Genetic “Mesearch”

Personal genomics Personal, consumer genomics has exploded in the past decade, and shows no signs of slowing. Yet there is an inherent tension in attempts to translate the findings of genetic research, which is done in large groups of people, into insights for individuals. I.e., the research question, “Does this genetic variant, or set of Read More…

A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf spoke of needing a “room of one’s own” in which to write. Her remarks were partly in response to a culture where intellectual work was not seen as women’s work, where women were given neither the physical nor abstract spaces in which to pursue their own thoughts. Thankfully, today these issues are less Read More…

Data transactions

We browse, therefore we’re data Chances are high you got here from a link on Facebook or Twitter. Or maybe you recently ordered a holiday gift from Amazon. If you’re like me, you use these social media platforms and web services with a hint of resign and possible distaste for the way your data is Read More…

Guest post & a survey!

Guest post I don’t know how to say this, but…I’ve been seeing other blogs!! Just kidding. I mean I’ve started writing on another blog, hosted by the University of Washington Genomics Salon. The Salon brings together a diverse group of students, post-docs, faculty, and community members to discuss issues relevant to science and society. I Read More…

Opening the Tomb

Terra cotta warriors During the last week in August, I attended a special exhibit of the Terra Cotta warriors at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. The warriors are a touring collection of a tiny subset of the vast clay “army” buried over 2,000 years ago, encircling the tomb of China’s first emperor. While the clay soldiers Read More…

Do we “participate” in Facebook?

Lately I’ve been reading, discussing, and thinking about the concept of “participation.” It’s an idea that gets thrown around a lot but without too much examination or critique. Specifically, I am researching theories and frameworks of “participation” as it relates to my dissertation. The question I’m asking is: does giving people access to their own Read More…

“If I build it, I will come”

For my dissertation, I have been interviewing developers of third-party interpretation tools for consumer genomic data. These are tools such as Promethease, openSNP, and DNA.land, among many others, where people who have their genetic data file from consumer testing can seek further analysis and/or contribute their genome to research. Even though I’m only a few interviews Read More…

Big Data, Big Deal (?)

Quick free association exercise: I say “big data” and you think…maybe, Google? NSA? The bane of my existence? The promise of tomorrow? I have a little bit of all of the above. But firstly I think of big genetic data, which is all the rage in biomedical research. Big data in genetics has come about Read More…