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I'm a medical student (who is halfway through med school) looking for a textbook that will consolidate some of the biology I already know. While I've read a lot of books that go into great detail about genetics, immunology and cell signaling, I've not found many books that focus on clear insights.
After recently having perused a very well-written nanotechnology book geared towards bionanotechnology ("Bionanotechnology: lessons from nature," by Goodsell), I found many cell biology topics very well explained. For example, it states simply that "lipids are used for infrastructure [in the body]", and that "polysaccharides are used in specialized structural roles". Such sentences I've personally never really come across in any of the "standard" molecular biology texts (Alberts, Cooper, etc); I found that they focus far too much on detailing exactly the components of the DNA polymerase, or the ribosome (which are very important, but also something I'd like to go "beyond".)
Clarification on what type of book I seek:
- A book within cell or molecular biology
- Scope of book; a book that covers any of the following: biochemistry, genetics (replication, translation, transcription, gene expression and its regulation, epigenetics, heredity, genetic engineering), developmental biology, cell biology (cell structure, organelles, cellular processes, cell signaling) and molecular biology (techniques such as high-throughput biology; concepts such as enhancers, repressors) and molecular evolution.
- Level of the book doesn't matter, although I have completed all the subjects above at an undergraduate (bachelor) level - the book could thus be directed towards graduate/masters students.
Any books/texts that will hone one's knowledge on the subjects mentioned will be warmly received!
Campbell's Biology is, I quote my biology teacher, "the Bible of AP Biology". I know you're a medical student and therefore far past that introductory college level, but Campbell's does quite a good and thorough job of explaining a plethora of biology topics. It's a fairly reliable textbook, I think you might like it. It also gives a good deal of examples for the various concepts and avoids such abstract statements as those you quoted from your textbook. I would suggest skimming through the book at a local bookstore if you can and seeing if it fits your criteria.
Biology Textbook Recommendations
The traditional biology degree will include, general biology, physiology, biochemistry, and genetics. Anything listed after genetics with the exception of the anatomy section can be considered electives, and you can go on to graduate level texts. I would assume that by the time you read biochemistry you have a knowledge of organic chemistry.
NEEDS TO BE ADDED: Evolutionary, Plant, and Ecology books. I do not know nor do I pretend to know anything about those subjects. If someone could add those books that would be great.
Book Review: Cell and Molecular Biology for Minors
Elementary school students are fascinated by science. They are particularly excited about topics that are immediately relevant to them—topics around the human body and what it is made of, basic bodily functions, how and why they look the way they do, and why they get sick and how they get better. As such, science is a powerful tool for getting students excited about reading and for challenging them to apply their developing reading skills to deepen their understanding of topics that are of interest.
Author and cancer researcher Fran Balkwill and artist Mic Rolph have teamed up to bring these topics to children in their beautifully illustrated series Enjoy Your Cells. This series includes four books. Enjoy Your Cells introduces readers to “an amazing hidden world just beneath your skin. A world of living cells that work together to make you.” Gene Machines introduces the concepts of genes and gene-based inheritance. Have a Nice DNA introduces “a very important chemical substance called Deoxyribonucleic Acid.” Finally, Germ Zappers is a primer on the cells of the immune system and how they fight infection. The publisher recommends these books for children ages 7 and up.
In addition to reviewing the books ourselves, we gave them to 10 students from the San Francisco Unified School District to review. The students included three second graders: Angela (age 7), Felix (age 7), and Tony (age 7) three third graders, Makayla (age 8), Sandy (age 8), and William (age 9) two fifth graders: Molly (age 10) and Jordan (age 11) and one seventh grader, Quran (age 13). In addition, one student, Ryan (age 7), was given the books for his mother (an engineer) to read to him. Each of the readers, including Ryan's mother, provided written commentary on the books. This review attempts to capture the students' voices and opinions, their excitement, confusions, and questions that arose from reading the books.
