More than a dozen women say they were the targets of sexual harassment and assault while working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and 49 scientists sent a letter to the White House seeking reform. "It's truly sobering and awful to think about how many careers have been affected by sexual harassment and sexual assault at the Smithsonian," said Sarah Batterman, an ecologist who filed a formal complaint against an STRI staff scientist. "Think of all of the discoveries that would be made and papers that would be written if women didn't have to deal with this," Batterman added.
The social stigma around women's health issues is slowly dissolving and new products are starting to come to market, including a new product line developed by Aubrey Hubbell for incontinence. The number of women who experience incontinence is likely underestimated because many are too embarrassed to talk with a physician about it or participate in research, says Lauren Stewart, director of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at NYU Langone Health, and a recent study found that Facebook blocks and suspends many ads from women's health companies.
Lex Rovner, who earned a doctorate at Yale University and did postdoctoral research in George Church's lab, is the CEO of a Yale spinout named 64x, whose VectorSelect machine learning platform analyzes cell lines to determine how well viruses would grow in them, then analyzes gene combinations that make cells highly productive as viral vector factories. Rovner developed the technology after learning about a capacity shortage in viral vector manufacturing that limits the availability of promising therapies.
Gender equity in academic medicine and other STEM fields starts with the funds and other resources included in a scientist's start-up package and cumulatively builds from there, for better or worse, writes surgeon-scientist Jennifer Rubin Grandis, distinguished professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. "The bigger the start-up package, the more a scientist can do, and generous ones can provide a springboard to an important career by leading to more discoveries, grants, publications, and recognition [while a] stingy package can stall a career before it even takes off," Rubin Grandis writes.
Presenting a poster at a scientific conference offers career advancement and networking opportunities, but "the work that goes into preparing a poster is just as valuable as the presentation itself," says scientist Aura Alonso-Rodríguez. Tips for preparing a poster from scientists in various disciplines include, starting weeks in advance with rough sketches of layout options, prioritizing key aspects of research to include, tailoring the presentation to the expected audience, conferring with mentors and collaborators and practicing speeches and short pitches.
Ginkgo Bioworks announced it has bought out Project Beacon COVID-19, a Boston-based organization focused on boosting COVID-19 testing. The parties chose not to disclose financial details of the acquisition.
64x Bio, a startup working on cell line manufacturing technology for use in gene therapies, raised $55 million in a Series A funding round. The capital will be used to continue work on the platform and expand the company's workforce.
A Series B financing round has delivered $111 million for ImmPACT Bio. The company, which is developing a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for relapsed/refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, also has named Dr. Sumant Ramachandra as its new president and CEO.
Laboratorians, in collaboration with providers, can help optimize the laboratory test menu to guide ordering patterns and ensure that patients receive the right tests, writes Charlene Bierl, MD, director of the division of laboratory medicine in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Laboratorians should regularly check the choices given to providers and understand the organization so they can guide utilization when needed, she adds.
The FDA is extending the temporary halt on non-mission-critical surveillance inspections on domestic facilities until Feb. 4 amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, according to Shelly Burgess, a spokesperson for the agency. However, the FDA "will proceed with previously planned foreign surveillance inspections that have received country clearance and are within the CDC's Level 1 or Level 2 COVID-19 travel recommendation; otherwise, the inspection will be rescheduled," Burgess wrote in an email.