A Neural Portrait of the Human Mind

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-06-2014

Watch this very cool video to find out how researcher Nancy Kanwischer used MRI techniques to identify the region of the brain that is responsible for facial recognition. It took years of research and a tremendous amount of self sacrifice, but the results are incredible.

Fluorescent Imaging Made Easy, Fast, and Intuitive

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-02-2014

Bio-Rad Laboratories announces the launch of the ZOE™ Fluorescent Cell Imager, one of the first cell imaging systems able to deliver the power of microscopy in a system that is as easy to use as a tablet. The system includes three fluorescent channels and brightfield to simplify fluorescence imaging for cell culture applications.

Fluorescence microscopes are used in traditional cell culture workflows to confirm transfection efficiency and visualize fluorescent proteins. Performing this task requires training and the process can be time-consuming. Fluorescence microscopes can take 15 minutes to warm up and the systems are often located in a separate facility that is outfitted with a darkroom.

However, the ZOE Fluorescent Cell Imager’s LEDs are instantly ready to use after the power is turned on. Researchers simply place their culture dish onto ZOE’s stage and then access all controls using the LCD touch screen, tapping the screen to capture images and pinching with their fingers to zoom up to 20x magnification. Outfitted with a light shield, ZOE enables users to perform fluorescence experiments in ambient light on their lab benchtop, eliminating the need for a dedicated darkroom.

“Users report they turn on ZOE and know immediately what to do, even those who are imaging cell fluorescence for the first time,” said Veronika Kortisova-Descamps, Bio-Rad product manager, Cell Biology.

Additional Benefits of ZOE

  • Multichannel fluorescence — detection of fluorescence emission at blue, green, and red wavelengths is accomplished with three fluorescence channels optimized for commonly used fluorophores
  • Large field of view — motorized stage and large field of view (0.70 mm2) enable researchers to see more of their sample, faster
  • Manipulate and store images on hard drive — users can merge images for co-expression experiments and store up to 12 GB of image files for export to a USB flash drive

Please visit www.bio-rad.com/ZOEpr for more information about Bio-Rad’s new ZOE Fluorescent Cell Imager.

A Day in the Life of a Molecular Biologist

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-01-2014

How similar does this sound to your day?

The Cultural Side of Science Communication

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-30-2014

Do we think of nature as something that we enjoy when we visit a national park and something we need to “preserve?” Or do we think of ourselves as a part of nature? A bird’s nest is a part of nature, but what about a house?

The answers to these questions reflect different cultural orientations. They are also reflected in our actions, our speech and in cultural artifacts.

A new Northwestern University study, in partnership with the University of Washington, the American Indian Center of Chicago and the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin, focuses on science communication and how that discipline necessarily involves language and other media-related artifacts such as illustrations. The challenge is to identify effective ways of communicating information to culturally diverse groups in a way that avoids cultural polarization, say the authors.

“We suggest that trying to present science in a culturally neutral way is like trying to paint a picture without taking a perspective,” said Douglas Medin, lead author of the study and professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern.

This research builds on the broader research on cultural differences in the understanding of and engagement with science.

“We argue that science communication — for example, words, photographs and illustrations — necessarily makes use of artifacts, both physical and conceptual, and these artifacts commonly reflect the cultural orientations and assumptions of their creators,” write the authors.

“These cultural artifacts both reflect and reinforce ways of seeing the world and are correlated with cultural differences in ways of thinking about nature. Therefore, science communication must pay attention to culture and the corresponding different ways of looking at the world.”

Medin said their previous work reveals that Native Americans traditionally see themselves as a part of nature and tend to focus on ecological relationships. In contrast, European-Americans tend to see humans as apart from nature and focus more on taxonomic relationships.

“We show that these cultural differences are also reflected in media, such as children’s picture books,” said Medin, who co-authored the study with Megan Bang of the University of Washington. “Books authored and illustrated by Native Americans are more likely to have illustrations of scenes that are close-up, and the text is more likely to mention the plants, trees and other geographic features and relationships that are present compared with popular children’s books not done by Native Americans.

“The European-American cultural assumption that humans are not part of ecosystems is readily apparent in illustrations,” he said.

The authors went to Google images and entered “ecosystems,” and 98 percent of the images did not have humans present. A fair number of the remaining 2 percent had children outside the ecosystem, observing it through a magnifying glass and saying, “I spy an ecosystem.”

“These results suggest that formal and informal science communications are not culturally neutral but rather embody particular cultural assumptions that exclude people from nature,” Medin said.

Medin and his research team have developed a series of “urban ecology” programs at the American Indian Center of Chicago, and these programs suggest that children can learn about the rest of nature in urban settings and come to see humans as active players in the world ecosystems.

Thanks to Northwestern University for contributing this story.

Image Lab™ Software: Learn Volume Analysis from the Experts

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-29-2014

Presented by: Ben Wang, PhD Senior Technical Support Specialist

Presented by:
Ben Wang, PhD
Senior Technical Support Specialist

V3 Webinar header

Join us for a 30 minute live webinar developed and delivered by our knowledgeable Technical Support Team.
TomorrowTuesday, September 30, 2014 | 10:00 AM Pacific
As you get ready to use your new system, we will provide you with an opportunity to learn about the analysis tools built into the Image Lab software. This training will cover the steps to use our volume tools to successfully quantitate bands, dot blots, and arrays.

webinar button