Saturday, February 16, 2019

Genetically Engineered Trees

A biotechnology scientist removes a leaf sample for cloning trees and somatic embryogeny of plant tissue at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris, France. Photo: (INRA)
The climate change is just the tip of the iceberg and the fate of forests may soon depend on genetically engineered techniques to perfect them. 

genetically engineered trees
A scientist examines a plant growing in a test tube. (Photo by Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
As compared to gene-edited babies in China and ambitious projects to rescue woolly mammoths from extinction, biotech trees might sound pretty tame. But it's the next step to release genetically engineered trees into the natural ecosystems to counter the environmental threats. The ''Green Biotech'' sector represents a new frontier in biotechnology. Even as the techniques of molecular biology have advanced, humans have not yet released genetically engineered plant with adaptive traits that are intended to spread independently and persist in an unmanaged environment.  Biotech trees — genetically engineered or gene-edited — offer just that possibility. One thing is clear: The threats facing our forests are many, and the health of these ecosystems is getting worse. A 2012 assessment by the US Forest Service estimated that nearly seven percent of forests nationwide are in danger of losing at least a quarter of their tree vegetation by 2027. This estimate may not sound too worrisome, but it is 40 percent higher than the previous estimate made just six years earlier.

In 2018, at the request of several US federal agencies, the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine formed a committee to “examine the potential use of biotechnology to mitigate threats to forest tree health.” Experts, including me, a social scientist focused on emerging biotechnologies, were asked to “identify the ecological, ethical, and social implications of deploying biotechnology in forests, and develop a research agenda to address knowledge gaps.” Our committee members came from universities, federal agencies, and NGOs and represented a range of disciplines: molecular biology, economics, forest ecology, law, tree breeding, ethics, population genetics, and sociology. All of these perspectives were important for considering the many aspects and challenges of using biotechnology to improve forest health.

Forests Vanishing Crisis 

Climate change is just the tip of the iceberg. Forests face higher temperatures and droughts and more pests. As goods and people move around the globe, even more, insects and pathogens hitchhike into our forests. We focused on four case studies to illustrate the breadth of forest threats. The emerald ash borer arrived from Asia and causes severe mortality in five species of ash trees. First detected on US soil in 2002, it had spread to 31 states as of May 2018. Whitebark pine, a keystone and foundational species in high elevations of the US and Canada, is under attack by the native mountain pine beetle and an introduced fungus. Over half of whitebark pine in the northern US and Canada have died.
More than 80 million acres are at risk of losing at least 25 percent of tree vegetation between 2013 and 2027 due to insects and diseases.
Poplar trees are important to riparian ecosystems as well as for the forest products industry. A native fungal pathogen, Septoria musiva, has begun moving west, attacking natural populations of black cottonwood in Pacific Northwest forests and intensively cultivated hybrid poplar in Ontario. And the infamous chestnut blight, a fungus accidentally introduced from Asia to North America in the late 1800s, wiped out billions of American chestnut trees. Can biotech come to the rescue? Should it?

It’s Complicated 

Although there are many potential applications of biotechnology in forests, such as genetically engineering insect pests to suppress their populations, we focused specifically on biotech trees that could resist pests and pathogens. Through genetic engineering, for example, researchers could insert genes, from a similar or unrelated species, that help a tree tolerate or fight an insect or fungus. It’s tempting to assume that the buzz and enthusiasm for gene editing will guarantee quick, easy, and cheap solutions to these problems. But making a biotech tree will not be easy. Trees are large and long-lived, which means that research to test the durability and stability of an introduced trait will be expensive and take decades or longer.

     Biotechnology researches and inspection of genetically engineered plants in a specimen at       Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in Paris, Frace Photo: Pierre Vauthey.
We also don’t know nearly as much about the complex and enormous genomes of trees, compared to lab favorites such as fruit flies and the mustard plant, Arabidopsis. In addition, because trees need to survive over time and adapt to changing environments, it is essential to preserve and incorporate their existing genetic diversity into any “new” tree. Through evolutionary processes, tree populations already have many important adaptations to varied threats, and losing those could be disastrous. So even the fanciest biotech tree will ultimately depend on a thoughtful and deliberate breeding program to ensure long-term survival. For these reasons, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee recommend increasing investment not just in biotechnology research, but also in tree breeding, forest ecology, and population genetics.

