O'Really?

August 17, 2012

What is the collective noun for a group of Systems Biologists?

From helix to hairball

According to Arthur Lander, “hairball” networks like the one of human proteins above, are the new icon of biology, taking over from the famous double-helix. Image originally published in BMC Biology [1].

What happened was, I was looking for a creatively commons licensed picture of Pedro Mendes to upload to commons.wikimedia.org. Not the footballing Pedro Mendes who played for Rangers, Spurs, Pompey and Porto but the systems biologist Pedro Mendes who plays for Virginia Tech and Manchester. Thankfully, another systems biologist, Michael Hucka kindly pointed to his impressive collection of pictures, taken at various events over the years which include some shots of Pedro. Looking at these pictures made me idly wonder: What is the collective noun for a group of systems biologists?

Systems biology is the study networks of various kinds [2,3] so it’s ripe for a collective noun, and there were several suggested on twitter. Since twitter has recently developed a nasty habit of disappearing tweets, here is a collection gathered and preserved for posterity from the twitterome*:

A jamboree of systems biologists?

Tom Williamson and Mike Hucka initially plumped for a Jamboree of systems biologists:

A loop or an ome of systems biologists?

Mike Hucka and Nathan Pearson voted for a Loop or an Ome of systems biologists:

A cluster of systems biologists?

Then again, maybe it should be a cluster of biologists?

A network of systems biologists?

Douglas Kell reckoned on a network of systems biologists:

A system of systems biologists?

Ewan Birney thought it had be be a system:

So there you have it, according to the twitterome, the collective noun for a group of systems biologists is a system, network, cluster, ome, jamboree or loop (delete as appropriate). No doubt there are many more, that’s what twitter hashtags are for, #SysBiologists.

References

  1. Arthur D. Lander (2010). The edges of understanding, BMC Biology, 8 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-8-40
  2. Hiroaki Kitano (2002). Systems Biology: A Brief Overview, Science, 295 (5560) 1664. DOI: 10.1126/science.1069492
  3. Trey Ideker, Timothy Galitski & Leroy Hood (2001). Systems Biology: A new approach to decoding life, Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, 2 (1) 372. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.genom.2.1.343

* That’s another #badomics award for Jonathan Eisen’s growing collection…don’t blame me, blame Leonid Kruglyak

September 22, 2011

I Can’t Get No Job Satisfaction

I can't get no satisfaction

Rock and Roll: The ultimate in job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is like a complex mathematical equation that needs to be balanced. There are many factors that contribute to the mix, both good and bad. Hopefully the good things about a job will outweigh the bad. But what are the good things that contribute to the elusive but crucial job satisfaction?

Daniel Pink, argues that motivation is key to job satisfaction. If you provide the right motivations to people in an organisation, not always large financial ones [1], then their job satisfaction is more likely. According to Pink, the three key motivations are:

  1. Autonomy: The desire to be self-directed.
  2. Mastery: The urge to get better at doing things and be recognised for it
  3. Purpose: The sense that your work makes a difference and maybe even makes the world a better place somehow.

Pink explains how these factors work in another one of those beautifully animated RSA videos below:

So if like Mick and Keith, you can’t get no (job) satisfaction [2], it’s probably worth aiming for more autonomy, mastery and purpose in your work.

References

  1. Ariely, D., Gneezy, U., Loewenstein, G., & Mazar, N. (2009). Large Stakes and Big Mistakes Review of Economic Studies, 76 (2), 451-469 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-937X.2009.00534.x
  2. Jagger, M. & Richards, K. (1965) (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction Decca Records

October 14, 2008

Open Access Day: Why It Matters

Open Access Day 14th October 2008Today, Tuesday the 14th of October 2008, is Open Access Day. Like many others, this blog post is joining in by describing why Open Access matters – from a personal point of view. According to the wikipedia article Open Access (OA) is “free, immediate, permanent, full-text, online access, for any user, web-wide, to digital scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals. OA means that any individual user, anywhere, who has access to the Internet, may link, read, download, store, print-off, use, and data-mine the digital content of that article. An OA article usually has limited copyright and licensing restrictions.” What does all this mean and why does it matter? Well, in four question-and-answer points, here goes… (more…)

September 12, 2008

Blogging Professors: Big Boffins with Blogs

Jeffrey Bates by Julian CashI’ve been hunting all over the interweb looking for Professors that have blogs. While it would be a good thing if there were more, (see the science blogging challenge 2008), there are surprising amount of big boffins that already blog. I should say that by big, I mean (full) professor. By boffin I mean a person practicing science including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering and hell, even computer “science” and the “dismal science” of economics too. By blog I mean, a web-log or a lab-log which is personal, frequently updated (with web feed) and allows comments. Here is my collection of big boffins with blogs, with a little help from friendfeed.com [1]. It is ordered alphabetically by surname and I hope it gives a flavour of some of the bloggers out there on the Web. If you know any more, please let me know. (more…)

April 14, 2008

Ensemblog: The Ensembl Weblog

Filed under: biotech — Duncan Hull @ 11:51 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Pongo pygmaeus abeliiThe Ensembl Weblog provides news, views and announcements about the Ensembl Genome Browser. The blog has been going for a few years now, but I have only just become aware of it thanks to a recent Ensembl Genome Browser Tutorial by Bert Overduin. Catching up on posts from Ensemblians this year, Ewan Birney wrote a piece about The Gene Love-in last week and Paul Flicek briefly described the 1000 Genomes project back in January. The Ensembl Weblog is fairly low traffic, so if you don’t already read it, it’s worth considering subscribing to the feed.

And it’s good to see more scientists using blogs to communicate. Long may this trend continue!

(more…)

November 7, 2006

People 2.0: Pioneers of the next generation Web

UK news-rag The Grauniad has a series of interviews with some of the people behind the next generation web, so-called Web 2.0. After reading these interviews, I can’t help wondering, who are the equivalent pioneers in bioinformatics?

The interviews include…

  1. Wikipedian Jimmy Wales
  2. WordPresser Matt Mullenweg
  3. Technorati’s Dave Sifry

…and several others too. Most of the interviews are worth reading, I particularly enjoyed Mullenweg’s which contains a wonderful quote:

Q: What is your big idea?

A: I don’t have big ideas. I sometimes have small ideas, which seem to work out.

So who is currently pioneering the “Web of Science”, Bioinformatics 2.0 if you like? Ensemblian Ewan Birney? Ian Holmes at Berkeley? Or somebody else?

[Image credit: Picture from Steve Jurvetson, this post originally published on nodalpoint with comments]

Blog at WordPress.com.