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Triad Biotech Alliance

Last Saturday I spent the morning at Duke’s law building so that I could participate in the Back to the Blog conference. It was hosted by Anton Zuiker (@mistersugar) and Cara Rousseau (@cararousseau)  and supported by Duke University’s Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations.  The “Blog Father” Bora Zivkovic (@BoraZ) was also there, as well as 30-40 other people. The agenda for the conference was to discuss Style and Design and Comments and discussions of blogs.

Although I’ve been blogging for multiple years now, I’ve never been responsible for the technical side of a blog, so I thought I’d learn some tips. The attendees ranged from really high end pro bloggers through people who hadn’t started blogging yet, but wanted to. The conference didn’t include a lot of “hands on” blogging help – it would have been difficult with that range of experience level – but it was really cool & gave me a lot to think about. People’s descriptions of their blogging goals and approaches were really interesting, and all over the place. Anton began with a brief history of blogging, which progressed from “What’s New” posts through filtering (recommendations) and linking to journaling. Then David B. Thomas (@DavidBThomas, perhaps suffering from a bit too much caffeine)  spoke and let Jeffrey L. Cohen (@jeffreylcohen) drive a fast-paced web presentation that followed his talk through: the importance of understanding the goals of your blog; the power of including a number in your post title (note above title of this post); that RSS feeds may be loosing their importance; and that blog content is great for Google searches while Facebook posts are good for connecting with friends. Although I do link to certain blog posts that I use as information sources, I hadn’t ever verbalized it quite so bluntly & clearly as it was in this session: Blog posts are a lasting resource while Facebook updates go out-of-date. Then there was a discussion that if you spent more than a few minutes on writing an email longer than a paragraph or two, you should think about writing a blog post instead so that you could send an unlimited number of people to a permanent resource for the information – that made a lot of sense to me.

Anton talked again, as did Bora and Paul Jones (@smalljones), who no longer uses email. You can see a Storify curation of the event here, thanks to Cara. The discussion flowed through blog software (branch.com) and themes (WooThemes) as well as the importance of blogs being able to be presented clearly on various devises, not just a computer screen (WPtouch). People requested a list of participants & maybe it will include software mentioned – I’m not sure my hand written notes includes them all. Henry Copland (@hc) of http://web.blogads.com/ pointed us to Google trends where you can type in a keyword & see a graph of how often it comes up in searches – we tried blogger, twitter, pinterest & more. We then discussed comments on blogs – I was interested to hear that all of the pros felt that rulings on free speech DID not apply to specific blogs, only to the intranet as a whole. I had heard from a lawyer a few years back in a #scio session that by monitoring your commenters you were liable, but by allowing all comments you were not. General consensus from the #Back2Blog gang was that management of comments was both allowable and advisable, if comments were allowed at all.

There was a lot of discussion of resources – blogging tools, blogging tips, etc – & where to find them. These days available information seems to be about infinite, but the problem is filtering through it to find the resources that are truly useful to your needs. The topic of resources is another reason why I wanted to attend Back to the Blog. I hear about such cool resources for the social media/science communications community that Anton and Bora have organized, both through their tweets and at ScienceOnline conferences. Although RTP isn’t that far away, I’d like to find a similar community here in the Triad. I did meet David Arneke (@AggieResearch), the Director of Research Communications at NC A & T, which was great. He gave me some ideas of triad groups and websites to check out. I’m not necessarily the most natural social media person, but I do firmly believe in community. In the small town where I grew up people who lived on the same street knew each other & exchanged baked goods on Christmas eve. As old fashioned as it sounds, if someone on the street was having problems, their neighbors chipped in to try & help. I heard that same sort of community-based help at the blog conference as Bora described how Henry advised him on blogging. In thinking about it, I guess a sense of community is one reason that I blog for the Triad Biotech Alliance. If you have NC Triad community suggestions – tweeps to follow, events to attend, or things you’d like to see the Triad Biotech Alliance try – please leave your comments below. I’ll be monitoring them! 🙂

PS: the 5 takeaways are in brown & should guarantee me lots of hits to this post, right?!  🙂


As you drive from Greensboro to I77, it is hard not to notice a large amount of construction at the intersection of 40 & 52. On September 20th, at the first Triad Biotech Alliance event of the 2012-2013 year, I was excited to find out what’s going on. Mind you, I didn’t know I’d be learning that – I just wanted to attend the next TBA event.