Oversight Challenges 

The committee found that the US Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology, which distributes federal oversight of biotechnology products among agencies such as EPA, USDA, and FDA, is not fully prepared to consider the introduction of a biotech tree to improve forest health. Most obviously, regulators have always required containment of pollen and seeds during biotech field trials to avoid the escape of genetic material. For example, the biotech chestnut was not allowed to flower to ensure that transgenic pollen wouldn’t blow across the landscape during field trials. But if biotech trees are intended to spread their new traits, via seeds and pollen, to introduce pest resistance across landscapes, then studies of wild reproduction will be necessary. These are not currently allowed until a biotech tree is fully regulated.

Another shortcoming of the current framework is that some biotech trees may not require any special review at all. The USDA, for example, was asked to consider a loblolly pine that was genetically engineered for greater wood density. But because USDA’s regulatory authority stems from its oversight of plant pest risks, it decided that it did not have any regulatory authority over that biotech tree. Similar questions remain regarding organisms whose genes are edited using new tools such as CRISPR. The committee noted that US regulations fail to promote a comprehensive consideration of forest health. Although the National Environmental Policy Act sometimes helps, some risks many potential benefits. This is the case for biotech trees as well as other tools to counter pests and pathogens, such as tree breeding, pesticides, and site management practices.

How Do You Measure the Value of a Forest?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report suggest an “ecosystem services” framework for considering the various ways that trees and forests provide value to humans. These range from the extraction of forest products to the use of forests for recreation to the ecological services a forest provides — water purification, species protection, and carbon storage. The committee also acknowledged that some ways of valuing the forest do not fit into the ecosystem services framework. For example, if forests are seen by some to have “intrinsic value,” then they have value in and of themselves, apart from the way humans value them and perhaps implying a kind of moral obligation to protect and respect them. Issues of “wildness” and “naturalness” also surface.

Wild Nature?

Paradoxically, a biotech tree could increase and decrease wildness. If wildness depends upon a lack of human intervention, then a biotech tree will reduce the wildness of a forest. But perhaps so would a conventionally bred hybrid tree that was deliberately introduced into an ecosystem. Which would reduce wildness more — the introduction of a biotech tree or the eradication of an important tree species? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but they remind us of the complexity of decisions to use technology to enhance “nature.” This complexity points to a key recommendation of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report: dialogue among experts, stakeholders, and communities about how to value forests, assess the risks and potential benefits of biotech and understand complex public responses to any potential interventions, including those involving biotechnology.

These processes need to be respectful, deliberative, transparent, and inclusive. Such processes, such as a 2018 stakeholder workshop on the biotech chestnut, will not erase conflict or even guarantee consensus, but they have the potential to create insight and understanding that can feed into democratic decisions that are informed by expert knowledge and public values.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Scholarship For Masters/PhD. Degrees In USA

     Fulbright Foreign Student Program For Masters/Ph.D. Studies in U.S.A

USA GovernmentMasters/Ph.D. Degrees 
Deadline: varies, Feb-Oct 2019
Study in:  USA
Course starts AY 2020-2021


The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists, from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States at U.S. universities or other academic institutions.

Host Institution(s):
USA Universities and Academic Institutions
Field(s) of study:
Fulbright encourages applications from all fields, including interdisciplinary ones.
Number of Awards:
Approximately 4,000 foreign students receive Fulbright scholarships each year.
Target group:
International students from 155 countries around the world
Scholarship value/duration:
Generally, the grant funds tuition, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance, etc. The Fulbright program provides funding for the duration of the study. See the official website and country specific websites for the complete list of scholarship benefits.
Program eligibility and selection procedures vary widely by country. Please see the country specific websites to find information about the Fulbright Program in your home country, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines.
Application instructions:
All Foreign Student Program applications are processed by bi-national Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies. Therefore, foreign students must apply through the Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy in their home countries. Deadline varies per country but is around February to October. It is important to visit the official website (link found below) and the country specific websites for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Glasgow's Scholarship For International Students

The University of Glasgow is one of the leading public research university in Glasgow, Scotland.
Institution: University of Glasgow
Program:    Masters Degree
                                                                                                                         Deadline: July 2019
                                                                                                                         Study in: Scotland
                                                                                                                         Course starts: Sept 2019
Brief description: 
The University of Glasgow has 20 International Leadership Scholarships available to international (non-EU) students starting a postgraduate taught Masters program in any discipline that offered by the institution.

