Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Science: Sep 8, 2017

In this week's Science, the University of Cambridge's Robert Wallach discusses the importance of postdoctoral researchers to universities and calls for greater support for their career development, particularly within academia. "Despite their enormous career potential, postdocs need deeper and more complex opportunities while still employed by their universities to achieve their personal potential," he writes in an editorial. "A key first step for universities and funding bodies is to expand support, resources, and attention for their postdocs. We all know change takes time, but for postdocs, changes must be implemented sooner rather than later."

And in Science Translational Medicine, a team led by University of Texas researchers reports the development of a handheld, mass spectrometry-based device that can accurately and rapidly diagnose cancer. Called MassSpec Pen, the device enables controlled and automated delivery of a discrete water droplet to a tissue surface for efficient extraction of biomolecules, which can then be analyzed for malignancy. The scientists used MassSpec Pen for ex vivo molecular analysis of 20 human cancer thin tissue sections and 253 human patient tissue samples, then created a molecular profile that could identify cancers with 96.4 percent sensitivity, 96.2 percent specificity, and 96.3 percent accuracy. They also used the device to identify tumors in living mice without causing any tissue damage, providing evidence that it could potentially be used as a clinical and intraoperative technology for cancer diagnosis. 360Dx has more on this, here.

The Scan

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.

Study Finds Variants Linked to Diverticular Disease, Presents Polygenic Score

A new study in Cell Genomics reports on more than 150 genetic variants associated with risk of diverticular disease.

Mild, Severe Psoriasis Marked by Different Molecular Features, Spatial Transcriptomic Analysis Finds

A spatial transcriptomics paper in Science Immunology finds differences in cell and signaling pathway activity between mild and severe psoriasis.

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.