Notes from the Library…Finding Company and Industry Information

Business Resources
Image from under CC0 1.0

As you embark on your job search, prepare for an interview or conduct competitive intelligence during your career, you may find yourself searching for information about a company or industry.  While a company’s website is the natural place to start your search, there are other resources that you can use to find this type of information.

I have divided the resources below into those that are best for company information and those that are best for industry information.  However, several resources, including ABI/Inform Collection, D&B Global Business Browser, Nexis Uni and Factiva, provide both types of information.

Many business databases utilize industry classification codes, which group similar products and services, to organize information.  Using these codes in your search can help you find information about a particular industry.  The standard industry classification code system in the United States is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.  Some business databases still SIC, although it is no longer updated.  The NAICS code sector most likely to be of interest to you is 32541, Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing.

Company Information

  • ABI/Inform Collection: Business literature database. Indexes journals, case studies, working papers, reports, newspapers and trade magazines.  Use search fields to restrict search to company or publication title.  Full text available for most documents.  Requires Tufts username and password to access.
  • D&B Global Business Browser: Detailed company profiles, news and industry reports, compiled by Dun & Bradstreet. Search by company name or build a list of companies based on the criteria of your choice, such as location, industry or size.  Requires Tufts username and password to access.
  • Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio): Nonprofit organization that provides services and support for more than 1,000 Massachusetts-area biomedical companies, academic institutions and organizations. To discover local companies, search the membership directory by category and subcategory.  The Career Center offers job search advice and job postings.  Free public access.
  • Nexis Uni: Formerly LexisNexis Academic, this database provides news, business and legal information from journals, newspapers, television broadcasts and legal proceedings. To find company profiles, click the ‘Company Info’ button on the homepage.  Requires Tufts username and password to access.
  • ReferenceUSA: Directory of more than 15 million public and private companies in the United States. Particularly useful for finding information on smaller companies.  Search by company name, business type, location, or even executive gender or ethnicity.  Requires Tufts username and password to access.

Industry Information

  • Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO): Representative organization for biotechnology companies, academic institutions and associations in the United States and around the world. Resources available on the BIO website include industry analysis reports, a blog and SmartBrief, a daily newsletter that provides summaries of news from the biotech industry.  Free public access.
  • Factiva: From the Dow Jones Company, this global news database provides the full text of thousands of newspapers and trade magazines. Also searches select websites and blogs.  Search by company or industry.  Alternatively, click the ‘Companies/Markets’ tab in the menu bar to view company and industry snapshots.  Requires Tufts username and password to access.
  • Harvard Business School Working Knowledge: Harvard Business School newsletter with articles, case studies, op-eds, classroom lessons and working paper summaries that connect “leading edge research and ideas on business management with practitioners, thought-leaders and academics”. Browse by topic, industry, geography or publication-type category.  Free public access.
  • McKinsey & Company Insights: Articles, interviews, videos and commentaries on the pharmaceutical and medical products industry, from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Free public access.
  • Milken Institute: Think tank devoted to “collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health.” Work is centered around eight centers that explore the interaction between business, health and policy.  Browse the institute’s core publication, Milken Institute Review, by topic, or search the institute’s publications, videos and events by issue.
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA): Trade organization for U.S. biopharmaceutical companies. PhRMA publishes reports, policy papers, news articles and an annual industry profile.  Free public access.
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers: Analysis of industry trends, issues and opportunities in pharmaceuticals and life sciences from the audit and consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Humans of Sackler: Becca Silver, “Enthusiasm was contagious (no pun intended)”


I’m Ila Anand, a fifth-year student in the Microbiology program. I’ve recently taken over the “Humans of Sackler” portion of the Newsletter, which was originally pioneered by Andrew Hooper. In this issue I had the honor of getting to know our GSC president, Rebecca Silver, better known as “Becca.” It was a delight sitting down with this die-hard Bruins fan and discussing a variety of topics—from finding out she loves butter pecan ice cream and Figaro’s to discovering how she first broke into science. I hope you enjoy our conversation and are better acquainted with our GSC president!

IA: Hi Becca! Let’s start with what were you doing before you started graduate school?

