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Bio-Rad launches first IEF System with independently powered lanes for more reproducible focusing

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-21-2011

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. announces the launch of the PROTEAN i12 IEF system, the industry’s only isoelectric focusing (IEF) system that is designed to simultaneously run up to 12 immobilized pH gradient (IPG) strips in 12 independently programmed lanes.
For the best 2-D gel electrophoresis results, researchers optimize their sample preparation and first-dimension isoelectric focusing conditions to ensure adequate separation of complex samples. Because the optimal IEF conditions for different protein samples can vary significantly, each set of conditions must be tested separately. This can be a time-consuming and tedious process.

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Older cancer survivor population to increase substantially

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-06-2011

Over the next decade, the population of cancer survivors over 65 years of age will increase by approximately 42 percent.

“We can expect a dramatic increase in the number of older adults who are diagnosed with or carry a history of cancer,” said Julia Rowland, Ph.D., director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). “Cancer is largely a disease of aging, so we’re seeing yet another effect of the baby boom generation and we need to prepare for this increase.”

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Why you should NEVER throw out research samples. Even if they are 40,000 years old!

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-19-2011

Despite being extinct for 10,000 years, the wooly mammoth is still proving useful to medical research scientists. In fact, it has been proposed that wooly mammoth hemoglobin protein, may form the basis of future blood replacement products. However, one of the biggest challenges facing scientists was to produce protein from DNA samples that were over 25,000 years old.

To read more on this fascinating story click here .

Chocolate is the perfect gift for your molecular biologist mother

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 05-08-2011

Chocolates are probably one of the most common gift ideas on Mother’s Day. While it is great to give a unique gift, one will never go wrong with chocolate.

In addition to its great taste, chocolate has been lauded by the “experts” as having fantastic health benefits.

In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a great post from The Scientist which I thought would be interesting for all chocolate lovers. Andy McShea is the COO of the Theo Chocolate factory and a former molecular biologist at Harvard University. His research focuses on understanding the characteristics of perfect chocolate at the molecular level and his motto is “better science through chocolate”.

According to The Scientist, McShea had no prior chocolate experience before joining Theo and it was his credentials in assay development that got him the job. I’m a molecular biologist with lots of chocolate (eating) experience….where do I apply?

Check out the Dr. Chocolate for some yummy reading.

Rethinking peer reviewed science

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-28-2011

I just read a thought-provoking and controversial article in Nature News by Hidde Ploegh, a professor of biology at the Whitehead Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

In “End the wasteful tyranny of reviewer experiments”, Dr. Ploegh argues that the current peer-review process practiced at many high-impact journals is plagued by unnecessary requests for authors to perform wasteful follow up experiments that negilgently delay otherwise justified publication.

Ploegh suggests that reviewer requests are motivated by the attitude that

look, I’ve read it, I can be as critical as the next dude and ask for something that’s not yet in the manuscript

and the feeling that since the reviewers themselves have been subjected to such unreasonable demands, they are simply dishing out their share of ‘what goes around comes around’.

In order to correct this problem, Ploegh suggests that

  1. journals start employing editors who are subject matter experts capable of over-ruling reviewers when necessary
  2. reviewers consider the extra costs that will be incurred by their request for additional experiments
  3. editors decision to go forward with a publication be based on readership demand with reviewer input limited to analyzing the logic or execution of the study

I believe that these suggestions are a welcome breath of fresh air to the young scientific community and will go a long way to speeding up the pace of progress and innovation in academic science.

What are your thoughts?