Addictive BioRap

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-20-2014

Watch this video once and it will stick in your head for the rest of the day. Try it…I dare you!

Does the Gender Gap Exist in Biological Sciences?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-19-2014

In an analysis of a recent study published in Inside Higher Ed, author Scott Jaschik looks at the gender gap among tenured professors at research universities. According to the study, overall, males are far more likely to become tenured than their female counterparts, irrespective of their research output. Of course, the study claims that there are significant differences in the gender gap depending on the academic discipline. For example:

  • In sociology, women receive tenure 51% less often than men
  • In computer science, women receive tenure 55% less often than men
  • English is an exception to the rule-however, English is a female dominated discipline

Naturally, as a biologist, I wondered if such a gap exists between male and female scientists. My personal experience is that men and women are treated pretty much the same in the life sciences and I have never seen any gender bias or discrimination in all my years in the lab. Nonetheless, this is my personal experience and I wonder what the data shows.

Surfing the net for some data, I came across a blog post by Emma Pierson entitled In Science, It Matters That Women Come Last. While the article is not focused solely on the life sciences, it hits much closer to home than a study done on social scientists. What Emma Pierson found was depressing (in case you couldn’t already tell from the title). According to Emma’s research:

  • While female scientists are often the first author on the papers they write, they tend to publish fewer papers than male scientists and are less to be the final author on the study
  • men author 45% more papers that women
  • women have fewer scientific collaborations than their male counterparts

Interestingly, the article claims that the reason that females are credited on fewer papers is due to the fact that females are less likely to be PIs, (another depressing statistic), who are often credited on many more papers (due to their passive contribution…i.e. they “own” the lab) than non-PI scientists.

The article offers many explanations for these gaps and suggestions regarding how to close them. I suggest that you read the post for further details.

I would love to hear what your experience has been. Especially female scientists. Have you experienced gender discrimination in your career? Is the gender gap an equal opportunity offender in the biological sciences as well?

Using Droplet Digital™ PCR to Quantify Early Rejection Biomarkers in Transplant Patients

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-18-2014

Single gene controls jet lag

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-13-2014

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a gene that regulates sleep and wake rhythms.

The discovery of the role of this gene, called Lhx1, provides scientists with a potential therapeutic target to help night-shift workers or jet lagged travelers adjust to time differences more quickly. The results, published in eLife, can point to treatment strategies for sleep problems caused by a variety of disorders.

“It’s possible that the severity of many dementias comes from sleep disturbances,” says Satchidananda Panda, a Salk associate professor who led the research team. “If we can restore normal sleep, we can address half of the problem.”

Read more…

High-Performance Immunoprecipitation at an Affordable Price

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-12-2014

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. announced that it has launched its SureBeads Magnetic Bead System, which provides researchers with a faster and easier alternative to agarose beads for immunoprecipitation for as low as half the price of other available magnetic bead systems. Benefits include reduced antibody consumption and sample loss, very low nonspecific binding, and optimized IgG binding capacity.

Researchers have traditionally used agarose beads to precipitate and enrich proteins prior to western blotting or mass spectrometry. This process is time-consuming and labor-intensive, and often causes the beads to perform poorly. Since agarose beads are porous, the antibody can remain trapped inside the bead and therefore is unable to properly bind the protein of interest, requiring researchers to use more antibody.

Although magnetic beads are often more expensive, they are an attractive alternative to agarose beads for several reasons, including ease of use at the bench: magnetization is faster and more convenient than centrifugation for sample precipitation and washing steps. With the launch of the SureBeads System, scientists now have access to a high-performance, cost-effective magnetic bead system.

SureBeads Protein A and G Conjugated Magnetic Beads are designed to work with the proprietary SureBeads 16-Tube Magnetic Rack, which offers a one-piece removable magnetic strip to improve sample handling and eliminate repeated centrifugation steps, so researchers are able to achieve results up to six times faster.

“I have used magnetic bead–based systems for more than three years now, and the quality of the new SureBeads System is among the best in the field,” said Oliver Wueseke, PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany. “The real innovation resides in the rack. The slidable magnet, preferred fixation of tubes in the rack, and spacing between tubes that allows easy access to the tube lids make the SureBeads System easy to handle, faster, and more convenient.“

Visit www.bio-rad.com/NewSureBeads for more information about the SureBeads System and to learn about current product promotions.