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What's Your Organism? Expanding Genomic Tools via the NSF EDGE Program

Posted by Joanne Kamens on May 2, 2019 8:41:38 AM

In this heyday of molecular biology, many scientists do a lot of DNA work but never get to actually manipulate the organism they study (unless if you count normal human interaction for all of us studying human genes in test tubes and gels). As a freshman in college I studied development and evolution of histone genes in Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, the spiny purple sea urchin. It’s not a standard model organism, but it was easy to harvest eggs and sperm, mix them in a tank, and observe the beauty of embryo development in real time. I was already a biology geek, but this formative experience nailed down my plan to become a research scientist. I recently was invited to attend the first Principal Investigator meeting of the NSF EDGE (Enabling Discovery Through Genomic Tools) Program and I met scientists from 21 different labs who clearly also share this wonder of the organism.  

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Topics: Scientific Sharing

Science Communication for Everyone

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 16, 2019 9:05:47 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Chinmaya Sadangi, a postdoc at the University of Toronto.

The Addictive Brain was founded in early 2018 with the goal of communicating science to non-scientists. Chinmaya Sadangi, a postdoc at the University of Toronto, created The Addictive Brain to spread awareness about how scientists utilize tax-payer money and government funding for research, and also to encourage women, students, and underrepresented minorities to study STEM subjects.

Here, Sadangi and his team answer a few questions about The Addictive Brain and science communication for general audiences.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Science Communication

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

Phage Directory: From Phage Therapy to a Repository of Phage Information

Posted by Jennifer Tsang on Jan 10, 2019 9:38:39 AM

When Jessica Sacher, a microbiologist from the University of Alberta, saw that scientists were using Twitter to find phages to treat an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection, she shared that tweet with Jan Zheng, a UX designer that she knew. “We had actually met at a lindy hop swing dance event,” Zheng says (networking can happen anywhere!). The pair quickly teamed up to create Phage Directory in a whirlwind three days in November 2017.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Material Sharing

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

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