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Talking Techniques

Author: BioTechniques

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Welcome to Talking Techniques! In this Podcast BioTechniques Digital Editor Tristan Free, interviews researchers at the forefront of their fields about the latest breakthroughs, controversies and conversations in the life sciences. From CRISPR to COVID-19, organoids to the microbiome, this podcast will explore the latest developments in the lab and interesting applications of techniques, while trying to determine how we can drive science forward in progressive and inventive ways.

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30 Episodes
In this episode, we roam the world of recombinant proteins and their production, discussing the challenges of their production, and recent evolutions in protein engineering that have brought the field into a golden era of innovation.I'm joined by recombinant protein engineering expert Yuning Chen, R&D Manager at Sino Biological, who discusses the key applications of recombinant proteins, the aspects of certain products that make them difficult to produce and how these difficulties can be overcome. Yuning also reveals how the manipulation of antibodies has been essential to multiple aspects of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.After a review of the recent evolutions in protein engineering, from cell-free systems to automation, Yuning describes his vision for the future of the field and reveals his support for the Terminator-style uprising that he believes could revolutionize it.ContentsThe production of recombinant proteins: 00:48-02:11The key applications of recombinant proteins: 02:11-03:27What makes some proteins difficult to produce? 03:27-04:41Overcoming these challenges: 04:40-5:40Manipulating antibodies to take part in multiple aspects of pandemic response: 05:40-08:00The most exciting applications of recombinant proteins: 08:00-09:50Developments in high throughput and automated protein engineering: 09:50-11:00Cell-free protein engineering: 11:00-12:40The benefits of cell-free systems: 12:40-13:40What is next for recombinant protein production? 13:40-16:15The dream of automation for the recombinant protein production: 16:15-18:50  See for privacy and opt-out information.
PCR has evolved rapidly over the last few years, an evolution that has been dramatically accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. New technologies and approaches have been brought to the fore and the full range of applications for which this technique can be applied have been highlighted, from diagnostics to basic disease research and immunology.This episode explores this evolution, looking at how challenges presented by the pandemic forced the hand of researchers to think outside the box and build on lesser-known PCR technologies. Here, Eddy van Collenburg, Market Development Specialist at Bio-Rad (CA, USA), provides his insight into how ddPCR rose to prevalence during this time and explains how the technology is being used to enable trade, detect new variants and is being used outside of the pandemic.Discover the key role that ddPCR can play in gene therapy research, liquid biopsies, cancer research, single-cell studies and more, in this fascinating overview of the development of PCR and where the technique can go in the future.Contents:Introduction: 00:00-01:30Why was qPCR established as the gold standard for detection?  01:30-03:40Limitations of qPCR during the pandemic: 03:40-05:05New varieties of PCR for faster results: 05:05-05:40New varieties for more accurate results: 05:40-06:45ddPCR working principle and advantages: 06:45-09:00Nonclinical ddPCR applications for COVID-19: 09:00-10:45ddPCR in variant detection: 10:45-12:05ddPCR in gene therapy research: 11:05-12:30Liquid biopsy and cancer research: 12:30-15:20Combining ddPCR with NGS in research: 15:20-16:15What are some of the applications of ddPCR that you find most exciting? 16:15-17:10Applications of ddPCR in single-cell studies: 17:10-21:00Improvements in ddPCR: 21:00-21:45Tips for best practice when using ddPCR: 21:45-22:50What would you ask for to improve ddPCR? 21:50-24:20 See for privacy and opt-out information.