Eligibility Criteria-to be eligible, applicants must:

  • demonstrate academic excellence and achieve grades equivalent to UK 1st Class Honours 
  • hold an offer of a place for a postgraduate taught programme (September intake only) 
  • be classed as International students for fee purposes.

Eligible Countries:
Afghanistan; Albania;Algeria; Andorra; Angola; Antigua; Barbuda; Argentina; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belarus; Belize; Benin; Bhutan; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo Democratic Republic; Costa Rica; Cote d'Ivoire; Cuba; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; East Timor; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Fiji; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Ghana; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Jamaica; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; North Korea; South Kosovo; Kuwait; Kyrgystan; Laos; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Macedonia; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Micronesia; Moldova; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar (Burma); Namibia; Nauru; Nepal; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan ;Palau; Palestine; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Rwanda; Samoa Sa Marino; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Serbia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sri Lanka; St Kitts and Nevis St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland ;Syria; Tajikistan; Tanzania; Thailand; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia ;Turkmenistan; Tuvalu ;Uganda; Ukraine; Uruguay; Uzbekistan;Vanuatu; Vatican City; Venezuela; Vietnam; Yemen; Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Eligible Programs:
  • Adult Education, Community Development & Youth Work [MEd/PgDip] 
  • Advanced Nursing Science [MSc] 
  • Advanced Practice in Health Care [MSc(MedSci)] 
  • Advanced Statistics [MRes] 
  • Aerospace Engineering [MSc] 
  • Aerospace Engineering & Management [MSc] 
  • View More...
Scholarship Value £10,000 and Number of scholarships 20. 
How to apply Applicants holding offers will be automatically assessed for the scholarship based on academic merit. Applicants who are being considered for the scholarship will be notified within six weeks of receiving an offer. There is no separate application form required. APPLY NOW!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Biomedical Science Scholarship In UK-Singapore

Scholarship programs for National University of Singapore and University of Dundee in UK.
Application Deadline: 31 May 2019
Primary Level: BSc (Honours) – Levels 3 and 4
Program Starts: September 2019
Duration: 4 years
Tuition Fee: £19,950 per year for non-EU students and £1,820 per year for EU students.

Are you a high school student interested in biology or life sciences? Are you passionate about medicine, biotechnology or genetic sciences? This bachelor’s degree in Biological & Biomedical Sciences might be right for you! You could earn a joint degree from two of the world’s best-known universities in the field.
  • The University of Dundee in UK: No.8 in Europe (2017 QS Rankings)
  • The National University of Singapore: No. 1 university in Asia (2019 QS Rankings)
The University of Dundee is one of the leading universities in Europe for research and Life Sciences. Dundee is widely recognized as indicators of scientific excellence. The world ranking University in Biological Sciences on 5th place in the UK, 8th in Europe. This year’s ‘The State of Innovation’ report by Clarivate Analytics ranks Dundee as the most influential scientific research institution in the world for pharmaceuticals since 2016. The School enjoys a reputation as one of the most dynamic international centres for molecular cell biology, with outstanding laboratory and technology facilities.

The National University of Singapore aspires to be a vital community of academics, researchers, staff, international students and alumni working together in a spirit of innovation and enterprise for a better world. It mostly focus on talent development which perceived as the cornerstone of a truly great university that is dedicated to quality education, influential research and visionary enterprise, in providing technical innovations to the global community.

