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Angela Abitua

Angela Abitua is an Outreach Scientist at Addgene and co-organizer at BosLab, a community biotech laboratory in Somerville MA. Follow her on twitter at @ZebraElement.
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Reproducibility for Everyone: Lessons from an Open Science Collaboration

Posted by Angela Abitua on Feb 28, 2019 8:34:05 AM

In 2017, Lenny Teytelman, CEO of protocols.io, organized a panel to discuss reproducibility issues in research. But he realized that it wasn’t enough to discuss the age-old problem of irreproducibility in science or even to discuss potential solutions. Despite all the talk, not much was being done to address the issue head on. It was at this pivotal moment that Teytelman realized that running interactive workshops to train researchers on tools and best practices could be an actionable way to tackle widespread irreproducibility. Luckily, there were other academics and like-minded organizations with similar ideas who were also thinking about reproducibility and shared similar desires to take action. Thanks to Teytelman’s vast network and ability to identify the right opportunities, he was able to bring together talented and motivated groups and individuals with similar ideas to actually do something about it.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Reproducibility

Unique and persistent IDs for improved reproducibility: Addgene now supports RRIDs and compact identifiers for all plasmids

Posted by Angela Abitua on Nov 20, 2018 3:17:00 PM

Have you ever found yourself frustrated reading through a paper to find that there is insufficient information about which reagents were used? Unambiguous identification of a reagent is crucial for reproducibility because mistakes in this can lead to wasted time or retractions.

Using a catalog number for identifying a reagent can be helpful, but it lacks context unless it links to a verified description of that reagent online. Furthermore, if the link between the catalog number and reagent description is lost (e.g. a supplier is bought out by another company and catalog number changes) the original identifier loses its meaning, making it difficult or impossible for researchers to track down that resource. A more long-term solution is the use of unique persistent identifiers (PIDs), a long-lasting way to identify and reference documents, files, or physical reagents.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Reproducibility

Educational planarian tools for teaching developmental biology techniques

Posted by Angela Abitua on May 24, 2018 9:20:05 AM

Scientists routinely use techniques to alter gene expression or to label specific cells, but there are too few resources to teach students how to perform these experiments in the beginning. In most classrooms, the laboratory experience is focused on classical embryology techniques such as basic observation and dissections. Students don’t usually perform more modern techniques used in genetics or molecular biology because the experiments are either not accessible or too challenging for amateur scientists. Planarians, wormy creatures commonly found in freshwater ponds, provide a good potential solution to this problem. Planarians are easy to buy, cultivate, and have interesting phenotypes to study. In addition, the Sánchez lab has made it easier to perform advanced developmental biology experiments in planarians with their recent plasmid deposit.

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Topics: Education

Cultivating Community Science at BosLab

Posted by Angela Abitua on Nov 2, 2017 9:35:33 AM

Biotechnology is no longer just for those working in academia or industry. At BosLab, we identify ourselves as part of a network of independent Do-it-Yourself (DIY) biology laboratories working towards enabling everyone to participate in the biotech revolution. Our lab exists in what appears to be a funky old garage, but looks can be deceiving. Step into this building and you will find a bike kitchen on the first floor and upstairs you will find our fully-equipped laboratory for citizen scientists. In addition to maintaining a laboratory to support both individual and community science projects, we offer classes, workshops, book clubs, seminars, and social events.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing

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