Trinity Bioactives – Measuring Bioactivity in Everything

February 7, 2017 | Posted by Team in Lab Profiles |

Trinity Bioactives

We’re pretty sure we can measure the bioactivity of almost anything.

‘Bioactive’ is one of those tricky terms… it can mean many things to many people.

Trinity Bioactive’s definition of it is a compound that does something to living tissue.

Trinity’s expertise is to prove that products such as skin cream, honey-based products, green-lipped mussel powders, oils, and other mostly natural products, ‘do’ something. They use other scientists’ internationally published, peer-reviewed methods to verify that product X has Y effect, which they show as evidence of bioactivity.

Trinity solves the problem of many health product companies and developers of being able to demonstrate that their products work.

To this end, Trinity reckons that it can measure the biological presence and activity of almost anything, if it exists.

Dr Paul Davis

Dr Paul Davis – Research Director and CEO – Trinity Bioactives

Research Director and CEO Paul Davis is tempted to say that there’s no product or extract whose biological activity Trinity can’t measure. But, being the experienced biomedical researcher that he is, he prefers to err on the side of caution.

The Wellington-based laboratory, with satellite offices in Melbourne and Salt Lake City, uses assays or models as a proxy to establish that an extract, mixture, compound or product has biologically active and available properties.

The company’s team is consists mostly of PhD holders, who uses almost 200 assay models to measure a diverse range of biological potencies and efficiencies. Many are cell cultures — stomach cells, tumors, or cell models that measure diabetic or skin responses.

“All of our methodologies are peer-reviewed, and written up and published in reputable international scientific and medical journals,” says Paul. “When we put together our study protocols, we cite the papers the methods are based on.”

The studies consist of mostly natural products including the safety, toxicology, and efficacies of honey, bee propolis, dairy products, green-lipped mussels, traditional medicines, emu oil and other oils, and a number of other raw materials.

Manufacturers of nutraceuticals, functional foods, skin care compounds, over-the-counter internet products, supermarkets, and health food stores are among the global clients for whom Trinity carries out its specialized tests.

These clients include companies:

  • developing new processing methods to improve their products
  • looking for useful functionality from their biological waste streams
  • investigating new activities for existing bioactives and products
  • investigating the possible synergistic effect of combining two or more compounds

“Everything we do is customized to the clients’ requirements,” says Paul. “This is based on a Study Plan; an agreement and approval of what and how we are going to measure a biological presence and response. After the conclusion of the study, a confidential report is supplied back to the client.”

“That’s why our conversations with clients beforehand are so important. We’re aware of the latest regulations out of Europe or the USA, we’re up with the latest modeling research, we appreciate a client wants authentic and verifiable data to provide them with an evidence-led, marketing story.”

Trinity Bioactives Lab

Davis says that the experience, methodologies and consultancy practices developed over the company’s 22-year history are major factors in providing cost-effective proof of bioactivity.

The other advantage of operating in a tightly connected, highly-educated, well-regulated market such as New Zealand is that Trinity Bioactives is able to link into the expertise of other researchers and science providers. These include the universities (including the medical schools), the crown research institutes, other R&D companies and institutions and clinical trials groups. “We have a real concentration of facilities and expertise quite close to us,” says Paul.

“We know what we and others can do, and can tap into that. It means that when someone asks if we can do something, we don’t need to say no, as if it is not in our portfolio, we know someone who can help. We just need a day or two to work on a plan. We almost invariably get back with a way we’d provide scientific evidence and proof of what they wish to validate.”

“From a bioactivity point of view, there’s not much that we or our networks can’t scientifically measure and validate,” says Paul.

“We have expertise, connectivity, and can answer important questions for clients about their products… We realize that our clients are seeking data to assist the marketing of their products and we are happy to assist.”


Would you like to work with Trinity Bioactives on your next project? Trinity Bioactives and thousands of other high-quality service providers look forward to doing business with you on the Science Exchange platform. Request a free quote from any of these service providers today!

The New Science Exchange Dashboard for Requesters

February 2, 2017 | Posted by Team in Company, Education, How To, New Feature |

Researchers requesting services who have recently logged in to your Science Exchange account may have noticed the improvements we have made to your Dashboard! We hope that these changes will make it even easier to communicate with your service providers, manage projects, and compare quotes. Ultimately, our goal is to help you make better decisions, faster, with maximum transparency.

