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Ada Lovelace Day-Meet the founder of Bioinformatics, Margaret Dayhoff

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Ada Lovelace Day allows us an opportunity to highlight the work of women in science.

Today I’d like you to meet a pioneer in the field of bioinformatics, Margaret Dayhoff, a visionary who:

  • created the first computer program to analyze molecular data
  • created the single letter amino acid abbreviation
  • developed the first public molecular database
  • revolutionized the field of evolutionary classification by using mathematical matrices to examine protein similarities.

Now that I am teaching online courses, I have become familiar  (but not a pro) with screen capture technology. I use Camtasia for Mac, which I find fairly easy to edit. Instead of writing a post to introduce you to Dr. Dayhoff, I narrate this tutorial video (hence its presence on PsiVid). I hope curious viewers will learn something new about the field of bioinformatics and about Dayhoff’s contribution. The audience for this video would be novices, possibly at the high school level or adults unfamiliar with bioinformatics.

Stick around to the end (or jump to 7:49)  to learn a fun way to find your name in DNA using some of the principles that Dr. Dayhoff developed! It’s a great exercise in understanding the central dogma of biology and the power of bioinformatics. You can do that by visiting THIS WEBSITE

I used an iPod earphone mic, so when I moved my head, the sound vacillated. My coworker had borrowed the “snowball” mic that I would normally use for the audio. Also, you are seeing an odd pulsing. I do need to optimize the frames per second during processing to have that disappear, just not sure which direction to go, higher or lower. Anyone have suggestions?

Joanne Manaster About the Author: Joanne Manaster is a university level cell and molecular biology lecturer with an insatiable passion for science outreach to all ages. Enjoy her quirky videos at www.joannelovesscience.com, on twitter @sciencegoddess and on her Facebook page at JoanneLovesScience Follow on Twitter @sciencegoddess.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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