Students are constantly bombarded with sound bites based in modern science. They are told that something is “in their genes,” they hear tidbits of news releases about the Human Genome Project, genetic engineering, and human cloning, and they are confronted on a regular basis with disease, their immune systems, vaccinations, and antibiotics. These topics are interesting and relevant to students. They are also extraordinarily complex and abstract—the subject of entire college-level courses. Here the authors attempt to distill the essence of molecular and cellular biology and of immunology into digestible chunks. Nonscientist adults who read the series commented that the books present “rather complicated information in a straightforward, easy to understand manner” and that, for adults, the books provide a thorough refresher on their college biology classes taken many years ago. The challenge lies in presenting this abstract information in an accessible fashion to children, who at this age both struggle with the abstract and are full of misconceptions about how the world around them works. Books written for younger readers should end at a point where students are left wanting to learn more—not after having pushed the readers into information overload.
Authors writing a series of books always struggle with whether individual books in the series should stand alone. The Enjoy Your Cells series reads as if there is an intended order for the books, yet that order is not readily apparent. A clear order would help students build a linear understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, the authors who wisely uses repetition to strengthen student understanding, would then have the luxury of referring back to earlier topics and summarizing “take-home messages” rather than repeating complete topics. This helps students realize that what they read previously is relevant to the material they are currently learning, serving to tie the books and topics together in the students' minds. A concrete example of this is found in the treatment of DNA. DNA is introduced to students in three of the four books. In Enjoy Your Cells students are introduced to DNA as “a secret chemical code” in the chromosomes and informed that structurally DNA is a double helix that unzips to be copied and that it codes for proteins. Have A Nice DNA introduces DNA as “a very important chemical substance,” and reports that chromosomes are made of DNA, that DNA is made of four nucleotides that pair according to specific rules, that structurally it is a double helix that unzips to be copied, that DNA codes for proteins, and that these protein recipes are called genes. In Gene Machines, students are once again introduced to DNA as “a marvelous molecule” that makes up chromosomes and told that genes are recipes for making proteins, that DNA is made of four nucleotides that pair according to specific rules, and that structurally it is a double helix that unzips to be copied. Both Gene Machines and Enjoy Your DNA go into further detail describing how the DNA code is translated into proteins. Despite this level of repetition, before reading Have a Nice DNA (and after having read at least one other book in the series), more than half of the students responded that they had never heard of DNA before. After completing Enjoy Your Cells, Makayla (age 8) asked, “What is DNA?” And after reading Gene Machines, Angela (age 7) stated, “I know that genes make proteins,” but when asked why genes are important, she stated, “I don't know,” and ended her report with the question,“ What are genes?” One student was so overwhelmed by the complexity of the topic after reading Enjoy Your Cells and Have a Nice DNA that, on seeing the pictures of DNA in Gene Machines, he told his mother, “NO more! I can't take any more DNA.”
Developmentally, students in the age range recommended by the publisher (7–10) are not ready to be learning about many of the specific details and abstract concepts in molecular biology. The National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996), a commonly used guideline for science instruction, suggests gradually introducing these ideas. Before fourth grade (age 9) they limit ideas of inheritance and heredity to students' learning that plants and animals closely resemble their parents. The Standards also suggest introducing the study of cells between grade 5 (age 10) and grade 8 (age 14) and that, as students progress through this age range, they will begin to understand that genetic material carries information. Once in high school, students are able to incorporate more abstract knowledge. A compelling example of this is that students as old as 16 still have difficulty understanding the difference between a cell and a molecule. Many students believe that molecules are bigger than cells (Driver et al., 1994, p. 25), and some report that living systems are made up of cells but not molecules (molecules are associated with physical science) (National Research Council, 1996, p. 181). Some of this confusion is apparent in the writings of our student reviewers. Quran (age 13) was confused by the difference between DNA and cells—after reading in Have a Nice DNA that“ 97% of your DNA is pretty useless junk,” he reported that the most interesting thing he learned is that “97% of your cells are useless.” Molly (age 10) was also confused by the difference between DNA and cells. When asked how DNA works she replied, “It works by different cells connecting and working together to make more similar DNA cells. Those are called RNA cells.” After reading the book, Ryan (age 7) wanted to know “Why is it so complicated?” and Makayla (Age 8) stated,“ I did not understand a lot of the book.”
