Newsletter One

Newsletter One
0 19 February 2016

4/11/15

Welcome to the first miRcore volunteer’s newsletter! To begin, here’s the pun of the week:

“Why do biologists have trouble with the alphabet? They think the D is N/A.”

As miRcore volunteers, our incurable disease of focus is Parkinson’s. We have each been doing research on a certain gene that will hopefully lead us closer to a cure.

An upcoming fundraiser will be on April 12th: We are having a promotion at the Busch’s on 2240 South Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. We will be asking for donations at the door. The proceeds will go to fundraise for the development of Parkinson’s Disease research. Support research and donate!

Recently, miRcore volunteers had the opportunity to perform at the Evangelical Home in Saline. On Saturday, March 14, volunteers arrived at the home to entertain the seniors with various talents. Our motto is science, compassion, and efficiency. Being compassionate is of utmost importance to miRcore, and this is why we visit nursing homes. Dr. Lee had some helpful suggestions about how we should interact with the seniors: be kind, smile, talk gently, and ask simple questions.

During miRcore’s visit to the Evangelical Home, we entertained the seniors for 45 minutes with performances consisting of singing, classical music, and a dance. The group sang several songs, such as “You Are My Sunshine” and “Edelweiss.”  The seniors were receptive, seemed to enjoy the singing, and joined in with pleasure. We are excited that our first nursing home visit was a success, and are looking forward to further visits.

The purpose of volunteering derives from miRcore’s values. We have a vision to democratize medical research and we will keep working to make personalized medicine a common practice. Visiting nursing homes helps us gain insight into the troubles that have been inflicted upon those with Parkinson’s disease. Next month, we have a tentative plan to perform at a different nursing home.

On Thursday, April 2, Dr. Robert Brook gave a talk called “Cardiovascular health in relation to the environment.” MiRcore member Jungwoo Chang, who attended the talk, mentioned that people should come listen if there is a next time, because they shouldn’t miss out.

“I never thought about the fact that air pollution could affect the heart so much because I’ve always thought about it being bad for the lungs,” he said.

Breaking news

One Day Closer, organized by the UM Translational Oncology Program (TOP), is an annual event where TOP scientists donate one day of their time to move us “one day closer” to a cure for cancer through seminars, tours, and interactive learning. This year, we are holding a booth at the event to promote miRcore and our mission and goals. The event is on Saturday, May 9 on North Campus from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We need volunteers to run the booth and to serve in the booth committee that meets every Thursday from 1-2 p.m. More info about One Day Closer can be found on their Facebook page here.

Booth Volunteers:

  • Set up booth by 9:00 a.m.

  • 1st Shift: 10:15 – 11:40 a.m. (at least two volunteers, with a maximum of four volunteers)

  • 2nd Shift: 12:20 – 1:45 p.m. (at least two volunteers, with a maximum of four volunteers)

  • Take down booth after end of event

In national news, President Obama announced that millions of dollars would be invested in personalized medicine research, such as gene therapy or any future methods. The cost of genome sequencing has decreased, so decoding one person’s genome has reduced from more than a million dollars, to $1,000. Watch the highlights from his speech here:

To help separate data and look at genes that are related to the disease that we are focused on, we use R, a programming language. It is something like Microsoft Excel, and can be used for data manipulation, advanced calculations and graphical display (all qualities of Microsoft Excel). However, R is more advanced and allows for more functions such as multiple data comparison.

dr.lee GIDAS person of the week: Dr. Lee. What is your favorite color? Red. What is your favorite food? Apples and dried squid. What is your favorite thing about miRcore? Students being excited about research.

GIDAS person of the week: Dr. Lee. What is your favorite color? Red. What is your favorite food? Apples and dried squid. What is your favorite thing about miRcore? Students being excited about research.

Until next time, science, compassion and efficiency.

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