Skip to main content

The Bounds of Academia


A few years ago, I was trying to decide whether to continue my studies, try for a PhD, and hopefully become a biology professor. Though I ultimately did not, many of my colleagues did. As Tracy Vence finds in this month's cover story, the job market, especially in academia, is tight, and though many PhD scientists are still looking for careers there, others are looking for creative ways to use their PhDs outside the bounds of academia. Tracy also notes areas of growth in the biosciences, namely in toolkit companies, synthetic biology, molecular diagnostics, computational biology, and biostatistics.

I'd like to take a moment to note two changes at GenomeWeb and Genome Technology. First, we've bid a fond farewell to Meredith Salisbury, who was the editor in chief of GenomeWeb, though she started out as an associate editor at GT in 2001. While she has moved on from our company, I'm sure that we have not yet heard the last of Meredith. Second, there is a new section in GT this month. Each issue, the Project Spotlight will focus on a lab or collaboration that is doing some particularly interesting research. The inaugural article by Matthew Dublin, on page 13, looks at the work of Cenk Sahinalp's lab at Simon Fraser University. Sahinalp is developing a new bioinformatics framework to better study structural variation.

On our Web site this month, you'll find a Letter to the Editor that was sent to us from William Grizzle and Katherine Sexton at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Tissue Collection and Banking Facility. In a response to an October GT article, Grizzle and Sexton point out challenges biobanks face in fulfilling specific requests from researchers, especially as they relate to The Cancer Genome Atlas project.

Finally, two corrections: The November article "Research Reparations" erroneously stated that Tuskegee patients were infected with syphilis by the researchers. That is not so. Rather, they were denied the standard treatment for the disease. And last month's profile of Michelle Chang misidentified her affiliation. She is an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley. GT regrets the errors.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.