Students reading the books struggled with the amount of information on each page and the layout of the information. A common complaint among adults who read the books was that the books use columns inconsistently. Some pages have columns that are intended to be read horizontally, and others vertically one page is arranged in a circular fashion, with no order to the information presented (describing how genetic information is translated). Students reported becoming confused and frustrated as they reread the pages trying to determine the correct order for the information presented. Simpler pages with one key idea per page would make the books seem longer but would help students pick out the important ideas and focus on using the visual information on the page to reinforce and clarify the information they have just read.
When writing for this age range, authors also need to be careful about terminology. Just as the word molecule, discussed above, can introduce confusion, other tricky words should be used with caution. Unfamiliar descriptive words (such as skulking and waft) put the meaning of an easy-to-understand sentence in doubt and can be frustrating. They can be easily replaced with more familiar words so the student can focus on learning important science vocabulary (such as membrane, DNA, and lymph). The books also suffer by not defining key terms for young readers. Many of these are terms whose definitions adults take for granted. For example, defining DNA as a “secret chemical code” has meaning only if you know what a chemical is—many younger students do not. One way scientific terms have been defined clearly in books for young readers occurs in The Magic School Bus series. There the lead character, Ms. Frizzle, has the students in her classroom define key terms as reports—these papers authored by the students frame each page, so that readers may refer back to them as needed.
The books are most successful when they are very concrete. Most of the students who read Enjoy Your Cells learned that our bodies are made up of different types of cells and that these different cells have different functions. Some were also struck by their new understanding of size and scale—that we have so many (“one hundred million million”) cells and that they are so small (“it would take 25 to cover the surface of a grain of sand”). However, after reading this page, Ryan (age 7) asked, “Aren't grains of sand all different sizes?” Similarly, William (age 9) reported learning in Have a Nice DNA that “1 million DNA strands can fit in a sentence [sic]. That is a lot.” Other students latched onto topics that they found particularly interesting. Two girls were excited to have learned “how I was made.” Felix (age 8) was fascinated by the realization that as you grow you get more cells, rather than your existing cells getting bigger. This is a big leap in understanding for a student this age, and this idea could have been emphasized more strongly in the book so that more students would have this realization.
Student comprehension of Gene Machines was very mixed. A couple of students were fascinated by the realization that “XX = girl and XY = boy” (Makayla age 8), and others seemed to understand, as Molly (age 10) stated, that genes “make you the way you look.” But William (age 9) was confused by the title, and that resulted in his leaving with a powerful misconception: “We are a gene machine. I didn't know that we are machines.” As students in this age range are already struggling to understand the difference between living and nonliving things (Driver et al., 1994), this use of common biology jargon appears to have further confused a difficult subject for William. Finally, at least one student was confused by the similarity between the words “genes” and “jeans.” This may have been compounded by the joke on page 5, “I'm wearing mine!” When Felix (age 8) was asked what your genes do, he reported,“ You can wear them and do things.”
The concept of genes is one that is really fascinating to this age group (7–10), particularly the difference between girls and boys and the similarities between identical twins. However, this book misses the chance to explain or teach to this age group by being too complex and trying to cover information that is not yet at their developmental level. Yet one page in particular (page 16) does a nice job by describing simply and visually the effects of some genes on eye color, hair color and texture, and skin color. This page is right on target for this age group. The more complex discussion of human cloning could be an entire other book, and mentioning the presence of bacterial genes in the human genome only confounds young students. Finally, although much of science needs to be simplified to introduce topics to students, statements that are incorrect should be avoided. It is true that identical twins do look very similar however, they do not have the same fingerprints as is stated in the book.
