Cytocentric Blog

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Biocontainment: Cells Need Technician Protection

“I’ve been handling cells this way for years and I’VE never gotten sick.”

How many times have you heard that, and doubted it?

Confidence in handling potentially dangerous cells, tissues, and vectors, can easily become complacency. Now in an uncertain era of CRISPR/Cas GMOs and gene drives, biocontainment and biosafety have taken on more urgency.

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In Vitro Reproducibility and Experimental Conditions: Is There an Elephant in the Room Air?

 

If another lab tried to reproduce your results, would they fail?

It’s a scary thought.

 

Amongst the recent publications on the Crisis in Reproducibility, there has been extensive discussion of the importance of factors from raw materials through published reports. These include; improper statistics [1], experimental design, controls, reagent validation, and reference standards [2], cell line misidentification [3], animal cage environment [4], raw data availability [5], and data reporting [6].

 

Beyond equipment validation, only one author has addressed variability in the in vitro cell microenvironment, arguing that it is one factor that makes the push for replication unwise. [7]

 

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Cytocentric Visionaries: Tim Downing, PhD

 

Part Three: How Does the Question You Are Asking Change, in the Physiological Context, if You Are Not Working In Vivo?

 

This post contains excerpts from an interview that Dr. Alicia Henn, Chief Scientific Officer of BioSpherix, conducted with Dr. Timothy Downing. Our conversation was edited for brevity and clarity.

 

In the last post, we talked with Dr. Downing about how difficult it is to control for all of the factors that change when cells are removed from the body. Today we talk with him about his path to this point in his career.

 

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cytocentric visionaries td p2

 

Cytocentric Visionaries: Tim Downing, PhD

 

Part Two: Physiologic Simulation: You Can Never Step in the Same River Twice


This post contains excerpts from an interview that Dr. Alicia Henn, Chief Scientific Officer of BioSpherix, conducted with Dr. Timothy Downing. Our conversation was edited for brevity and clarity.

 

In the last post, Dr. Downing introduced us to his work on the Epigenomics of Cell Reprogramming and talked about some technical limitations. Today we talk in more depth about controlling the cell’s microenvironment.

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Cytocentric Visionaries: Tim Downing, PhD

 

Part One: Understanding the Effect of the In Vitro Microenvironment on the Epigenomics of Cell Reprogramming


This post is part of a three-part series from an interview that Dr. Alicia Henn, Chief Scientific Officer of BioSpherix, conducted with Dr. Timothy Downing. Finishing a post-doc at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard this year, Dr. Downing will soon be taking a post at UC Irvine and launching his own laboratory. Our conversation was edited for brevity and clarity.

 

We met Dr. Downing at ISSCR 2015 and were impressed by his enthusiasm and his visionary work on the in vitro microenvironment. We invited him here to share his perspectives.

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