Here’s a Thanksgiving dinner table topic of conversation that could save our lives.

November 24, 2015

There’s no need to feel embarrassed about not knowing this next fact.

Each year since 2004, the Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving to be National Family History Day.

No kidding!

So, why is this important?

Well, we know that common diseases (like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes) and even rare diseases (like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia) can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have high blood pressure, too.

Tracing the illnesses suffered by our parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help our doctors predict the disorders that might affect us. Then, we can work with our caregivers to take action to stay healthier, and maybe even live longer.

Over the holiday the Surgeon General (Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A.) encourages us to talk about, and to write down, the health problems that seem to run in our families. To help us out with the “write down” part, the Surgeon General has created an online tool. The tool helps organize family history information. Then, we can print it out and share it with our doctors. In addition, we can save the family history information to our own computers and share it with other family members.

Access the My Family Health Portrait Web tool at

My Family Health Portrait

You also might like to watch this brief (2:19) message from Dr. Eric Green (Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health) about National Family History Day:

Hey, we can even watch the video with our families. (Ahhh… two blissful minutes without squabbling.)

Happy Thanksgiving from all your friends @ Miner.


November 2015 Classes by Miner Library

November 4, 2015

Classes at Miner Library

Here are the classes offered by Miner Library for the upcoming month:

Blackboard Basics for Academic Courses, Clerkships and Residencies
Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Time: 10:00am – 11:30am
Blackboard Features: Tests and Surveys
Date: Thursday, November 19, 2015
Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

For a full list of Miner Library’s classes, visit our Classes page.

Have a question? Contact Miner Library’s Answer Desk @ 585-275-3361.

Want smarter, faster clinical answers? Check out ClinicalKey!

November 4, 2015

We’re pleased to announce that we now subscribe to ClinicalKey® (the former MD Consult database) but now with much more content.

ClinicalKey® includes:

♦ Elsevier medical and surgical textbooks (over 1,100) including:

◊ Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics

◊ Mandell’s Principles & Practice of Infectious Diseases

◊ Nelson’s Textbook of Pediatrics

◊ Principles & Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases

♦ Medical and surgical clinics of North America

♦ Elsevier First Consult point-of-care clinical monographs

♦ Elsevier Procedures Consult content and associated videos

♦ Medical and surgical videos (over 9,000)

♦ Clinical Pharmacology drug monographs

♦ Practice Guidelines

♦ Patient Education information

♦ Over 600 Elsevier medical and surgical journals

You can access ClinicalKey® from our website under the Quick Links.

When you open ClinicalKey® you’ll see “Login” and “Register” in the upper-right corner of the screen. You don’t need to do either…Login or Register…unless you want to use some of ClinicalKey’s special features, like downloading a pdf or saving a search.

We think using ClinicalKey® is pretty intuitive, but here’s a short (2:45) “Clinical Key Overview” on YouTube to get you started.

Try it out and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

High Noon at Miner Library Presents: “Shhh…Shopping Secrets Revealed!” Join us at Noon on Wednesday, November 18

October 30, 2015

Just in time for the holidays! Join us for this month’s High Noon presentation where we unravel the mysteries of shopping.

During this session we will discuss how to decode shelf tags and how to plan a mall strategy. Do you know how to coupon stack online? What is the best day of the week to shop? Do price tags contain secret information, decipherable only by savvy shoppers? Stop by High Noon and find out. Also, learn how avoid the pitfalls and traps that retailers design.

photoLibrarian and former retail-associate, Linda Hasman, will show you how to shop like a pro. We’ll cover everything from clothing and accessories to electronics, groceries, and home goods. Once these secrets are revealed, you will never pay full-price again.

Join us at noon on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, in the History of Medicine Room at Miner Library. Feel free to invite your colleagues and bring your lunch!

October Classes by Miner Library

October 7, 2015

Classes at Miner Library

Here are the classes offered by Miner Library for the upcoming month:

Blackboard Features: Groups Creation and Management
Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015
Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Learning R via SWIRL
Date: Friday, October 16, 2015
Time: 2:30pm – 4:30pm

For a full list of Miner Library’s classes, visit our Classes page.