The students' hands-down favorite book was Germ Zappers (only one student, Molly, chose a different favorite book). Students again each learned something different from this book, but also had similar questions. Jordan (age 11) was fascinated by the fact that it is hard for germs to get into your body. He thought that since “most germs are small, it should be easier [for germs to get in].” The students were again struck by topics of size and scale. William (age 8) said, “VIRUSES are 100 times smaller than bacteria. That's weird.” Students were surprised to learn that“ some [germs] are good and some are bad.” Although the students could acknowledge that there are different components of the immune system, it was unclear if they realized that these components are in fact different types of cells (“What are germ zappers made of?”—Makayla, age 8). Ryan's mom was concerned that the text of Germ Zappers states that our bodies fight off most viral infections easily—yet the viruses illustrated on page 19 include “ebola, smallpox, polio, leukemia, and encephalitis, which are not easily destroyed but rather very deadly.” Another adult reader was also confused by the graphic on this page—some of the viruses pictured have “scientific” names such as Ebola, but others appear to be named by the symptoms they cause (e.g., diarrhea). Finally, the authors could get even more buy-in from readers by exploiting topics with which students are intimately familiar. For example, students have extensive experience with fevers, yet their biological function is mentioned only in passing. The topics of antibiotics and the function of vaccination could also be further elaborated.
Although the illustrations are very striking and clearly engaged the students, they were, in a couple of instances, responsible for introducing misconceptions. When asked how cells are different, Jordan (age 11) responded,“ Some are different colors”: clearly he didn't notice the disclaimer about false coloring in small type on the page with the copyright information. Molly (age 10) finished Germ Zappers believing that natural killer cells “stick to bad germs and the germs leak out air” (the illustration on page 12 shows a deflating cell with a dialogue bubble saying “HISSSS”). Once acquired, these types of misconceptions can be very difficult for students to let go of.
Enjoy Your Cells is an ambitious undertaking, and the series may try to do too much, ultimately undermining the power and beauty of the authors' approach. Students came into this project fascinated by the subject matter and engrossed by the illustrations. Along the way they were distracted by the sheer volume of information that is presented in each of the books (and on each page). The individual books lack a focused take-home message for readers. Rather, they jump from topic to topic, often without critical transition and summary statements, which would help students to understand how what they just learned is relevant to what is about to come. Finally, the books assume an advanced vocabulary. Stumbling over both reading and the meaning of difficult words can be frustrating to young readers. In combination with the complex subject matter, this makes these books more appropriate for a considerably older audience.
Essential cell biology (2nd ed.)
Alberts, B., Bray, D., Hopkin, K., Johnson, A., Lewis, L., Raff, M., Roberts, K., and Walter, P., Garland Science, New York, 2004, 841 pp., ISBN 0-8153-3480-X, $98.00.
At first glance, Essential Cell Biology (ECB) appears to be a short version of Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) put together by five of the authors of MBoC. However, ECB is much more and significantly improved over its first edition, which was indeed reminiscent of a Reader's Digest condensation of the third edition of MBoC. The authors of ECB bring some of the best of MBoC into this text and add important features that make this an excellent text for teaching cell biology across a broad range of student backgrounds ranging from the sophomore to the senior level.
There are four major medium-sized cell biology textbooks: Cell and Molecular Biology by Karp The World of the Cell by Becker, Kleinsmith, and Hardin The Cell by Cooper and Cell Biology by Pollard and Earnshaw. The latter two are highly descriptive texts. Pollard and Earnshaw's text is refreshingly unique in its presentation and is the more sophisticated of the two. The texts by Karp and Becker et al., in contrast, provide numerous diversions into experiments to educate students in how knowledge in cell biology is obtained. ECB joins this collection of texts, displaying some of the best features of each and providing useful ancillary materials. Of the five texts, ECB is more richly illustrated, but the writing is not as smooth as the others (e.g. Becker et al. or Pollard and Earnshaw).
The general layout of the second edition of ECB is similar to MBoC and incorporates several features from MBoC: 1) integration of genomics throughout the text 2) “Panels” in which key concepts are elaborated (several identical to those found in MBoC) and 3) many of the same figures. ECB is different, however, in important ways pedagogically that make it worth serious consideration by cell biology instructors. First, the margins of the text often contain questions to provoke students to apply their knowledge or think more deeply about what they have been reading. Second, each chapter contains a section called “How We Know,” which discusses how key knowledge has been obtained through experiment. These sections are a nice mix of diagrams and photographic data, and the choices are classic experiments of which every cell biology instructor is familiar. Third, the end of each chapter contains a set of questions and problems for which the answers are available at the back of the textbook in an appendix. To my own mind, supplying the answers to all of these questions is a bad idea. It fosters dependence and does not force the student to find the answer more diligently, which can include discussing the questions with peers and instructors, both important learning mechanisms.
