Mendeley Brainstorm – Send in the Clones?

Twenty years ago, the first sheep was cloned; there have been huge advances since.
Twenty years ago, the first sheep was cloned from an adult cell; there have been huge advances since.

Twenty years ago, Dolly, the first sheep cloned from an adult cell, was revealed to the world. Since then, cloning and genetic manipulation technologies have advanced considerably. Should we welcome a new era of genetic science? Or is our knowledge growing faster than our wisdom? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes April 12, 2017.

Hello, Dolly

On February 22, 1997, the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced the arrival of Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. According to the Institute, “in the week following the announcement…(we) received 3,000 phone calls from around the world”. Dolly had captured the public’s imagination about the potential of cloning, which at one point had been thought to be impossible.

Spinoffs

Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine was intellectually stimulated by Dolly’s arrival. He subsequently investigated how the adult DNA which had been used to create Dolly had been revivified. The eventual result was “induced pluripotent stem cells”, which “have become a scientific workhorse, providing limitless supplies of differentiated cells and tissue for use in the lab” (Economist, 2017). They also are “an invaluable tool for modelling human diseases and screening drugs” (Economist, 2017).\

Moral Objections

Cloning technologies have always been controversial. Many ethicists and public figures have questioned whether scientists have the right to “play God” and alter the building blocks of humanity. Some countries, including the United States, have implemented restrictions on this research.

Send in the Clones?

Are these concerns overblown? Or is our knowledge growing faster than our wisdom? What is the future of cloning in your view? Tell us!

Need Funding for Your Research?

Here are some of the latest funding opportunities for biology researchers provided by Mendeley Funding:

Organisation Opportunity
Oak Ridge Associated Universities Molecular biologist research opportunity in plant viruses
University of East Anglia Cloning and expression of topoisomerase genes from Trypanosoma brucei
Developing methods for genetically encoded unnatural amino acids to develop novel proteins
National Institutes of Health Cancer and stem cells epigenetics
Ancillary studies to the NIDDK intestinal stem cell consortium
Spermatogenic stem cell culture systems to preserve and restore reproductive capacity in males
Stem cell-derived blood products for therapeutic use: Technology improvement
John Templeton Foundation Genetics – Large grant
Genetics – Small grant

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

Gene editing, clones and the science of making babies. (2017). The Economist. [online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21717035-ways-reproducing-without-sexual-intercourse-are-multiplying-history-suggests-they-should [Accessed 23 Feb. 2017].

Hello, again, Dolly. (2017). The Economist. [online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21717028-twenty-years-ago-world-met-first-adult-clone-sheep-called-dolly-her-legacy-lives [Accessed 23 Feb. 2017].

The Life of Dolly | Dolly the Sheep. (2017). [online] Dolly.roslin.ed.ac.uk. Available at: http://dolly.roslin.ed.ac.uk/facts/the-life-of-dolly/ [Accessed 23 Feb. 2017].

Mendeley Brainstorm – Ageing Societies – We Have a Winner!

As societies age, there are are both challenges and opportunities.
As societies age, there are are both challenges and opportunities.

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Ageing Societies; picking a winner is never easy, in this instance, we have selected Beau Hilton’s response:

Two modifiable and interrelated aspects of aging are muscle and strength loss (sarcopenia and dynapenia). These are deleterious in obvious ways such as difficulty performing activities of daily living, as well as in indirect ways, e.g. reduction of glucose disposal into muscle may contribute to hyperglycemia, diabetes, and perhaps Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes called “type 3 diabetes.” Interventions are generally low-cost and include the conventional, such as protein (especially leucine) intake and resistance exercise, as well as innovations including blood flow restriction training, which was developed in Japan to help people maintain or increase muscle mass when unable to lift heavy weights or even move at all. Additionally, prudent use of and research on anabolic agents in both males and females is beginning to see a renaissance. What does it mean for society if the typical 75-year-old in 20xx has the physical agility of the typical 55-year-old in 2017?

We asked Beau about his background. He responded:

I am a 2nd year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. It’s a 5 year program with a research emphasis and, since it’s housed in the Clinic itself, a great deal of time with patients. My main interest is prevention and wellness, with a focus on attacking the functional deficits that most characterize old age using rational combinations of lifestyle and pharmacological means.

