Gordon Hardy in the lab at Hunt Imaging.
For this week’s story I spoke with Gordon Hardy who works on something most of us don’t think about very often – developing new inks and toners. More specifically, he is creating a new ink to print the small numbers on the bottom of checks. The problem is complex and interesting, check out his story below.
Q: What’s your role at Hunt Imaging?
Gordon: Mostly formulation and material analysis, but even customer support. It’s a small company, so you really have to do everything
Q: What did you use Science Exchange for?
Gordon: It’s an inkjet project. We have expertise in magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) ink here. It’s those funny looking characters that are printed on the bottom of checks. Those are read magnetically, so the ink itself has magnetic particles embedded in it. MICR toners are well established and with the current growth in high speed production inkjet printers there is a need for MICR inkjet, but it’s not an easy thing to create because you are trying to make iron float in water.
You can do it if you make the iron small enough, but if you make it too small it loses its magnetic strength. The problem is, you make it smaller and smaller and it gets less and less magnetic. So you have to make a different type of magnet, that’s not just iron, but something that’s a little stronger. You need to make them on the order of twenty nanometers; that’s what we’re working on now.
The particle size and even the particle shape is important. For our project on Science Exchange, the Nano Research Facility conducted TEM to look at the size and shape of the iron and other oxide particles we’ve generated. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m excited to announce that top scientific suppliers BioLegend, Charles River Laboratories, Corning Incorporated, DDC Medical, EMD Millipore, Harlan Laboratories, LI-COR Biosciences, Mirus Bio, Novus Biologicals, and Sigma-Aldrich will provide more than $500,000 worth of research reagents and models to support one of our validation projects, the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology. The donation of reagents and models will increase the number of replication experiments that can be conducted for the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology, a collaboration between Science Exchange and the Center for Open Science, supported by a $1.3 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
These companies chose to donate to the project, because they are committed to improving the quality of research and we are thrilled to have their support!
The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology is independently replicating 50 recent, high-impact cancer biology studies using the Science Exchange network of expert labs. The aim of the project is to use independent replication studies to identify best practices that maximize reproducibility and facilitate an accurate accumulation of knowledge, enabling potentially impactful novel findings to be built upon by the scientific community.
Studies from Amgen and Bayer report that the majority of published results cannot be independently reproduced, but there has been no open systematic review of replication in cancer biology. The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology will generate an open replication dataset made available on the Open Science Framework that can be used to examine the rate of reproducibility in this field and to study factors associated with the reproducibility of experimental results.
We continue to be amazed by the wide-ranging support for this project from the scientific community – thank you so much!
Of course, the more scientific supplies that are donated the more we can get done, so if you are involved with a company that is interested in donating please email me here.
About the author
Elizabeth Iorns is the CEO of Science Exchange and Director of the Reproducibility Initiative. Elizabeth conceived the idea for Science Exchange while an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami and as CEO she drives the company’s vision, strategy and growth. She is passionate about creating a new way to foster scientific collaboration that will break down existing silos, democratize access to scientific expertise and accelerate the speed of scientific discovery. Elizabeth has a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, and conducted postdoctoral research in Cancer Biology from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine where her research focused on identifying mechanisms of breast cancer development and progression.
Our user Pat Corsino, a R&D Manager at Nuovo Biologics, is studying the mechanism of action behind their antiviral and oncology technologies. I spoke with him about life and efficiency at an early-stage biotech, check out his advice about being proactive at a small biotech!
Q: What does Nuovo Biologics do?
Pat: We’re a small biotech company. We’re working on novel antiviral and anti-cancer therapeutics.
Q: How often does Nuovo Biologics contract out experiments?
Pat: Quite a bit, we have several collaborators all over the country. They help us plan and perform experiments, because we have limited capabilities in house. Right now, we need to get experiments done quickly in order to get funding to expand our laboratory.
Many collaborators do experiments for us, but sometimes there are projects that we can’t do through our network. That’s where Science Exchange comes in handy, because there’s a wealth of different experiments on the site. Read the rest of this entry »
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 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 »
Who 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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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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.
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