In this post, we summarize what is new in the dashboard for requesters.

 

Request services even more easily

If you have not yet requested services through Science Exchange, the new dashboard makes doing so as easy as possible.  

Use the Marketplace for fastest access to providers. Type keywords into the Marketplace search bar, such as “ELISAs,” “Boston BioSource,” or “Cambridge MA,” to search our network of service providers. Requests are sent directly to the providers, giving you the fastest access to our network.

Enjoy white-glove sourcing with our Concierge service. Ask our Concierge service to find service providers by submitting the short webform. This will engage our Masters- and Ph.D.-trained Sourcing Managers, who will gather quotes from the best service providers for your project.

Dashboard-FTUE-01-1


Track requests at a glance

Spend more time on science, less time monitoring your request status. Once you have made requests, the new Dashboard delivers a consolidated view to help you keep track of:

  • Request status
  • With whom you are working
  • Both Marketplace and Concierge projects

As you can see below, the Dashboard makes it easy to identify and communicate with the people with whom you are working, for each project. If you have experience outsourcing research projects, you know well that better communication is key for obtaining reliable study results.

Dashboard-01-1

 

Brand new to the Dashboard is the addition of the Concierge Requests panel, which allows you to track your submitted projects. Once a Sourcing Manager has been assigned, their contact information will be displayed. Please reach out to your Sourcing Manager directly for updates on your Concierge requests.


Easily find the Marketplace request you are looking for

Once you have submitted numerous requests, you will find it useful to navigate from the Dashboard to the new Marketplace Requests page by clicking on “Marketplace Requests” to view them all. Here, you now have fine control over the way you view and manage your ongoing requests.

Orders
This page enables you to:

  1. Archive: Clean up your view by hovering over an individual request and clicking the archive icon. Archived requests will be excluded from the default view, but can still be found.
  2. Search: Quickly find your existing requests using any keywords.
  3. Filter: Narrow your view to requests of a specific status, or reveal archived orders.
  4. Sort: Arrange your orders either by Request Number (which orders them by creation) or by date of last activity.

Any questions? We would love your feedback on this long-anticipated improvement to our site.
Contact Science Exchange today!

First open-access reproducibility project reveals roadblocks to performing replication studies

January 19, 2017 | Posted by Team in Reproducibility, Research |

Reproducibility has re-emerged at the forefront of public awareness this week, as the first five replication studies executed by the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology (RP:CB) have just been published in the open-access journal eLife.

The project is a collaboration between Science Exchange and the Center for Open Science (COS) to independently replicate key experiments from high-impact, published cancer biology studies. Unlike other assessments of reproducibility, the RP:CB studies and their results are completely open to the public.

The RP:CB studies highlight some of the practical considerations associated with replicating an existing study. For example, the RP:CB studies tackle the questions:

  • How do we define “replicate”?
  • What are the minimum requirements for reporting to enable a replication study?
  • How much time do replication studies take?
  • How much do replication studies cost?

The preliminary results of the RP:CB project, as eloquently summarized in The Atlantic, indicate that replication studies are lengthy and difficult.

Are the resources required for replication studies worth the benefits? Undoubtedly.

High-profile reports, from researchers at Amgen, Bayer, and elsewhere, illustrate the industry’s concerns that this lack of reproducibility might be driving the low success rate of drug candidates. Despite the costs of irreproducibility, researchers have few incentives to replicate studies. Results from replication studies have reduced chances of being published in traditional journals and are rarely prioritized for grant funding. The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology is helping initiate a cultural shift in the research community to motivate scientists to perform independent replication.

Our mission at Science Exchange is to facilitate collaboration between the world’s best scientific labs.We hope to play a big part in that cultural shift.

Still have questions? Download our FAQ that answers the most-asked questions on this project.

AsureQuality

November 21, 2016 | Posted by Team in Lab Profiles |

Science Exchange has top quality service providers located in all parts of the world. Today we’re profiling one of our newest service providers AsureQuality, a New Zealand based provider of food safety and biosecurity services to the food and primary production sectors worldwide.

Science Exchange correspondent Peter Kerr recently paid a visit to their Lower Hutt laboratory where he caught up with Chief Science Officer (CSO) Dr. Harry van Enckevort.

Global mindset drives Kiwi ‘stamp of approval’ enterprise

AsureQuality

Dr. Harry van Enckevort AsureQuality CSO

How does an organisation from the bottom of the world, excel internationally in verifying and stamping its approval on food quality and safety?

