September 15, 2016 8:00 am
The history of science shows that irreproducibility is not a product of our times. Some 350 years ago, the chemist Robert Boyle penned essays on “the unsuccessfulness of experiments”. He warned readers to be sceptical of reported work. “You will meet with several Observations and Experiments, which … may upon further tryal disappoint your expectation.” He attributed the problem to a ‘lack of skill in the scientist and the lack of purity of the ingredients’, and what would today be referred to as inadequate statistical power.
September 9, 2016 8:00 am
The scandal surrounding Paolo Macchiarini, the former star surgeon who became famous for his pioneering trachea transplants, has prompted yet another round of resignations and firings at the highest levels of Swedish higher education. On Monday evening, Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson said she had dismissed the country’s chancellor in charge of all public universities, Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, following the release of a sharply critical report by an independent commission that examined the Karolinska Institute’s (KI’s) hiring and management of Macchiarini. Wallberg-Henriksson was vice-chancellor of KI in Stockholm, a position comparable to that of a university president, when Macchiarini was hired, and played a key role in his recruitment.
September 9, 2016 8:00 am
Vice President Joe Biden’s proposed moonshot to conquer cancer should invest in large collaborations, data sharing projects, and the promising cancer treatment known as immunotherapy, among 10 areas described in an advisory group’s draft report released this morning. The report was accepted (with one abstention) today by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) advisory board, which is expected to pass it on to the NCI director and then to a federal task force. Now, Congress just needs to come up with the money to pay for the moonshot, research advocates say.
August 9, 2016 8:00 am
The CRISPR–Cas9 tool enables scientists to alter genomes practically at will. Hailed as dramatically easier, cheaper and more versatile than previous technologies, it has blazed through labs around the world, finding new applications in medicine and basic research.
August 8, 2016 11:58 am
The federal government announced plans Thursday to lift a moratorium on funding of certain controversial experiments that use human stem cells to create animal embryos that are partly human.
August 5, 2016 12:19 pm
Many medical studies involving children never end up being put to use because scientists frequently don’t publish the results of their work, according to an analysis published online Thursday.
August 3, 2016 8:00 am
It was one of the most mind-bending scientific reports in 2014: Injecting old mice with the plasma portion of blood from young mice seemed to improve the elderly rodents’ memory and ability to learn. Inspired by such findings, a startup company has now launched the first clinical trial in the United States to test the antiaging benefits of young blood in relatively healthy people. But there’s a big caveat: It’s a pay-to-participate trial, a type that has raised ethical concerns before, most recently in the stem cell field.
March 17, 2016 9:00 am
It’s said that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, but we technically still have dinosaurs running around Earth today (or at least their descendants). Modern-day birds evolved from certain species of dinosaurs, and now scientists have used birds to bring a little piece of the dinosaurs back. In a study published in Evolution, researchers announced that they had successfully grown “dinosaur legs” in chicken embryos.
March 15, 2016 9:00 am
Drawing comparisons to Edward Snowden, a graduate student from Kazakhstan named Alexandra Elbakyan is believed to be hiding out in Russia after illegally leaking millions of documents. While she didn’t reveal state secrets, she took a stand for the public’s right to know by providing free online access to just about every scientific paper ever published, on topics ranging from acoustics to zymology.