The authors use assertive statement titles to break up each chapter into small 650- to 750-word sections. Indeed, the “Detailed Contents,” which contains all the titles of each of these sections, almost serves as a chapter preview. The extensive use of such titles is an improved hierarchical structure over the stodgy numerical outline form one sees in other texts. Each chapter is divided into a small number of sections (e.g. “Ion Channels and the Membrane Potential”), which is further divided into several assertive statement-titled sections (e.g. “Ion Channels Randomly Snap Between Open and Closed States”). More importantly, these titles focus the student on the key idea that is developed in that section. At the end of each chapter, these ideas are briefly reworded in a collection of “Essential Concepts.” Given that a textbook like this is filled with factual information, I would prefer chapters to end with a brief discussion of the many unsolved mysteries of the cell to let students know that cell biology is a science requiring new minds to engage in the process of discovery.
Twenty-one chapters divide the text into canonical topics in which 1) four chapters are devoted to introductory chemistry and biochemistry 2) five chapters cover the “Central Dogma” 3) five chapters cover membranes, secretion, organelles, and energy capture 4) three chapters cover the cell cycle and cell division and then 5) there are three chapters on the cytoskeleton, cell communication, and “Tissues and Cancer.” Chapter 21, “Tissues and Cancer,” is a merger and condensation of two chapters of MBoC (Ch. 22, “Histology: The Lives and Deaths of Cells in Tissue” and Ch. 23, “Cancer”). The good news here is that the ECB incorporates the basic theme of the histology chapter of MBoC, which is a fine integration of classical histology and modern cell and molecular biology. The bad news is that it seems to shortchange this theme with too few illustrations. Still, this is a great chapter, and it might be the one chapter that makes this book unique among its competitors. The introductory chapters of this book, like those in MBoC, contain some of the best introductions to fundamental chemistry and biochemistry in any life science text that I have ever seen.
An interesting new chapter is Chapter 9, “How Genes and Genomes Evolve.” The chapter is brief and seems a bit out of place, geared more to readers of a molecular genetics text. I think that exploring the evolution of genes or proteins relevant to cell biology would have made this chapter more meaningful to students of cell biology (e.g. clotting factors, cell adhesion molecules, growth factor receptors). Chapter 10, “Manipulating Genes and Cells,” is a disappointment it is too superficial and omits at least one key technology. The presentations of DNA cloning and PCR are not sufficiently rigorous (although the animation of PCR in the CD-ROM is quite good). While it is nice to see in situ hybridization, DNA sequencing, expression vectors, microarray technology, and knockout mice presented, it is unfortunate that the two-hybrid system is not discussed. Given the attention macromolecular assemblages now receive, the two-hybrid system is one of the key gateways in determining the composition of these systems as well as other protein-protein interactions that drive cellular processes. Given the emphasis on genomics in this text, it is surprising that proteomics is not discussed in this chapter.
Other features that come with ECB are an Instructor's DVD (with additional videos and animations that are not available on the student CD-ROM, transparencies (but unfortunately no CD with all the figures), a test bank available online, and an interesting curriculum supplement by Prof. Katayoun Chamany (online at Garland's web site)) that incorporates some of the cooperative learning concepts that have become the rage in the last few years. Another feature available to anyone, whether you use this book or not, is the availability of many of these figures online at NCBI, if you know the cognate version of the figure in the third edition of MBoC. Anyone not familiar with this marvelous resource owes herself or himself a visit to the Books section at NCBI (www.ncbi.nih.gov). The CD-ROM accompanying this book is a collection of most of the outstanding animations and films found in the CD-ROM of MBoC. Many of these are available on CD-ROMs in other texts, but a few of these animations are still unique to Garland Science textbooks.