Uncover the history of molecular therapeutics, the staggering current applications and developments of these therapeutics and what their future could hold, in this episode of Talking Techniques.To explore the field of molecular therapeutics and provide an insight into their production, is Aaron Clauson, Product Manager at Zymo research. First, we cover the ins and outs of targeting the therapies and how to select the correct type of molecular therapeutic to begin developing a drug for a specific disease, before looking at some of the setbacks and safety errors that have occurred during the development of molecular therapeutics and how researchers have learned from these tragic events.Aaron also highlights the vital role of plasmids in almost all molecular therapeutic development, detailing the importance of keeping plasmid solutions and transfections free of endotoxins, revealing key solutions for avoiding these contaminants.Listen today to get all you need to know about molecular therapeutics, from their inception to their most exciting examples and how we can better communicate their benefits to the public in order to avoid mistrust and confusion - as has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.Contents:What counts as a molecular therapeutic? 01:45-02:40Well known molecular therapeutics: 02:40-05:00What can molecular therapeutics achieve that synthetic chemicals can’t? 05:00-05:55Targeting molecular therapeutics and picking the right type of therapeutic: 05:55-08:25Selecting the appropriate molecular therapeutic: 08:35-11:00Setbacks and safety concerns in gene therapies: 11:00-15:45Preventing off-target effects in gene therapies: 15:45-17:35Challenges in the development of molecular therapeutics: 17:35-19:05Plasmids in molecular therapeutic development: 19:05-23:55Avoiding endotoxins: 23:55-27:45What fields do you find most exciting? 27:45-28:50Better communication of gene therapies to the public: 28:50-32:00 Improving molecular therapeutic development: 32:00-37:10 See for privacy and opt-out information.
This episode centers on the critical role that high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) plays in the production of adeno-associated viral (AAV) therapies, the latest advances in AAV design and the next steps in their development.Filling me in on all things HPLC and AAVs is Bella Neufeld, Director of R&D at Teknova. Bella reveals the essential validation and quality control steps required for the production of successful and safe AAV therapies and the role that both HPLC and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LCMS) play in these steps. We also explore the latest development targets for these therapies, looking at how AAVs can be targeted to specific sites and tissues before descending into the treacherous topic of reproducibility in the field.Listen today to find out the latest tips for best practice when working with HPLC, LCMS the advantages of LCMS over other analytical techniques to assess empty and full capsids and the key principles of AAV production!ContentsIntro: 00:00-01:25Explaining HPLC and its benefits: 01:25-03:30Developing adeno-associated viruses: 03:30-05:25 Chromatography in validation vs production of AAVs: 05:25-06:15Quality control vs hands on time: 06:15-07:35  Challenges in AAV production: 07:35-08:55Examining the level of empty and full capsids: 08:55-10:00The role of LCMS in determining and validating AAV contents: 10:00-11:30      Tips for best practice when using HPLC: 12:30-13:10The future of HPLC: 13:10-14:20Latest advances in AAV development: 14:20-15:50Targeting AAVs: 15:50-17:20Reproducibility issues in AAV development: 17:20-19:35Outro: 19:35-21:10 See for privacy and opt-out information.
As the transition from 2D to 3D cell cultures, or organoids, as the gold standard for modeling basic biology and disease continues, these models are being utilized in ever more intricate and impactful ways.This episode covers the rise of organoids and their advantages over 2D cell cultures, before exploring just how representative these models are becoming and their new applications in drug discovery. To find out all this and more, I speak to Oksana Sirenko, Senior Scientist at Molecular Devices, who works extensively with the company's organoid model development programs. Oksana reveals the potential of these models in cancer therapeutics, driven forward by new patient-derived organoids, and notes the challenges presented by imaging these thicker, 3D models. We also explore the potential discoveries that can be unlocked by combining organoids with organ-on-a-chip models.Contents:What are organoids? 02:10-03:20Functions replicated by organoids? 3:20-04:00What are the advantages of 3D over 2D cell cultures? 04:00-05:40Just how representative are these models? 04:40-07:10Intestinal organoid formation 07:10-08:50The most exciting application of organoids 08:50-10:10Organoids in drug development 10:10-11:20Methodology of organoids in drug screening studies 11:20-13:30Examples of organoids in cancer drug discovery: 13:30-16:00Limitations of patient-derived and regular organoid models: 16:00-17:50Body-on-a-chip concepts and examples: 17:50-22:00Challenges posed by organoids for drug discovery: 22:00-24:20Techniques improving organoid models and analysis: 24:20-25:50Imaging organoid models: 25:50-26:55Tips for best practice when working with organoids: 26:55-28:20Organoid method development: 28:20-31:10One thing to improve organoid models or analysis for drug screening: 31:10-33:07To find out more about the research and solutions discussed in this episode visit: See for privacy and opt-out information.