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the latest Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding Science and Politics. Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm: Science and Politics – Unhappy Together?

Is it time for researchers to adapt or go on the march?
Is it time for researchers to adapt or go on the march?

The worlds of science and politics appear to be in conflict. Britain voted for Brexit; it’s estimated 90% of British academics voted Remain. Recent policy announcements by the Trump administration have provoked scientists to plan a “March for Science” on Washington DC. Are science and politics destined to clash? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes March 8, 2017.

Post-Factual Versus Evidence Based

The world of politics introduced new terms into the lexicon in 2016, including “post-factual”, “post-truth” and “fake news”; the world of science continues to rely on evidence, data and peer reviews. In 2016, politics erupted with statements that denounced “experts”; science depends on expertise to achieve its advances.

Funding Pressures

The Trump Administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze all grants. This could be a prelude to more cuts for research in environmental and other sciences. Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s choice to head the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, apparently asked in September 2016 after considering studies done about the Zika virus, “…do we really need government funded research at all”.

What’s Next?

Can science learn to live with the new political environment, or is it time for researchers to march? Will “post factual” politics be compelled to yield to cold, hard data? Will science shift from countries like the United States and Britain to elsewhere? What are your thoughts on what will happen and what will you do? Tell us!

Need to Store & Publish Your Data?

Mendeley Data is a secure cloud-based repository where you can store your data (including open data governmental datasets and websites), ensuring it is easy to share, access and cite, wherever you are. Click here for more information.

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

AHUJA, M. (2017). Scientists planning their own march in Washington. CNN. [online] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/25/politics/scientists-march-dc-trnd/index.html?sr=twCNN012617scientists-march-dc-trnd0530AMStoryPhoto&linkId=33790680 [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].

BELLUZ, J. (2017). Trump’s budget director pick: “Do we really need government-funded research at all”. [Blog] Vox. Available at: http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/21/14012552/trump-budget-director-research-science-mulvaney [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].

KASPRAK, A. (2016). FACT CHECK: Trump’s Budget Director Pick Asked “Do We Really Need Government-Funded Research at All?”. [online] Snopes. Available at: http://www.snopes.com/trumps-budget-director-pick-asked-really-need-government-funded-research/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].

WAPNER, J. (2017). Trump Freezes Grants, Approves Pipelines and Considers Sharp Budget Cuts At the EPA. Newsweek. [online] Available at: http://europe.newsweek.com/trump-freezes-grants-approves-pipelines-and-considers-sharp-budget-cuts-epa-547738?rm=eu [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].

On Mendeley Careers: Brexit & Science – Brexit Means What?

As the United Kingdom departs the European Union, what is the future of British science and research?
As the United Kingdom departs the European Union, what is the future of British science and research?

On Mendeley Careers, we’ve just published an interview with Dr. Anne Forde of Cambridge University; we’re trying to get to the bottom of the complex issue of Brexit and Science in the United Kingdom:

“Brexit means Brexit” according to Prime Minister Theresa May; however, this statement masks a series of complex questions. For example, what will be the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union? Will Britain participate in European funding programmes such as Horizon 2020? Will researchers from the European Union still flock to Britain’s globally renowned universities to do their work? How are the universities adjusting to these seismic changes?

Click here to read the full interview.

Mendeley Brainstorm – Open Data – We Have a Winner!

Is the future of data open?
Is the future of data open?

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Open Data; picking a winner given the well thought out answers was not easy, however in the end, we selected Sarah’s post:

When we talk about Open Data, there are really two separate issues: the sharing of raw data and open access to publications.

Sharing of raw data is incredibly valuable for the scientific community. Any group that chooses to publish polished interpretations of their data (such as a paper) must also be responsible for the quality of the raw data and/or analysis that went into it. Because researchers may have unrealized biases in data analysis and interpretation, it is vital that the raw data also be available for examination.

Open access is a thornier issue. While the benefits (greater spread of knowledge, greater inclusion in science, greater connection with the public) are valuable, our current system of publication does not incentivize open access. Treating the scientific publication process as a public good, as academic research is treated, may therefore be a valuable approach to solve this issue of incentives.

