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Using Video to Share Your Science: We Share Science

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 3, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by Ryan Watkins, Professor at George Washington University and developer of wesharescience.org.

Sharing your research with the world can be challenging. After months, or years, of grueling effort to design, fund, and conduct a research project, the vast majority of what gets published in scientific journals flies under the radar and gains little notice. A 2009 research study found that 12% of articles in medicine, 27% in natural sciences, 82% in humanities, and 32% in the social sciences go uncited. Creative titles and controversial topics can garner some attention, though in reality much of our research still fails to reach our primary target audience – colleagues in our field. Secondary audiences that may also benefit, such as researchers in other countries or ot­her disciplines, are even less likely to read about our work. We therefore must discover new ways to reach our colleagues and other interested audiences quickly and concisely – video might be part of the answer.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Science Communication

FastCloning: A Newer, Simpler Cloning Technique

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 1, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Meghan Monroy, a graduate student in Protein Science at the University of Connecticut.

Molecular cloning is the isolation, insertion and amplification of a recombinant DNA without sequence alteration. Molecular cloning techniques are some of the most widely used techniques in the biological sciences and constitute foundational elements of biomedical research. Traditional restriction cloning is one of the oldest of these techniques and is a multi-step process consisting of digestion, purification, ligation, and transformation. While restriction cloning is still routinely performed by many labs, a variety of other cloning techniques with higher efficiency and simpler procedures have been developed. Some of these include, TA cloning, ligation independent cloning, TOPO cloning, one step cloning, and overlap extension PCR. Although each type of cloning has its advantages, most scientists still encounter several struggles with these techniques: unwanted mutations due to excessive PCR cycles or low fidelity Taq DNA polymerase, the construction of specific sequences for base pair overhangs, insert and vector purification, and, most importantly, excessive time requirements. FastCloning is a simpler yet reliable cloning technique that was developed by Chaokun, et al., in 2011. This method is ligation independent, it does not require purification of insert or vector products, nor does it require the use of specific sequences. Read on to learn how easy this process is and to get tips for applying it in your own lab.

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Topics: Plasmid Cloning

Changing Labor Laws Bring Increased Postdoc Wages

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 25, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by Future of Research Executive Director, Gary McDowell.

On Dec 1st, the threshold at which salaried workers receive overtime payment for working more than 40 hours per week will increase from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, under updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This is having a major effect on scientists within academia, most particularly postdocs working in the U.S., whose current salaries are below the new exemption level (the current average postdoc salary is estimated at around $45,000, but as I’ve discussed elsewhere (slides here) there are many postdocs paid at much lower salaries).

Postdocs (who are not in a primarily teaching role) come under this ruling, regardless of visa or fellowship status, in addition to certain staff scientists and those in technical roles. Therefore, institutions are responsible for ensuring that either all affected scientists are paid above this threshold or for tracking the hours that these scientists work and paying them overtime accordingly.

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Topics: Career, News

6 Tips for Grant Writing

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 18, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Sean Mac Fhearraigh, co-founder of ELISAAssays.com.

No matter what facet of academia you are in, grant writing can be the lynch pin that results in your success or failure and demands attention, practice, and honing of your skills from the start. Just like with any sport, hours of practice are required and no one lab or professor becomes an overnight success. Below I have detailed some tips to improve your grant writing and hopefully increase your success rate.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

Healthcare Consulting: A Door to the Business of Life Sciences

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 13, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Gairik Sachdeva.

Healthcare consulting is a fast-paced field, requiring people who are willing to quickly learn, and apply their knowledge to a variety of problems. In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned as a healthcare consultant and give you an idea of what a career in this field involves, and why you might enjoy doing it. I’ll also talk about the skills you’ll need to do well as a healthcare consultant and what you could do to break into the field.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

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