This is an open opportunity to gain skills in cutting-edge biological theory, practical and techniques at the University of Dundee, in the UK. While you studying at Dundee, in the final 18 months, you can travel to Singapore and pick up invaluable international experience.
Earn your Bachelor’s in the UK and Singapore! Learn more, and stand a chance to earn a scholarship worth up to £20,000.
Bonus: If your interest has met the criteria on the program, you’ll have the chance to earn a scholarship worth up to £5,000 for each year of study!
Entry Requirements: An english language certificate: IELTS above 6.0

What you can expect In the BSc(Hons) Biological and Biomedical Sciences you’ll pick up skills through practical training and research-led theory. In an international teaching environment, you’ll be equipped with the latest methodologies and problem-solving techniques. There will be lots of opportunities to network, collaborate, and shape your career too. You could choose to specialize in: 
  1. Genetic Medicine
  2.  Neurobiology 
  3. Physiology and Aging.
You will graduate with an appreciation of different cultures and an understanding of the global aspects of life sciences research and application. From day one, you will be enrolled at both the University of Dundee and the National University of Singapore. This means you can start collaborating and sharing experiences with your Singaporean counterparts and get access to the services of each university. Develop your talent in Biological and Biomedical Sciences in the UK and Singapore! Apply Now! at the official website.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

5 Big Ideas In Biotech For 2019

CRISPR is a part of DNA sequences found within the genomes.The technologies allow genetic material to be modified readily like adding, cutting or altered at any particular loci in the genome. 
1 Longevity Research:  A researcher David Sinclair, says we’re entering “one of the most interesting times in human history.” He’s referring to breakthroughs he expects in his own line of work. But it’s true in many other fields as well. Gene editing, Food innovation, and Synthetic biology dramatically poised to reshape our concept of what it means to be human. Yet technological progress alone isn’t enough. Gene editing CRISPR, the technology is about to make big strides in medicines even scientific community have paused other focus in order to review better its ethical implications. 

It’s time to get real about CRISPR demanded, Feng Zhang a Chinese-American biochemist a professor in Neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “There are really exciting advances in three areas. The first area is CRISPR-based medicine. Some clinical trials are already underway and drug developers are now testing CRISPR in the context of blood diseases, like sickle cell, and also testing it in the eye to treat blindness. There is also work that’s moving quite quickly to apply CRISPR in cancer treatments. “The second area is turning CRISPR into a robust diagnostic tool for infectious diseases like Ebola, or any sort of epidemic virus, and also advancing its application in the future for diagnosing bacterial infections or maybe even cancer. “And the third area is the ability of gene editing to improve agriculture. Making farming more efficient, being able to increase the crop yield, and being able to increase the nutritional properties of agricultural produce to be able to vastly improve human health. And you know, CRISPR-based diagnostics could be used for food safety as well — being able to see if a certain food is contaminated by certain bacteria.

“My hope is that society as a whole will begin to engage in a serious conversation about what is the objective, in terms of gene editing and changing the human germline. The news that came out of China is catalyzing that conversation. It’s an important conversation to have, especially since the technology is so imminent. It’s important to take a pause to really have that conversation so that we can get society’s consent, in whichever direction, to figure out what we want to do — and that pause is not for CRISPR research as a whole, but specifically for the use of CRISPR in editing embryos to establish pregnancy.”

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI):  Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories ''I’m looking for ways that technology enhances human capacity, and that’s very different. I think that’s critical in today’s climate. We’re entering an era where technology is bringing benefits to individuals — in their capacity, in their performance, in their success in the workplace — and generally the life will highly depend on the new directions that technology enable us. “The problem is not just bias in AI, because we’ve been talking about that for some time. It’s that we are individuals and we need to look at how a technology is going to impact different demographics. What are the behavioral changes that will happen if the technology is successful? And if it’s not? If we don’t come up with a better way of ensuring that technology is held accountable for realizing those benefits, we’re just going to end up with more demographic rifts and splits.”

3. Food Innovation: Mike Lee, founder of The Future Market “The two defining moments [in food tech in 2018] have really big implications for 2019. For one, Tyson Ventures made an investment in a company in Jerusalem called Future Meat Technologies. Tyson has a stranglehold on the traditional protein market, so it was a big signal in terms of them looking more diversely at what protein means, and looking at cellular agriculture as this viable thing of the future. I think it’ll be interesting in 2019 to see how many other Big Protein players follow suit. “The other thing is [officials in] the United States said that they would not regulate CRISPR-edited crops. There are obviously still questions about how to label it — that’s still up for debate — but the regulatory burden of introducing a CRISPR food product in the United States has become way easier. Simultaneously, Europe went the other way. They consider CRISPR to be under typical rules for genetically modified products, which are pretty stringent. I think what’s going to happen is the investment is going to move beyond the United States in a more aggressive way, and this will really going to shift the wind of innovation. For example, Calyxt has their gene-edited soybean that doesn’t produce trans fats. That’s supposed to come on the market in 2019.

