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Abolishing Serfdom in Academia

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Columbia's Mark Taylor says that "graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning" and that it needs to be revamped. Taylor suggests restructuring the curriculum, abolishing departments and creating problem-focused groups, increasing collaboration, transforming the dissertation so that alternative formats such as websites, films, and video games are acceptable, exposing students to job possibilities outside academia, and replacing tenure with seven-year contracts.

Bayblab's Bayman says that Taylor is "right on the money" and that he has "good ideas but I don't think any of his proposals would address the most serious problem, which is the supply-demand/slavery issue." At Tomorrow's Table, Pam Ronald says she's "not wild about the idea of abolishing tenure" but does like the idea of encouraging collaborations.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.