Science Exchange enables completion of the Kakapo 125 Project

July 5, 2017 | Posted by Team in New Innovations, Research, Science Exchange News |

Sequencing the genomes of every individual kākāpō in the entire species

Kakapo bird

The kākāpō is a species of large, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot of the super-family Strigopoidea endemic to New Zealand. With only 154 living individuals remaining, it’s one of the world’s rarest birds.

Genetic Rescue Foundation

Since early 2016, The Genetic Rescue Foundation, in partnership with The Department of Conservation (DOC), The University of Otago, Duke University, New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL), Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and Science Exchange, has funded and managed the effort to sequence the genomes of every individual in this quirky, critically endangered species.

DNA Portraits

The Genetic Rescue Foundation’s fundraising has come in the form of generous private donations, kākāpō DNA portrait sales and a successful crowdfunding campaign on Experiment.com.

To date, the project has successfully sequenced 80 kākāpō. Part of the work was made possible by collaborating with DNA sequencing service providers on the Science Exchange network of 2,500+ service providers. Today we’re thrilled to announce that Science Exchange will be funding the remainder of the project in order to bring it to completion!

Kinghorn Centre and Garvan Institute Logos

The remaining sequencing will be performed by The Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics at The Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. The Kinghorn Centre is a frequently used provider of DNA sequencing services on the Science Exchange network.

Detailed genetic data for every individual in an entire species is a world first and represents a genomics-focused paradigm shift in modern conservation efforts. The possible discoveries that will come from this rich dataset are limitless. Scientists’ immediate efforts will be focused on finding genetic links to dwarfism, infertility and other diseases and conditions hampering kākāpō population recovery.

The dataset will be controlled by the New Zealand government but will be made available for all non-profit researchers to use. All sequencing will be completed by the end of 2017, with the full dataset available for researchers in 2018.

“Science Exchange has made completing this project possible. They’ve achieved that by providing The Genetic Rescue Foundation with unrivaled access to the world’s best scientific service providers and by stepping in to fund the remainder of the project. This data will steer kākāpō conservation decisions for years and decades to come. It may prove to be the deciding factor in saving this species.”

David Iorns

David Iorns – Founder of The Genetic Rescue Foundation

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

New Feature for Requesters: Add Collaborators to Your Order

June 1, 2017 | Posted by Team in Company, New Feature, Science Exchange News |

by Elizabeth Iorns, Co-Founder & CEO, Science Exchange

Science, by its very nature, lends itself to collaboration. At Science Exchange, we endeavor to make discovery and access to scientific services as easy as possible – while also improving researchers’ ability to collaborate effectively.

With that goal in mind, we have released the Requester Collaboration feature. This feature allows requesters of scientific services to invite and manage additional collaborators for a project.

Examples of collaborators include:

  • A member of your organization’s accounting team who needs to view the project to make payment.
  • A colleague helping you to work through the project details with the service provider.
  • An administrator seeking a high level overview of research activities of their organization on Science Exchange.

The new feature will enable:

  • Intuitive addition of collaborators to existing projects
  • Transparent communication between collaborating requesters and the service provider
  • Easy transfer of ownership between requesters/collaborators

We will continue to listen to our users and bring new features to our platform to facilitate scientific discovery. To learn more about the Requester Collaboration Feature, view our video demo or check out the Q&A below. If you’d like a personal demo of this feature or the Science Exchange marketplace, submit a request here.

Requester Collaboration Feature Video Demo

 

Requester Collaboration Feature Q&A

What can collaborators do?

Invited collaborators will see the order on their Science Exchange Dashboard. The collaborator can access the order page, post messages, accept quotes, and mark orders as completed.

How will collaborators be notified?

Collaborators will get email notifications regarding new messages that have been posted to the order page. They can also reply to the new message email notification from their inbox and the response will be posted to the order page. However, they will not get email notifications when the provider generates a quote for the request or that the order has been completed.

How does this change what the primary Requester can do?

There are no changes for the primary Requesters — they can still do everything, e.g., post messages, accept quotes, and mark orders as completed. As the primary Requester, you will also be notified via email of main updates regarding the order, e.g., messages, quotes submitted, quotes accepted, provider completing the order. However, you can transfer the ownership of the order to a collaborator so that they become to primary Requester.

How do I invite a collaborator?

  1. Go to the order page
  2. On the right-hand side, under “Researchers,” you’ll see a link called “Manage.” Click on that link.
  3. Enter your collaborator’s email and then invite them.
  4. The collaborator will get an email from Science Exchange with the invitation. They should click on the green button in the email.
  5. The collaborator will (sign up for a Science Exchange account, and then) arrive at the order page.
  6. Collaborator can post messages, accept quote, mark order as complete.

How do I transfer ownership of the order to my collaborator?

  1. Go to the order page
  2. On the right-hand side, under “Researchers,” you’ll see a link called “Manage.” Click on that link.
  3. You’ll see your collaborator’s name. Click on the blue “Make Owner” link.

Still have questions?

We’re happy to help! Contact us here with your questions.

Why requesters love Sourcing Manager & neuroscientist, Zev Wisotsky

February 27, 2017 | Posted by Keith Osiewicz in Company |

At Science Exchange, our Masters’ and Ph.D.-level sourcing managers will help you find the right service provider for your project. Based on glowing customer testimonials, we know that our sourcing managers are one of our company’s greatest assets.

