Bioinformatics II: Exploring Genomes!


Come to the next workshop April 2, 3pm at the La Jolla Riford Library!  Back due to popular demand! In this workshop we will dive deeper into online databases to explore genetic information from humans and other species in its biological context. No experience or participation in previous workshops necessary, all you need is basic computer skills. Bring a laptop if you have one. We also have a limited number of laptops for participants to use.  Please sign up through

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease Using Human Stem Cells with Dr. Jessica Young, UCSD/Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease Using Human Stem Cells

The molecular basis of late-onset sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (SAD), the most common form of the disorder, is still poorly understood. We hypothesize that each individual harbors genetic factors that either predispose to or protect from disease. Dr. Jessica Young will discuss her research using human pluripotent stem cells and genome-editing technology to analyze SAD phenotypes in the laboratory where her research is uncovering pathways that can be targeted with novel therapies.  Join us Tuesday April 5 at 6pm at the La Jolla Riford Library to learn more!

I sleep, therefore I am with Dr. Indrani Ganguly-Fitzgerald, USD


There is little argument that without sleep, we are functional basket cases. However, scientists are still hard at work at trying to uncover the mystery of why we NEED to sleep at all. In this lecture, Dr. Indrani Ganguly-Fitzgerald will attempt to shed light on the function of sleep, by diving into the neuro-genetic investigations that reveal a surprising connection between sleep, waking experience, and aging brain health.  Join us on Tuesday March 1 at 6pm in the La Jolla Riford Library!

Human genetics and genomics; what can we do now? Dr. Tristan Carland, Illumina

Citizen Science - Winter 2015

We can sequence the entire genetic code of a human being (their genome) in a matter of days now, what does this mean for our understanding of human biology, evolution, and diseases? In particular, cancer, a disease of the genome, has come into focus with immediate applications of cutting edge science.  Join us this Thursday, February 18th at 6pm at the Central Library to learn more.

Crime Scene Forensics Workshop

Bio Tech Sept

Ready to launch your own investigation?  Find out how the real scientists and CSI teams use genetic techniques to solve crimes.  Learn how to compare crime scene DNA with the suspects’ to find out who did it with Dr. Callen Hyland on Sept 5th at 3pm at the La Jolla Riford Library!  Reserve your spot now through the library: 858-552-1657,

Next Workshop in La Jolla: DNA Barcoding!

Bio Tech Aug(2)

Do you know what the seafood on your plate is?  Unfortunately there is a lot of fraud in sea food and it may not be what you think it is.  This can mean you spend too much for a less expensive species or you may be eating more environmental contaminants than you expect.  Your choices are important for supporting sustainable fishing, but if you don’t know what you are eating, you also won’t know how or where it was caught.  Become your own food detective by learning how to use this genetic technique to identify the species you are served.  Make sure to bring a small sample of seafood with you to test!  Sign up through the La Jolla Library!

Green Fluorescent Protein Transformation

Bio Tech June

Our second workshop was an exciting adventure in genetic engineering!  Our participants were able to take genes originally from sea jellies that allow them to glow, and put them into bacteria!  Not only was the gene for glowing introduced, but also a gene to allow resistance to an antibiotic to allow us to select for only the bacteria that have the glowing gene.  These techniques have allowed scientists to do many different kinds of experiments and make great advances in developmental biology, neurobiology, and much more.  Similar techniques are currently used in agriculture for pesticide resistance among other things. Since the bacteria needed some time to grow, participants could come back the next day to see how well the bacteria they cultured survived and to check for fluorescence using a UV light!

Gene Splicing in Action

Citizen Science 3

Our June La Jolla Lecture was an excellent overview of gene splicing by Dr. Aaron Robart.  He introduced us the process of how our cells use DNA to make proteins, which then go on and perform thousands of different functions in our bodies.  The translation process involves copying parts of the genetic code in to mRNA.  There are several parts of the sequence that are actually not used at all or used in different combinations to make different proteins.  This is where splicing gets exciting!  Specialized molecules are involved in cutting out the sequences that aren’t going to be used and mistakes in this process can result in non-functional proteins and have been implicated in many different types of diseases.  Dr. Robart’s recent work focused on using crystallography to determine the fine structure of a splicing molecule, which has helped us learn much more about how it does this precise work!