RS: I was having a good time in college at the University of Maine in Orono! Besides the academics, my favorite part of college was having my friends nearby and being able to spend time with them whenever I wanted. I had a pretty diverse group of friends in college and I still keep in touch with them. I’m originally from Portland, Maine and spending time with close friends was also a big part of my childhood. My favorite memories are from Fourth of July when my friends and I would hang out at a lake house. The lifestyle in Maine is generally much more slow-paced. That is actually one of the biggest differences I noticed when I started grad school—there’s much more of a “rush” in Boston compared to Portland, where the people are more laid-back.

IA: Sounds like there are definitely some cultural differences between the cities. Where else have you traveled to in the past?

RS: I’ve mostly traveled on the East coast. I’ve visited the majority of the North East and I’ve also visited Georgia and Florida. I’ve actually never traveled to the West Coast but if I had the opportunity to attend a conference I would totally go. I also really want to ski in the mountains of Colorado at some point in the future. Outside of the U.S. I’ve traveled to Canada and Bermuda. I visited Bermuda when I was fairly young (ten years old) and I vividly remember that time period because two weeks before the vacation I had pneumonia. At the time it was awful because I missed school and was trying to recover (I had a lot of Pediasure!), but in the end, because I also went on vacation, I ultimately took a month off of school and my teachers didn’t assign me any extra homework. You could say that was my first introduction to the infectious disease field!


IA: That does sound awful! So when did you actually become interested in pursuing research and studying science?

RS: Well, I was a bioengineer back in college and honestly pursuing research was a decision I made on the whim. I took an immunology elective class my junior year of college and quickly realized I really like immunology. The class was much more interesting than any of my bioengineering classes- the lectures were awe-inspiring! The professor really emphasized infectious disease clinical examples like super gross rashes all over the body, etc. The professor was so excited and his enthusiasm was contagious (no pun intended). After taking the class, that summer I took the GRE and applied for grad school the fall of my senior year. It was literally a 6-month turnaround from being a bioengineer to wanting to be an immunologist!


IA: What was your first experience working in a lab?

RS: My first experience doing lab work was during a Co-Op internship at Idexx, which is a veterinary biotech in Portland, ME. I interned at Idexx during the summer going into my junior year of college. I was involved in developing a lateral flow assay that is similar to an ELISA and this rapid immunoassay detected digging worms in infested dog feces. It was a triple detection assay so it was able to detect whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. My internship involved developing positive and negative controls for the assay. My boss at Idexx played on the same recreational hockey team that I did in Maine and she was a Tufts alumnus. Later, when I decided I wanted to go to grad school, I reached out to her for a reference and she’s the one who influenced me to apply to and attend Tufts Sackler.

IA: That’s really neat that you play rec-hockey. How did you get into that? What else do you like to do outside of bench research?

RS: I picked up hockey in high school when I was fourteen. My friend asked me to try out for the school team because they needed more people and now it’s one my favorite activities to do. I currently play on a Greater Boston rec-team called South Shore Women’s Hockey League. We have a lot of fun! In addition to hockey, I like to run. I run with a group in Jamaica Plains called the Forest Hill Runners and my favorite spot to run is in Peters Hill in the Harvard Arboretum. It has the best view of the whole city, in my opinion. I also like to cook and play video games—specifically strategy games, like Civilization 6. As GSC president, I’ve also been heavily involved in planning the Sackler relays. Our plans are kind of top secret but I can tell you that this year we’re going to have relays in June rather than July and we’re going to have an awesome raffle. Of course, my favorite part about relays is winning- go Immunogenetics!

Notes from the Library…LabArchives


Notes from the Library…LabArchives

Tufts has an institutional license for LabArchives, an electronic lab notebook.  Your lab may already be using this tool, but if not, read on for information on what LabArchives is, and how you can use it in your work.

What is LabArchives?

LabArchives is a web-based electronic lab notebook, designed to replicate and enhance the features of a traditional paper notebook.  LabArchives allows you to electronically document your experiments, store files, search content, manage version history, and collaborate with others.

How do I access to LabArchives?

While LabArchives is designed as a collaborative tool for research labs, anyone at Tufts can contact Tufts Technology Services to request access:

Once a LabArchives account has been created for you, then access the login page from your preferred browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari):  Select ‘Tufts University’ from the dropdown menu (if you are on campus, then this option will already be selected), click ‘Go to Your Institution’s Login’, and enter your Tufts username and password.