Cell biology instructors face a choice between two kinds of texts: encyclopedic texts such as MBoC or Lodish et al.'s Molecular Cell Biology or medium-sized texts such as ECB and the others I have mentioned. While I prefer a medium-sized text, I know many instructors who prefer the encyclopedic texts. Among the medium-sized texts, one also has some choices. The Cell and Cell Biology read like narratives with very few diversions into experiments or applications in biomedicine or biotechnology. As such, they are very easy reading and beautifully illustrated. Indeed, Cell Biology also has the unique perspective of two outstanding cell biologists whose research spans well over two decades. On the other hand, if you like having self-assessment available in the text for your students, ECB, The World of the Cell, and Cell and Molecular Biology make this available. ECB has the most when one considers the questions embedded in the chapters in addition to those at the end. Of the latter three texts, I liked the writing in The World of the Cell best. All of these books are available in relatively recent editions, with ECB being the newest.
There are some confusions in the text, mostly minor but potentially troublesome for an instructor. I'll just mention a few. On page 123, hydrophobic interactions are discussed and the reader is led to think of it as a fourth weak molecular force, which is a troubling oversimplification. In Fig. 12-2, water is listed as a molecule that easily penetrates synthetic lipid bilayers, which is also an oversimplification that diminishes the importance and ubiquity of the water channel aquaporin. The most difficult chapter to read in the text is Chapter 16, “Cell Communication.” This chapter reads like a last-minute condensation of MBoC's cognate chapter consequently, it is conceptually incoherent at times. I also think that signal integration and antagonism between pathways is given too little attention given recent discoveries of the last several years, especially with the BMP and FGF signaling pathways. Surprisingly, insulin receptor signaling gets no attention at all. While signaling is complicated, it is not conceptually so such that I think it does no service to students or naïve instructors to deal with receptor tyrosine kinases as abstractly as these authors do.
Alas, it is easy to find faults with a textbook however, despite its faults, ECB might be the best teaching text on the market right now. It combines solid writing, excellent figures, extensive self-assessment, and a nice collection of animations and videos on its CD-ROM. If you were disappointed with the first edition as I was, take a close look at this substantively different, excellent second edition.
TEACHING WITH AND WITHOUT A TEXTBOOK
Since 1983, I have taught courses ranging in size from Introduction to Molecular Biology (∼400 students), which used a textbook, to smaller (20- to 40-student) “critical-thinking” courses, some of which used no textbook. All the larger required lower-level undergraduate courses taught by other faculty in the department also use textbooks. Over the same period, through discussion with undergraduate students working in my lab, I amassed a substantial body of anecdotal evidence suggesting that students could pass through the MCDB curriculum without attaining a “working” understanding of the materials presented. In an attempt to help remedy this situation, I developed and taught an introductory course in molecular and cellular biology, MCDB 1111: Biofundamentals (http://www.colorado.edu/MCDB/MCDB1111), without a textbook. I conceived Biofundamentals as a “transformed” introductory course (more about that below), and because I was generally dissatisfied with available textbooks, I decided to develop my own Web-based materials. While an editor of The Dynamic Cell (Dawson et al, 2000), I began to think about teaching technologies, and I started work with Tom Lundy and Spencer Browne to develop Flash-based virtual laboratories (http://virtuallaboratory.net, http://bioliteracy.net).
Molecular Biology of Human Cancers
Over the last three decades, knowledge on the molecular biology of human cancers has vastly expanded. A host of genes and proteins involved in cancer development and progression have been defined and many mechanisms at the molecular, cellular and even tissue level have been, at least partly, elucidated. Insights have also been gained into the molecular mechanisms underlying carcinogenesis by chemical, physical, and biological agents and into inherited susceptibility to cancer.
Accordingly, Part I of the book presents many of the molecules and mechanisms generally important in human cancers. Following an overview on the cancer problem, individual chapters deal with cancer genetics and epigenetics, DNA damage and repair, oncogenes, tumor suppressors, regulatory pathways in cancer, apoptosis, cellular senescence, tumor invasion, and metastasis.
A consensus is emerging that while these common mechanisms and molecules are all relevant to human cancers, in each cancer type (or even subtype) a selection of them are extremely important. For selected cancers, the route from genetic and epigenetic changes to their biological and clinical behavior can already be traced. Part II of the book presents a broad, but exemplary selection of cancers that serve as paradigms to illustrate this point.