Welcome to part two of this two-part episode on whole-genome sequencing (WGS) in rare disease research and treatment. In part one we discussed the impacts the technology has had on both improving the clinical diagnosis and management of rare diseases and on drug development and basic research studies.This episode goes beyond the technology’s capabilities and into the debates surrounding how, when and why they should be used. What needs to change for the technique to be applied equitably? And how does reality stack up against science fiction in terms of people’s perceptions of ubiquitous WGS?To do this I speak with David Dimmock, Senior Medical Director of the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine (CA, USA); Christine Stanley, Chief Director of Clinical Genomics, Variantyx (MA, USA); and Take Ogawa, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Psomagen (MD, USA). Each of these speakers provides their opinions on the impacts of race, religion and way of life on the application of WGS and how much is too much data.Contents:Introductions: 00:00-02:20Gauging public perceptions of routine WGS 02:20-05:40The role of industry in improving WGS accessibility and capabilities: 05:40-07:35The appropriate use of pre-symptomatic and predictive risk findings: 08:00-11:15Debating the discovery of untreatable diseases: 11:15-12:45The impact of data biases in gene sequencing and the lack of gene references for different populations: 12:45-14:45The impact of religion and lifestyle on ethical considerations in the use of WGS data: 14:45-16:00Dealing with unintended findings or results that impact relatives: 16:00-16:45The value of WGS in pharmacogenomic variant findings and challenging the ACMG59 list: 16:45-19:20Striking the balance between fully utilizing WGS for all potential findings and ensuring maximum participation for all groups: 19:20-22:45Filtering data to avoid exclusion: 22:45-24:10Who owns WGS data? 24:10-25:15Consent conversations: 25:15-26:30Final comments: 26:30-27:15 See for privacy and opt-out information.
Love it or hate it, western blotting forms the bedrock of countless studies across numerous disciplines. Explore its history, development and applications in this episode all about the marmite of life science techniques.Guiding me through the hand wringing, hair follicle destroying history and process of western blotting, and hopefully explaining the beauty and potential of the technique - is Kenneth Oh, Senior Project Manager at Bio-Rad Laboratories. Kenneth reveals some of the latest developments in western blotting. Revealing how researchers are now able to validate the success of each stage of a western blot and work with smaller samples, Kenneth provides key tips for ensuring each of your western blots is a triumph. Contents:Intro: 00:00-01:15History of western blotting: 01:15-3:50What makes western blotting so tricky? 03:50-05:30Stepwise optimization: 05:30-06:50Stain-free western blotting: 06:50-08:50The different variants of western blotting: 08:50-10:20The right blot for the right application: 10:20-11:30The most exciting developments in western bloting:11:30-13:35New horizons for western blotting: 13:35-15:25The impact of multiplex-western blotting: 15:25-16:30Tips for best practice: 16:30-18:10The future of western blotting: 18:10-20:30Yearning for automation: 20:30-21:30 See for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode, we take a look at one of the key steps of infectious disease research, sample collection; exploring the challenges associated with the step and the solutions available to improve infectious disease research around the globe.Exploring the trials and tribulations of infectious disease sample collection with me is Stanislav Forman, Product Developer at Zymo Research (CA, USA). Stan explains the extreme environments in which sample collection often occurs; revealing the difficult transit and storage requirements – often involving cold chain logistics – that can derail infectious disease studies early on.Find out how key solutions to these problems have been successfully workshopped with the US military and have even been used in work with NASA to conduct safe sample collection in space. And discover just how successful these solutions can be when faced with the blazing wreckage of a transit vehicle…ContentsIntroductions: 00:00-01:20Key challenges of sample collection for infectious disease research: 01:20-02:30Additional challenges presented by COVID-19: 02:30-05:00The emergence of at-home testing: 05:00-07:00Established practices for sample collection and introducing DNA/RNA shield: 07:00-09:00Protecting DNA/RNA samples: 09:00-11:00Working with NASA on sample collection and protection in space: 11:00-14:20Protecting samples in a blazing transit van: 14:20-15:25The impact of inactivating and preserving sample collection products on infectious disease research: 15:30-16:30Areas for improvement in sample collection: 16:30-17:30Closing statements: 17:30-19:20 See for privacy and opt-out information.
