Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Don't worry... be happy!

"Be happy! Feeling unhappy is normal and is good! You are not alone! You are not the only one! Those mixed feelings are part of being a grad student, and learning to deal with them is an important part of your PhD learning process." (Welcome speech by the University Dean to the Grad students)

And if you don't believe the man, take a look at these "pérolas":

Cheers, Isabel

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Freezing in Lyon

It is my second post (first non-latin) here, so I thought I should (re-)start with something light.

After some weeks worrying about bureaucracy, trips to IKEA and calling the Utilities companies asking for a monthly bill (rather than an annual or semi-annual one which is, so it seems, the default procedure in France) I finally started working on my PhD project.

It is snowing in Lyon, which is something I wished to share with all of you - it's pretty! (I would take a picture myself but it is already too dark for that - the photo on this post is from last year).

I've been reading some exciting new articles on miRNA which I will post here as soon as I have read them all (it may take some time - be warned) but yesterday I came across an interesting piece of news here and I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

And I should also give you the link to my latest paper (comments are more than welcomed).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The IUPAC International Chemical Identifier

Dear all,

I found inevitable to post about this paper. Though I know that for some of you this will not change a thing in the research project, the paper reports a big change for the ones o work more close with metabolism.
The representation of chemical compounds has been a big issue for Chemists and Biologists. Biologists in particular have found an increasing difficulty dealing with the amount of metabolites as metabolic networks grow in complexity (see link).

In order to explain this issue I will give you a small example. Go to KEGG database and do a search for glucose. This does not seem strange because glucose can assume different forms and so different names, but just take a careful look in the second hit. Well, I know that grapes are sweet but not so sweet to have their own sugar. I am sure that this funny example does not represent a problem for Biochemists but imagine if you find in your database a compound with so many names that you decide to check this compound in other database like, let us say BioCyc. Ups... Now I am confused. What is really the name of the compound? Is this the same compound that I was looking for? Well, better days will come before I finish my accurate metabolic network with 500 metabolites.

Taking some of these problems in account, IUPAC launched in 2001 a project to develop a nomenclature for representing the chemical structure of organic molecules in a unique digital string. A test version of the International Chemical Identifier (InChI) was released in March 2002 and three years later the first version of the InChI software was released. In August 2006 an update version was released along with a validation protocol to check the validity of the output and we can start finding this nomenclature in numerous databases as NIH/NCI, NIH/PubChem, Thomsom/ISI and MDL/Elsevier, as well as search compounds with this nomenclature in Google.

This nomenclature is still in his infancy and let us see what changes it will bring in Chemistry and in Biology.

Lui­s Figueiredo

P.S. - Thanks for the tip Mr. Correia :P

Saturday, January 20, 2007



Many of you may know already, but is never to much to remind it:

Intelligent Systems in Molecular Biology and European Conference in Computational Biology 2007. It's going to be in Austria in July, it looks like a very good conference to attend and besides that could be a good meeting point...


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Yes, It's me again!!!


I have just arrived in Boston and just wanted to say hello! Should anyone happens to be in the neighborhood, just drop by!


Friday, January 05, 2007

Why do we live in a computer simulation?

After sleepless nights, wondering about the meaning of live and of the lyrics of Dino Meira, consequently I took the most logical steep and GoogleIt!
Enjoy and maybe the question does even make sense.

Me, Myself and My Ego

PS. - The title was actually a link, so now it is here: