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Biophysics 101 Assignments

101 Week 6

  • From Slashdot.org: Scientists Complete Map of Human Genetic Variation
  • Pharmacogenetics/genomics and personalized medicine by Wolfgang Sadée and Zunyan Dai
  • Measuring the value of pharmacogenomics by Phillips KA, Van Bebber SL.
    • "Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics offer the potential of developing DNA-based tests to help maximize drug efficacy and enhance drug safety. Major scientific advances in this field have brought us to the point where such tests are poised to enter more widespread clinical use. However, many questions have been raised about whether such tests will be of significant value, and how to assess this. Here, we review the application of economics-based resource-allocation frameworks to assess the value of pharmacogenomics, and the findings so far. We then develop a resource-allocation framework for assessing the potential value of pharmacogenomic testing from a population perspective, and apply this framework to the example of testing for variant alleles of CYP2D6, an important drug-metabolizing enzyme. This review provides a framework for analysing the value of pharmacogenomic interventions, and suggests where further research and development could be most beneficial."

101 Week 7

101 Week 8

The biodiesel industry in this country is expanding exponentially," says Greg Pahl, author of Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy. Pahl has used biodiesel in his oil furnace at home in Vermont for four years.
But he points out that if biodiesel catches on as predicted, the waste vegetable oil that individuals like Parris are using could become a commodity, and it would no longer be easily obtained for free. And there's another problem. :"We probably won't be able to replace more than 10 percent to 15 percent of our current petrodiesel usage with biodiesel," he says. "Ultimately, the answer is relying on a broad range of renewable-energy strategies including biofuels of all types."
"Biodiesel is not the panacea for lower oil prices, but it is hopefully a bridge towards becoming a little bit more dependent on ourselves rather than others," says Nazzaro. "If this is going to go beyond a niche, you have to break into a major market, and I believe the heating-oil market will be that market."
Summaries (forthcoming):

Issues in Implementation - Public Health, Access to Care, Insurance Policy:


101 Week 9

101 Week 10

101 Week 11

101 Week 12

LWP - The World-Wide Web library for Perl

101 Week 13

101 Week 14

Moved to Personalized medicine Readings page

The Future of Drug Development: The Economics of Pharmacogenomics by John A. Vernon and W. Keener Hughen

Abstract: This paper models how the evolving field of pharmacogenomics (PG), which is the science of using genomic markers to predict drug response, may impact drug development times, attrition rates, costs, and the future returns to research and development (R&D). While there still remains an abundance of uncertainty around how PG will impact the future landscape of pharmaceutical and biological R&D, we identify several likely outcomes. We conclude PG has the potential to significantly reduce both expected drug development costs (via higher probabilities of technical success, shorter clinical development times, and smaller clinical trials) and returns. The impact PG has on expected returns is partially mitigated by higher equilibrium prices, expedited product launches, and longer effective patent lives. Our conclusions are, of course, accompanied by numerous caveats.

Miscellaneous


These resources might be interesting/useful/thought provoking:

Personalized Medicine:

Moved to The readings page

Biodiesel:

  • Biodiesel Vehicle Fuel: GHG Reductions, Air Emissions, Supply and Economic Overview by Lawrence Schmidt, March 11, 2004
    "Economic Viability: Research shows that biodiesel is not currently cost competitive with petroleum diesel. However, at a B20 blend with some form of tax exemption on the biodiesel portion of the fuel, per litre costs range close to or slightly less than the retail cost of fully taxed petroleum diesel. Furthermore, assuming a trend toward higher costs for petroleum diesel and decreased costs of biodiesel production (increased technology efficiencies), economic viability of biodiesel as a niche fuel seems probable over the short term, relying on some for of modest tax exemption."
  • A WORLD WIDE REVIEW OF THE COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION OF BIODIESEL – A technological, economic and ecological investigation based on case studies©by Mag. Stephan Friedrich, Wien 2004 "INTRODUCTION: As early as the beginning of the 20th century Rudolf Diesel proposed vegetable oil as fuel for his engine. A short time later, before and during World War Two, vegetable oil was examined in “up-to-date‿ diesel engines. In 1940 first trials with vegetable oil methyl and ethyl esters were carried out in France and, at the same time, scientists in Belgium were using palm oil ethyl ester as a fuel for buses.2 In 1973, the oil crisis refocused attention on and interest for local energy sources. In recent decades, research concerning and knowledge about the external benefits of renewable raw materials have intensified the efforts for sustainable energy sources. Biodiesel plays a major role in this field because of the world wide research, development and deployment activities of this sustainable energy source. Due to this recent increased awareness and development, the objective of this thesis is to provide a world-wide review of the production of Biodiesel. For the description of the Biodiesel scene a three-stage development is referred to
    • Phase I consists of the very first ideas and thoughts of Biodiesel being used as a fuel until the actual adaptation of the ideas on the part of the decision makers who are then motivated to put these ideas into practice. The end of Phase I (=beginning of Phase II) is the political decision to invest money and other resources to Biodiesel research.
    • Phase II is characterised by research efforts, pilot projects, setting of frame conditions and financially supported technical trials.
    • Countries in Phase III show a Biodiesel economy based primarily on a feasible economic production, distribution and use of Biodiesel, and a self supportive Biodiesel economy."
  • COSTS OF BIODIESEL PRODUCTION Prepared for: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority By: John Duncan May 2003