Explore the realm of epigenetics and gene expression, discovering the different omic ‘lenses’ used to examine these processes and the power of single-cell studies to reveal a comprehensive multiomic view of cells and their biology.  This episode features the ever-buoyant Will Greenleaf, Associate Professor of Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine (CA, USA) and head of the Greenleaf Lab. Will takes us through his lab’s work, detailing his attempts to understand the compacting of DNA into cell nuclei and how this impacts gene expression and epigenetic regulation.Discover the emerging new research focus that Will has coined the “Regulome” – the collection of physical molecular components that control gene expression through factors such as chromatin accessibility. To explore these new frontiers Will often encounters questions with no technologies available to ask them. So what does he do? Invent the technologies he needs! Find out how his lab came to develop the, now widely used, ATAC-Seq and learn of the new tools that he is looking to develop to solve even more perceptive questions.This episode has it all, and also reveals the potential of Will’s single-cell multiomic approaches in cancer research, virology and HIV. Contents:·      Introductions: 00:00-02:00·      The exploring the physical genome: 02:00-03:15·      Chromatin accessibility: 03:15-05:15·      Introducing the ‘Regulome’: 05:15-07:15·      The importance of multiomics for the study of gene expression: 07:15-07:55·      DNA methylation and histone organization: 07:55-10:30·      Real-world impact of this research:  10:30-12:30·      Will’s varied career path: 12:30-16:15·      Combining multiomic datasets with computational biology and physics experience: 16:15-18:40·      Single-cell techniques: 18:40-21:50·      Developing ATAC-Seq: 21:50-23:50·      New tools in development: 23:50-27:30·      Insights into the epigenetics of cancer: 27:30-29:35·      Insights into virology and HIV latency: 29:35-32:10·      One wish to help explore the regulome. 32:10-33:00 See for privacy and opt-out information.
This episode, supported by Bethyl, delves into the realm of the tumor microenvironment (TME), exploring the cells that reside there and how they interact to promote tumor growth and metastasis. Discover how immune cells are attracted and manipulated by tumor cells enabling the cancer to invade neurons where they can then travel throughout the body.Providing an expert's insight into this topic is Moran Amit, Assistant Professor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX, USA). Moran exposes the nebulous interactions in the TME and describes the techniques that he uses to interrogate it, in the hope that by further understanding these interactions we will be able to design more successful, targeted therapies for neurotropic cancers.Contents:·      Introductions: 00:00-01:20·      The key cells of the TME:  01:20-02:50·      How cells of the TME  support the tumor: 02:50-05:45·      How cancer cells influence and impact immune cells: 05:45-07:25·      The invasion of cancers into the neurons: 07:27-9:45·      Recruitment of neurons to the TME: 09:45-10:55·      The evolution of neuron recruitment to the TME: 10:55-15:00·      Techniques involved in the study of the TME: 15:00-17:00·      Tips for best practice: 17:00-18:00·      Tumors with neural networks: 18:00-20:05·      Clinical impact of research: 20:05-21:50·      The cancers impacted the most by this research: 21:50-23:25·      The impact of neural invasion on patients and neurons: 23:25-25:30·      One thing to improve our understanding of the TME: 25:30-28:00 See for privacy and opt-out information.
