Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Long overdue post on John Mattick's visit

As you may recall, John Mattick visited us last May (for a week) [John Mattick is coming to Chile] and even though I've been meaning to write a post regarding his visit, I've been swamped with work and never got down to doing it.

Let me just say that not only he does some very interesting and mind-broadening science, but he also is simply a great guy! I was in charge of his visit so I got to spend a lot of time with him. With a couple of fellow grad students we organized a visit to downtown Santiago, the seaside city of Viña del Mar and (of course) we also went to a local bar to celebrate a great week. Also, we had a faculty dinner which gave the opportunity to some Professors to meet John in a social environment. All these extracurricular activities were great to get to know such a interesting and wise man talk about scientific life, research, and all you can think of.

He gave a faculty seminar (see title below) and a couple of classes to first-year grad students (entitled “The genome is the transcriptome” and “The role of non coding RNA in epigenetics, development, cognition and cell biology”), where we got a sneak preview to his until then, soon-to-be published article in Nature Genetics entitled "Tiny RNAs associated with transcription start sites in animals".
Further, thanks to his willingness to meet with some very eager faculty members, some very interesting collaborations were started (in fact, one that will possibly allow me go to Australia next year).

I know some fellow bloggers have some very strong words regarding John's work and ideas, but I would strongly recommend that they met with him first and discuss them. Ultimately, that's the beauty of science. He is a great speaker to invite to your school, considering how hot RNA research is right now, and also a very interesting person.

It's amazing how much else is there to learn about gene expression regulation and the importance of RNA in these processes.

Here's a pic after his faculty seminar entitled "The human genome as an RNA machine".

ScienceBlips: vote it up!