Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Russ Altman's Translational Bioinformatics Year in Review

A few weeks ago the 2014 AMIA Translational Bioinformatics Meeting (TBI) was held in beautiful San Francisco.  This meeting is full of great science that spans the divide between molecular and clinical research, but a true highlight of this meeting is the closing keynote, traditionally given by Russ Altman.  Each year, he highlights the most exciting articles/publications in translational bioinformatics, and presents them all in a tidy, entertaining talk.  You can find his blog here, along with a link to his slide deck.  

To make accessing the papers a bit easier, here is a list of links.


Clinical Genomics:


Genetic Basis of Disease:

Emerging Data Sources:


The Scientific Process:

Odds & Ends:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Unsuck your writing

I recently found this little gem of a web app that analyzes the clarity of your writing. Hemingway highlights long, complex, and hard to read sentences. It also highlights complex words where a simple one would do, and highlights adverbs, suggesting you use a stronger verb instead. It highlights passive voice (bad!), and tells you the minimum reading grade level necessary to understand your writing.

When I pasted in some text from an abstract I submitted to ASHG years ago it showed me just how terrible and difficult to understand my scientific writing really is. My abstract text, which should have been hard-hitting and easy to understand at a glance, required a minimum grade 20 reading level. The majority of my 14 sentences were very hard to read and littered with too many adverbs, complicated words, and several uses of passive voice. (I still got a talk out of the submission, so maybe we as scientists enjoy reading tortuous verbiage...).

It looks like a desktop version is in the works, but the web app seemed to work fine, even for a 100,000-word manuscript I tried.

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Getting Genetics Done by Stephen Turner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.