Weekly Roundup: biotechin.asia

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21 September –  27 September 2015

Biotechin

Hazy conditions deteriorate in Singapore, 24-hour PSI enters very unhealthy range

The National Environment Agency (NEA) says that the hazy conditions in Singapore further deteriorated over wednesday night, due to denser haze being blown in from Sumatra by the prevailing southerly winds. The current hazy conditions are expected to persist, and there could be a further deterioration in the air quality later in the day. For today, the prevailing winds are forecast to blow from the south-southeast or south-southwest. The 24-hr PSI for the next 12 hours is expected to be in the high end of the Unhealthy range and the low end of the Very Unhealthy range, and may enter the mid-section of the Very Unhealthy range if denser haze from Sumatra continues to be blown in. (Click here to read more)

Singapore Women in Science: Dr. Sarah Chan

Singapore Women in Science is a non-profit organization of women who are in the field of science or who inspire to be in one. The organizing committee comprising of various women in the scientific field, schedule networking sessions and talks by successful women. Dr Sarah Chan’s talk was on her personal journey starting as a PhD student in A*STAR to landing her present job at L’Oreal, Singapore. (Click here to read more)

Air quality ‘unhealthy’ as haze worsens in Singapore, Emergency declared in Sumatra’s Riau province

In 2013, Singapore experienced the worst haze with Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hitting 400, owing to forest fires in Indonesia and the resultant smog being blown over to Singapore. The haze which is a yearly occurence, has affected the city-state of Singapore yet again this year as a result of farmers in neighbouring Sumatra burning forests to clear their land for agriculture. According to a media advisory issued by National Environment Agency (NEA) dated September 13th, air quality in Singapore is expected to be in the mid to high sections of the Unhealthy range in the next 24 hours, and may enter the low section of the Very Unhealthy range. (Click here to read more)

Human Evolution 101 – Homo naledi

With all the buzz about Homo naledi, the newly discovered human ancestor, here’s some background that will help put it in context. The discovery of Homo naledi, the newest branch on our family tree, has people talking about human evolution—and trying to remember some of the basics they’ve forgotten. Here are answers to a few common questions. (Click here to read more)

Techventure 2015 – A line-up of 160 technology startups are headed to Singapore

Some of the world’s most exciting technological startups are making their way to Singapore this September. More than 800 attendees, 50 investors, 160 startups and 19 organisational and country pavilions will be participating in Techventure 2015 from 21 – 22 September in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands. A technology event unlike any other, Techventure embraces all areas of technology – engineering and manufacturing; biotech and medtech; infocomm and digital media; and environmental sustainability. Some 1,000 delegates comprising global technopreneurs, venture capitalists, corporate ventures, angel investors and government funding organisations are expected to attend Techventure 2015. This edition focuses on increasing deal flow between investors and startups through facilitated and targeted meetings. (Click here to read more)

Gene editing breakthrough: the new CRISPR/Cpf1 makes the process simpler and more exact

One of the pioneers of the CRISPR-Cas9 system for mammalian genome editing, Feng Zhang along with his team has identified a different CRISPR system with the potential for even simpler and more precise genome engineering- CRISPR-Cpf1 technology. CRISPR sequences were first described in 1987 and their natural biological function was initially described in 2010 and 2011 while its application for mammalian genome editing was reported in 2013. The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a defense mechanism employed by bacteria and archae to fight against invading viruses. It typically involves using an enzyme called Cas9 to cut DNA at a site specified by guide strands of RNA. Once these cuts are made by the enzyme, the cell’s natural DNA-repair processes takes over. This mechanism has revolutionized the field of gene-editing technology with scientists using them to create hardier plants, wipe out pathogens and engineer crops, livestock and even human embryos! (Click here to read more)

High Use of Alternative Medicine in Senior Oncology patients: A Study 

As the world is turning to more natural and healthy ways of living, the internet has managed to lure everybody to equip themselves with knowledge about their disease condition. Leave alone cancer patients, self diagnosing and asking multiple questions to your doctor, resorting to alternative therapies alongside your main treatment has become a common approach to any illness. Considering this, one can imagine how a life threatening condition can push you to resort to anything that gives hope! But, we are unaware that some seemingly natural treatments touted as free of side effects can interfere with an ongoing validated therapy for a complex disease like cancer and harm the patient in ways more than one. (Click here to read more)