The first answer is because New Zealand exports over 90% of the food it produces, and other countries demand assurances of quality and safety against their market access standards.

The second is through 120 years of experience backed by expertise, professionalism and integrity which sees AsureQuality as its home country’s premier food assurances provider. These attributes also see it with significant operations in Australia, Singapore, China and the Middle East.

AsureQuality’s 1700 people have inherited and continue to develop world-leading inspection, auditing, certification, testing, training, advisory and authentication services.

As a recognised Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) it has a mandate that integrates inspection and certification with testing.

Dr. van Enckevort says food is the State Owned Enterprise’s main focus – giving consumers confidence in what they eat while also protecting the brands of countries and companies.

As well as New Zealand clients, customers include very well known non-NZ multinationals, with some of these brands also in the very sensitive infant formula space.

“AsureQuality also has a key role in New Zealand’s food safety regulatory framework and to do that we have to walk the line between customers and regulators. To achieve it we can’t have conflicts of interest. In practice it means across all AsureQuality services, we have to maintain our independence. We can only do that because we carefully cultivate our expertise, professionalism and integrity.”

Dr. van Enckevort says the organisation is based on a deeply skilled people resource underpinned by its science and technical capabilities.

“We also have a worldwide overview – helping take exports out of New Zealand and bringing global perspectives back home,” he says. “That customer focus is a two-way flow; they lead us and we lead them. If we didn’t there is no way we’d have our global expertise in food quality and safety.”

He says the company instills continual improvement through looking at ourselves and customer feedback and surveys.

“We’re constantly looking at what we need to do to stay relevant and ahead of the game and competition,” Dr van Enckevort says. “We’re always looking to find a better way, challenging our people how we can do things better, faster and smarter while still maintaining the quality of our output. Because there’s always changes in customers and industry as well as customer needs, we have feedback loops and responses.”

A particular point of focus is to add value for a customer beyond mere compliance, not simply ticking a box as part of an audit or certification.

When we give customer feedback in an audit, they might ask what the options are to mitigate the issues, “We say, here are some options – we don’t tell them what to do – they need to make their own call,” he says.

For AsureQuality to still be thriving in five years time, “to still have relevance, we will have to be commercially successful.”

“Our market offering will have to continue to be relevant, and we’ll need to maintain our comparative advantage against our competitors. If we do that we’d like to think we’ll have a larger global presence than we presently do. To achieve that we’ll need to continue to have the right people in the right place with the right expertise and service.”

“So far we’ve met the demands of customers and stakeholders all across the world. By maintaining our core focus on science and technology that is how we will continue to provide the services they want, how we will continue to grow.”

AsureQuality Lab


Would you like to work with AsureQuality on your next project? AsureQuality and thousands of other high quality service providers look forward to doing business with you on the Science Exchange platform. Request a free quote from any of these service providers today!

Humanized Antibodies: Key Technology for Effective Immunotherapies

November 1, 2016 | Posted by Christina Cordova in Research |


Harnessing the power of the immune system for therapeutic use in human disease is not a new idea, but recent advances in biotechnology have brought new precision to the way physicians and researchers approach therapy development.  Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have offered real progress toward fighting many autoimmune diseases and several forms of cancer, turning immunotherapy into a multibillion dollar segment of the biopharmaceutical industry.  An estimated 37 million people are afflicted with
cancer or an autoimmune disease in the United States alone, making advances in these therapies impactful for improving survival rate and quality of life for millions of patients world-wide.  As more antigens are linked to cancer, promising mAb therapies are emerging which target and block certain cancer-specific antigens.  These antigens are often functional parts of the cancer cells, or aid in the function of cells and expedite cancer growth.  MAbs are also developed to target cancer cells in the body by attaching to them, thus marking them to be eliminated by the body’s immune system.  Conjugated mAbs use specific antibodies as a homing device to deliver a deadly dose of cancer-killing agents or radioactive substances to cancerous cells in the body.  Autoimmune disorders often manifest with a concentrated attack on a specific organ system caused by immune reactivity to particular self antigens.  Identifying these antigens as the targets of mAb therapies could offer significant progress in treating diseases including multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

