Towards new horizons: sequencing Lil Bub’s genome through crowdfunding

Update 15/04/2105: Crowdfunding just went live! If you’d like to donate, go to our site!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might have noticed a lack of posts over the last couple of months. This was largely because I’ve been busy setting up a new project with two friends (and former collaborators) of mine: to sequence the genome of Lil Bub, an internet celebrity cat – with the help of crowdfunding. We’ve christened the project the LilBubome, and after many months of preparation we’ve finally launched our blog, our twitter and our facebook page. The crowdfunding will start in 4 days.

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And so they fail again? The EC’s Science 2.0 consultation

The European Commission (EC) has a complicated relationship with media campaigns. Two years ago, its #sciencegirlthing campaign and the accompanying ridiculous video earned it some pretty heavy criticism.

While it was generally agreed that intentions were good, when considering the practical realisation, the phrase a miss is as good as a mile sprung to mind (see here, here and here). After such an epic failure, you’d think the EC learnt its lesson when it comes to media campaigns. Alas, it is not so. Last week, they launched a public consultation on “Science 2.0” (#science20). Initially, I was thrilled: finally, decision makers wanted to hear my opinion on the topic. However, as I went through their website my heart sank: once again, they’ve got it all wrong, bunching together different aspects of Science 2.0, not differentiating sufficiently between different groups of respondents, and generally not quite getting the point why researchers are using online tools. Continue reading

On the (possible) Origin of Terrible PIs by Means of Natural Selection

This is a post about a species most young scientists have probably encountered at some point or another: terrible bosses. The PIs who are insecure, awful at recognizing and resolving conflicts, or distrustful control freaks. The group leaders, who think bullying employees, insisting on long working hours or installing a no-holiday policy will create a productive work environment. Or the (often young) PIs who are still so unaware of their position, and so involved in promoting themselves rather than their group, that they completely neglect their students/postdocs. The list goes on. Over the years I have seen many of my friends, who started off as enthusiastic, talented students, become victims of such bosses, and leave research disillusioned. And every time this happened, I have wondered how those PIs got their position in the first place? Continue reading