Artificial neural network
4. Neuroscience: Why Technology should get into people’s heads? Bolu Ajiboye, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University.  Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) use brain signals, analyze them, and translate them into commands that relayed to output devices needed to carry out desired actions. BCIs do not use normal neuromuscular output pathways. The main goal of BCI is to replace or restore useful function to people disabled by neuromuscular disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, or spinal cord injury. So the work that’s gone on in the last year or so has focused on giving back, particularly to people with spinal cord injury, the ability to get other types of sensory feedback like pressure, temperature, texture, or proprioception. The neural network is very much in its infancy and it’s going to be really exciting to watch it progress. “One milestone that’s on the horizon is a fully implanted BCI system. The goal is to have it be invisible like a pacemaker. Almost everything that [the BCI field has] done so far is very lab-based, and we’re now working on making devices fully implantable so that we can begin to think about it even at-home use, or for someone to use their device 24/7 without being tethered to a computer, or without an expert controlling the device.

 “A lot of public figures and private companies have promised a lot of things about BCIs. Like Facebook, which has promised the ability to type 100 words wireless each single minute on your phone just with your thoughts. I’m very thankful that these individuals have brought a lot of attention to BCIs, but what I fear is that the public statements may give unrealistic expectations. It’s not going to be like you have a thought of what you want for dinner and you can send it to your roommate. These devices can provide some significant function, and possibly some enhancements, to people who have neurological injury, and then possibly in some small way this will trickle down to the general public. But we all need to be responsible in how we talk about it.”

Biotech can help us stay young while growing old
5. Aging Problems: David Sinclair, director of Harvard’s Center for the Biology of Aging “[In my lab] we’ve been working on the molecule NAD. We published in Cell in March that by raising NAD levels we could rapidly reverse many aspects of aging in mice. [We gave] old mice the ability to run like young mice again and actually out-compete young mice. That was happening because there was improved blood flow throughout the animal. The molecule that we used is called NMN. We put that in the water supply, and after just a week we saw an increase in endurance. We’re excited about this breakthrough because it shows that we understand why we lose blood flow as we get older, and why we get tired and feel frail. But it also shows that we have a very quick way of reversing that. You could imagine people who are tired, wheelchair-bound, or even bedridden, having energy to get out and exercise again.” “Next year we’ll hopefully be reporting on a project that we started 10 years ago. We are looking at reprogramming cells to make them young again. We think we found an underlying cause of aging, and we’re able to dial that forwards and to some extent backwards. “I think the public doesn’t realize how advanced this technology is and how many investors and companies are also involved. It believed that the 2019 is a watershed year for this field. Just so many things are converging. 

The science, the business side, the clinical trials reporting out, and the general interest from the public — all of that means that in a year from now, we may find ourselves in one of the most interesting times in human history. It always takes a long time to get a lab result to humans, usually at least a decade, but it’s coming now. There’s really no question.” David Sinclair concluded.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Humber's Scholarships for International Students

Humber International Entrance Scholarships

Institution: Humber College
Undergraduate Degree
Deadline: 17 May/27 Sept 2019
Study in: Canada
Course starts Sept 2019/Jan 2020

Canada is considered as a wealthy, high-tech society and industrialized country with an exceptional standard of living. With more than 35 million people and over 100 various cultures represented, Canada is a dynamic and exciting place to study, live and work. In this increasingly interconnected world, we know how invaluable global experiences are to the student's education. Each year, many international students go abroad for an exotic studies or gain work experience. You can too! Here you will find information, resources and opportunities to get you started on your global adventure. 

