I think I want to do a regular thing each week where I throw out a paper (preferrably open access) that I think is cool and if people want to read. It probably won't even be in my field, just general interest. If you folks can come up with other good papers for people to read, toss them in the comments. So I ask you brothers and sisters, what's good?
This week I found on PLOS ONE, an article discussing the failure to link violent video game usage to diminished social behavior. As a guy who plays video games, I hear about this all the time on the news and on CSPAN (I must be the only guy that watches this). Well looks like this notion may be busted. Take a look.
Most people have only ever heard of BRCA1 or BRCA2 in connection with familial breast cancer or because of Angelina Jolie. But what a recent study found is that the activity of BRCA1 or ATM, RAD51, and MRE11 DNA repair proteins all declined with the age of oocytes of female mice and adult women. This evidence is further supported by observations that BRCA1-null mice have impaired fertility.
One would surmise that women with mutations in the BRCA1 gene would also have a shortened window of fertility. Anyways I thought it was an interesting study that gave some mechanistic insight into why fertility decreases with age.
So I'm really looking into a particular lab for a postdoc, one that I am fairly familiar with. Before I contact the PI, I am brushing up on some of their most recent publications. The question is how far back do I dig? My thought is that since I am familiar with what they do, I'll go back and read what they've published in the last three years as this is the most relevant to what's going on in the lab. Also I've pulled any review from the lab in the last 5 years, while some may no longer be topical, I want to get their slant or perspective on how they see the field.
So dear readership (n=4), how far back would you recommend me going in the paper pile?
A recent opinion piece at CNN about Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy (Article here) had a few errors and had some issues with it. But what was most confusing was wording that mislead the reader to believe that most of the non-familial breast cancer patients did not have BRCA1/2 genes, instead of stating that they did not have mutations in those genes. I was actually kind of surprised when both the author and the article responded to me quite quickly.
Bravo CNN for fixing the inaccuracies but boo to the clinician who wrote the paper with the errors in it.
So I'm working up some experiments for the last bit of a paper. These experiments will probably take a few more months, my question is when to start writing? Now, wait until you get prelim results back from these experiments, or when the whole shebang is over?
I'm thinking to lay out my outline and maybe start some work on the introduction to explain the question that I'm trying to answer.
Oh and that damn dreaded review article is finally done and accepted for publication. At least that burden is over with.
While writing this manuscript we somehow ending up duplicating several citations in the reference section, probably due to merging multiple EndNote libraries. This has caused me quite a bit of consternation as we didn't catch this well into the proofing process and now I'm having to go back and renumber virtually every citation and ensure that each one matches the appropriate reference.
Moral of the story: Don't fuck up.
Recently I have found immense value on reading theses from past students in other labs and institutions, who have worked on a research topic that is similar to my own. While it can be a pain in the ass to get their doctoral thesis if they are not on ProQuest, they are usually quite informative. As I have seen their thesis's are much more detailed about their methods and experimental analysis compared to their publications. Also some of these theses contain a wealth of unpublished data that can support your own preliminary data or start to give you an idea if you are pumping money down a dry hole.
How often do you folks read theses that aren't from your own labs or students on your committees?
While I'm loathe to do so, I'm trying to brush up on Neuroscience. Is there a good entry-level text book that anyone could recommend?
Dear readership (all three of you), if you were stuck on a desert island but could receive a monthly subscription from any scientific journal, which would it be?
is having to sit down and objectively read what you wrote and realize that its crap. Time to make it better. Ah the pleasures of editing.