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Mon, 02/22/2010 - 11:01am
Robert Fee

I'm a little late to the party, but Time magazine seems to be all over our industry lately. Coming back from LabAutomation 2010, one of the biggest impressions I was left with was the excitement of one vendor whose product photo accompanied the number four scientific discovery of 2009 (according to the editors of Time), "A Robot Performs Science."

 

Lab automation is nothing new to most researchers, but fully automated experiments are something else entirely. The brief story describes "Adam," a robotic system designed at Aberystwyth University in Wales. Adam and its counterpart "Eve" are projects of the Computational Biology research group at Aberystwyth University. The two so called Robot Scientists are parts of a multidisciplinary research project involving expertise from Computer Science and Microbiology (www.aber.ac.uk/en/cs/research/cb/projects/robotscientist/). Adam is used to investigate yeast functional genomics, while Eve is involved in drug screening. According to the article in Time, Adam became the first robotic system to make a novel scientific discovery with virtually no human intellectual input. Adam was the first to complete the cycle from hypothesis to experiment to reformulated hypothesis without human intervention.

 

Anyone who has had the chance to attend LabAutomation, and anyone working with these types of instruments, can certainly understand the excitement.

 

On a broader level, it's pretty cool to see bioscience receive mainstream attention, and I can see many benefits from having the general public gain a better understanding of the work you all are doing. It occurs to me that the more people who know how important your work is, the more funding opportunities you will find.

 

As I mentioned above, this attention is not a singular instance. The editors of Time chose bioscience related discoveries as five of its top ten scientific discoveries of 2009, and over the past six weeks, Time has run stories on aging, epigenetics, and even a recent study that appeared in Nature on gene therapy and color blindness. Even cooler to me, and a certain point of pride, is that we've covered all of these topics either online or in the pages of this magazine.

 

That provides a perfect transition to let you know of some recent changes at Bioscience Technology. By now, those of you who receive our eNewsletter, The Life Science Pulse, have probably noticed the increased frequency that it now shows up in your in box. The Pulse is now sent out Monday through Friday with special highlight topics every Wednesday.

 

Finally, we've extended the deadline for entries to the Bioscience Technology Researcher of the Year competition to April 16. Winners will now be announced in the June issue. This year's contest is judged by Mike May, PhD, Suzanne Tracy (Editor in Chief, Scientific Computing) and C. Shad Thaxton, PhD (2009 Bioscience Technology Researcher of the Year). Visit https://www.regonline.com/bioscience_technology_2010_researcher_of_the_year for your chance to win $2,500 and be the subject of the June cover story. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have on this process.

 

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