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Designing Your Chalk Talk for the Academic Job Interview

Posted by Guest Blogger on Mar 12, 2019 9:37:47 AM

This post was contributed by Erik Snappthe Director of Student and Postdoctoral Programs at the

Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Are you currently on or planning to go on the academic job market? In addition to all of the documents you submit, you will need to present a "chalk talk." However, few, if any, faculty job candidates have seen an actual chalk talk. Their first exposure to a chalk talk is usually their own. This is a problem. The chalk talk is effectively a million dollar sales pitch. Given this large sum, one might expect that applicants would work for months to hone a chalk talk. Yet, I often hear, "I have an interview next week and it includes a chalk talk. What should I include in my chalk talk?"

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Topics: Career

CrispyCrunch: High-throughput Design and Analysis of CRISPR+HDR Experiments

Posted by Guest Blogger on Feb 7, 2019 9:16:20 AM

This post was contributed by Greg Dingle, a software engineer with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

We hereby announce the general availability of new a tool for CRISPR scientists––CrispyCrunch! CrispyCrunch is a web app that helps scientists design and analyze batches of CRISPR samples.

We invite you to jump in and try it out, or take a look at our live examples: experiment or analysis. In the rest of this article, we'll explain the thinking behind the tool, its key features, how it works, and how to use it.

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Topics: CRISPR

The Breast Cancer Microenvironment: A Tumor’s Backstage Team

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jan 31, 2019 8:32:02 AM

This post was contributed by Bárbara Pinho, a science communicator at the Portuguese science museum "Fábrica Centro Ciência Viva" in Aveiro, Portugal.

If cancer was a musician, then metastasize is touring. But you know what a touring musician needs? A backstage team. Meet the microenvironment, a tumor’s backstage team.

Microenvironments are cellular regions with specialized structures. Tumors are surrounded by microenvironments and what encircles a disease is highly prone to affect it. While tumors may be the stars, there's plenty of action outside of tumor cells, and recent studies (Martins et al., 2018 and Xing et al., 2010) revealed precisely that for breast cancer.

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Topics: Cancer

Tetbow: Bright Multicolor Labeling for Neuronal Tracing

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jan 24, 2019 9:24:20 AM

This post was contributed by Richi Sakaguchi from Kyoto University, and Marcus N. Leiwe and Takeshi Imai from Kyushu University.

Stochastic multicolor labeling is a powerful solution for discriminating between neurons for light microscopy-based neuronal reconstruction. To achieve stochastic multicolor labeling, Brainbow used the Cre-loxP system to express one of the three fluorescent protein (XFP) genes in a transgene. When multiple copies of the transgene cassette are introduced, stochasticity will result in a combinatorial expression of these three genes with different copy numbers, producing dozens of color hues (Livet et al., 2007; Cai et al., 2013). However, the brightness of Brainbow was inherently low. This is because the stochastic and combinatorial expression of fluorescent proteins is only possible at low copy number ranges, resulting in low fluorescent protein level.

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Topics: Fluorescent Proteins

Supporting Reproducibility with a Connected ELN

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jan 17, 2019 8:38:21 AM

This post was contributed by Rory Macneil, founder of Research Space.

There are many types of electronic lab notebooks (ELNs), each with its own pros and cons. All ELNs have the virtue of liberating data from paper into an electronic environment and hence making it searchable and shareable, but some ELNs provide better support for reproducibility than others.

Unfortunately, most ELNs are designed as closed ecosystems and act as data silos because they limit connectivity with other tools and resources. Thus, it’s difficult to get data out of the ELN. This means that reproducibility is limited in two ways – only data inside the ELN is reproducible, and only the highly restricted number of people who can access the ELN have the ability to attempt to reproduce the research that produced the data.

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Topics: Reproducibility, Open Science

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