The invited speaker was Eric Tomlinson, President of Piedmont Triad Research Park and Chief Innovation Officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health. The event was held at a restaurant my family & I often enjoy – The Chop House Grill off of NC 68 in High Point. As per usual for Triad Biotech Alliance mixers, there was mingling & appetizers (provided through generous support of the TBA’s 2012-2013 sponsors) available upon arrival – I’ve heard from some people (you probably know who you are) that they attend mainly for the food & consider the networking & learning the “gravy” of the event. 🙂 During the mixer I enjoyed talking to many people about biotech in the Triad, social media and more.

At somewhere between 6:20 & 6:30 pm, the group took their seats to hear Eric Tomlinson’s talk. Eric is wonderfully personable, and has recently been named the new president of PTRP or the Piedmont Triad Research Park. You can see the announcement in the PTRP News items for more details (scroll to the June 26th item). Eric began his talk by describing an effort to boost innovation at Wake Forest, both in its clinical enterprises and in its academic enterprises. These efforts will include three initiatives: 1) Innovation Services, 2) Scientific Services and 3) the Piedmont Triad Research Park. I was quite intrigued by the concept of the scientific services, which are aimed at allowing outside organizations or individuals to tap Wake Forest internal expertise, but Eric’s talk mostly focused on the research park.

The Piedmont Triad Research Park is a historic redevelopment project located in downtown Winston Salem in the industrial area at the intersection of Interstate 40 (I-40) and US Route 52. According to the PTRP Master Plan:

“Historically and architecturally significant buildings throughout the research park footprint will be retained not only for their unique character and charm but for their reuse potential.”

The concepts and goals described by Eric – to program evocative, educational, fun events; to support local entrepreneurs & residents; and to have world-wide brand recognition for the area – sound wonderful! Near future developments for the PTRP include continued infrastructure development, promotion, and a rebranding of the park. I look forward to watching & supporting the efforts, and seeing how they overlap, collaborate, and compete with other efforts in the area.


Banner Pharmacaps – May 17th Triad Biotech Alliance Event

June 8, 2012

You probably don’t even realize that many of the over the counter soft gelatin capsule medications you take, including Aleve Liquid Gels, natural products such as fish oils, and many others, are made by a local pharmaceutical company right here in High Point, NC.  On May 17th, Tim Doran, Global VP of Commercial Operations at Banner Pharmacaps, presented […]

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Science for a Family: The Nature Research Center

March 5, 2012

Have you been to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh before? My family and I have and enjoyed a morning exploring the displays, and then we walked to some lunch. That was a few years ago & it was fine, but perhaps a bit tame/dry. This past January I was in the Raleigh area […]

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Brewing with Biotechnology

November 9, 2011

Thousands of people see it on their commute everyday – a square building in a small field next to I-40 between Greensboro and Burlington.  The building side that faces the highway is made of glass, giving viewers a sample of its contents – several mysterious tall steel vats, miles of metal piping, control stations –  all with […]

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2011-2012 Speaker Series: KeraNetics, Sept 29th

October 10, 2011

After a summer break, the 2011-2012 Speaker Series of the Triad Biotech Alliance kicked off on September 29th with another great event at The Chop House in High Point. The mixer began as they often do – with lots of meeting, mingling and munching on the generous appetizers  that the TBA provides. I saw a […]

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Education Resource: Scitable’s eBooks

September 21, 2011

In addition to the Company Showcase presentations that occur at live Triad Biotech Alliance events, we also will have a series of blog posts featuring resources that Triad Biotech Alliance members may find useful. The resources will include those focused on information, education, small business aids and more. If you have a resource you’d like […]

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Small Business Resource: NC LEAP

September 13, 2011

In addition to the Company Showcase presentations that occur at live Triad Biotech Alliance events, we also will have a series of blog posts featuring resources that Triad Biotech Alliance members may find useful. The resources will include those focused on information, education, small business aids and more. If you have a resource you’d like […]

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Nanotechnology in the Triad

August 12, 2011

Two events that lead to this post occurred at the last Triad Biotech Alliance Speaker Event. If you were there you’ll remember that it occurred on May and featured Nancy Johnston of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad Regional Office. However you may not remember the events. The first was that there was an […]

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Sponsorship – 2011 BIO

June 13, 2011

Forwarded from NC Biotechnology Center (Great Exposure for Local Businesses to 2011 BIO): See the link below for more information. ### Don’t miss out on attending the life science industry’s largest show – BIO 2011.There is still time left to join the NC Pavilion as a Supporting Sponsor. For only $500 you will receive the […]

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