1. What is the science of bioinformatics?

The science of bioinformatics, which is the melding of molecular biology with computer science, is essential to the use of genomic information in understanding human diseases and in the identification of new molecular targets for drug discovery.

2. Does multidrug resistance (MDR) arise by activation of stable genes encoding drug efflux pumps or by mutations of genes encoding other types of transporters in bacterial pathogens?

MDR efflux pumps began causing clinical problems relatively recently, in parallel with the extensive use of antibiotics in medicine and as supplements in animal feeds. However, our analyses indicate that these MDR efflux pumps did not arise through recent mutations in genes encoding transporters that changed their substrate specificities.
Instead, such MDR pumps are encoded within the genomes of virtually all microorganisms, so these genes are present and thus need only to be activated to become problematic. Moreover, lateral transfer of genes among bacteria has occurred frequently, particularly for plasmid-encoded systems, suggesting that such genes can be acquired fairly readily even if they are not initially present. Finally, although mutations that enable transporters to act on different types of substrate are rare, experiments and phylogenetic analyses indicate that simple point mutations can readily narrow or broaden a particular transporter's specificity toward a single class of compounds. These findings provide clues for developing strategies to control MDR among bacterial pathogens.

3. What kinds of metrics would you gauge to determine the financial, strategic and operational health of a prospective alliance partner?

Several metrics are available in each sector you mention. To gauge the financial health of a prospective partner, I would look at product sales growth or I might look at whether they have met their milestones. To gauge strategic health, I would consider their market share growth or how well their customers have access to the company. For operational health, I would again look to see whether they have met their milestones, how well they make decisions as gauged by the rating we give them and how quickly they resolve conflicts. Good evaluations in these areas suggest that the prospective alliance will be viable for both parties.

4. Have the proteins of a family generally acquired distinctive properties within each of these three kingdoms for ancient families that arose before bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes diverged?

Proteins from 20 large ubiquitous families represented in all three domains to see if proteins from each domain exhibit distinctive characteristics. The archaeal integral membrane proteins are consistently smaller than their bacterial homologues, while the eukaryotic homologues are much larger. Moreover, among transporters in the three major eukaryotic kingdoms of plants, animals and fungi, the animal and fungal homologues are of comparable size, whereas the plant homologues are substantially smaller. Although these surprising observations presumably reflect evolutionary pressures during protein sequence divergence, we do not know what those pressures were.

5. What is protein sequencing?

Protein sequencing is a technique to determine the amino acid sequence of a protein, as well as which conformation the protein adopts and the extent to which it is complexed with any non-peptide molecules.

6. Tell me about the mass number of nuclear?

The mass number of a nucleus is sometimes more than and sometimes equal to its atomic number.

7. How will you value a biotech company as opposed to a consumer products company?

Most companies are valued based on their growth prospects. That is what determines their stock price and overall dollar value, when they are sold. Biotech companies, as are other pharmaceutical companies, are valued based on the perceived quality of the products in their pipelines. That is what determines if they are going to have sustainable revenues and earnings. It is also why so many Analysts on The Street pay such close attention to FDA pronouncements.

8. What are the limitations of blotting techniques?

The major limitation of blotting procedures is the length of time needed and the fact that they can accommodate only one probe at a time. DNA microchip technology permits the analysis of thousands of genes at the same time. DNA molecules are attached to the wafers in an organized array and are called the probes. DNA molecules taken from tissues are hybridized to the chips and are called targets, which are labeled with fluorescent light. The probes that have hybridized to the fluorescent targets are then identified by fluorescence microscopy.

9. What technique is used to measure the number of copies of a gene or an RNA molecule in human tissues?

PCR or polymerase chain reaction in real time, as opposed to the conventional method, because the number of copies of the target molecule can be monitored for each PCR cycle.

10. What is computational biology?

Computational biology is an interdisciplinary field that applies the techniques of computer science and applied mathematics to problems inspired by biology.

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