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 »

The Science Solutions Manager position at Science Exchange

February 28, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Company |
Photo by Jackson Solway

Photo by Jackson Solway features Fraser Tan (left), Bilal Mahmood (center), and Conria D’Souza (right).

This week Science Exchange was lucky enough to be part of Jackson Solway’s first ever job portrait! Jackson and his partner spent a day with our Science Solutions Manager, Fraser Tan, and documented what life on the Science Exchange team is like. We’re currently hiring for another Science Solutions Manager, so be sure to check out all the details at the link below!

Below is a quick peek into his fantastic article, read the rest here: http://sciex.co/jobportrait

Q: Fraser, what is most satisfying about this job?

FRASER: I am a scientist at heart, and here I’m at the forefront of changing science. That’s one of the reasons I considered the company in the first place. I derive a lot of satisfaction from knowing that what we do is really, really important, and from knowing that no one has ever done this before. We’re really charting new territory. That’s what brings me into work every day. The other part is the awesome people I work with! My teammates are fun and supportive, and we all believe very strongly in the mission of Science Exchange.

 

Whole Genome Sequencing for $1400 on the new Illumina HiSeq X Ten

February 19, 2014 | Posted by Brianne Villano in Science Exchange News |

The Science Exchange team’s vision is the democratization of science where any researcher can access the expertise and equipment they need to perform their research in a quick and efficient way.

In January, WIRED wrote an article about the new Illumina HiSeq X Ten, the first system capable of sequencing the human genome for $1,000. The machine consists of ten concurrent sequencers capable of producing 1.8 terabases of data every 3 days. This means it can sequence up to 18,000 genomes per year.

Image credit: Illumina

WIRED cautioned that the system designed for population-scale research with a $10 million price tag would be affordable for only a few.

The post also listed the only 3 institutes who already have the system in place including the Broad Institute of MIT (Boston, MA), the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Sydney, Australia), and Macrogen (South Korea).

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 6.04.56 PM

Last week, the Garvan Institute’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics listed their Illumina HiSeq X Ten on Science Exchange.

Our vision is coming true. This amazing technology that was previously ‘affordable for only a few’ is now available to all researchers.

You can visit the Kinghorn Centre’s Science Exchange storefront to access the Illumina HiSeq X Ten. It’s an exciting time to be a scientist!

Science fairs at Science Exchange

February 5, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Company |

Science Exchange employees all have a common goal – to improve the way science is done. But, we don’t all have the same scientific backgrounds. Some of us are biologists, some are computer scientists, and there’s even one geologist (me). In an effort to learn about the many experiments performed through Science Exchange, we have begun bi-weekly science fairs.

Our first science fair featured Customer Experience Manager Conria leading hands-on DNA extraction from SciEx employees!

All you need is gatorade, detergent, alcohol, and some test tubes (directions here) – it’s the perfect rainy day activity.  Read the rest of this entry »

Science Exchange Stories: OncoSynergy, fighting brain cancer as the family business

January 21, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Stories |
Shawn Carbonell, MD, PhD and wife Anne-Marie Carbonell, MD, OncoSynergy’s new VP of Clinical Development

Shawn Carbonell, MD, PhD and wife Anne-Marie Carbonell, MD, OncoSynergy’s new VP of Clinical Development

This week I got to catch up with our user Shawn Carbonell and his biotech company OncoSynergy, who has made exciting progress in the 2 months since we last talked. They were honored with the Children’s Humanitarian Award from the Children’s Tumor Foundation at their annual Gala in New York City and have just announced they are the Social Media Sponsor of the 2014 Race for Hope for brain cancer research held in conjunction with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) and the National Brain Tumor Society. However, perhaps most importantly, Shawn Carbonell’s wife, Anne-Marie Carbonell, has joined the OncoSynergy team as Vice President of Clinical Development.

To put it in his words, “When I found out she was single and was no longer in neurosurgery I made it my mission to both marry her and hire her. Last month both became reality.”

There are so many fascinating elements to Anne-Marie. Both Shawn and Anne-Marie successfully matched into neurosurgery residency only to find new career tracks; they’re now making the fight against brain cancer the family business. That’s only a small fraction of the incredible story, read the rest below! Read the rest of this entry »

New Feature: Improved Uploader

January 15, 2014 | Posted by Brianne Villano in Lab Admin Tools, New Feature |

In modern life, dissemination of information is largely digital. So the ability to quickly share that information is a necessity, especially for efficient research collaborations.

At Science Exchange, we receive feedback for site improvements daily and a consistent request was the file uploader. This was an opportunity to significantly upgrade a feature that would have a big impact on your experience and every order that goes through the site. Check out the changes!

 

1) Drag and Drop

Drag any file from your computer's hard drive and drop it into the field to upload.

Drag any file from your computer’s hard drive and drop it into the field to upload, or click the “Choose File” button and select your file that way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Science Exchange Stories: Marcus Welker PhD at Dartmouth

January 13, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Stories |
Marcus Welker collecting samples.

Marcus Welker collecting samples.

Marcus Welker is a 4th year PhD student at Dartmouth College studying salmon migration in the Northeast United States and southern Quebec, Canada. His hypotheses and methods are both surprising and fascinating – check out our interview below!

Q: What do you research?

A:  I study salmon – in particular, I’m interested in how they migrate.  Salmon are born in rivers, go out to the ocean or large lakes, and find their way back to the rivers where they were born. This has been known for 100’s of years, but in the last 50-60 years, people have tried to understand how they do it – what sensory mechanisms do they use and what is it about the environment that signals them home? – to improve hatchery practices habitat restoration and fisheries.

We believe that by smelling amino acids when they are in the river as juveniles they make this really powerful memory of the smell of the river (imprinting). Then they go to the ocean or lake and do their adult thing, get huge, and come back to their river of origin (homing), because they remember the smell of the amino acids and can discriminate their birth river from other rivers. Read the rest of this entry »

How To: Use Twitter for Science

January 9, 2014 | Posted by Brianne Villano in How To, Lab Admin Tools |
Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 6.20.17 PM

My Twitter profile.

Twitter is a magical beast. It can connect people anywhere in the world. It can make or break a brand. It can bring together scientists who might never otherwise meet IRL – in real life.

Many social media channels  – Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, to name a few – accomplish all of those things as well, but each has its own use case, unintentional or designed.

Facebook – generally used for following brands, keeping up with friends and family, being a social resume where new friends can see what movies you have in common, RSVPing to events, etc.

Google+ – highly cerebral chats (if you know where to look) especially where science is concerned, establishing dominance in a field, showcasing your research comprehensively.

Pinterest – where science and art meet, a place to inspire young and old scientists alike by visually stunning research and nature images.

Twitter, however, seems to be an amalgamation of all the rest. Here are a few ways to use Twitter to your benefit.

1) Connect with people doing similar research

By using hashtags centered around research topics you’re either working on or interested in, you can follow along in the current conversations about those topics. Just search for the hashtag(s) you’re interested in and join the conversation. If you’re using a third-party client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, you can even save these searches for long-term interest. Read the rest of this entry »

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