Taralyn Tan Ph.D. Curriculum Fellow Harvard Medical

Check out these websites from GEN’s Best of the Web.

The Internet is a big place; when you're looking for biotech-related websites, where should you start? At GEN's Best of the Web, of course! Every other issue, we bring you a list of biotech- and biopharma-related websites we think you, GEN reader, would find useful and/or interesting. Here is our most recent list of the Best of the Web. Enjoy!

Four stars: Excellent
Three stars: Very Good
Two stars: Good
+ Strong points
Weak points

Endocrine Web ★★★

+ Lots of information, online patient support groups
Cluttered with advertisements

Diabetes, obesity, and hyperthyroidism—what do these have in common? They are all common endocrine disorders. To find out more about these—as well as many other—endocrine disorders, click over to Endocrine Web. Endocrine Web is an great online resource for endocrinology. It not only presents basic educational information about the endocrine system, it also provides pertinent information for patients with endocrine disorders. For example, site visitors can search for clinical trials related to specific endocrine disorders, and they can also discuss a particular condition with the community via online support groups. The website also provides a number of patients’ guides on topics such as insulin, thyroid cancer, and treating high cholesterol and diabetes. The website is a bit busy with advertisements, but it is nicely organized and contains a great deal of valuable information.


Carl Zeiss Microscopy Online Campus ★★★★

+ Interactive tutorials, primary literature citations

There are a number of great online educational microscopy resources, and in their company is the Carl Zeiss Microscopy Online Campus. This website provides a wealth of information on microscopy and its applications, perfect for the neophyte microscopist or seasoned scientist searching for a deeper theoretical understanding of the imaging that he/she may use on a regular basis in the lab. Content on the site is divided into nine topics, and these include basic microscopy, spinning disk microscopy, fluorescent proteins, and light sources, among others. In addition, there is an interactive tutorials page that includes animations to illuminate (yes, pun intended) specific concepts, and there is also a reference library page that directs readers to relevant primary literature across a range of microscopy topics.


Primate Info Net ★★★★

+ Large number of links, lots of information

While it is true that the heading “primates in the news” is appropriate to just about all news headlines, on the Primate Info Net this phrase specifically refers to nonhuman primates. This website, from the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides site visitors with not only the latest primate news, but also a lot of educational, research, and career resources related to primates and working with primates. The “about the primates” section of the website includes species-specific factsheets, taxonomy information, and a large number of links to primate-related websites. Under “research resources,” site visitors will find a number of resources dedicated to care and management of lab animals, as well as information about research grants and links to genomics resources. Finally, more links can be found under the “educational resources” section, including career-related information.


Siphonophores ★★★

+ Nicely organized site, links
Not a great deal of information 

You may not know what a siphonophore is, but chances are that you’ve heard of other members belonging to their same phylogenetic group (Cnidaria), such as corals and jellyfish. Siphonophores are largely long and thin creatures with tentacles, and many of them are bioluminescent. (Are you intrigued yet?) To learn more about these strange, glowing creatures, visit siphonophores.org. This website includes a lot of educational information about siphonophores, including facts about their colonial developments, life cycle, and body plan. There is a small glossary of terms to assist you as you learn about these critters, and there is also a nice links page that provides links to sites highlighting other types of Cnidarians. The site is nicely organized, and while it doesn’t contain a wealth of information, it is still very educational and interesting.



+ Overview of topics in the field, full reports provided
Seemingly no longer updated (current as of 2008)

For the image analysis and math aficionados out there, the IMAGERS website—the website for the image processing research group at UCLA—provides a nice window into the mathematical aspects of image processing. Through the “research” tab, users can browse pages related to eight topics: image reconstruction, inpainting, computation, segmentation and active contours, level set, wavelets and compression, tomography, and vision modeling. Each page provides brief descriptions of the group’s work on the specific topic while defining particular aspects of the topics in the process. The reports page of the site includes PDF files of “recent” research reports from the group. Unfortunately, the page covers reports only through 2008. (A link to the UCLA CAM reports page, given on the homepage, will take you to a complete and up-to-date list of all computational applied mathematics reports from the department.) While out-of-date, this website highlights some of the major topics in the field of image processing and the type of research that is being pursued.


Neuroscience Online ★★★★

+ Great deal of information

We are living in a very exciting time, wherein knowledge is increasingly made freely available for the masses online. One such example (although certainly not the only example) is the Neuroscience Online website from the department of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, which provides a free electronic neuroscience textbook and course materials. The material on the site is quite comprehensive and is divided into four sections: cellular and molecular neurobiology, sensory systems, motor systems, and homeostasis and higher brain functions. Each section, in turn,  consists of a number of chapters, all of which are authored by Ph.Ds. The chapters themselves combine text, lecture videos, and animations, presenting the information in an engaging way to site visitors.


Want more Best of the Web? Click here! Also, to suggest a website for Best of the Web, please send the URL to Taralyn Tan ([email protected]).

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