Science Exchange providers featured in Cell article!

July 23, 2012 | Posted by Elizabeth in Science Exchange News |

We are really excited to see Cell mention Science Exchange in it’s latest issue “Science for Sale: Academic Meets Industry”. It’s great to see Cell recognize how academic research is evolving and provide concrete examples of how innovative scientists can use marketplaces like Science Exchange to establish collaborations, access specialist expertise, and create unique funding opportunities for their own research.

In particular, we are thrilled that both scientists featured in the article are providers at Science Exchange! This means you can easily access their specialist expertise from their Science Exchange facility pages (info below): Read the rest of this entry »

Homepage Redesign: Spotlighted Facilities & Search

July 19, 2012 | Posted by Team in Science Exchange News |

At Science Exchange, we’re always looking to improve the user experience, and help our providers promote their services. That’s why we’re excited to launch our redesigned homepage, with spotlighted facilities and integrated search.

Spotlighted Facilities:

The new homepage spotlights facilities offering our most popular experiment types, including: Real Time qPCR, DNA Sequencing, Mass Spectrometry, Microarray, IHC, and Bioinformatics.  You’ll find a slideshow of our top providers, with the relevant service descriptions and pricing information.

Read the rest of this entry »

Open Notebook Series: Open Notebook Platforms

July 17, 2012 | Posted by Anthony in Research |

This is the third in a series of posts by Anthony Salvagno about open notebook science.

An open notebook is ideally an online representation of your standard lab notebook. Everyone has a different style and volume of notes though, and an open notebook is no different. Software engineers need to take notes in their code, biologists need to take pictures, and mathematicians need any medium that can contain pages of equations.

There are consequently an array of open notebook platforms to choose from, and some better suited for certain applications than others. Five such platforms are discussed below, all capable of supporting scientific disciplines in varying aspects.


Originally developed as a blogging platform, WordPress has become much more than that. It is the go to Content Management System (CMS) in web design, and is used for online shopping, blogs, artistic portfolios, personal websites, and even open notebooks. Personally speaking, WordPress is the most versatile platform for open notebooks and should be the model that open notebook designers look toward.

Read the rest of this entry »

Should Applied Funding Go To Academia Or Startups?

July 12, 2012 | Posted by Elizabeth in Research |

There has recently been a subtle, but important, shift in the focus of government support for scientific research.

With NIH funding capped at 2012 fiscal levels, government programs have shifted support to applied & translational research, rather than traditional R&D platforms. The new “Big Data R&D Initiative”, for instance, will put $200 million into commitments for applied tools and techniques in biomedical research.

And while it’s certainly exciting to see federal funds go towards translational research, it is somewhat worrying to see how these funds are to be distributed. The NIH typically awards grants to academic groups with little commercial experience, and the new applied research funds are no different. The NHGRI, for instance, has awarded $20 million in grants to support the development of NGS data analysis software; but all grant recipients are academic labs with not a single startup or commercial partner.

As an entrepreneur myself, this brings up a series of concerns:

  • Quality: Will the resulting products of these grants be useful? In my experience, startups are simply more efficient at translating ‘needs’ to products. Because they operate on commercial incentives, startups are better at iterating to ensure their software development efforts fit their customer’s needs. In comparison, academic labs seem divorced from the end user, and have less willingness and/or incentive to engage in lean customer development processes. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Notebook Series: Why You Should Be An Open Notebook Scientist

July 6, 2012 | Posted by Anthony in Research |

This is the second in a series of posts by Anthony Salvagno about open notebook science.

Any discussion of a new scientific technique should begin with “What? Why? and How?”. The “Why?” in the case of Open Notebook Science (ONS) is likely the most important aspect of the paradigm. It is the most frequent question I get asked when discussing ONS, and its answers represent the key to unlocking its merits.

With this in mind, there are three main facets to ONS I can describe, which give credence to why one should be an open notebook scientist.

Sharing is caring

About a year ago I was working on a project that required me to tether micron sized spheres to glass with DNA. I had my own protocol for successful tethering that was having some issues, so I turned to the literature.

I read about 10 different papers, each describing a different protocol, and often unclearly. I attempted each version of the published protocols after spending a great deal of time “decoding” the publications, and ended up with a different result every time. By contrast, had I had access to the raw protocols of each lab, I would have saved a lot of time. So as an ONS scientist, I published my own protocol, hoping to save other scientists a great deal of time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Experience that led to Science Exchange featured in Science magazine

July 5, 2012 | Posted by Dan in Science Exchange News |

Science magazine recently published a short article by Science Exchange Founder & CEO Elizabeth Iorns outlining a specific experience that changed her career goals.

Elizabeth’s article documents her first experience with the systematic bias against reproducibility in the academic research world, which led ultimately to the creation of Science Exchange.

The article is copied below:

During the first year of my postdoctoral fellowship, I had an experience that fundamentally changed my career goals. I worked on a project to extend an exciting discovery, a novel regulator of breast cancer metastasis, which had been recently published in Nature. My excitement turned to despair when I was unable to reproduce the original finding, and after confirming the original finding could not be replicated, I wrote a follow-up paper, which was rejected from NatureScience, and Cell without review. Shockingly, the original authors and even the head of the university where the work was done wrote hostile letters about my failed attempt to reproduce their work (JNCI1 and JNCI2). This experience was my first encounter with the systematic bias against reproducibility in the academic research world, documented by Ioannidis and highlighted by the Bayer and Amgen drug target studies. This experience showed me that the route to career success was not careful, responsible, reproducible work, but rather controversial, and likely false, positive findings. At this point, my career goal turned from the tenure track to the business world, where I’m now building a system to enable and incentivize high quality robust research from academic labs. I hope this system will enable greater translation of robust results into clinical application.

For more, see Elizabeth’s recent post on the issue of the reproducibility of research.

Elizabeth is one of VentureBeat’s “Women Tech Leaders We Love”

July 2, 2012 | Posted by Dan in Science Exchange News |

We were honored that Science Exchange Founder & CEO Elizabeth Iorns was identified as one of 15 “Women Tech Leaders We Love” by VentureBeat last month.

The list (see below for full list) ran alongside a guest post by Karen Purcell about the lack of women in tech being a function of the lack of woman leaders in tech (see Want more women in tech? Get more women leaders in tech). The lack of women in scientific leadership is something Elizabeth feels strongly about and has addressed in a recent blog post.

It is great to see Elizabeth’s contribution as a “science entrepreneur” being acknowledged in this way.

Congrats Elizabeth!

Read the rest of this entry »

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