The week started with the latest meeting of the e-infrastructure leadership Council, co-chaired by Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts, where the main items centred around developing the details of our strategies for e-science. A second and very interesting meeting on infrastructures, organised by the Foundation for Science and Technology, was addressed by Sir John Armitt, Professor Brian Collins, and Tim Yeo MP, each giving some very insightful perspectives on UK large infrastructure needs, how they might better be joined up, and how we need to increase their recognition as a public good that transcends typical parliamentary timescales, and needs a clearer recognition of the extent to which the private sector can provide that.
I appeared with others before the Business, Innovation and Skills Commons Select Committee to discuss Open Access (and note the new RCUK guidelines, also as pdf). These meetings are streamed live, and then made available via the internet; our session starts at about 10-49 into the video that may be viewed here.
I was also able to attend much of the annual meeting of the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, where (for these sessions) the focus was on inculcating academic thinking and scientific rigour into policymaking, an analysis of systems approaches to ageing, and a Panel discussion of the evidence and policy, with the first keynote being given by Sir Mark Walport setting out some of this thoughts on the next 5 years as Government Chief Scientific Adviser, and the final one by Sir Bob Kerslake – Head of the Home Civil Service – rehearsing the main elements of where science policy should contribute to Civil Service Reform (and vice versa). It was notable in one session on the systems approach to ageing populations that the rather advanced and integrated software strategies of the systems biology community, including the use of standardised XML-based data models (such as those encoded in SBML), and those incorporating the relevant ontologies, have not yet been adopted by systems modellers in the social sciences.
Among papers I noted this week, was one on the use of analytical metabolomics to determine food intake in an unbiased manner (relative to the claims typically made by subjects in the previous ‘gold standard’ known as Food Frequency Questionnaires), a fascinating piece on electroceuticals, a couple of rightly scary pieces by Duncan Clark in the Guardian and in Science on climate change, and the sequencing of the (African) coelacanth and zebrafish genomes (the latter showing that 70% of human ‘disease genes’ have a human counterpart, useful for phenotypic screening).
With Google’s earlier announcement that its digital feed reader would not be supported after July 1st, my attention was drawn to Feedly, which seems to have all of the functionality I require and thus will now adopt. I also noted a useful PLoS collection of Open Access papers on Text Mining (an area in which a new paper has just been accepted).
- Amemiya CT et mult al.: The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution. Nature 2013; 496:311-316
- Courtot M et mult al. (2011). Controlled vocabularies and semantics in Systems Biology. Mol Syst Biol 7, 543. Full, free text.
- Famm K, Litt B, Tracey KJ, Boyden ES, Slaoui M: Drug discovery: a jump-start for electroceuticals. Nature; 496:159-161
- Howe K et mult al.: The zebrafish reference genome sequence and its relationship to the human genome. Nature 2013
- Kell DB (2013) Finding novel pharmaceuticals in the systems biology era using multiple effective drug targets, phenotypic screening, and knowledge of transporters: where drug discovery went wrong and how to fix it. FEBS J, :in the press. Accepted ms
- Menni, C. et mult al. (2013) Targeted metabolomics profiles are strongly correlated with nutritional patterns in women. Metabolomics 9, 506-514. Full free text
- Miwa M, Ohta T, Rak R, Rowley A, Kell DB, Pyysalo S and Ananiadou S (2013) A method for integrating and ranking the evidence for biochemical pathways by mining reactions from text. Bioinformatics, in the press
- Shakhashiri BZ, Bell JA: Climate change conversations. Science 2013; 340:9