Sarah is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, She wrote:

I’m….studying retinal development, so my interaction with Open Data is more the general academic experience and thinking about it abstractly. The first part of my response was mostly inspired by my experiences reading papers and the frustration of knowing they’re only the beautified surface of the work that was actually done. The second part of my response was actually inspired by economics podcasts like Planet Money and Freakonomics, which are some of my favorite things to listen to while doing lab work.

She also told us:

Also I just want to take the chance to thank everyone at Mendeley! I really appreciate that you’ve made it more than just a useful application (and it is incredibly useful).

Thank you, Sarah!

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the latest Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding Ageing Societies. Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm: Ageing Societies – Getting Wiser?

As society ages, we need to formulate intelligent solutions for the future.

The elderly is one of the fastest growing segments of the world’s population. For example, the number of people in Japan aged over 65 hit a record high in 2016. What changes will we see in technology and society as a result? How do we get wiser about getting older? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes February 8, 2017.

Another Year Older

The New Year brings us closer to an unprecedented milestone. The worldwide number of people aged 60 and over will soon exceed 1 billion; the ratio of working people to pensioners is also experiencing a dramatic shift.

Bonanza or Bankruptcy?

Companies like BMW are adjusting their working practices to accommodate this demographic change. BMW found that such changes help them retain valuable skillsets. On the other hand, countries like Japan are struggling to pay pensions and health care for all their retirees; in fiscal 2012, the cost to the Japanese taxpayer was ¥109 trillion.

Technology to the Rescue?

Will Artificial Intelligence and / or Robotics help? More and more labour is being performed by machines; will this help countries adapt to this change? Or are governments going to have to restrict benefits to the elderly? Will the elderly have to work for longer? What would wise policy in response to this change look like? What are your thoughts on what actually will happen? Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

THE GUARDIAN, (2016). Are you worried about our ageing population? Share your thoughts. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/15/are-you-worried-about-our-ageing-population-share-your-thoughts [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].

HALL, A. (2011). Built by Mature Workers: BMW opens car plant where all employees are aged over 50. Daily Mail. [online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1357958/BMW-opens-car-plant-employees-aged-50.html [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
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JAPAN TIMES, (2015). Public pensions, health care stretched as Japan’s population ages. [online] Available at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/11/25/national/social-issues/public-pensions-health-care-stretch-japans-population-ages/#.WCr3pdxgst8 [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].

2017 Reaxys PhD Prize

Open for Submissions: the 2017 Reaxys PhD Prize

Today marks an important day in the chemistry calendar: the launch of the 2017 Reaxys PhD Prize! From now until March 13, talented and ambitious chemistry PhD students from all around the world will be sending their submissions, all hoping to show the Review Board that they deserve a place on the list of finalists.

It’s considered a high honor to be a Reaxys PhD Prize finalist. Each entry is judged in terms of originality, innovation, importance and applicability of the research. The reviewers also look at the rigor of approach and methodology and the quality and clarity of related publications. Recommendation letters and CVs are also considered. Hundreds of applications come in each year, with students from over 400 institutions having participated to date, and the Review Board have consistently praised the quality of the submissions.

It is the Review Board’s task to select the 45 finalists, who are invited to present their research at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium. This year’s event will be held in Shanghai in October, with travel bursaries and accommodations provided to ensure that the finalists can attend. The 2016 symposium was in London—you can see the highlights in this short video:

In addition to gaining recognition for their research excellence and an opportunity to present their work, all the finalists are invited to join the Reaxys Prize Club, a unique, international network of chemists from all researchers and career paths. Now with over 300 members, the Club has proven to boost the careers of young chemists, helping them to meet with other chemists, attend conferences, and organize events. Prize Club members also receive personal access to Reaxys and Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry and discounts on Elsevier books.

Being a finalist is an accolade in itself, but the participants all certainly hope to be selected as one of the three winners. The shortlisted best finalists make a final oral presentation of their research at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium, based on which, the Review Board Chairs select the winners. Each winner receives a prize of $2000 in addition to all the benefits that finalists get.

The competition is open to anyone who has just finished or is currently engaged in a PhD program where the research focus is related to chemistry. Previous finalists have hailed from institutions in Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East—and they are all members of the Reaxys Prize Club, meaning it is a global network of dedicated and talented chemists.

Could you or someone you know be one of this year’s finalists? All the details about applying can be found here.