About a week and a half ago I had the pleasure to join fellow researchers associated with the Carbone Cancer Center at Science Saturday – the monthly outreach event hosted by the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Morgridge Institute for Research. Myself and two other members of my lab helped kids perform a DNA extraction as a hands-on way to teach them about the importance of DNA in human health. In doing this, I learned that strawberries are actually typically octaploid. Instead of having two copies of their genome, like us diploid humans, strawberries actually have 8!
For those that were interested in learning more – we talked more specifically about our research on aneuploidy and chromosomal instability. I have to say, having the opportunity to interact with the public and getting engaging questions about what we do was fantastic and humbling (in cases where my science communication skills were not up to the task). The experience definitely allowed me to develop new methods to communicate my research to a general audience and get the younger generation excited about science!
Not much of a post today. I just wanted to share two videos I found recently that highlight the ways in which a couple of scientists tailor their explanations of high-level topics to the needs of their audience – a skill that is fundamental for effective scientific communication.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of neurodegenerative disease thought to be caused by the formation of brain-lesioning plaques of amyloid-β oligomers and tangles of tau proteins accumlati. For a more in-depth look at this process, visit my summary of Alzheimer’s Disease here.
For tips on reading scientific literature, look at my previous blog post on that topic here. These concepts will be applied in the Research Rundown posts.
Continue reading Research Rundown: Mouse study to find link between MT-1 protein and Alzheimer’s-associated factors.
Let’s face it, reading through a scientific journal article, while enlightening, can be dull. The concise writing is dense and difficult to digest and without the proper training in the subject matter, one can get bogged down by jargon and acronyms and become discouraged and bored. The best written journal articles remain concise but serve to tell the ‘story’ of how a particular result was discovered, but a perfectly drafted ‘story’ takes time which is in such short supply for many researchers. Continue reading Dissecting a Scientific Journal Article
Bioconjugate [noun by-oh-kon-juh-git]: a biological substance containing of a formed stable bond between two separate molecules.
Scientific communication is the transmission of scientific concepts and discoveries to a target audience by means which will be understood by said audience. To be perfectly clear, italics were used in the aforementioned ‘target audience’ to denote that ‘target’ is the key word. The target audience can be anyone from members of the same laboratory listening to a weekly report to viewers of a PBS documentary on space travel to school children learning about gravity for the first time. The word ‘target’ is vastly significant because you would never explain define gravity as being F=Gm1m2/r2 to a 7 year old child, nor would it be fitting to demonstrate the concept of gravity to Stephen Hawking by dropping apples from a balcony. In communicating science to an audience, it is key to do so in a context they can understand. This communication becomes difficult when the language use offers up nothing for the audience to relate to and form an association with. Continue reading Scientific Communication: Why is it Important?