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What the tech industry can teach academia

Without taking risks and challenging the status quo, the majority of the world’s biggest scientific breakthroughs would not have been possible. That’s why it’s all the more surprising that academia itself is often reluctant to embrace new ways of working and sharing results. Scientists work on their research in secrecy for months or years and then wait an average of 100 days from the moment they submit their paper until it ends up published in a journal. Early-stage findings are hidden, failures are rarely shared, and the online presence of scientific content is disjointed, meaning that valuable findings end up obscured from both researchers and the general public.


Researchers use machine learning and blood tests to detect cancer before symptoms appear

Researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto today announced a new approach that shows promise for detecting cancer at a very early stage using blood tests. The method can detect cancer cells before any symptoms appear, at a stage where it is far easier to treat.


New immunotherapy study an important step in the hunt for a cure to HIV

With the help of antiretroviral therapy treatments, an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. In fact, patients who are tested for the disease and begin treatment at an early stage now have a similar life expectancy to those without the infection. However, while HIV is now referred to as a chronic, manageable illness, it still has no cure. Researchers are working hard to change this and a safety study published today in Molecular Therapy represents an important step forward in the hunt for an effective treatment. Scientists from the University of North Carolina successfully demonstrated the safety of a cell therapy involving the ex vivo expansion of T cells and their infusion in HIV positive patients in combination with antiretroviral (ART) drugs. We talked to co-senior study author David Margolis to find out more.  


Want your child to become a high earner? Teach them how to delay instant gratification

When considering the factors that contribute to higher earning, education level and occupation are no-brainers. However, a study published today in Frontiers in Psychology has found that a person’s ability to delay instant gratification – a behavioral trait popularized in the the famous Stanford marshmallow experiment, where children had to choose between one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for 15 minutes – is actually one of the most important factors determining future affluence. We talked to the study’s lead author, Dr. William Hampton from the University of St. Gallen, to find out more. 


A budget-friendly guide to attending academic conferences

Conferences are an essential stepping stone to building a successful career in academia. They provide the opportunity to get out of your day-to-day work environment and offer unparalleled opportunities to build your network and meet your peers from around the world. However, finding the means to attend conferences can be challenging. Even if the cost of the event itself isn’t prohibitive, travelling to the event and paying for accommodation can quickly add up, especially if you receive limited funding from your university. Before you write off the idea entirely, make sure you explore all your options – there are always plenty of ways to travel on a budget.