to your friends during the upcoming holiday season, please write biolab@hackuarium.ch before 30 November, or phone directly to the master chocolate maker (from Gruyère)!  His dark chocolates, we hope, are full of flavanols that may protect genomic integrity.  The idea to do a real test of whether eating such chocolate protects genomic integrity isn't new, but maybe the current micronuclei protocols at Hackuarium (even though currently 'without walls') would allow a real test of this sometime soon.  I know that is some 'citizen science' that could get a lot of volunteers!  
Let me know if you would like to join in... :)  

Genomic integrity and Open Science in China

posted Oct 11, 2018, 4:51 PM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Oct 12, 2018, 9:39 PM ]

It is very exciting to be participating in GOSH2018 this year, especially looking into open-source epifluorescence possibilities during a workshop yesterday! Perhaps the group from Bath, UK has a real possibility with an updated version of their OpenFlexure scope to move the comet cell data acquisition forward! (fingers crossed!) 

Meeting members of the public was especially interesting yesterday, at xfactory! (thanks, Violet, for allowing the great party, too!).  After such discussions, I really need to make good on my pledge to update this site, to another platform, it is clear; and I am putting the new flyer translation into the Hackuarium wiki, to make sure more people can see this and share its ideas (and I include the even smaller file here, as a preview, for those who can access it here).
(thanks again to Yanwu, Vivi, and others for their help and discussions !! Maybe one day in the not too distant future there will even be a Chinese side to this AGiR! site, as the issues are so crucial to all of us.)

It will also a great honour to be able to present the Hackuarium genomic integrity projects at the Shenzhen Maker Week-GOSH conference (Oct.14) to end the trip!
Hoping the #GOSH2018 Prezi goes smoothly! :)

 万岁开放的科学! 
(Long live open science!)

Comet Assays and More

posted Aug 22, 2018, 1:54 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Aug 22, 2018, 3:11 PM ]


The Hackuarium projects to more readily allow people to detect DNA damage in their own cheek cells have gotten new life with interns, Violaine Regard, Jennifer Veillard, and Vithooban Thavapalan, working hard in the lab!  
Maybe they will be able to tell us about the 'cheek cell chip' prototype soon?
They are also working towards automatic detection of micronuclei, to aid towards counting the 1000 cells!  (Workshop participants know what a challenge that can be!)
 
Save the Date!  A special event is planned for the evening of September 26 at Hackuarium, #OpenHackuarium 221, with Dr. Delphine Plaire telling us about her studies on DNA damage, and the students presenting short summaries of their results! 

Come learn more!

and take care!!  

Ageing, too!

posted Jun 16, 2018, 12:44 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Jun 16, 2018, 12:47 AM ]

 Looking forward to a big symposium next week at the UNIL CIG!
 There will be an evening public talk too - also sponsored by Women in Science!
 Of course, genomic integrity is also important for this topic!!  Some latest research includes findings on telomeres and the DNA damage response...  
 Maybe see you there?

Take care!

More Art!

posted May 7, 2018, 1:22 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Jun 9, 2018, 1:54 AM ]

Happy to announce that David Goodsell from the Scripps Research Institute and the RCSB Protein Data Bank is contributing more amazing molecular art for the AGiR! Art Call!  
&
He says we can choose our favorites!!

Here is a little taste:  

showing the Cas9 protein bound to CRISPR RNA (red) and a target viral DNA (yellow)

Look for more here soon! (in the Art Call Works page!)

Additionally, some of you might have already seen the first video attempt from the last workshop at Hackuarium.  Some might call this art... ;) 
I really have to thank the Patiny family for helping us get the super timelapse...  (at least 1.5h in 33s!)



Another Cheek Cell Micronucleus Assay Workshop!

posted Apr 3, 2018, 1:25 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Apr 3, 2018, 1:26 AM ]

This one will be in Renens (near Lausanne, Switzerland) at Hackuarium, an open public lab that wants to democratise science for all, on 21April.
 Sign up with a friend and learn more!!
Looking forward to seeing you there!


Meeting of the General Assembly

posted Feb 22, 2018, 11:33 PM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Mar 6, 2018, 1:51 AM ]

The 5th General Assembly Meeting of AGiR! is coming up, and you are invited to participate!