Have a question? Contact Miner Library’s Answer Desk @ 585-275-3361.

Using your mobile device to scan documents

October 1, 2015

Daniel Trout, a liaison librarian at Miner Library, reviewed three scanning apps in the recent June/July 2015 edition of the MLA News. 

Using your smartphone or mobile device to instantly scan documents can be inexpensive and convenient using the right tools.  TurboScan,  Genius Scan and CamScanner are available for both Android and Apple devices.  Some offer free versions, but the majority of apps cost between $4.99 and $6.99 and allow scanned documents to be emailed from the app and uploaded to a variety of cloud-based storage services.

Evernoteand Google Drive also provide the ability to scan documents via the application and upload to the cloud instantly.

Need more information or have questions?  Contact Daniel Trout directly or check out the attached copy of the review.Scanning DocumentsDT

Got bioinformatics support services? No? Well, we do!

September 30, 2015

We’d like to share an article, published in the June 19 edition of Research Connections, about our Bioinformatics Consulting and Education Service. Helene McMurray, head of the BCES and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Genetics, chatted with Bob Marcotte about this innovative and quickly growing service. Bob has done a great job with this overview.

Truly, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. So we won’t.

And we won’t even make you click again.

The text (reading time: less than 2 minutes) in its entirety, is reproduced below.  Thanks, Bob!


Bioinformatics consultant offers help ‘anywhere in the life cycle of a project’

Jason Mendler, an Assistant Professor at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, is interested in the molecular drivers of chemotherapy refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). With help from the University’s Genomics Research Center, he has done RNA sequencing of primitive hematopoietic cells from both healthy donors and AML patients.

When he needed help in refining his analysis of this data, he turned to Helene McMurray, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Genetics and head of the Bioinformatics Consulting and Education Service of the Edward G. Miner Library. He is not the only researcher who has done so.

A year ago, just after she was hired by Miner Library, McMurray averaged one consult a week. Now she’s been meeting with two to three research groups a week — and she’s eager to expand her “practice” even more.

“I’ve been amazed by the demand; it’s really clear that this is needed,” McMurray said.

Informatics involves analyzing large quantities of data to identify patterns and trends. McMurray applies informatics in support of basic and translational science at the Medical Center. She assists researchers investigating topics that range from the health of populations, to in-depth analyses of biological systems in order to better understand, for instance, the development of heart disease or the genetic factors involved in cancer.

We’re willing to help people anywhere in the life cycle of a project, from conception through publication,” McMurray said.

That could include directing researchers new to the field to a computer program or web-based software tool; helping them find, generate or analyze data sets; or engaging them with new collaborators, McMurray said.

Many of the faculty who come in to talk to me are busy with other activities. If they’re clinicians, they’re seeing patients; if they’re researchers they’re writing grants or supervising students. They wear a lot of hats already,” McMurray said. “They don’t necessarily want to learn a new computer language, so they may just want to understand how to better interface with people who know how to do those things.”

She also helps investigators who are already skilled in informatics, have lots of data in hand, but “have hit the wall for one reason or another. They need someone with a fresh set of eyes just to help them get unstuck.”

After receiving her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University in 2003, McMurray did postdoctoral work with Prof. Hartmut “Hucky” Land, studying how genes work together to control cancer. This was her first immersion in genomics and informatics. Since 2009 she has been an assistant professor of Biomedical Genetics here.

The opening for a bioinformatics consultant at the Miner seemed “like a good fit,” given her experience in the field and her interest in teaching, McMurray said. “The data doesn’t scare me. I have knowledge of a lot of different ways to analyze data, but at the same time I know a lot of biology. So when I look at the biological aspects of a project, they also make sense to me.”

Mendler has met with McMurray and with student Sam Moore, who is also assisting Mendler, four times so far. He is well pleased with the advice he has received.

“They’ve been very helpful and available,” Mendler said. “Their help has enabled me to generate a very exciting, novel hypothesis about the basis of chemotherapy refractoriness in AML. I expect this to result in high impact papers and successful grant applications in the years to come.” Click here to learn more.



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