128px-Antibody.svgAntibody therapy as we know it today began in 1975, when scientists Cesar Milstein and Georges J. F. Kohler pioneered technology to produce monoclonal antibodies by creating the first hybridoma.  To produce hybridoma cells, scientists inject mice with an antigen linked with the particular immune response they are interested in triggering.  Mice are then screened for production of the desired antibodies and if a sufficient level is detected, B cells (the type of cells that produce antibodies) are harvested from the spleen to be used in the hybridoma.  Spleen cells on their own have a very limited lifespan, so they must be fused with immortal myeloma cells to increase their longevity and ability to reproduce.  This resulting hybrid cell can multiply indefinitely and is capable of producing antibodies at a volume large enough to be used for therapeutic or diagnostic applications. These initial antibodies were murine, meaning both cell lines were derived from mice.  However, differences between mouse and human immune systems caused clinical failure of many murine antibody therapies due to immunogenicity.  This undesired response to immunotherapy happens when the antibody being introduced is seen as a foreign protein by the body’s immune system and prompts a sever immune response in the patient.  Unlike vaccines, activating the immune system in this way can render mAbs ineffective or trigger an allergic reaction in the body such as anaphylaxis, or cause the rapid release of proinflammatory cytokines, known as cytokine release syndrome.

To decrease the chance of immunogenicity, chimeric antibodies were developed which fused murine antibody variable (antigen binding) regions with human antibody constant (effector) regions.  Lower immunogenicity allows chimeric antibodies to be used in biotherapeutics, assay development, and diagnostics.  As antibody engineering technology improved, the first humanized antibodies were created hoping to fully address the issue of immunogenic response in patient populations.  However, immunogenicity still proves to be an obstacle in immunotherapies, prompting the FDA to publish a guidance document for the industry on immunogenicity assessment for therapeutic protein products.  For biopharmaceutical companies seeking to launch new immunotherapies, the production and validation of humanized antibodies is a critical component in drug research.  There are several methods of humanization employed in antibody engineering:

  • CDR grafting – Combines antibody variables called complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) which determine where antibodies bind to a particular antigen, with human constants.  Antibody specificity and antigen affinity are retained by utilizing residues associated with antigen binding. This results in an antibody that is mostly human, with only CDRs from nonhuman origin.
  • Phage display – A process of using simple organisms, such as bacteriophages, to display antibodies or antibody fragments which are genetically fused to the phage coat protein.  The bacteriophage are genetically engineered through repeated cycles of antigen-guided selection, used to create a human phage display library, and then screened for binding affinity to a specific antigen.
  • Transgenic animals – Mice are genetically engineered with introduced human antibody heavy and light chain gene sequences, along with targeted modification of endogenous mouse antibody genes in order to suppress their expression.  What results is a transgenic mouse which can produce fully human antibody repertoires.

Antibody engineering techniques vary depending on the target antigen and application, however robust characterization is an essential part of successful antibody production.  Assays to determine appropriate end-use effectiveness include screening for a cross-reaction with other protein species, checking for affinity requirements, application-specific viability such as immunohistochemistry, and inclusion of control studies at each stage.  Due to the complexity of antibody engineering and rigor required in mAb production, working with knowledgeable collaborators is key in the success of humanization service projects.  

Science Exchange offers access to experienced service providers specializing in the mAb production techniques mentioned here, as well as thousands of other experiment types.  Visit our marketplace to start your antibody engineering project today.

 

Provider Reviews: Net Promoter Scores

October 25, 2016 | Posted by Christina Cordova in Company, Education, Helpful products |

One of the best advertisements for a product or service is a positive review from another customer.  Reviews and ratings are so compelling and commonplace, they help guide our choices in car repair, travel destinations, and sushi restaurants.  We think customer feedback is also incredibly useful when trying to find the right scientific service provider.  For this reason, we began collecting Net Promoter Scores (NPS) from our clients and sharing them on supplier storefronts.  

What is a Net Promoter Score?  In 2003 Bain & Company launched a new way to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction by creating a feedback survey with a single question: “What is the likelihood that you would recommend Company X to a friend or colleague?”  Respondents answer this question on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being extremely likely and 0 being not at all likely.  Based on their response, customers who provide feedback are placed into one of three categories:

NPS-en

  • Promoters (9 or 10) are very satisfied clients who would urge others to buy from/work with the business
  • Passives (7 or 8) are satisfied, but unenthusiastic about their experience
  • Detractors (0-6) are unsatisfied customers who would share negative experiences about the company

 

The total Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the number of detractors from promoters.  Identifying three key groups within a customer base allows for more targeted interaction with clients.  If someone marks a 6 or below, the company can follow up with that person and try to correct what went wrong.  