Rare diseases present a series of challenges on numerous fronts. From simply deciphering what a patient is affected by to considering how best to manage a rare condition with limited pre-existing medications available for a rare disease, each new development or breakthrough brings clinicians to a new question. While these conditions are, in isolation, rare; in total rare diseases impact 25-30million people in the USA alone. Supported by Psomagen and featuring four fascinating guests from across the spectrum of topics and focuses in the rare disease space, this episode explores the updates to whole-genome sequencing technology that have improved the "Diagnostic Oddysey" experienced by some patients, enabled more accurate drug development and provides insight into the diagnosis and characterization of undefined rare diseases, before exploring the clinical impact whole-genome sequencing can have on clinical outcomes.This episode features insight from four field-leading experts in rare disease research, whole-genome sequencing technologies and clinical practice for patients with rare diseases, including: Alan Beggs: Director of The Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research, Sir Edwin and Lady Manton Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard medical school Christine Stanley: Chief Director of Clinical Genomics at VariantyxDavid Dimmock: Senior Medical Director of Rady Children's Institute for Genomic MedicineTake Ogawa: Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Psomagen ContentsIntroduction: 00:00-02:30Defining the Diagnostic Oddysey: 02:30-06:20Rare disease discovery: 06:20-09:20Techniques involved in Rare disease discovery: 09:20-12:05Whole-genome sequencing updates impacting clinical diagnosis: 12:05-18:30Currently required improvements in techniques for rare disease research and management: 18:30-24:10Explaining long-read and short-read sequencing: 24:10-26:00Developing therapeutics for rare diseases: 26:00-30:00Whole-genome sequencing in animal model validation: 30:00-31:20Improving access to whole-genome available to researchers and clinicians: 31:20-33:40Whole-genome sequencing improving management and outcomes for rare diseases: 33:40-38:27 See for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode, we explore the often overlooked technique of environmental sequencing for infectious diseases and how it is being applied to the response to COVID-19. Taking the state of California as a case study of this application, I speak to Micheal Lisek, Project Manager Environmental Microbiomics at Zymo Research Corp. Micheal outlines the basis of environmental sequencing, predominantly the screening of wastewater for signs of viral RNA, the key techniques involved in the process and challenges associated with it. Micheal also explains the key pieces of information that can be obtained by environmental sequencing and the benefits of the approach vs exclusively using clinical testing. Micheal highlights the value of environmental sequencing for monitoring variants, understanding transmission patterns and identifying outbreaks, providing examples of the information provided to the public health officials in California that were used to successfully manage rising infections and limit the impact of a surge in cases.ContentsIntroduction: 00:00-01:58Introducing environmental surveillance for infectious diseases: 01:58-03:30COVID-19 response vs previous environmental sequencing work and how it has prepared people for COVID-19: 03:30-06:18The benefits of wastewater screening over clinical testing: 06:18-07:10Challenges of wastewater testing: 07:10-09:10Monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 variants: 09:10-10:55Understanding transmission patterns: 10:55-12:00Identifying signs of viral vaccine escape and tracing transmission: 12:00-14:50PCR vs NGS techniques for environmental sequencing: 14:50-16:05Tips for best practice when conducting environmental sequencing: 16:05-17:50Practical results of environmental sequencing data on outbreak suppression: 17:50-20:40Investigating mutation rates in the environmental samples: 20:40-23:20Emerging techniques in wastewater surveillance: 23:20-25:10Developing standard protocols and structure for wastewater surveillance: 25:10-28:20 See for privacy and opt-out information.
In Part 3 of our COVID-19 diagnostics and detection miniseries, supported by Roche, we explore the contribution PCR has made towards diagnosis during the pandemic. Providing me with an insight into the world of PCR diagnostics is Tyler Miller, Clinical Pathology Resident and Research Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital (MA, USA), where he was instrumental in setting up the testing regimen for the Hospital.Ty details the attributes of PCR that lead to it becoming the gold standard for diagnostic tests, before explaining the variance in clinical detection rate during a patient’s disease course and how this variation correlates with the infectivity of the patient. Ty also delves into the variety of sample collection methods available, how each of these methods compares in terms of sensitivity and their ability to be integrated into exciting novel PCR techniques.We also look at the work of the Broad Institute in establishing a mass testing effort that involved automation, workflow optimization and hundreds of new staff, ultimately leading to the delivery of 100,000 tests a day, almost 5% of the USA’s total COVID-19 testing at the time. All of this rapid work has led to dramatic changes in the PCR technique and process. These changes are perhaps exemplified by PCR testing without RNA extraction and purification, which Ty explains was partly developed due to the limited supplies available to researchers at the beginning of the pandemic.ContentsIntroduction: 00:00-02:00Why PCR tests are so valuable: 02:00-03:10Changes in clinical detection rate and infectivity: 03:10-8:00Infectivity and exceptions to the rule: 08:00-09:00Sample collection methods, sensitivity and encouraging testing uptake 09:00-17:00The Broad Institute’s mass testing regimen: 17:00-21:00Developments during the pandemic and no RNA extraction PCR: 21:00-27:00Dreams for improving COVID-19 testing: 27:00- 30:00This episode was supported by Roche sequencing and life science. Follow these links to find out more about the LightCycler 480 System and LightCycler 96 System. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Returning to the contentious topic of the Reproducibility crisis – the inability of many study results to be replicated by different research groups or labs – this episode, supported by Zymo Research, zeros in on the topic within the field of microbiomics. Speaking to me about the topic is Raul Cano, Chief Scientific Officer at the BioCollective. Raul discusses the crisis and explains why it is prevalent in the emerging field of microbiomics before taking a look at the key role that microbiomics is beginning to play in the field of diagnostics, and how – if we make changes now – lasting improvements can be made in the field. Raul also lays out the three key areas that are holding back reproducibility in microbiomics and explains the actions that can be taken to improve the situation.Contents:Introduction: 00:00-02:00Explaining the reproducibility crisis: 02:00-02:55How microbiomics compare to other fields in terms of reproducibility: 02:55-04:05Challenges in reproducibility specific to microbiomics: 04:05-05:45The importance of reproducibility in microbiomics: 05:45-07:00Microbiomics in diagnostics: 07:00-10:00 Three key causes of poor reproducibility in microbiomics: 10:00-11:30Is detailed documentation improving in the life sciences? 11:30- 13:00Actions that can improve reproducibility: 13:00-14:15Fecal references: 14:15-16:05The realities of preparing fecal references: 16:05-18:1 5The reception to the new fecal references: 18:15-20:35References vs Standards: 20:35-22:15Standardizing microbiomics data: 22:15-23:20Assessing reproducibility in previous studies: 23:20-25:15Dreams for reproducibility in microbiomics: 25:15-26:55 This episode is supported by Zymo Research. If you would like more information about the fecal reference mentioned in the podcast, you can visit the product page here. See for privacy and opt-out information.
This International Women’s Day takeover episode, with special guest host BioTechniques’ Senior Digital Editor Abi Sawyer, takes a look at the results of Future Science Group’s (London, UK) survey for the scientific community on gender equality and parity in STEM.Abi’s guests on this episode are the Vice President of Epidemiology and Clinical Evidence at IQVIA (NC, USA), Dr Christina Mack; the Executive Director for the Pharmaceutical Research Computing Center at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (MD, USA), Dr Ebere Onukwugha; a Lecturer, Science Communicator and Author based in Cardiff (UK), Dr Emma Yhnell; and the Director of the Neuroscience Center Microscopy Core at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (NC, USA), Dr Michelle Itano.They discuss the results of Future Science Group’s survey, share their own experiences of gender inequality as well as situations where they’ve felt supported, and outline how the STEM community can push further towards gender equality and parity. Contents:Introduction: 00:00 – 1:47Gender inequality, experiences and impact on STEM careers: 1:48 – 10:41Underlying reasons for gender disparity in STEM: 10:42 – 17:51Promoting gender equality in the STEM work environment: 17:52 – 30:34Looking forward: representation and mentoring: 30:35 – 39:32Conclusions: 39:33 – 40:10 See for privacy and opt-out information.
This episode, supported by Tecan, takes a look at the role the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) has played sequencing SARS-CoV-2 and surveying for COVID-19. To do this I speak to two key members of the consortium; Steve Paterson, Professor of genetics at the University of Liverpool and lead for the wastewater working group of COG-UK; and Josh Quick, Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Birmingham and lead at the COG-UK Sequencing working group.Steve discusses some of the techniques required to detect SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, the challenges that such a vibrant sample can present, and gives his account of the part that wastewater surveillance played in the management of the new variant B.1.1.7.Josh provides us with further insight into the technologies used to sequence SARS-CoV-2, explains how he designed the ARTIC protocol for sequencing the virus and why it came to be so widely used. We go on to discuss the issues of limited lab consumables such as pipette tips and how you can make the most out of your limited lab supplies. Josh also describes the bizarre act of serendipity that aided in the discovery of the B.1.1.7 variant.ContentsIntroduction: 00:00-01:30Steve Paterson introduction: 01:30-02:15Introducing COG-UK: 02:15-03:20Becoming the wastewater working group lead: 03:20-04:35Key techniques and essential work in wastewater surveillance: 04:35-08:00Improving the sensitivity of sequencing and technological developments: 08:00-10:00Detecting new variants in wastewater screening: 10:00-12:15Learnings from the pandemic: 12:15-13:40Josh Quick introduction: 14:35-15:32The ARTIC protocol: 15:32-18:35Sequencing working group key techniques and key focuses 18:35-22:00Challenges of limited consumable supply and how to make the most of what you have got 22:00-24:30Learnings from the pandemic: 24:30-26:28New technologies, RC-PCR: 26:28-29:38Fantasy technology to assist with SARS-CoV-2 sequencing: 29:38-31:00Discovering the new variant B.1.17:31:00-33:30Conclusions: 33:30-34:40 See for privacy and opt-out information.