Brief description:
Humber offers partial renewable tuition scholarships for NEW international undergraduate students beginning classes in September 2019. 
Host Institution(s):
Humber College in Toronto, Canada
Field of study:
Eligible undergraduate programs offered at the College
Target group:
International Students
Scholarship value/duration:
Seven (7) $5,000 scholarship and two (2) $3,000 scholarships are available in September 2019 while three (3) $5,000 scholarships and one $3,000 scholarships will be available in January 2020. The scholarships will be applied toward the successful students’ tuition fees. The scholarships are renewable but the student must maintain a minimum average of 75% in order to be eligible for renewal.
Applications will be considered based on academics, community involvement, referee/reference letters and statement of interest.
Application instructions:
You must first apply for admissions before you can apply for the scholarship. The scholarship application form will be included in your acceptance package. Deadline is 17 May 2019 for the September 2019 intake and 27 September 2019 for January 2020 intake. It is important to visit the official website (link found below) for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.
Apply Now!
At official Scholarship Website to grab the opportunity.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

International Scholarship At Laval University in Canada, 2019

International Scholarship at Laval University in Québec city, Canada Deadline:15 Feb 2019.
Laval University is inviting applications for Undergraduate/Graduate Scholarship for International Students to study in Canada fall 2019. The goal of the Hydro-Québec admission scholarship is to recognize academic excellence by awarding international students an admission to the global prestigious university through friendly scholarship. Laval University is a French-language dominant, public research university in Quebec City, Canada. The University was founded by royal charter of Queen Victoria in 1852. 

Initially its focus was on traditional disciplines such as medicine, theology and law. In 1950s Laval University expanded into other fields of studies,faculties of sciences and applied social sciences among others. Laval is a global ‘comprehensive’ university and one of the largest in Canada. That strongly stress on cultural diversities and an international outlook. The university have formed hundreds of partnerships agreements with other universities right across the globe. A major player in the Canadian research scene, Laval’s recent development plan flagship in particular the overarching areas of culture, innovative materials,healthcare, education, environment and etc.

Scholarship Description

Application Deadline: February 15, 2019

Course Level: Undergraduate/Graduate Degree program. 
Study Subject: Scholarships are awarded to study in any subject offered by the Laval University. Scholarship Award: Scholarships variable amount (Certificate $ 1,000 – DESS $ 2,000 – Bachelor $ 3,000 – Master $ 5,000). Number of Scholarships: Not specified. 
Nationality: International Students can apply for this scholarship. 
Country of study: Scholarship should be taken in Canada. 

Scholarship Eligibility
  • Eligible Countries: International Students can apply for this scholarship
  • Entrance Requirements: Maintain a minimum average
  • Candidates who apply for an undergraduate scholarship must have an R score of 31 or higher (or equivalent) in their pre-university studies. 
  • Candidates who apply for a graduate scholarship must have an average of 3.67 or higher (or equivalent) in their undergraduate studies. 
  • Candidates must have applied for and been accepted into any eligible program of study for the fall 2019 semester (the scholarship may not be carried forward to a later semester). 
  •  Be enrolled full time (or be deemed full time according to MEES) at Université Laval in the semester and program of study for which the scholarship is awarded. 
English Language Requirement: Applicants whose first language is not either French or English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in any one of those two mediums at the higher level required by the University. APPLY NOW at the official website.

How Scientists Construct Physical Traits Of Human From DNA

Every life-form is rooted in DNA that could fill the blank to reveal its physical features.
DNA phenotype technology allows scientists to reveal the physical appearance of any organism even the facial look of our common homo ancestors, Neanderthals and Denisovans by predicting the exact traits which sometimes base on genetic information collected from an old excavation that existed over many centuries ago. DNA Phenotype is a breakthrough in modern biotechnology, despite its limitations, but it is still advancing.

Wherever we go we oftentimes leave behind some bits of our DNA blueprints. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule composed of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning, and reproduction of all known living organisms and viruses. DNA is a holy grail of the creation. 

The criminal intelligence community already use the DNA to predict some traits, such as eye, skin and hair color. Soon it may be possible to accurately reconstruct your whole face from these genetic traces. This is the world of “DNA phenotyping” under the subject of Recombinant DNA Technology which is an useful tool that opens a new age for modern biotechnology. With this technology, a gene or multiple genes can be identified, cut, analysed or inserted into the genome of another organism.  Research studies and companies like, Parabon NanoLabs, 23andMe and many others are pushing the borderline of science by advancing human genome project and as well as forensic tools through the power of DNA. 

