While the scientific community is enveloped in a reproducibility crisis (and debates as to whether there is one), there are certainly steps life science researchers can take to ensure more reproducible outcomes. We can start by limiting self-bias and improving reporting standards. But first, what is reproducibility and why is there a crisis?
Podcasts are perfect for busy, but intellectually curious people. It’s like reading, but instead of fixing your eyes to a page or screen, you can run or cook or simply relax while the podcast delivers fascinating, funny, new information straight to your brain. It’s basically like learning by osmosis! Whether you’re working in lab or you have these few months off to relax, I curated a list of science podcasts to keep you company both bench-side and poolside.
Large-scale sequencing projects have great potential to provide a wealth of knowledge to scientists and the public. Perhaps the most celebrated project of this nature is the Human Genome Project (HGP) which was completed in 2003. For many, the multi-billion endeavor was considered a “moonshot” for biology, but with its successful completion (99% of the euchromatic genome sequenced with 99.99% accuracy) came the launch of many other large-scale sequencing projects such as the Cancer Genome Atlas (2005) or more recently, the Earth Bio-genome Project (2018). The introduction of large-scale quantitative methods, such as next-generation sequencing, have also made these projects feasible.
As one of the most common reagents in biology and medical research, there are more than 350,000 commercially produced antibodies available for research and clinical applications. However, the quality of the commercially available antibodies varies from vendor to vendor. Different suppliers have different protocols for validating antibodies and some researchers might want to verify the product before using them on precious samples. Here are some of the factors to examine when it comes to antibody quality.
A healthy immune system requires a series of checkpoints to ensure self tolerance and prevent damage to other tissues during immune response. Binding of costimulatory signal transduction molecules (such as CD28, ICOS, GITR) on T cells to their receptors (such as CD80/CD86, ICOSL, GITRL) on antigen presenting cells (APCs) may contribute to T cell activation. However, in some states, inhibitory signals of T cell activation and response occur during the involvement of T cell receptors. These signals are generated by proteins involved in immune checkpoints (eg, PD-1, CTLA-4, TIM-3, and LAG3). Usually PD-1 and CTLA-4 immunological checkpoint proteins are upregulated in T cells infiltrating tumors and bind to their respective ligands, PD-L1 (ligand B7-H1)/PD-L2 (ligand B7- DC) and CD80/86, and down-regulate T cell responses. Immunological checkpoint ligands are often upregulated in cancer cells as a means of evading immune detection. Therefore, immunotherapy by blocking immunological checkpoint protein activation of anti-tumor immunity has become a popular research subject for cancer therapy.
The cliché of the pragmatic and lonely scientist gets old. Although scientists are highly analytical, their emotional range is not as limited as the media and stereotypes portray. In their work, scientists must be logical and methodical, but that doesn’t necessarily carry over to life and relationships.