 If you are local, and can come in person, it will be held next Wednesday at 6pm in Renens at the Ateliers de Renens: Chemin du Closel 5.  We will meet in a conference room on the third floor, to take care of the usual administrative details as a public service association, and discuss future plans!   

The preliminary agenda and the charter of the association are available for your information (and input...).

Afterwards, as this is the same building where Hackuarium is also located, we can see the iGEM team presentation, and tour the whole site (fablab, FixME, maker space, and of course the labs, both biohacker space and P1).  Have a look at some moss life and even your own cells, if you like!  (You can consider taking part in the upcoming workshop to 'open source' DNA damage detection, too!)

If you cannot make it in person, but want to contribute, you can join us virtually!  

Use the contact form (from the menu of this site) and we can try to skype or use googlehangout, during the meeting.

Even if you can't make it virtually during that time, we would be very happy for any feedback before the meeting.  Again, feel free to use the contact form!

Thanks in advance for your interest and, as usual, take care.

**
Please find below additional info for all who couldn't make it for the meeting:
Here is the summary presented during the meeting (in French, although in the end most of the meeting was actually in English, since the majority that made it that evening were anglophones...).
The year to come will be exciting! 
*You* can help, too!




 

London Workshop Trip Success

posted Jan 31, 2018, 1:08 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Jan 31, 2018, 1:10 AM ]

Wow, what a few days!
  
  Giving the two workshops with Science has no Borders at the University College London was a great experience.
  After seeing the amazing lecture hall for the first night, I got a bit nervous; but everything came together splendidly, and I am sure we all learned a bunch!

Here is the prezi I used the first evening, which includes background about citizen science and also the various protocols and handouts.

A photo album is also available for you to see some moments from the weekend.

Looking forward to more ahead!
(The next workshop on Open-Sourcing DNA Damage Detection for Citizen Science will be held this spring at Hackuarium!)

2018 for Genomic integrity!

posted Jan 3, 2018, 1:29 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Jan 3, 2018, 4:30 AM ]

If you are in London near the end of January, you may be able to participate in a workshop: 
Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection and Microbial Analyses of Water Samples for Citizen Science
Watch this space for further information and spread the word about dynamic cellular activities and the choices we can make about environmental risks, which might influence our health!
Happy New Year and Take Care!!

The next meeting of the general assembly is planned for 28feb18.
Come and contribute!


Hackuarium Crowdfunding

posted Nov 11, 2017, 8:30 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Nov 13, 2017, 10:02 AM ]



Two AGiR! projects are currently running at Hackuarium, in particular, efforts to 'open-source' classic methods to look at DNA damage, in your own cheek cells!

 One of the methods, the micronucleus assay, is simple enough to be kid's play...
Really! 
A 'JOM day'* boy (11 years old) in Hackuarium last week really enjoyed it all! 

(and his Mom said this picture of him counting cells on the hemocytometer can be shown here!)


To support such projects and help build our P1 lab properly, a crowdfunding campaign is actually running now in the We Make It platform, with less than 2 weeks to go!  Would you like to help support open public science, and also the genomic integrity projects at Hackuarium?  Could you help other local people benefit from increased access to and democratisation of the varied means to obtain knowledge?

At Hackuarium, we want to help everyone find solutions and understanding!  Through activities within trans-disciplinary teams, building collaborations as possible for further synergy, Hackuarium members do it together!

Check out: 
https://wemakeit.com/projects/hackuarium-needs-you-too

Not just classic 'perks' are available, like T-shirts and bags, you should note, but opportunities to join in workshops (or 'ateliers' in French) can be chosen in thanks for your donation, for you and a friend!  
Come do something different!  
Other ways to contribute to your favorite project (hint!) are also possible, as you will see if you visit the we make it site for the Hackuarium campaign!

Here is a highlight from the campaign's main video plug, too, with the bioindicator for presence of raw sewage, E. coli, shining in metallic green on this 'levine media' plate:

If you click on the image above, you should access the full Hackuarium YouTube channel, with shorter videos on specific projects and also citizen science!



Spread the word
& take care!





* career day or 'journée de métiers' in French...

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