Reproducibility through peer review

April 16, 2014 | Posted by Guest in Reproducibility |

This week we are featuring a guest post on how peer review can improve reproducibility. Check out Aimee Whitcroft from Publons’ thoughts below.

There has been much talk over the last few years about the fact that most research, particularly in the medical fields, may not be reproducible – a stunning waste of time and resources.

At Publons, we’ve been following the crisis closely, and we at think improved peer review is a vital first step towards reproducibility in academic and scientific literature. Read the rest of this entry »

Cell Line Authentication and Reproducibility

April 10, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Lab Profiles |
Cell line authentication at DDC Medical.

Cell line authentication at DDC Medical.

Over a third of cell lines used for biomedical research are contaminated or misidentified resulting in wasted resources, unreliable data, and irreproducible results.1 As a result, many journals and funding agencies now require cell line authentication for their studies.

Earlier this week, I wrote about our user, Eric Hugo, who did cell line authentication on several human cell lines that he had created. The experiment gave him confidence that his cell lines had the expected XY profile, hadn’t been contaminated, and were completely unique – all crucial findings for any researcher creating new cell lines.

Until recently, it has only been possible to authenticate cell lines from humans. Excitingly, DDC Medical has just developed and released a mouse cell line authentication test, providing researchers a way to validate their mouse cell lines for the first time. Read the rest of this entry »

Science Exchange Stories: Eric Hugo, adipose tissue researcher

April 7, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Stories |

erichugoWho knew fat could be so interesting? Eric Hugo did. Eric is an adipose tissue researcher at the University of Cincinnati. His research on adipose cells spans the cellular biology world. From breast cancer to antipsychotic drugs, Eric studies how dopamine receptors on adipose tissue cells respond to things in the body.

I spoke with Eric recently about his research, its implications, and how he used Science Exchange. Read his story below:

Q: How long have you been doing research?

Eric: I got my PhD in 1992, but I’ve only been in adipose biology since 2002. I had been teaching for ten years and in 2002 I decided to return to research. So, I started a second post-doc ten years after my first. The person that hired me gave me a second chance, and I found that I really enjoyed being back in the lab. It’s worked out; I’m very proud of the twenty publications I’ve received. Read the rest of this entry »

Science Exchange Stories: Eli Skipp, science meets art

April 2, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Stories |

Eli Skipp is one of the most unique users we’ve had. She is an artist who finds fun and interesting ways to integrate technology and science into her art. She successfully used Kickstarter to raise money to get her brother’s RNA sequenced using Science Exchange. Now she is loom weaving the sequence into a colorful, physical representation of her brother’s bases.

I talked to her recently about her insight into art and science. Check out her original Kickstarter video and read about her unique perspective on art and science below!

Read the rest of this entry »

Lab Profile: IBT Bioservices – Personalized Contract Research

March 31, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Lab Profiles |

 ibt1

Recently I spoke with Dr. Aman and Todd Pelham at IBT Bioservices, I was blown away by the care and consideration they put into their work.

IBT Bioservices is an early stage drug discovery company that knows the research process doesn’t always go as expected. The lab work isn’t simple; it’s filled twists and turns along the way. As a result, IBT Bioservices is a new version of CRO that has increased expertise and communication to navigate all the bumps in the road.

IBT Bioservices is dedicated to infectious disease research. With expertise in immunology, virology, bacteriology, and animal model development, they’ve established a core of services focused on adding value to early R&D programs. Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing the Laboratory Storefront

March 25, 2014 | Posted by Team in Lab Admin Tools, New Feature, Science Exchange News |

2 storefront ss

We are proud to announce that we have just launched our largest product update ever – our newly designed Laboratory Storefront platform which consolidates lab management tools in order to optimize project management and internal workflow for Science Exchange laboratories.

Our vision for Science Exchange has always been to improve the efficiency of scientific research through tools that promote collaboration. We’ve spent the past three years towards this goal, building a marketplace for researchers to search and order over 2000 experiments, and helping labs to promote and manage these services online. The Laboratory Storefront is a critical step towards streamlining and improving our laboratories’ internal processes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lab Profile: uBiome, microbiome sequencing made easy

March 19, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Stories |

Recently I talked with uBiome, a Science Exchange laboratory that specializes in microbiome sequencing. What makes them spectacular is more than just their sequencing services. It’s their unique perspective on science, the microbiome, and the cycle of research. There are tons of amazing facets to uBiome, but to name a couple:

  • They are the largest crowdfunded citizen science project to date – they raised more than $350,000 on indiegogo.
  • They have a fully automated, scalable robotic next-generation sequencing pipeline that can handle 10,000 samples as easily as 10 samples.

uBiome was founded by Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, who came together to start something different – a place where researchers can work with citizen scientists to create a game-changing dataset of microbial information.