In fact, cancer research has now reached a critical stage, in which the accumulated knowledge on molecular mechanisms is gradually translated into improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The state, pitfalls, and potential of these efforts are summarized in Part III.
More than ever, cancer research is now an interdisciplinary effort which requires a basic knowledge of commonly used terms, facts, issues, and concepts. The aim of this book is to provide advanced students and practitioners of different disciplines with this basis, bridging the gap between standard textbooks of molecular biology, pathology, and oncology on the one hand and the specialized cancer literature on the other.
"Although Molecular Biology of Human Cancers is intended as a text for a graduate-level course, it is even more valuable for researchers like me, as a thoughtful encapsulation of the important areas of contemporary cancer research. … the book is well designed as a text. The prose is clear, the numerous diagrams and tables are helpful … . is unique in both coverage and perspective. Overall, I know of no other single source that provides a thoughtful view of more areas of molecular cancer research." (Joseph Locker, Angiogenesis, Vol. 7, 2004)
"This is a detailed and comprehensive review of the molecular aspects of cancer aetiology and development in man. It is aimed at advanced students and trainees in cancer-related disciplines and thus at a rather broad-spectrum audience. … Overall, this is an interesting and informative book, which would be helpful to students wishing to have some in-depth knowledge of cancer genetics, and an overview of general concepts in this field … ." (Shirley Hodgson, Human Genetics, Vol. 123, 2008)
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Freeman, Biological Science. 6th edition. 2016.
Biology is chemistry come to life. Biology teaches you the big picture of where humans fit into the web of life as well as the nitty gritty of how cells function. Most of the biochemical pathways that nutrients undergo occur in specific subcellular compartments where understanding the cell and its compartments is as relevant as understanding the nutrients or the enzymes that metabolize them. For example, you can't understand why cytosolic acetyl CoA becomes fat and mitochondrial acetyl CoA generates ATP without understanding the basic organization of the cell. If you look at the reviews, the Freeman book is praised for making the take-home points clear and not overloading you with information. The reason I loved it is because it tells the story of biology, making frequent reference to how we discovered key principles and the kind of experimentation that these discoveries required.
7 From road trips to roadmaps
The representation of tissue organisation, that I just described, is what I am currently working on. Rather being the end of a story, it is a beginning. We have nevertheless now come to the end of the road trip through my life and work. Having experienced blind alleys, beautiful intellectual landscapes and having met wonderful people along the journey, it is time to sum it all up in a roadmap.
I am excited about the things to come like an explorer, who has now available the equipment to start an expedition into a new world, searching for principles of tissue organisation. This trip will not be easy though. To start with, there are many cellular mechanisms but only a few law-like principles to be discovered. Secondly, I cannot do this on my own. I am not a proper mathematician and neither do I have medical training. I have, however, always enjoyed working in interdisciplinary teams and I am therefore looking forward to this joint (ad)venture.
While the illness of my father sparked my interest, I do not study cellular systems because it is useful I study nature's complexity because it is beautiful. If living systems were not complex, it would not be worth trying to understand them. Following the phone call on the 10 October 1993, it was clear that nothing could be done about the lung emphysema my father had. I accompanied him during the final days, hours and the very moment his body gave up on 30 October 2011. The feeling of helplessness you experience with these diseases is terrible. Like the difficult questions we face in our private life, complex scientific problems, provide a source of uncertainty and frustration. However, there is another perspective I leave you with. This is what I have found: When I was told that nothing could be done about my father's disease, I went into the bookstore. There was indeed nothing that could be done, except studying the problem. By embracing complexity, taking the uncertain route, we can experience great joy and take part in a collaborative effort that will eventually push the limits of what is possible.
All I could hope for during the last 21 years, was to be a contributor of tiny pieces to an enormously large puzzle that is the emergence of diseases from tissue malfunctioning. My dream is now to witness how someone, hopefully someone who reads this, sees a picture emerging from that puzzle to which thousands of scientists contribute every day with their work. Such a picture could sketch a principle of tissue organisation. Our greatest hope for better treatments of diseases, like cancer, therefore lies therefore in a new generation of scientists. This new generation should not only pin their hopes on new technologies. The future of medicine does not lie in a new generation of technologies: If we only pursue a technology-driven agenda, we will eventually recognise, that it is not only a lack of technologies that hinders progress, but more importantly a lack of ideas that limits us.
