Bench to Bmore Blog

5 on Friday

Join us for a quick recap of a few science-news-gems from this week. Tweet us @BenchToBmore to discuss more! Would you dare share your lab notes with the internet? This University of Toronto researcher did. “By providing access to raw data as well as the enabling research tools, we will help the community perform more robust experiments, which will accelerate the drug discovery process and potentially the development of new medicines.” As we near the end of Black History Month, as a scientific community are we considering whether US academia steers black students out of science?  “The implication is that...

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Navigating the World of Genetic Testing

What can your DNA say about you? Do you get your eye color from your mother, your height from your father, and could you be at risk of a certain type of cancer? If you want to find out, one way is to have your DNA analyzed through a genetic test. Traditionally, a genetic test is deployed by a healthcare professional when they suspect a genetic cause of a person’s disease or ailment, and usually these tests will look at either a single gene (a part of your DNA that is used to make a protein with some function in...

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5 on Friday

So, it’s been a pretty interesting week (or two) in the science world. As usual, we’re here to help you stay up to date on recent events in science and research. So let’s jump in! I’m gonna start with the biggest and most exciting news first. We usually cover matters relating to biology and human health, but today’s big news actually comes from the world of physics. Early Thursday morning (February, 11th, 2016), a group of researchers officially announced that, for the first time ever, they have successfully managed to detect gravitational waves. Now guys, this is a big deal....

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5 Apps That Make You a Better Scientist

The best tools on the web help us collaborate across distance and across disciplines. They can help us reach our target audience, be it our lab or our community. They also help us automate repetitive tasks and save time better spent thinking about science over a cup of coffee.

While there are a lot of great apps out there, I’ve narrowed it down to five based on their universality and usefulness to those of us still #BehindTheBench.

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Tips for Optimization and Improving Reproducibility

Thus far, my thesis work has focused on optimizing an assay that my PI and I designed to answer a bigger question. By optimizing I mean tweaking the protocol to ensure the assay is reproducible and reliable (haven’t you heard about the Reproducibility Crisis?). When I began work on this project, I had no idea the time and extreme attention to detail it would require. I began graduate school only a few months after I earned my bachelor’s degree and my bench experience was very limited. Prior to joining my thesis lab, I never spent longer than 3-months in any...

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5 on Friday

This week I am feeling super jazzed to be back in the lab! I’ve been pouring over some very exciting, recently published literature and planning experiments. I’ve also been catching up on my Twitter feed and what’s going on in other fields of science. Check out what caught my attention…. The illnesses that plagued humans 5,000+ years ago might not be that different from the illness we still struggle with today, according to research that sequenced a pathogen extracted from a 5,300 year old mummy. Solar panels are so last year. Now you can carpet your roof with plastic grass...

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5 for Friday

Sip your coffee and check out some of our favorite science themed links as you ease into the last day of the week! This is a great round up of inspirational and entertaining articles and videos out on the internet this week.

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Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Biases: The Straw Man Fallacy

The Straw Man Fallacy is a common technique that opponents of science use to attack scientific theories or claims. That is not to say that such people have ill intentions, as often times people aren’t even aware that they are employing this fallacy. However, unlike some other fallacies, this one is not always so easy to identify. So let’s start at the beginning: What is the Straw Man Fallacy? The Straw Man Fallacy is a ideological misconception in which someone misrepresents their opponent’s argument, making it more simplistic and therefore an easier target. That is to say: when you alter...

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Lessons from Women Leading Science

Being fearful is not a trait I immediately associate with successful people. On December 3rd, however, when Stephanie and I attended a panel discussion titled “Lessons from Women Leading Science,” every single woman on the panel told stories of at least three times in their careers that they were scared. Most of them used the word “terrified” to describe how they felt when they applied for or accepted the positions that made them leaders in science. Conversely, when asked to describe a time they experienced failure, the consensus was, it’s all about perception. They tackled topics on mentorship, failure, family,...

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Mendeling in your affairs: understanding the term “Mendelian Disease”

It is a simple fact of life that each of us is impacted by genetic disease in one form or another, whether we know it or not. Most of us have probably heard a lot about diseases that develop due to both genetic susceptibilities and environmental exposures, such as type II diabetes and different forms of cancer. We in the genetics field like to call these “complex” diseases, because we just don’t fully get what causes them yet. On the other hand, there are some diseases that are 100% dictated by the alleles (variants of a single gene) you are...

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