LabArchives is also accessible via a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

Tell me a little more about what I can do in LabArchives.

Like any tool, LabArchives is what you make of it.  Here are a few things you can do in LabArchives:

  • Create multiple notebooks
  • Organize information into folders, pages, and entries
  • Enter text, structures, or calculations, and upload files, to a page
  • Develop templates for common protocols and methods
  • Tag content to facilitate searching in your notebook
  • View changes made to, and revert to old versions of, your notebook

What types of files can I store LabArchives?

Any type of file can be stored in LabArchives.  Files up to 15 GB can be uploaded to a notebook page.  If you need to reference a file that exceeds this limit, then you can store the file elsewhere (e.g. Box, research storage drive) and link the location path to your notebook.  Your LabArchives at Tufts account has unlimited storage.

Can I view and edit files in LabArchives?

LabArchives is integrated with Office Online and GraphPad Prism, which allows you to view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Prism documents from within your notebook.

In addition, an Office plugin enables you to save documents to LabArchives while working in Word, Excel or PowerPoint on your desktop.

Most image files can be viewed and edited in LabArchives.  PDF documents can also be viewed in LabArchives.

Can LabArchives be used to store personally identifiable and/or medical data?

No.  LabArchives does not meet the standards necessary to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) standards.

How does LabArchives allow me to collaborate with others?

You can share an entire LabArchives notebook or an individual folder, page or entry with other LabArchives users, at Tufts or other institutions.

As a notebook owner, you can choose whether you provide read/write or read-only access to your content.  Permissions can be changed at any time.

How can I access my LabArchives notebooks when I leave Tufts?

Prior to leaving Tufts, you should confer with your PI about transferring ownership of your LabArchives notebooks to another LabArchives user in your lab.  In order to continue to have access to your notebooks, you will need to create a free individual LabArchives account or, if you are going to another institution with LabArchives, an account at that institution.

You can also download either an HTML or PDF version of your notebooks, for offline reading and storage.

What are the next steps if I want to start using LabArchives?

To request access to LabArchives, contact Tufts Technology Services:

For quick start guides, frequently asked questions and troubleshooting, go to the LabArchives help page:

For help with data management best practices, such as file structure, naming and metadata, contact me: laura.pavlech@tufts.eduLabArchives

On the Shelf…

For Work

 SpringerNature Experiments

Springer Nature Experiments

Location: Access from link in Sackler Biomedical Sciences Research Guide

Springer Nature Experiments, which I featured in my October post is now available.  This platform searches four protocol and method resources simultaneously: Springer Protocols, Nature Protocols, Nature Methods, and Protocol Exchange, providing easy access to more than 50,000 protocols and methods.

Unique indexing means that you can quickly find protocols and methods for a particular organism, common and emerging techniques, or videos.  When you find one that works, then you can click through to the full text, available through Tufts Libraries.

For Leisure

 Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan

Location: HHSL Leisure Reading Fiction E28m 2017

This historical novel tells the story of a woman who becomes a diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard during World War II, and her father’s entanglements with the mob.  One of The New York Times 100 notable books of 2017.

Sci-Art Contest 2017: And the winner is…

Last month the Sackler Insight hosted a contest to find the best science-based art (“sci-art”) at Sackler. All twelve entries were posted to the Sackler Graduate Student Council Instagram account (@SacklerGSC) and the Sackler student Facebook group. The winning contributor will receive a $25 Visa gift card!

The results are in! 174 voters from both Instagram and Facebook weighed in on their favorite pictures. Our lucky first place winner is Mary H. from Microbiology with her photo “An enteroid supernova,” which received 65 votes. Runners-up included Rana A. from PDD with “Making the best of a bad Western” (61 votes) and Rob C. from CMDB with “Monday Blues – Screening One-Bead-One-Compound Peptide Libraries” (39 votes).

Congratulations Mary, and thank you to everyone who participated! You can check out the pictures below:

Notes from the North – CMDB first year visit to MMCRI

We frozen few doing our thesis work in the CMDB and genetics programs are always looking for ways to highlight some of the excellent resources we have at our institutes. Last month I had the pleasure of hosting the CMDB first year students and introducing them to the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, Maine. They heard from the faculty here about potential rotation projects, but perhaps more importantly about the larger on-going projects that could become collaborative efforts between Maine and Boston. Here are some pictures of their visit and a link to the updated MMCRI website in case you too are interested in finding out about current MMCRI research.


