Archive by category | General interest

Academic inventions

Over the past 30 years the ties between academic research and commercial enterprise have increased enormously. Much of this increase has involved attempts by universities to capitalize on the intellectual property created by their research scientists using the US patent system. The Editorial in the October issue of Nature Methods discusses this change and the challenges facing academics interested in commercializing their innovations.  Read more

DNA origami on the rise

Nanotechnology is all the rage these days but its use by practicing biologists is still very limited. A recent entry in the nanotechnology arena is DNA origami, a method for creating nanostructures out of DNA that is more accessible than previous methods and allows larger and more complex structures to be created with greater ease.  Read more

Research collaboration

The Editorial in the February issue of Nature Methods discusses the critical role that interdisciplinary collaboration plays in modern biomedical research. Although there are certainly notable exceptions, researchers seem to be increasingly using collaborations with experts outside their own area of expertise to bring new insights and technologies to their research projects. Increasing numbers of studies claim to back up the assumption that collaboration is beneficial.  Read more

Brains at work

Neuroscience is a field where much still needs to be learned and for that, technology development is increasingly necessary. Recent developments have greatly expanded our capacity to visualize the activity of neurons using genetically encoded fluorescent probes and optogenetic tools now enable precise modulation of this activity.  Read more

Nobel thoughts

The Nobel Prize is quite possibly the most anticipated annual event in the scientific community. This year the winners again highlighted the importance of methodological development in scientific progress. Remarkably, the physics, chemistry and medicine prizes all rewarded method and tool developments. This continues, and possibly strengthens, a trend that has become more evident in recent years.  Read more