Author: Anya Vostinar

Attend ALife XV!

By Anya Vostinar on January 12, 2016 in News / 1 Comment
Attend ALife XV!

The ALife XV conference is taking place July 4-8 in Cancun, Mexico this year, and is shaping up to look like it’s going to be an exciting program. For those of you interested in presenting, papers or abstract submissions are due in just over a month.  We’re including the full Call for Papers below. A number of members of the Devolab are planning to go, so let us know if you will be there and would like to meet up! Call for Papers: The 2016 ALife Organizing Committee would like to cordially invite you to submit your work to “The Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems”, taking place at the Cancun International Convention Center in Cancun, Mexico, on July 4-8, 2016.

Happy Holidays!

By Anya Vostinar on December 22, 2015 in Humor / 0 Comments
Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to those celebrating this week! We don’t actually have snow around here strangely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. If you missed it last year, Emily did a wonderful recreation of A Christmas Carol, academic style! An Academic Christmas Carol: Part 1

Writing in the Sciences Online Class

By Anya Vostinar on November 17, 2015 in Information / 0 Comments
Writing in the Sciences Online Class

I recently finished taking an online course through Stanford’s Lagunita online learning site. The course was “Medicine: SciWrite Writing in the Sciences” and was an online version of a class that is offered in person at Stanford from what I can tell. This was the first online class I had ever taken and I decided to try it originally because I’m done with taking classes for my PhD and honestly craved a bit of structure as I started my first semester of pure research. I also hear on a regular basis how important strong writing skills are to scientists no matter where you end up, so this class seemed a good thing to try. While the class is apparently through the medical school and the examples made that clear, I found that the information pertained to […]

Review of “Why do bacteria regulate public goods by quorum sensing?”

By Anya Vostinar on November 3, 2015 in Review / 0 Comments
Review of “Why do bacteria regulate public goods by quorum sensing?”

Bacteria flourish in nearly every place on Earth imaginable including in and on humans. They also reproduce and therefore evolve much more quickly than we do, so understanding their evolution is vital to every aspect of our lives. A surprisingly common strategy for bacteria ­- controlling everything from virulence to production of useful resources such as cellulase -­ is a form of communication called quorum sensing. Bacterial cells using quorum sensing consistently produce a signal molecule and then detect the concentration of that molecule in the surrounding area. The bacteria generally have a signal­-molecule density threshold, called a quorum, that triggers them to start performing a new behavior. The behaviors controlled by quorum sensing are usually only useful if there are enough organisms doing them at the same time. Producing public goods such as light or enzymes […]

How to Start Using Avida

By Anya Vostinar on September 15, 2015 in Information / 0 Comments
How to Start Using Avida

Hopefully you’re convinced of why you might want to use Avida (if not, check out Why Use Artificial Life to Study Evolutionary Biology). However, Avida is a pretty large and intimidating software system even for computer programmers, so I can only imagine how it feels to be a biologist looking at all those configuration files. Therefore, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide for which pages you should go to to get up and running with Avida as soon as possible, no computer science bachelor’s required.