The forensic DNA profiling techniques rely on “anonymous” biomarkers that match identity to a central database. With advances in genomic technology, forensic genetics is moving toward the crucial tests that can tell us much more about who you are from the fundametal core of genetic makeup.  Parabon NanoLabs, an US based biotechnology company has developed techniques called SnapShot that can predict the physical appearance of an unknown person from DNA with much accuracy. Police forces already use their services, including the Queensland police in a recent case of a serial rapist on the Gold Coast. The Parabon system is also based on a predictive model. This was developed by applying machine learning tools to their genetic/trait reference database. The company predicts skin color, eye color, hair color, freckles, ancestry and face shape from a DNA sample.

DNA phenotyping has been an active area of research by academics for several years now. Forensic biology researchers Manfred Kayser and Susan Walsh, among others, have pioneered several DNA phenotyping methods for forensics. In 2010, they developed the IrisPlex system, which uses six DNA markers to determine whether someone has blue or brown eyes. In 2012, additional markers were included to predict hair color. Last year the group added skin color. These tests have been made available via a website and anyone who has access to their genetic data can try it out. Trait predictions are being used to address a number of questions. Recently, for example, they were used to suggest that the “Cheddar Man” (the UK’s oldest complete human skeleton) may have had dark or dark to black skin and blue/green eyes.

The predictive models are mostly built on modern European populations, so caution may be required when applying the tests to other (especially ancient) populations.  Research on DNA phenotyping has advanced rapidly in the last year with the application of machine learning approaches, but the extent of our current capabilities is still hotly debated. Last year, researchers from geneticist Craig Venter’s company with a guest for Human Longevity, made detailed measurements of the physical attributes of around 1,000 people. Whole genomes (our complete genetic code) were sequenced and the data combined to make models that predict 3D facial structure, voice, biological age, height, weight, body mass index, eye color and skin color. The study received strong backlash from a number of prominent scientists, including Yaniv Erlich, aka the “genome hacker.” The study seemed to predict average faces based on sex and ancestry, rather than specific faces of individuals. The method of judging the predictions on small ethnically mixed cohorts was also criticized.

A database to match? Many world governments include Australian government is in the process of building a biometric database, where possibly genetic data included. “The Capability” in a proposed biometric and facial recognition system is to match CCTV footage and other information on the passports or driving licences. Initially the project was billed as a counter-terrorism measure. At the same time, the Australian Tax Office has just initiated a voice recognition service. It’s easy to imagine how this kind of system could be integrated with “civic fabric” And it’s not only Australia establishing the capability to become a biometric, face-recognizing surveillance state. India is deployed the Aadhar system although it met some criticism. US is the same and China is a leader in facial recognition in the world.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

University of Westminster Full International Scholarships

University of Westminster Full International Scholarships

University of Westminster
Undergraduate Degree
Deadline: 31 May 2019 (annual)
Study in:  UK
Course starts September 2019

The University of Westminster is a forward thinking and dynamic place to study. Founded in 1838 it is one of the most diverse and international universities in the UK. Over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries come to study every year. The University has sites in central London and Harrow offering an extensive portfolio of courses, foundation, bachelor, master and PhD programs through seven academic schools. Westminster has high quality centrally located halls of residence and accommodation advice is available on official website.The university has a large and diverse academic faculties with extensive educational programs, consultancy and the community of alumni.

Brief description:
Westminster’s Full International Scholarships are the University’s most competitive scholarships that are open to international students from developing countries who wish to pursue a full-time Undergraduate degree at the University of Westminster.
Host Institution(s):
University of Westminster, United Kingdom
Level/Field of study:
Any eligible Undergraduate Program offered at University of Westminster.
Number of Awards:
Not specified
Target group:
All students from developing countries.
Scholarship value/inclusions/duration:
Full tuition fee waivers, accommodation, living expenses and flights to and from London.
You must be an international student from a developing country and hold an offer for a full-time undergraduate degree at the University.  The criteria for awarding the scholarships are academic excellence, development potential and financial need.
Application instructions:
You should only apply for a scholarship once you have applied for admission and successfully been offered a place (either conditional or unconditional) on the course you wish to study.  To apply for a scholarship, you will need to download and complete the relevant scholarship application form and submit it together with supporting documents by POST. The deadline for applications is 31 May 2019.
It is important to visit the official website (link found below) to access the application forms and for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship. APPLY NOW! Or get an Application Form (Word Doc.)



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