Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Iron Chip: A good example of "biology meets computer" via microarray

Got to love hyperlinking. It takes you to so many interesting places. Like this lecture on a common genetic disorder which also explains how chips called microarrays can be made to detect biological substances, like proteins.

Prof. Martina Muckenthaler, PhD Head of Molecular Medicine University of Heidelberg
This one hour video-taped lecture from one of the world’s leading experts on the subject, Professor Martina Muckenthaler, PhD., Head of Molecular Medicine at the University of Heidelberg is a real geek-treat. What is particularly like about this video is:

a. the professor’s superb pedagogical style as she leads her audience of university students from a simple introduction to hemochromatosis to a detailed explanation of its mechanisms at the molecular level, followed by the technology she has been developing to perform her research.

b. the English subtitles, which are very well done and a great example of going the extra mile to share knowledge and information.

Even if you watch just the first 15 minutes you will get a good sense of why the world needs to know more about haemochromatosis (the British English version of the spelling is used in the subtitles). Hemochromatosis is not easy to explain and I'm speaking as one who has spent a lot of time trying to explain it (mainly because my wife has it). So I was delighted to encounter this video in my ongoing ferreting out of useful information about this debilitating, frequently misdiagnosed, and potentially fatal condition.

Every person needs to do as much self-education as possible when it comes to their health. For example, if you have learned through genetic testing that you have mutant alleles of the HFE gene (C282Y and H63D) then this video will help you understand what that means.

To watch the video, click the image above or use this direct link (http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1136907) which I encourage you to share. There is also a paper here on the technology of microarrays. And Wikipedia has an entry on DNA microarrays that I found quite helpful.

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