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  • Animal Testing

    Time For Better Microbiome Research

    The microbiome needs no introduction – it has been several years since you could pick up a biomedical research journal and not run into an article on possible connections of human gut bacteria and disease. There were thousands of such papers last year alone. But it’s a very hard field to work in. You can… Read More
  • Current Events

    Coronavirus

    As the world knows, we face an emerging virus threat in the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. The problem is, right now there are several important things that we don’t know about the situation. The mortality rate, the ease of human-human transmission, the rate of mutation of the virus (and how many strains we might be… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Phosphorylation Without Pain

    Phosphorylation is a prime example of a reaction that’s hugely important in biochemistry that organic synthesis struggles with terribly (as opposed to the efficiency and finesse with which it’s handled in by enzymatic processes). The methods used to attach phosphate esters in the flask are frankly pretty crude (all the way up, or down,… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Will It Learn? Can It Learn?

    OK, we’re going to get a bit esoteric this morning. There are all kinds of things going on in the world, but I’m going to seek refuge for a little bit in abstraction, and if that’s your sort of thing, then let’s lift off. This is broadly on the hot topic of machine learning, which… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Opening the Lid on Sarepta’s Drug Approvals

    Let’s talk Sarepta. And FDA approval, because you can’t bring up that company without immediately starting a regulatory affairs argument. I was not happy when their initial exon-skipping therapy (Exondys, eteplirsen) for Duchenne muscular dystrophy was approved in 2016, because I thought that the efficacy data were simply not strong eno… Read More
  • Biological News

    Unscrambled Eggs

    This is a rather eerie result. Two researchers at Stanford report that the often-used model system of Xenopus frog eggs have self-organizing properties. Extracts from homogenized eggs had already been known to be more functional than one might have predicted (the paper has a number of references to such studies), but this paper finds that… Read More
  • Chemical News

    One Sugar Turns Into Another

    As someone who used a lot of carbohydrates as chiral pool starting materials in grad school, I regard this paper as the next thing to witchcraft. Even folks without carbohydrate experience appreciate readily that there are sugars that you hear about all the time (such as glucose, mannose, and galactose) and some that you hardly… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    Inside the Lipid Droplets

    Figuring out an unusual natural product’s activity can be a difficult but rewarding exercise. Deep evolutionary time has provided us with a bizarre range of chemical structures that are presumably not being synthesized by organisms for the sheer fun of it – these things are acting as signaling molecules, antifeedants, poisons for the co… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    EQRx’s Challenge, And My Challenge to Them

    It’s time to talk about a new venture called EQRx. This has made quite a splash in the last few days at the JP Morgan investor conference, and it’s been launched by Alexis Borisy (involved with founding and/or helping run CombinatoRx, Foundation, Blueprint, WarpDrive Bio, Editas, Relay and others) with the aim of generating cheaper… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Getting Around to Reporting Clinical Data, Real Soon Now

    Science has an interesting report on the publication of clinical trial results. Some readers will recall similar efforts from 2015 and 2017/2018 in the US and Europe; this is actually a follow-up by one of the same US authors. It should actually be a dull report, because the requirements for such disclosure are clear. The rules… Read More
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