Let’s get to know them better! We’ll start with customers’ favorite, Zev Wisotsky. Trained in neuroscience, he devoted his graduate research to studying taste detection in insects.

Zev

“We love working with you, you are amazing…Thanks for everything you do.” Researcher at Gilead Sciences, to Zev

Featured Sourcing Manager: Zev Wisotsky, Ph.D.

Expertise: Neuroscience

Why requesters keep coming back to him: Zev embodies excellence in customer service. That rare combination of empathy, patience, dedication, and hyper-organization comes together in Zev, seasoned with a dash of effortless communication and a sauce of good humor.

One request he is proud of being able to source: Zev is particularly proud to have once located some difficult-to-find tuberculosis blood and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples for a client that was not able to find them. This allowed our client to further their research. They were also excited to be able to start their project quickly once they joined Science Exchange.

How he solved one tough sourcing challenge: There was one overseas shipping error where Zev was able to coordinate with the client and service provider to fix and reship samples with minimal extraneous costs and time.

Experience (education and/or prior roles): Zev graduated from University of California Riverside with a degree in Neuroscience, investigating and characterizing the cellular mechanisms involved in taste detection using fruit fly and mosquito. He then completed postdoctoral research at Stanford investigating the role of brain regions involved in fear memory and addiction through silencing different brain circuits optogenetically.

Likes: Bicycling, singing and playing music

Dislikes: Traffic and stale cake

So…. do flies like beer or water? The answer is in this NPR article about Zev’s research!

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.

Is scientific collaboration broken?

June 12, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Infographics |

At Science Exchange, we believe that collaboration is the future of science. In fact, we created Science Exchange to help scientists access top equipment and expertise to simplify their collaborations.

We wanted to learn how scientists are currently working with their peers, so we surveyed over 1500 scientists about their collaborations. Check out our infographic below which summarizes the enlightening data on the state of collaboration.

Science_Exchange_Collaboration_Survey

Check out 2000+ experiments you can order on Science Exchange here.

Use the code below to embed this infographic:

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 »

Small Biotech Stories: Eos Neuroscience

November 26, 2013 | Posted by Brianne Villano in Small Biotech Stories |

Eos Neuroscience is a company built on collaboration, featuring a unique team with expertise in transgenes, virology and gene expression, and retinal degeneration. Once they complete their preclinical stage, their intended userbase would be those with blindness attributed to photoreceptor degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration.

They are running into some problems in the process of preclinical research, however. Alan Horsager, Co-Founder and CSO, describes his experience, “As a whole, biotech needs to deeply reevaluate the process, all the way from discovery to market. It’s so arduous that so few impactful drugs make it to market. There are certain gene therapies making it through, but the path is not easy at all. We say ’20 years and $200 million.'”

In light of difficulties and the expense of developing technologies, companies like Alan’s are trying to find ways to do things more efficiently, and their team is so unique that it’s difficult to recreate that collaboration. So rather than trying to clone themselves, they’re on Science Exchange.

“Science Exchange provides the opportunity to bring experts together toward a common goal, a network of distributed team members.” says Alan. “You can’t have an organization that has all the people and equipment that you need. You need expertise in different areas and Science Exchange provides a central location where you can go to get the experts.”

If your business encompasses multiple research areas, it is often difficult to access all the equipment and researchers you need in house. Eos does a wide range of research including vector development, qPCR, and gene expression, but in varying degrees and not constantly. So having the ability to do all that in house when you’re not doing the research full-time doesn’t make much sense.

Alan elaborated, “You can hire a postdoc for $70K per year, and theoretically they do more than a PCR assay, but if they don’t do it right it takes extra time and there’s a lot of training involved. If you’re only doing a couple of different assays, it’s probably better to hire someone and do it internally. But if you’re doing a lot of different assays, it’s better to seek external experts because it’s a fraction of the cost.”

We have actually found that researchers can save up to 46% on various experiments like immunohistochemistry (IHC), cloning, and sequencing, so Alan is absolutely right. Any product that enables you to order services from scientific experts across the world at significant discounts is worth a second look.

About Eos Neuroscience:
Eos has designed and managed clinical programs in gene therapy and the eye and has been involved in all aspects of primary research including transgenes, virology and gene expression, and retinal degeneration. Their worldwide core of experts has expertise covering basic research through clinical/regulatory.

About the author

    Brianne is dedicated to customer support and development for Science Exchange. She     is a formally trained biologist with a M.S. in Biotechnology whose past experience at           Charles River Laboratories sparked a flame for building client relationships.

 

Q&A with Barry Bunin, CEO of Collaborative Drug Discovery

August 1, 2012 | Posted by Team in Research |

The following is an interview conducted by Science Exchange with Barry Bunin, CEO of Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD). You can find more info on CDD at: https://www.collaborativedrug.com/

Collaborative Drug Discovery Logo

Q: What prompted you to create CDD?

A: First we saw a need to broadly empower scientists with self-explanatory technologies for scientific data and decision management.   I especially noticed in academia there were brilliant scientists lacking the infrastructure and software tools that industry has to accelerate research and development.

Read the rest of this entry »

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