Last week saw one of our regular meetings with the Directors (and the Directors of Operations) of the Institutes enjoying strategic support from the BBSRC. This was held at The Roslin Institute, and was the first such meeting since most of the Institutes had undergone major governance changes. It therefore provided a very useful forum for comparing notes and best practices, and especially for seeing where some intellectual overlaps might be exploited to best advantage. The differences in the essential knowledgebases (and literatures) in plant and animal genetics provided one obvious example.

From there, I managed to get to part of the dinner held in Bristol during the latest round of our standard Committee meetings, where I was able to talk to sufficient people to be very confident that the meetings were as ever proving very effective at ranking the grants before them for consideration, and that they were as usual faced with a plethora of outstanding projects of high quality.

I participated in a lunch at the House of Commons that was kindly hosted by George Freeman, MP for mid-Norfolk, where we were able to have useful discussions with members from both Houses about the importance of the BioEconomy to the UK.  There was also a dinner with some of the Board of Directors (Trustees) of the Lawes Agricultural Trust to discuss important aspects of these new governance arrangements.

As part of a long-term collaboration in the use of mass spectrometry for quantitative biology, I coauthored a paper that just came out quantifying 27 proteins involved in yeast glycolysis, based on the QconCAT approach. Even for this major pathway, their expression levels varied over 3 orders of magnitude – from ca 14,000 to ten million molecules per cell Another experimental paper (Lanthaler, K., Dobson, P., Bilsland, E., Pir, P., Kell, D. B. & Oliver, S. G. (2011). Genome-wide assessment of the carriers involved in the cellular uptake of drugs: a model system in yeast. BMC Biology, in press) based around a long-term interest in pharmaceutical drug transporters, has also just been accepted for Open Access publication.

Complex networks exist outside biology, and an interesting preprint discusses the complex interlinking of ownership in the corporate world (and how they are dominated by financial Institutions). The mathematical analyses used are likely to be of more general utility.

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Paul Jump of the THE, and a note of that interview appeared last week.



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