28 April 2008

In which bad habits are rewarded

Turning on the computer is typically one of the first things I do in the morning after having a shower. Yes, it's not a good habit. But this morning, I got rewarded for it.

I had just tweaked a lecture for my general biology students last night, and I knew what I was going to talk about. This was my last lecture for the semester. I had talked about viruses last week, and was going to talk about how molecules originally discovered in viruses (integrase and reverse transcriptase) were now being used in biotechnology applications, including gene therapy.

I open up my news feed this morning, and find staring back at me:

"Gene therapy success 'reverses' blindness."

The headline is a bit over the top (the patients weren't completely blind, for instance), but the science was exactly what my lecture (in a couple of hours) was about: using a virus to deliver a modified gene to a patient. And the article even has an associated video showing some of the behavioural trials with the patients.

I love being able to bring in that newly published stuff into my class, but sadly, it's rare that you have the opportunity to do so, particularly in a general introductory class. So this was just friggin' awesome, and a great way to drive home the point that this is a great time to be studying biology.

But occasionally, I win one.

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