Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 - A year in review. We are now 2 years old!

Another year has gone by and it’s time to evaluate how 2010 was for us. Yesterday was my blogoversary, making MolBio Research Highlights 2 years old. In these two years, a lot has happened and this blog has evolved from being a place where I linked to papers I considered interesting, to a full blog where we discuss primary research articles in the field, link to interesting things in the web (including molbio blog posts), organize the MolBio Carnival, discuss life as a scientist and more (See here).

Let’s talk about some of this blog’s highlights for 2010 and some things worth mentioning about my professional life.

1) We were finalists for Best Expert Level Blog and I was a finalist for Research Twitterer of the Year in the 2010 ResearchBlogging Awards.

This was awesome. Even though we didn’t end up winning these awards, being a finalist among several candidates was enough for us.

I use Twitter a lot for topics surrounding research in the life sciences (I think the award was given to a “Science” Twitterer, rather than to a “Research” Twitterer, but anyway), and yesterday I used an application to make a word cloud for my Twitter updates for 2010.

The resulting cloud speaks for itself: I-tweet-science (see also below, where I discuss my Twitter use on an interview for Wiley). So, if you are interested in the life sciences I invite you to follow me!

As I tweet a lot about articles I consider interesting, let’s see what this cloud has to say regarding the topics I discussed in 2010.

Genome, transcription, genetics, RNA, chromatin, microRNAs, cancer, evolution, and lately, arsenic, are some of the most used tags.

Also, apparently I laughed a lot (I see “haha” in there) and talked to Chris Dieni and Psi regularly.

2) We started a series of posts under the title “The hottest molbio topics: the next few years”, which until now, has featured David Garcia and Keith Robison

We had a poll inviting people to vote for what they thought were going to be the hottest topics in the field in the next few years (see Which will be the hottest topic in molecular biology in a few years? The results), and I decided to share the results by accompanying them with blog posts by experts in the respective areas.

So far, David Garcia from You'd Prefer An Argonaute and Keith Robison from Omics! Omics! have talked about small RNAs and new sequencing technologies, respectively. Fascinating posts. Go check them out!

3) I got invited to write an article for LabTimes because of my blog post on Yeast Recombinational Cloning

I wrote a post discussing a very simple and efficient cloning strategy that we routinely use in our lab, called “yeast recombinational cloning” (See here). Some time after that, I was contacted by the people at Lab Times (“a new, free, Life Science journal for the whole of Europe”), and invited me to write an article for them discussing this methodology. I immediately accepted, wrote the article and it was featured in their 03-2010 issue. You can check it out here.

4) We took a top place in the 2010 HAL Medical Blog Awards, sponsored by Apredica, under the "Future Leaders of Biomed – Best Blog Award" category

As taken from their website:

A search for “medical blog” in Google will get you more than 175 million results.
But of those 175 million results, which should you actually read? The 2010 HAL Medical Blog Awards, which highlight the very best blogs in health and medicine, aims to answer that question.”

Someone nominated us and we got a top place in the “Future Leaders of Biomed – Best Blog Award” category, which “recognizes the top blogs covering biology and medical issues that are by graduate students with exceptional promise”.

See my post about it here.

5) We started the “Direct Connection” Section

We created “Direct Connections”, a section which includes blog posts discussing primary research articles in the field, written by the authors themselves (see below). We have many of these in the works, but the first post of this series was written by Chris Dieni, who discussed his paper entitled “Regulation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase by reversible phosphorylation in liver of a freeze tolerant frog”.

Take a look at his post.

6) I was invited to write a post for Benchfly!

In early 2010, Benchfly organized the “Model Organism Week”, in which fellow science bloggers were invited to talk about some of the many organisms that have been instrumental for our current understanding of biology.

I wrote a piece for this initiative entitled “The Almighty Fungi: The Revolutionary Neurospora crassa”, in which I gave a historic view of the importance of this fungus for the advancement of modern molecular biology.

7) We organized The MolBIo Carnival and hosted its first issue

A blog carnival discussing molecular and cellular biology was missing, so together with LabRat, Lucas Brouwers, Psi Wavefunction and Alex Knoll, we organized The MolBio Carnival, which groups together posts discussing peer-review articles, techniques, books and related topics in the field.

We hosted the first ever issue of this Carnival back in August (See The MolBio Carnival: the first edition) and this has been going one since then. The 6th one goes live on January 3rd, so there’s still time to get your posts in!

You can take a look at the Carnival’s history on its website.

8) I got interviewed for an article in Nature

That’s right. I was interviewed for an article discussing the "internationalization of science", which was part of a supplement entitled "Science masterclass", which commemorated the 60th Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates.

I won’t get into much detail and I encourage you to take a look to this article which was published back in October.

Francisco actually attended this meeting. Read his post entitled "My impressions on the recent Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting"

9) I was selected as an Advisor for Wiley and was interviewed for their “Advisor Spotlight” section

The Wiley Science Advisors initiative aims to start a correspondence with young scientists and hear their perspectives on a variety of topics in science and publishing.

I’m currently involved in this program and recently, I was featured in their “Advisor Spotlight” section, for which I answered some questions regarding my online presence, i.e my blog and Twitter use.

10) I was interviewed by the PostDoc Forum

My interview for the PostDocs forum has just been published. I was kindly invited by Susan Steinhardt, who, despite of my "inattention to schedule", was continuously interested in featuring me.
Thanks Susan!

11) I’m a Mendeley advisor

This year I was selected as a Mendeley University Advisor. Mendeley “is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research”.

I’ve given some talks in Santiago to fellow researchers on the benefits of using Mendeley and actually convinced some people to switch from other platforms to Mendeley. If you have any questions regarding Mendeley, please send me an email or contact me through Twitter.

12) I won a F1000 twitter contest

Back in March, Richard Grant organized a fascinating Twitter contest, in which the idea was to "post your most embarrassing scientific error or egregious lab-based manipulation to Twitter with the #scifubar hashtag".

I contributed with this little thing…

Undergrad said he couldn't "paint" the black lines on the autoclave tape as good as his supervisor (he even bought a black marker) #scifubar,

which got me first place!  Read about it here.


Well, I guess that’s it. A whole year in review.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us throughout these two years and we hope to continue to be of service to all of our loyal readers.Yes, to all three of you :)

Happy holidays!