RT-PCR, antigen and antibody testing; each has its niche and each has a flaw. But what are the key differences between each of these tests and what are the key things to consider when selecting the appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic for you? In this podcast, supported by Zymo Research, I speak to Senior Scientist in assay development Paolo Piatti in order to answer this question. Whether you are a concerned citizen looking for the best test to take to inform your behavior, or a researcher aiming to understand which testing systems you need to set up in your lab – this episode should have the answers for you.In addition to these key points, Paolo addresses the importance of testing during the rollout of vaccine programs and issues of false negatives in diagnostics, examining what, if anything, can be done to improve the accuracy of testing programs. See for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode, I speak to a very special guest. Winner of this year's Future Science Future Star award, Andy Tay is a fantastic example of an early career researcher who has seized every opportunity with both hands and is not content to leave science as he found it. We discuss Andy's fascinating research into pain modulation using magnetic biomaterials, which got him included on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2019 and his work in science communication. Andy is a champion of diversity in STEM, something he embodies both in his science communication and in the organization of his lab. Here, he delves into the tactics he uses to promote diversity and gives us his tips on how to set up and run a diverse and inclusive lab.Andy pairs all this information with some key tips for early career researchers who may be looking to emulate his success, giving us an insight into the key moments in his childhood and early career that lead him to where he is today and teaching us some lessons about the importance of curiosity. See for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode, I speak to Michelle Itano, Director of the Neuroscience Center Microscopy Core at UNC-Chapel Hill and recent addition to the BioTechniques Editorial Board, about her work at the core. Michelle outlines how she has modified the core to make it possible for imaging research to continue throughout the pandemic, using a combination of specialist users and remote working techniques. Michelle provides her key learnings, from this process and last 7months, in keeping the core and her labs COVID-secure.We discuss some of the projects that have been able to continue throughout the pandemic and the recent successes of an autism trial, which provides key information on the behavioral effects, diagnosis prediction of the condition. Michell also informs me of the work the core has been involved in that directly address COVID-19, using resonance scanning to examine epithelial organoids and cell models, elucidating the utility of resonance scanning in the study of 3D structures.Episode image created by Damaris Lorenzo of the Lorenzo Lab at the UNC Microscopy Core See for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode I address the 'reproducibility crisis'. The concerning trend in the life sciences in which published papers and established principals are unable to be repeated by other researchers and, at times, even by the researchers who provided the initial results. To do this I speak to two researchers driving forward reproducibility in the life sciences, Marc Raphael from the United States Naval Research Laboratory, and Elizabeth Iorns, CEO of Science Exchange. Marc discusses his recent trial of independent verification and validation (IV&V) labs in a live science setting, highlighting the lessons learned from the experience and exploring the differences observed in attitudes and approaches to reproducibility between the life sciences and engineering, where mark began his career. Elizabeth discusses her work with Science Exchange and the reproducibility project: cancer biology. Elizabeth notes the key themes that have been exposed by the reproducibility project that are holding back the resolution of the crisis and explains what she thinks has worked so far in improving reproducibility. This leads to a fascinating discussion between Marc and Elizabeth, comparing and contrasting their experiences and noting the different challenges that they face in trying to improve the state of research in the life sciences. In fact, their camaraderie was so strong that interviewing these two was a real treat and for lots of it, it was much better for me to sit back and watch as they debated a topic that they are both clearly very passionate about!I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed recording this episode!*The Talking Techniques podcast is hosted and produced by Tristan Free for BioTechniques. We would love to here more from our listeners about your opinions on the podcast, what you would like to hear more of and what you think we could do better!Please get in contact on any of the platforms below.Twitter: @TristanFreefsgEmail: See for privacy and opt-out information.
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