Left to right CMDB first years Brittany Ahlstedt, Alexander Hu, Alice Meng, and Jackson Fatherree at Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park.


Left to right CMDB students Alice Meng, Brittany Ahlstedt, Jess Davis-Knowlton, Jackson Fatherree, and Alexander Hu at Duckfat in Portland.

Lessons from #GradStudentTax

The recent tax reform bill passed in the House caused much uproar in the academic community as it removed the provision in the current tax code that waives the students’ school tuition. This provision, known as qualified-tuition-reduction provision (section 117(d)(5)), allows for the waived tuition to be exempt from taxable income; removal of this provision would therefore add to the tax burden of the students, who are already living marginally with an average income of ~$30,000/year. Sackler students, who currently receive $33,500, would see their taxable income increase by ~$20,000 (annual tuition) which would push them to a higher tax bracket (15% to 25%). It should be noted that this tuition waiver provision does not affects students in their 6th or higher year of study at Sackler as tuition is not charged past the 5th year.

Fortunately, the Senate’s version of the new tax bill retains this provision, for now. It remains to be seen whether the merged version of the bill will keep or remove this provision. In the meantime, graduate students have been organizing nationwide; the Sackler graduate student council organized a call your representatives event last Tuesday. If you haven’t gotten a chance to make your voice heard yet, consider signing onto FASEB’s letter to Congress asking them to protect the waiver provision.

The fight to protect this provision has raised other questions among grad students, particularly, why do universities bill tuition and then waive it? It appears that the waiver is not done in the same manner across all private universities. For example, Cornell University considers its tuition waiver as a qualified scholarship, which is tax exempt and not affected by the removal of the provision in the House bill. But this still allows for the question to be asked as to why universities just don’t charge $0 for tuition or if they can NOT charge it after 5 years, why they can’t do it for the years before. The answer seems to lie with the fact that universities are using the billed tuition as a way to generate revenue, especially in the sciences. This may sound sinister, but the reality is more complex. As scientists & trainees supported mostly by government grants, we are all aware of the overhead & indirect costs that are involved with doing research and that a percentage of every grant awarded to a faculty member at the university is matched by the NIH and given to the university administration. This support is necessary for maintaining a research environment, but it also begs the question of whether taxpayer money should be used to fund administrations of private universities with large endowments, particularly at a time when budgets for scientific endeavors are being slashed. Additionally, given that private universities, which enjoy a non-profit status, are behaving more and more like for-profit institutions, one is left to wonder whose interests are being represented at the administrative level.

The grad student tax debate has also raised the question of the role of graduate students in the workplace. Traditionally, graduate students have been considered as trainees rather than employees and a certain paternalistic relationship exists between faculty/administration & graduate students. However, since the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to recognize graduate students as employees, thus allowing them to unionize, this trainee status is being questioned more and more. Graduate students have faced obstructions from the university administrations when they have tried to unionize, and faculty have been divided on the topic of whether students should unionize (one professor going as far to tell grad students to focus on work rather than wages). Tufts currently has a graduate student union, but the Sackler school doesn’t have one at the moment, reasons for which lie with the content student body and the lack of a teaching requirement as part of the stipend.

It seems that the tax bill requires major revisions, for reasons separate from the grad student tax. This gives us, academics, time to organize around this issue and keep putting pressure on our representatives to protect the tuition waiver for graduate students. This also allows us to have a broader discussion about the roles of graduate students in the workplace, and how universities use funds that they receive from the public through the government funding bodies. Transparency from the administration’s side is likely to win them more supporters among students and faculty alike, rather than a nebulous state of operations.


On the Shelf…

For Work

Embase logo


Location: Search for ‘Embase’ in search box on Databases tab of the HHSL homepage (

This database indexes biomedical journal articles and conference abstracts.  The database includes thousands of journals not indexed by MEDLINE (PubMed), and is particularly robust in its coverage of pharmaceutical and medical device literature and conferences.  Unique indexing, through its Emtree controlled vocabulary, and search features make it easy to retrieve precise results.

Springer Nature Experiments, which I mentioned in my October post, is now available.  To access, click the link in the ‘Find Springer Nature Protocols & Methods’ box on the Sackler School Biomedical Sciences Research Guide

For Leisure

 Life After Life

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

Location: Tisch Library Book Stacks PR 6051.T56 L54 2013

A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson

Location: HHSL Leisure Reading Fiction A875g 2016

Life After Life is a novel about an English woman who lives through the events of the first half of the 20th century again and again, with small, but critical, changes each time, reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s short story, A Sound of ThunderA God in Ruins is the companion novel to Life After Life, following the brother of the main character in the first novel through his experiences in World War II to the present day.

To request a book from another Tufts Library:

  1. Search for the book in JumboSearch, which is the default search on the Hirsh Health Sciences Library homepage.
  2. Once you find the book, click the title to view the record for that book.  Click the ‘Log in’ link in the yellow box.
  3. Log in with your Tufts username and password.
  4. Once you have logged in, click the ‘Request item’ link.
  5. Choose your pickup location (Hirsh Health Sciences Library) and click ‘Request’.  You will be notified via email when the book is ready for you to pick up.


Notes from the Library…Finding Gene Information in PubMed

PubMed is just one database from the National Library of Medicine (NLM).  The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the NLM, maintains several molecular biology databases.  These databases link to one another and to PubMed.  This month, I’ll describe how to find information about a gene in PubMed and the Gene database.

Which NCBI resource(s) should I use to find information on a gene?

You can start in either PubMed or Gene, a database of known and predicted genes for a several species.  Each record is devoted to a single gene and may provide information on nomenclature, chromosomal location, gene products, phenotypes, and interactions, as well as links to literature, sequences, and other NCBI and external databases.  Consider a Gene record a gene’s homepage in NCBI.

I’ll begin in PubMed because it is the database with which you are likely most familiar.  In the PubMed search box, you can enter either a gene’s name or symbol.  To activate the Gene Sensor (see next question), use the official gene symbol, which can be found at, the site for the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC).  The HGNC assigns standardized names to human genes.

What is the PubMed Gene Sensor?

Gene Sensor checks the gene symbol that you enter against symbols in the Gene database and, if a match is found, displays links to information about the gene in NCBI databases at the top of your PubMed search results.  These links include: the records(s) for the gene in the Gene database; articles on the gene’s function (GeneRIF; see below); and tests in the Genetic Testing Registry.

Choose the link to the gene’s record in the Gene database.  The first option will be for the human gene, with links for other species, if available, following.

Gene Sensor results in PubMed
Gene Sensor results in PubMed

What if my initial PubMed search does not activate the Gene Sensor?

If you do not see the Gene Sensor box at the top of your PubMed results, then you can search the Gene database directly by selecting ‘Gene’ from the drop-down menu next to the search box.  Enter a gene name or symbol, species, or disease.

Gene database in drop-down menu
Choose Gene database from drop-down menu

How do I find information once I am in a Gene record?

Use the Table of Contents in the right-hand column of the record to navigate to specific information about the gene.  Scroll down to the ‘Related information’ section of the right-hand column for links to information about the gene in other NCBI databases.

Record in Gene database
Record in Gene database, with Table of Contents in right-hand column

So how does this help me find PubMed articles about a gene?

In the Related information section of a Gene record, you will notice several links to PubMed.  Each of these links retrieves a specific set of articles in PubMed:

  • PubMed: Articles that have been indexed with the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) of the protein that the gene codes for, combined with the subheading ‘genetics’. For example: ‘Hemochromatosis Protein/genetics’[MeSH].
  • PubMed (GeneRIF): Articles that focus on the function of a gene. GeneRIFs (reference into function) are identified in three ways: by National Library of Medicine staff; by volunteer collaborators who submit a function, and article(s) describing that function (if you know of, or have authored, an article about a gene’s function, then you can submit a GeneRIF); through reports from HuGE Navigator, a human genome epidemiology knowledge base from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  PubMed (GeneRIF) also includes articles that describes a gene’s interactions.
  • PubMed (OMIM): Articles cited in Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) records. OMIM is a compendium of human genes and phenotypes.
  • PubMed (nucleotide/PMC): Articles identified from shared sequence and PubMed Central links.

Each set of articles is continuously updated.  Use these links to retrieve the set of articles that best describes the type of literature you are seeking.

PubMed links in Gene record
PubMed links under ‘Related information’ in Gene record

What if I want to find all the literature on a particular gene in PubMed?

If you want to do a comprehensive PubMed search for literature on a gene, then use the Gene record and HGNC ( to identify the gene’s current and past names, symbols, and synonyms.  Use ‘OR’ to combine these keywords with the MeSH term for the protein that the gene codes for, with the subheading ‘genetics’.  Some genes, but not all, genes also have a MeSH term for the gene itself.

For example:

“BRCA1” OR “BRCC1” OR “FANCS” OR “BROVCA1” OR “PPP1R53” OR “breast cancer 1” OR “Genes, BRCA1″[MeSH] OR “BRCA1 Protein/genetics”[MeSH]

You may get a lot of irrelevant results with a comprehensive search because many gene symbols are not unique.  Therefore, this search would likely have to be combined with another concept, using ‘AND’.

For example:

(“BRCA1” OR “BRCC1” OR “FANCS” OR “BROVCA1” OR “PPP1R53” OR “breast cancer 1” OR “Genes, BRCA1″[MeSH] OR “BRCA1 Protein/genetics”[MeSH]) AND (“ovarian neoplasms”[MeSH] OR “ovarian neoplasms” OR “ovarian cancer”)

Science Sketches at MMCRI

Very recently I found myself in a revelationary conversation with a non-scientific colleague as we were planning our annual exhibition for the Maine Science Festival. We needed a display that would highlight the molecular biology work we do at MMCRI that would be exciting and comprehensible to a broad audience plus a related hands-on activity that could be completed in just a few minutes. Pulling from the expertise of the folks attending the festival, I proposed that we have a display on our use of 3D silk scaffolds in modeling cancer. One of the hallmarks of the cancer cells compared to healthy cells is reduced lipid content, so the hands-on activity could be a demonstration of dye solubility with the explanation that this is how we measure lipid content in our cell populations.

Well, about halfway into the conversation I found that I had completely failed to convey A. the link between the silk scaffold models and the hands-on activity and B. the importance of dye solubility in highlighting specific structures and substances. Fortunately, my colleague asked me to take several steps back and was able to ask very specific questions such that I was able to reform my explanation for her. In the end, my idea was passed along, but the episode highlighted to me that despite all the opportunities I have to explain my science to both scientific and lay audiences I still need lots more practice.

This past summer at MMCRI we had an excellent opportunity to think in great depth about how to present our work in a concise and comprehensible manner: we produced Science Sketches! A Science Sketch is a two-minute or less video summary of a scientific topic. I have seen examples of more universal basic scientific principles as well as very specific projects.

All sketches start as an idea or concept that the writer wants to convey to their audience. The writer must decide who their audience will be, as this will dictate the vocabulary and the level of explanation that needs to be employed. Science Sketches has a great tutorial to help writers as they get started telling their stories. They recommend a 300-word script with no jargon that has been proofread by several colleagues and assessed using online tools that highlight terms above a given reading level. With a complete script, you can start putting together a storyboard that illustrates every sentence.

The sketches generally utilize pen and ink drawing on copy paper or white board, but they can also employ cut paper shapes, building blocks, or other props to illustrate an idea. They can be made very rapidly and at very little expense as they are often filmed using a cell-phone camera mounted on a ring stand.  The writer films him or herself drawing or moving paper cut outs, records his or her script, then uses video editing software to compress the video and match it to the audio. The writer can take as long as he or she likes drawing the images as they can be sped up to whatever speed is necessary using the editing software.

Video summaries of scientific concepts have been around for a long time, and I am particularly fond of this trippy vintage recording of translation, but organizing an approachable tutorial that anyone can carry out is a novel model. Science Sketches arose at the Max Plank Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden Germany as a collaboration between the institute’s postdoc program manager, Lisa Dennison, PhD, and the Hyman lab. More recently, Science Sketches has focused on improving their public engagement, so Liam Holt, PhD of NYU, became involved and helped them develop their science fundamentals video series.

I found this summer’s workshop challenging but rewarding. I had to take a high altitude view of my project again after months of detailed experiments in order to highlight the key features of my work and keep my audience’s attention for the full two minutes. It also gave me an excuse to binge watch lots of science vignettes, making me feel really well rounded and intelligent for a day, as I decided how I wanted to construct my own video. Hope you enjoy!