All life forms are written in a standard genetic code, unique to each species. By enormous technological feats, these codes have been revealed for hundreds of plants, animals, and microorganisms in just the past five years. The codes are available right now on the internet and everyone is invited to read them and try to understand them.

Are you interested in medicine or psychology? Origins of life or the environment? Nano-scale machines? Life on other worlds? Many exciting areas of science are opening up because of the new genomic information. Do you want to study biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, or computer science? Try learning all of them! The next generation of scientists will make spectacular new discoveries through truly interdisciplinary science.

See this lecture on UCTV Video-on-Demand or refer to the complete UCTV Science on Saturday lecture series for more details.

Student Lecture Notes

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  1. Proteins are essential molecules for life on earth. What are some examples of the roles proteins play in living organisms?

  2. What is meant by the “Central Dogma” in biology?

  3. The building blocks of proteins are ____________________________________.

  4. What determines the sequence of amino acids in a protein?

  5. What determines a protein’s function?

  6. How do molecules find other molecules?

  7. How do changes in the DNA sequence of a gene (a mutation) affect the protein product?

  8. Are such changes to the DNA always bad?

Speaker Bios

Dr.Daniel Barsky

Senior Biomedical Scientist
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Dr. Daniel Barsky joined the Laboratory in 1997 and is currently a senior scientist in the Biosciences Directorate. He has been working in the area of computational biology and structural bioinformatics for 11 years, developing experimental hypotheses designed to reveal the structure-function relationship of biomolecules. He uses a variety of computational techniques, including homology modeling, ab initio quantum chemistry, and molecular dynamics simulations.

Dr. Barsky has taught at several Bay Area colleges including California State University Hayward (now CSU East Bay) and Contra Costa College. Most recently he taught a course in Advanced Topics in Bioinformatics at CSUH Extension.

Dr. Barsky earned A. B. degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Cornell University (1986), a Master's degree in Physics (1989), and a Ph.D. in Biophysics (1994) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His graduate work was in understanding the fundamental limitations to resolution in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He has authored more than twenty scientific publications.

Frankie Tate

Science Teacher
Granada High School, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District

Frankie has a BS degree in biology from Furman University in South Carolina and an MA in Natural Sciences from San Jose State University. She worked for 7 years in molecular biology labs at Indiana University and at Stanford Medical Center before becoming a teacher. She has taught in the Livermore School District since 1986. She teaches Biology, AP Biology, and Physiology at Granada High and served as science department chair for 6 years. She is the coordinator of the Granada High Biotechnology Pathway. Frankie was named Alameda County Teacher of the Year in 2008.