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One year ago: talk at Simons Institute

About a year ago I was in Berkeley, having accepted an invitation from Rick Durrett. At that stage we had recently published our research on an integrated computational model of the bone microenvironment and prostate cancer cell metastasis to the bone. I have described the paper before but here you can hear me mumble about it for about 45 minutes.

The t-shirt is quite cool and if you want one, well, the Pint of Science festival is just around the corner.

Why I am not a Bayesian*

Against Bayes… at least in some occasions.

Why Evolution Is True

JAC: Today Greg contributes his opinion on the use of Bayesian inference in statistics. I know that many—perhaps most—readers aren’t familiar with this, but it’s of interest to those who are. Further, lots of secular bloggers either write about or use Bayesian inference, as when inferring the probability that Jesus existed given the scanty data. (Theists use it too, sometimes to calculate the probability that God exists given some observations, like the supposed fine-tuning of the Universe’s physical constants.)

When I warned Greg about the difficulty some readers might have, he replied that, “I tried to keep it simple, but it is, as Paul Krugman says about some of his posts, ‘wonkish’.” So wonkish we shall have!

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by Greg Mayer

Last month, in a post by Jerry about Tanya Luhrmann’s alleged supernatural experiences, I used a Bayesian argument to critique her claims, remarking parenthetically that I am not a Bayesian. A…

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Science outreach: TEDxUSF

Two of us at CancerEvo (AA and DB) are involved in a science outreach organization called Pint of Science. The idea, which started in the UK about 4 years ago, is that a society in which science and technology play an important role should be driven by citizens that can think critically and are comfortable with the methods that scientists and engineers use.

Blogs and TED talks are great tools for that, but bridging the gap between scientists and the rest of the citizenry requires scientists and non scientists to be in the same room. In this TEDxUSF talk from last month, Pint of Science US director Parmvir Bahia posits that the place should be your local pub. She also uses my friend, colleague and collaborator, radiation oncologist, mathematical oncologist, TED MED speaker and cancer connector Jacob Scott, as an example of not just interesting science but also interesting scientists.

It is a short and interesting talk so listen to it. Even better, on the 18-20th of May go to the pub and find one of your local scientists at the Pint of Science festival (in the US and many other countries).

Image from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14377.html

The complex route to metastasis

The latest issue of Nature contains this very interesting article describing two different pieces of research on the topic of prostate cancer to bone metastases. Unfortunately you need to have the right IP address to access these papers free of charge.

Having done some research on prostate cancer to bone metastases (thanks to the Lynch lab) our group has now a better understanding of this disease and about the genetic and cellular drivers that characterize it. We have been working on the role of heterogeneity in cancer before but the source of it gets confounded in metastases: does it generate as one single metastatic cell reaches the bone and the clones acquire mutations? To this now we can add: do heterogeneous metastases in the bone come from a heterogeneous group of  tumor cells traveling together from the prostate? do these metastases start in a homogeneous clonal fashion and become heterogeneous as prostate cancer cells from other metastatic sites go to the bone? A combination of all these possibilities is (wait for it) also a possibility.