According to Jessica, “We are excited about the process of collaborative citizen science around the microbiome. The idea is to involve the public, ask questions, and include the public in the researcher’s process.”

It’s this approach that helped them amass the largest dataset of human microbiome info. As a result, they can offer something unique to researchers, the chance to compare participants’ data to each other.

“If you’re studying anything, from heart disease to autism, we can sample and sequence your participants and compare them to our dataset. If researchers are sampling something that’s not one of our existing sites, we can still sequence anything they’re interested in – feet, noses, worms, animals, environmental samples, anything that has bacteria on it. We can run those through our pipeline and give data back about what’s in them,” said Jessica Richman.

They make the process as simple as possible for the researcher. They can be hands on and take care of sample collection, participant surveys, and sequencing. Or they can leave the details to the researchers and simply sequence the samples in their lab. In addition, researchers can compare their samples with groups of interest in the uBiome dataset.

uBiome is making is making microbiome sequencing easier than ever. Check out their services on Science Exchange.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reproducing the STAP Stem Cell Method

March 13, 2014 | Posted by Elizabeth in Reproducibility |

When the stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) stem cell papers were published there was tremendous excitement in the scientific community. The papers described a seemingly simple method to reprogram differentiated somatic cells into pluripotency  - a process that usually involves the addition of multiple transcription factors.

The controversy around the papers comes from two separate issues. The initial controversy concerns the images submitted by the authors. First, an image used in Dr. Obokata’s doctoral thesis may have also been used in the Nature papers. However, the image from her thesis was from different experiments and time periods than those reported in the Nature paper. Secondly, a lane in their genomic analysis gel seems to be spliced. Lastly, images from two different placentas look nearly identical. Questionable images are a red flag, and this may be what causes the papers to be retracted.

But the larger issue brought up by these papers is reproducibility, which is much more complex. While it is terrific to see the crowdsourced replication attempts reported on the Knoepfler blog, the attempts did not use the same cells as those reported in the original studies, thus limiting interpretation of the attempts as replications. Read the rest of this entry »

Is your lab losing out on guaranteed revenue?

March 5, 2014 | Posted by Brianne Villano in Lab Admin Tools |

I’ve written recently about our impending redesign, and how Science Exchange is streamlining your lab’s workflow to make your experience more efficient. Now let’s talk about the impulse to be a part of Science Exchange in the first place.

We are growing every single day. In fact, each month continues to be our “best month ever” for orders and revenue through the site. We are actively recruiting the best labs in the country to be on our platform. The best part, however, is that we also get an increased amount of labs applying of their own accord on a daily basis.

The directors and sales teams realize that there has been a tipping point, and they’re actively losing out on revenue for their lab by not being on Science Exchange. 

The feedback we consistently receive from labs on the site includes:

  • Our billing process is incredibly swift.
  • Their reach has increased; they are working with researchers they wouldn’t otherwise had the opportunity to work with.
  • They are guaranteed payment within 30 days of order completion because Science Exchange pay labs directly.

Long story short: your expertise is valued and valuable on Science Exchange. Listing as a lab on Science Exchange enables you to reap the rewards from the thousands of researchers on the site looking for expert labs to perform their research.

If you’re already listed or plan to, make sure to pay it forward to colleagues that could no doubt benefit from the Science Exchange network.

How Can My Lab Make More Money?

March 4, 2014 | Posted by Brianne Villano in Lab Admin Tools |

Some of the Science Exchange team recently went to AAAS – the American Association for the Advancement of Science. While there, I went to several sessions that talked about the composition of research teams and the dedication they have to have applying for grant after grant, and often times not hearing back for months at a time, only to then see those months of hopes dashed when they are denied funding.

The NIH reports that the average research grant success rate for fiscal year 2012 was 18%.  Read the rest of this entry »

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