Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Science Beyond the Lab

While spending time away from the lab and data- and paper-generating activities can be seen as a sign of loss of focus, Lauren Emily Wright, a postdoc at the University of Padua, argues at Nature Jobs that it can also give researchers perspective.

When her postdoc ends this year, she's planning on a short stint with the nonprofit TReND — short for Teaching and Research in Natural Sciences for Development — in Ethiopia, where she'll work at a university as part of the group's goal to support higher education and scientific education in Africa.

"Working in relatively underprivileged locations gives young researchers a chance to get in the deep end and experience the wider world of science," Wright says.

"Lecturing and collaborating with scientists whose native language is not English is also a fantastic way to improve communication skills, and working with less well-funded labs and universities could hone your creativity for problem-solving," she adds. "What do you do when there's no tape? No shaking waterbath? You can't complain, and you definitely can't just order it from Sigma. You have to figure it out with the tools at hand."

Similarly, the University of Southern Illinois' Andrzej Bartke tells her that his time spent collecting samples and taking measurements in Vietnam in the 1960s not only exposed him to a different country, it also taught how to be independent and deal with logistical issues with ingenuity. The experience, he adds, also led to him being offered another opportunity in the US the next year.

"If you have a chance to do something you find really exciting, you should grab that chance even if it appears to have nothing to do with the conventional career path," Bartke adds.

The Scan

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.

Study Examines Relationship Between Cellular Metabolism, DNA Damage Repair

A new study in Molecular Systems Biology finds that an antioxidant enzyme shifts from mitochondria to the nucleus as part of the DNA damage response.

Stem Cell Systems Target Metastatic Melanoma in Mouse Model

Researchers in Science Translational Medicine describe a pair of stem cell systems aimed at boosting immune responses against metastatic melanoma in the brain.

Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas Team Introduces Genomic Data Collection, Analytical Tools

A study in Cell Genomics outlines open-source methods being used to analyze and translate whole-genome, exome, and RNA sequence data from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas.