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Questions of the Month – After the Referendum

Posted by on June 30th, 2016

On the 23rd of June the United Kingdom held a referendum on whether to remain a member of the European Union or to leave. Prior to the vote, Nature reported that 83% of nearly 2000 polled scientists favoured remaining, and letters from Royal Society members and Nobel Prize winners urged the public to vote to remain in the interests of[…]

Question of the month – the 14 day rule for human embryo research

Posted by on May 31st, 2016

Earlier this month, two papers were published (from the Brivanlou and Zernicka-Goetz labs) that reported in vitro systems to study development of the human embryo through implantation stages. These experiments have kept human embryos developing for longer than any previous work, and close in on the 14-day limit imposed by many governmental and regulatory bodies.[…]

Question of the month- Ethical issues in life sciences publishing

Posted by on April 28th, 2016

In the last few years, the life sciences have been plagued by cases of scientific misconduct which led to corrections,  retractions and, to some extent, in a lack of trust on the scientific record. This has encompassed a variety of issues, from  manipulation to fabrication of data, from inappropriate use of statistics (unintentional or otherwise) to[…]

Question of the month- brain organoids

Posted by on March 21st, 2016

Last week, Development announced a special issue on organoids. In vitro organogenesis is a burgeoning new field, with applications in the study of human development, drug testing and ultimately the possibility of producing functional organs in the dish that could be used for transplantation. Every new technological advance brings with it a new set of ethical issues, and[…]

Question of the month- preprint servers

Posted by on February 24th, 2016

Last week saw ASAPbio, a meeting that discussed the role that preprints can play in the life sciences (for a an introduction to preprints check out this video or this wikipedia page).  Those of you on twitter will have followed the #ASAPbio discussion with interest,  and the footage of the conference is now available online. What is your experience:[…]

Question of the month- patenting public research

Posted by on January 29th, 2016

Last week the Montreal Neurological Institute announced that it will become the first fully Open Science academic institute. In addition to  making their results and data available for free upon publication, this initiative also includes a  commitment not to register patents on any of their discoveries. This announcement comes in contrast with the ongoing heated dispute on[…]

Question of the month- New Year wish list

Posted by on November 30th, 2015

It’s getting to that time of year when we think about the year to come and the things we hope it will bring: love, health, money… and maybe a little bit of help with our research. There are many things that could make the year 2016 better for a developmental scientist: new equipment, better protocols,[…]

Question of the month- “Away from the bench” skills

Posted by on October 30th, 2015

Recently, Tomer Stern and Itamar Harel posted on the Node about Graduate Peer Group, a discussion group where graduate students could interact with each other and address the challenges that arise specifically during graduate school. Many of these challenges go beyond research at the bench: how to communicate your research, how to manage relationships in[…]

Question of the month- PhD internships

Posted by on September 28th, 2015

There is an increased awareness that only a small fraction of PhD students will ultimately secure a tenure-track position in academia. This has led to a discussion on whether graduate schools have a responsibility to help PhD students prepare for a career outside academia, either by providing training on a broader range of transferable skills, or simply by[…]

Question of the month- peer review

Posted by on August 27th, 2015

This week the BioMedCentral blog put together a quiz to test how good you are at assessing the best course of action when faced with tricky peer review scenarios. These scenarios make for a fun exercise, but similar situations can and are encountered by you when invited to review manuscripts. However (like many other tasks that are asked from researchers)[…]