Not only technologies but new ideas, novel methodologies, are thus the future of medical research [ 7 ]. To embrace the complexity living systems, requires us to appreciate the value of theory for medical research: What we observe with technologies is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. This is why there is nothing more practical than a good theory! New paths in this direction are created by walking them, so that interesting advances often come about when people are prepared to diverge from established routes. Regardless of what you study, or what your area of expertise is, at some point you should try to use your experience in another context and you may be surprised where this takes you. It therefore also does not matter too much what you do to begin with, what counts is the readiness and curiosity for new routes at a later stage. Twenty-one years ago, I was an engineer with no idea about what lies ahead but what I know now is, that your dreams really can come true. What I discovered over the years is that the complexity of my personal life, the uncertainty and fear you encounter in making decisions about your life and career but also the challenges we face in academic research, can be approached in the same way.
If failure seems inevitable, you might as well fail at something you love, rather than as something you feel you have to do. Whatever you do, failure is no problem, not trying is. For all the complex problems we have to comprehend before we can do something about them, we comprehend them by doing something about them. By embracing complexity and trying the seemingly impossible, you eventually push the limits of the practically possible, in your life and with your work.
Certified Biology, Anatomy, physiology, pathology, Biochemistry, Anatomy tutor with 3 years experience. I work with students ranging from children to adults.
Hi, my name is Priscilla. I am 5th-year Medical student currently. I enjoy teaching Biology and Biological related courses.
I have successfully worked with several students at both beginners and advanced levels.
I use mnemonics, illustrated pictures and videos when tutoring, to ensure that you understand, retain, and reproduce the information when needed.
I teach Biology and other medical-related subjects like Pathophysiology, Physiology, Anatomy and Pathology.
I also teach GRE biology, Molecular biology, and Microbiology.
I use tailored syllabus and high yield pointers when working with students that are preparing for external exams like SAT, GRE, to ensure that they attain high scores.
Come and book your first lesson with me and let us work together to achieve your desired goal.
Together, nothing is impossible. Thank you.
i am preparing for my end semester exam now with Priscee, she is very kind and patient with deep knowledge in the related topic . Highly recommended
I had started taking lessons from Miss Priscila just about a week before my exam and they were nearly as best. I was able to cover my whole syllabus in a really short amount of time. She explained and presented me every lesson clearly in depth and supported me throughout my preparation. I just loved her along with her classes :D
Priscee is honestly such a great teacher ! She goes in depth into a topic to make sure you understand. I was beyond lost and she explained it so perfectly !
How the brain recognizes objects in space. The various mechanisms put in place by the brain in thinking and constructing space
I have experience in teaching students effectively according to the updated syllabus and very effective high yield pointers.
Students will get to learn about cell biology, molecular biology, Genetics, Ecology, Evolution , biodiversity and human physiology.
Ap biology curriculum is one I am quite familiar with. I would cover the topics that are very crucial for your exams. I would also cover the topics that are included in the labs section. I would delicately break down each topic to simper bits to understand. I would help you create an effective study plan to work with.
I have experience in preparing students effectively for the GCSE and IGCSE exam .Whether it’s a checkpoint exam or the main exam. I would prepare you for it accordingly teaching you with the updated syllabus and reviewing past questions .
Biochemistry was one of the course I passed and studied in my premed days . I know how complex this subject might seem at first glance . I would simplify this for your understanding.
As a medical student, I studied and passed Anatomy and I am familiar with the subject and will guide you accordingly. My classes often involve me doing thorough explanations and a-times I love to throw questions to test your knowledge. Anatomy would be made simplified for you .
The rigorous training involved in SAT Biology preparation is one I understand . Students who book a class will be prepared adequately for their SAT exam. All the key elements would be broken down so you get adequate help. I would throughly explain the concepts required for your exam as well as practice questions.
Sat molecular biology
Molecular biology concepts like: cellular structures and processes like respiration, photosynthesis, mitosis, enzymes, will be broken down. I would explain and discuss processes taking place in the body at the molecular level.