Model Organisms in Biomedical Research

September 8, 2011

We have recently published the latest of our videos on bioethics. The subject this time is the use of model organisms in biomedical research (it last six and a half minutes). I am particularly please about this one as it is the first of two main films that have been at the core of a project supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (the other film, due for completion shortly, is on Comparative Genomics).

For reasons I needn’t go into these videos have had longer gestation than a baby elephant but we are very pleased with the outcome and hope you will agree that they have been worth the wait. In the fullness of time there will also be some structured suggestions for how to use these videos in a teaching context.

Production of the two main videos has resulted in the release of seven further films as side-product of the project. These have been previously mentioned on this site, see here for a list.

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Studying Huntington’s Disease in Model Organisms

March 18, 2011

For a while now I’ve been working with a couple of colleagues at the University of Leicester to produce some videos about the use of model organisms in research. The “big film” is still in gestation, but the project has generated a number of other videos which are now available on YouTube.

The most recent 3-minute video features the research of Dr Flav Giorgini and his team. In particular, the film focuses on their work involves the use of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to improve our understanding of the fundamental processes involved in Huntington’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

It is our hope that videos of this kind will help explain the relevance of work on other species, and especially, lower organisms. We would value any comments you have about the film and especially its potential as a teaching tool.

Other videos already available as part of this series include:

The production of these videos has been supported by the BBSRC and GENIE, the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning about Genetics


Cognitive enhancement: less sleep = more done?

February 25, 2009

In Make me… stay awake, the final part of an engaging series of three documentaries (following Make me… smart and Make me… live forever), Michael Mosley investigates the effects of sleep deprivation and ways in which these symptoms may be alleviated. As he puts it in the introduction to the film, he wants to know if there are ways of “conquering… my need and my urge for sleep” (01:40).

Several sections of the programme brought bioethical themes into sharp focus Рincluding the use of model organisms in research (17:53-20:47) and the use of drugs to stay awake longer (26:42- end).

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