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The Business of Science


Not so very long ago, any academic who partnered with a company on research risked being branded a sell-out. But thanks in large part to the teamwork-oriented systems biology culture, collaborations between academic or nonprofit researchers and businesses are now considered acceptable, creative ways to perform top-notch science.

With that in mind, GT's Jeanene Swanson checked into these alliances to see just how business and science were mixing. As you'll see in her cover story, a key component has been opening lines of communication between academia and industry — a process in which institute tech transfer offices have played a significant role. These partnerships come in a range of flavors, starting with simple company-funded grants to academic labs and continuing to alliances in a more common sense of the word, where scientists from each organization work side by side with shared research goals and resources.

Also in this issue, Ciara Curtin looked at just what it takes to start up a lab focused on gene expression studies. She reports on the technologies needed, as well as honing a research plan to help inform instrument purchase decisions. We also have results of our biennial conference survey — 999 readers weighed in on the meetings most worthy of your time. Don't miss Matthew Dublin's profile of Rick Myers at the HudsonAlpha Institute, and in the Informatics Insider column, Fran Lewitter and George Bell offer advice on how to make your research truly reproducible.


Our July/August Lab Reunion column profiling Eric Green referred to a translational research project called Dr. 56. That name occurred as the result of an NIH website error and the project is not known by that title (though I think it's cool and encourage somebody to start one up).

Also, our career column quoted Pacific Biosciences' Alvin Horn, whose name is actually Alvin Hom. I apologize for the error. If it is any consolation, Mr. Hom, the experience has spurred me to update my contact lens prescription to prevent future butchering of names.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.