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PERSPECTIVES & OPINIONS
A choreographer with a wide-ranging curiosity and social consciousness takes on the human genome. More
Training teachers takes more than inviting them into the lab for a few weeks. More
Edited by Kathryn Brown
Joseph DeRisi ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS University of California, San Francisco
"For lab notebooks, I still opt for the tried-and-true approach: a stuffed cabinet in my office. Nothing fancy. We use our servers to back up e-mail, data, code, and more. True to biology, we're redundant. Once a year, we dump data onto DVDs. Ideally, these would be stored in an off-site location!"
Roderick MacKinnon PROFESSOR, MOLECULAR NEUROBIOLOGY AND BIOPHYSICS The Rockefeller University
"I generally don't save my correspondence, but I do hope the best and brightest information winds up in my scientific thinking! I keep reams of synchrotron and electrophysiological data on computer disks, tapes, and CDs. All of my biochemical data—dried gels, pictures, and chromatography profiles—go into notebooks."
"While my desk tells the truest answer to this question (no wood is visible), our lab keeps important data on computer because Harvard Medical School (HMS) Department of Genetics has a really terrific back-up system. HMS also mandates keeping the data in lab books for 7 years. When we moved into a new building almost 3 years ago, we faced the choice of pitching a lot of stored paper data. Despite the memories those lab books held, we simply didn't have space to keep them, and they were destroyed. We'd like to think that our published manuscripts provide the best legacy of what we did and why."
"I am not saving my notebooks for posterity. I'm saving them for Stewart and Feder [self-appointed fraud investigators at NIH]. The notebooks are in my office. I have them all, going back to my report in fifth grade about the Komodo dragon, which is a lizard that grows up to 10 feet long and eats goats."