We took that idea and applied it to our feedback surveys for service providers.  Our rating system now includes detailed reviews contributed by other customers, as well as NPS information on each storefront.  We understand outsourcing decisions aren’t only based on price, but finding a service provider you can trust to conduct experiments vital to the success of your research.  In order to learn about our customers’ experience with a lab we ask the following questions:

  1. What is the likelihood that you would recommend (service provider) to a friend or colleague (0-10)
  2. How satisfied are you with the timeliness of the deliverables (0-10)
  3. How satisfied are you with the quality of the deliverables (0-10)

Integrating information like this on our platform is just one of the many ways Science Exchange provides industry insights that allow you to reduce risk when contracting with external service providers.  To read reviews and find the NPS information for a service provider, click on the Ratings tab on any storefront, as seen here.

Provider NPS image

Science Exchange empowers researchers to work with confidence and make informed outsourcing decisions across all industries. Search our Marketplace to choose from thousands of screened labs and feel free to add a review of your experience.  The unique feedback and NPS data you provide can help other teams find the right service provider for them.   

Find the right service provider for you and start your project today. 

Mass Spec: Shedding Light on Cancer Biomarkers with Century-Old Technology

October 5, 2016 | Posted by Christina Cordova in Research, Stories, Uncategorized |

Imagine telling the inventor of the radio that the technology he discovered was now found in almost every kitchen in America, and that you used it to make your popcorn last night. He’d probably be surprised, and maybe you are, too.  Sound far-fetched? Many aspects of modern life rely on technology that was first identified by 19th century physicists and then adapted to new applications. This not only includes microwave ovens from the example above, but state-of-the-art lab equipment which is poised to change the way researchers treat cancer. It might be hard to imagine cutting-edge discoveries in proteomics or precision medicine are the result of technology first conceived over a hundred years ago, but that’s what a new application called proteomic mass spectrometry imaging is doing for cancer diagnostic tests.

Many life scientists utilize research tools built on principles first explored and defined by physics, and mass spectrometry is a particularly impactful example. The technology we now use to measure mass-to-charge ratios of ions for the purpose of molecular analysis was first developed by J.J. Thomson on an instrument called a parabolic spectrograph in 1913. The spectrograph generated ions in gas discharge tubes, then passed the ions through parallel electric and magnetic fields. Subjecting the ions to these fields forced them to move in certain parabolic trajectories which would then be recorded on a photographic plate, as seen in the rather beautiful image below.

Discovery_of_neon_isotopesIt was Thomson’s research at the end of the 19th century that lead to the discovery of the electron, work that eventually won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1906. To hear a 77 year-old Thomson talk about that research (and how very small electrons are at around the 2:50 mark), watch this video filmed in 1934.

Besides the name change (there aren’t any spectrographs in labs these days), mass spectrometry has come a long way technologically. Advances by subsequent researchers made the technology more precise and the resulting output more accurate. In 1920 the first modern mass spectrometer was developed by Arthur Dempster, of uranium isotope fame, and by the 1970s scientists had begun experimenting with joining liquid chromatography techniques to the process. In 1989 the first LC-MS instrument was launched, securing it as a ubiquitous technique now in its third decade of use. The staying power of this technology is due to its versatility; it is able to directly analyze any biological molecule receptive to ionization. Scientists can use LC-MS to better understand the molecular structure of everything from wastewater to skin cream. The data collected during analysis can inform evaluation of product effectiveness, environmental toxins, or the function of a protein. For this reason it provides valuable research applications in environmental analysis, consumer products, agriculture, and in this case, precision medicine.

Now a bona fide buzzword, the concept of precision medicine was catapulted into the social vernacular in 2015 when President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative in his State of the Union Address. In practice, precision medicine isn’t entirely new; physicians and researchers have long understood the importance of individualized factors in treating or diagnosing patients. The concept of blood type matching and bone marrow donation registries are both examples of precision medicine we have accepted as standard treatments. Advances in biotechnology are ushering in a new emphasis on specialized medicine and carry with it the hope of more effective diagnostics and treatments for ailments like cardiovascular disease and cancer. Much of this promise rests on discoveries being made in the field of proteomics, particularly about the role of proteins in healthy cells versus diseased cells. The form, function, and interaction of these proteins can indicate the presence of disease, identify molecular therapeutic targets, and help define molecular disease taxonomies for future research. Finding a measurable indicator for any of these biological states is called a biomarker, making it the focus of many proteomics and cancer researchers.

It turns out, a very familiar technology is proving to be the best tool for unlocking the largely unknown world of proteins. LC-MS breaks down the complicated protein structures from their three dimensional form, and then into even smaller units called peptides. The quantitative analysis of these peptides makes it possible for scientists to identify protein expression profiles associated with certain cancers. Clinically viable biomarker panels could greatly increase early detection and definitive disease identification in patients, both of which are known to improve patient survival rate. This specificity in diagnosis allows patients and physicians to be better informed when making treatment decisions by understanding the disease on a molecular level. Biomarkers can improve standard differential diagnosis descriptions, which up to now have largely included physical symptoms that manifest at later stages of disease development, like metastasis. Some diseases like malignant melanoma present in very cryptic ways, making them difficult to diagnose, even for highly trained dermatopathologists. Inconclusive biopsy results or histological features that are also found in non-cancerous moles complicate diagnosis and can lead to costly mistakes in the course of treatment for such a common and potentially deadly disease. According to the American Cancer Society over 10,000 people will die this year from the disease, making it the most lethal of all skin cancers. A collaborative research project between Yale scientists and Protea Biosciences is seeking to change that with a new diagnostic technology. In April of this year they announced exclusive licensing for a method which uses unique protein expression profiles to discern the presence of cancer. The results of the first clinical study were presented in 2015, showing 99 percent accuracy in identifying malignant melanoma and benign melanocytic nevi.

Achievements like this highlight the benefit of partnerships between academia and industry, which are becoming more common in many sectors of biotechnology. If precision medicine is to become a reality, it will have to tackle complex disease models that have historically confounded individual pharmaceutical companies or research labs. Open innovation between researchers on both sides advances scientific discovery and expedites successful clinical implementation of potentially life-saving drugs. As scientists work on more complicated human health issues, they will need to find collaborators who are best suited to solve the research objective at hand, while accessing novel technologies best suited for the job.

Just as the concept of precision medicine has expanded with scientific discoveries in biotechnology, the technique of mass spectrometry has evolved to address new research questions with advances in bioinformatics and lab technology. Deciphering the human proteome is still a ways off, but innovative techniques and research partnerships will surely have a role to play in unlocking the power of proteomics for human health. As LC-MS capabilities continue to improve, new disease diagnostics and treatments will be added to the arsenal of options available to physicians. The next time you hear about an advancement in precision medicine (or pop a bag of popcorn), thank a physicist.

Looking for a cutting-edge collaborator like Protea to help with your research project? Visit our marketplace to find the right provider for your mass spec analysis, or any of the thousands of experiment types we offer.

Science Exchange is ISO 9001 Certified

September 16, 2016 | Posted by Christina Cordova in Company, Science Exchange News |

Science Exchange is proud to announce that we are now ISO 9001 certified. The Science Exchange team has always been invested in building a culture of continual improvement, and the work to get ISO certified underscores our commitment to delivering the highest quality services to our clients. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest facilitator of international standards and supervises national quality management system standards in over 150 countries.

What does an ISO Quality Management System (QMS) do?

A successful QMS system ensures that all aspects of business processes are efficient and responsive to organizational or client needs. Our rigorous QMS requires Science Exchange to adhere to certain standards and procedures which ensure fulfillment of our customer’s requirements. These guidelines provide us with a method of demonstrating our capability to provide services that ensure compliance with any and all applicable regulations across the globe, while continuously improving customer satisfaction.

What does ISO certification mean for our partners and customers?

Rigorous auditing conducted by an independent third party means doing business with Science Exchange secures a high level of quality assurance at every stage of your project. ISO compliance ensures we are working with consistent and effective methods, and that improving customer happiness is an ongoing goal for the entire team. These certification standards require continuous improvement and internal review; engaging clients for feedback and identifying areas of improvement will always be integral to our company philosophy.

ISO certification is just one initiative in our commitment to provide high-quality service to current and future partners. Visit Science Exchange and start your project today.

