In the last few years, I’ve primarily worked for the International Cancer Genome Consortium, administered by the capable people of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. I also worked for NCI’s Office of Cancer Genomics for several years. My role has been to help the members of large genome sequencing projects, distributed in labs all over the world, coordinate their activities by writing meeting reports and other mostly internal communications. I’ve also edited the occasional piece published in professional journals. In its quiet way, I feel that this work is helping an important field of scientific research move forward. This work has also suited my particular time of life, where much of my time and attention has gone to my children. We are more than eight years into the 10-year-long ICGC project, and in a few months, some interesting papers should be published that survey changes in genomes across cancer types.
Working with the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention, I helped write a review article: Dunn, B.K., Jegalian, K., Greenwald, P. Biomarkers for Early Detection and as Surrogate Endpoints in Cancer Prevention Trials: Issues and Opportunities. In Senn, Hans-Jorg, Otto, F. (Eds.): Clinical Cancer Prevention. Recent Results in Cancer Research (Schlag, P.M, Senn, H.-J., Series Editors); 188: 21-64. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 2011.
While living in College Park, Maryland, I wrote a few feature articles for Terp, the magazine of the University of Maryland:
Engineering Meets Nature (Fall 2008, cover story) – about how engineers take inspiration from nature in guiding design, especially of vehicles.
Global Warming Ahead (Spring 2007) – about the inevitable.
Recently, I attended a symposium on how to integrate available knowledge about the brain and “brain disorders” and wrote a 2-page call to action based on the experience, which the meeting organizers later published. The workshop was organized by a company in Australia that built a database that tries to relate biological information to conditions like depression and anxiety.
From 2004 through 2010, I wrote about the biologists invited to give the Stetten Lecture at the National Institutes of Health. In 2009, the prestigious lecture was delivered by a woman who studies how bacteria communicate.
In June 2009, I covered the second scientific workshop of the International Cancer Genome Consortium, held in Cambridge, England. ICGC brings together genome data from around the world for many different cancer types. In its first few meetings, the consortium worked to promote collaboration by harmonizing policies among projects and figuring out how to establish coordinated access to data from its dozens of projects. [The report.]
I also wrote a report on the first scientific workshop of the ICGC, held November 2008 in Bethesda, Maryland.
For a client at NIH, I produced an image gallery for public use. The gallery gathers an array of photos, illustrations, and videos that relate to biomedical science. The images can be downloaded for free for educational or other nonprofit use. [Total entries when I handed off this job in May 2012: 458.]
This representation of the human brain attempts to show neurological differences between two people. Image from the lab of Arthur Toga, UCLA.