Kakapo 125 – First 40 kākāpō sequenced

August 4, 2016 | Posted by Team in Science Exchange News |

Kakapo Chick

Science Exchange is a collaborator in the Kakapo 125 Project. The objective of this project is to sequence the genomes of all known living kākāpō. We’re pleased to share an update on the project’s progress. NZGL has completed sequencing the first 40 individual kākāpō!

Portraits

Sponsors of individual kākāpō genomes will shortly be receiving their custom DNA artwork produced by Nimble Diagnostics. Each DNA portrait is constructed from the genetic data of the individual kākāpō and is guaranteed to be unique. Genome sponsorship forms a key component of ongoing fundraising for the project as we strive to sequence every genome in an entire species.

sponsor a genome button

The data created as part of the Kakapo 125 Project will be made available to all researchers working on not-for-profit projects. To register your interest in the dataset generated to-date please send a request to The Department of Conservation (DOC).

We will soon be starting sequencing of the next 40 kākāpō genomes thanks to funding from a highly successful crowdfunding campaign on Experiment.com.

Kakapo Running

Science Exchange is proud to be involved with this pioneering conservation initiative. Join Science Exchange today and work with us to accelerate your research.

The Importance of Replication Studies

July 28, 2016 | Posted by Team in Company, Reproducibility, Research, Science Exchange News, Uncategorized |

My TEDMED talk about scientific reproducibility was released today, so I wanted to take the opportunity to provide some additional thoughts about the importance of replication studies.

Every year, billions of dollars are spent funding biomedical research, resulting in more than one million new publications presenting promising new results. This research is the foundation upon which new therapies will be developed to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.

In order to build upon this foundational research, these results must be reproducible. Simply put, this means that when an experiment is repeated, similar results are observed. Over the last five years, multiple groups have raised concerns over the reproducibility of biomedical studies, with some estimates indicating only ~20% of published results may be reproducible (Scott et al. 2008, Gordon et al. 2007, Prinz et al. 2011, Steward et al. 2012, Begley and Ellis 2012). The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest public funder of biomedical research, has stated, “There remains a troubling frequency of published reports that claim a significant result, but fail to be reproducible. As a funding agency, the NIH is deeply concerned about this problem”.

Despite the growing concern over lack of reproducibility, funding for replication studies, the only way to determine reproducibility, is still absent. With no funding systematically allocated to such studies, scientists almost never conduct replication studies. It would be interesting to obtain the exact numbers, but it appears that last year the NIH allocated $0 to funding replication studies, out of a $30B+ budget. In the absence of replication studies, scientists end up wasting precious time and resources trying to build on a vast, unreliable body of knowledge.

It is easy to see why funders might shy away from funding replication studies. Funders want to demonstrate their “impact,” and it is tempting for them to solely focus on funding novel exploratory findings that can more easily be published in high profile journals. This is a mistake. Funders should instead focus on how to truly achieve their stated goals of enhancing health, lengthening life, and reducing the burdens of illness and disability. Although allocating a portion of funding towards replication studies would divert funds from new discoveries, it would enable scientists to efficiently determine which discoveries were robust and reproducible and which were not. This would allow more rapid advancements by allowing scientists to build upon the most promising findings and avoid wasting their time and funding pursuing non-robust results.

Some researchers find the idea of replicating previous studies unnecessary or even offensive. However, it is the responsibility of the scientific community, including funders, to work as quickly and cost effectively as possible to make progress. Introducing replication studies as part of the process provides an effective way to enable this.

If you would like to see funding specifically allocated for replication studies, please register your support. We will share this information with funders in the hope that it will encourage them to establish funding programs specifically for replication studies to improve the speed and efficiency of progress in biomedical research.

by Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D.

CEO and Co-Founder

Science Exchange

About Science Exchange

 

Science Exchange is the world’s leading marketplace for outsourced research. The Science Exchange network of 3000+ scientific service providers has run the experiments for the major replication studies that have been conducted to date including the largest biomedical replication study undertaken (Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology). Additional details are available here: https://www.scienceexchange.com/applications/reproducibility

 

References

  1. https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/what-we-do/budget#note
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
  3. https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/what-we-do/mission-goals
  4. Scott et al. Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 9, 4-15 (2008)
  5. Gordon et al. Lancet Neurol. 6, 1045–1053 (2007)
  6. Prinz et al. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 10, 712 (2011)
  7. Stuart et al. Experimental Neurology 233, 597–605 (2012)
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