4/10/08

Publications in Science: Madagascar, Dengue and CD4 testing

I do not talk about my day time job here often because the last thing I want to do is talk about work after a whole day spent doing just that.
Today, I will put my biologist's hat on because a rare tri-factor has happened within the past two weeks: 4 articles published in major issues that I would like to discuss.
One of the common phrases in the field of research is "Publish or perish". Not a great phrase but it sums up quite well how desperate we can be for a solid article. Even more important is the journal one is published in. Like most things in life, not all journals/references are equal.
A good way to identify how much of a "big deal" a publication is to look up its impact factor.
It measures the number of citations to a science journal and de facto, the relevance of a journal to its domain.
In a way, it would be similar to the number of links/reactions to a blog. It's a strong indication of the relevance of the journal (not an absolute measurement of relevancy but a strong indicator and just like blog authority on technorati or google PageRank, the way impact Factor is computed has been debated).
A combined impact factor ranking has Nature and Science as the top two of scientific revues, New England Journal of Medicine is third and Cell, fourth.
Personally, I would give an awful lot to be published once in any of the top 10 revues in this lifetime. I am not holding my breath by any means.
So 2 weeks ago, I-mei, my better half (much better half, in fact) got published not once but twice in Science. The studies explain the maturation process of the Dengue Virus and its impact on the infectious process. For those of you who wish to know more, here are images of the structural changes in the virus ( It makes no sense to me either).


Given the select company, that's already quite an achievement; now if you can get the cover of either Nature or Science, then you really hit the jackpot.

( via Science cover of April 2008)
That's exactly what Kremen et al. achieved yesterday: The cover of Science is a green reptile from Madagascar to illustrate a study about protecting biodiversity by prioritizing hot spots with better taxonomy approach.
One of the collaborating institute is le Réseau de la Biodiversité de Madagascar In Antananarivo, Madagascar.
This is a very rare feat so forgive if I wax poetic about the awesomeness of these moments. Those publications are the results of persistent research, talented scientists and asking correct, relevant questions.

Finally, I want to mention two more articles here. For the sake of complete disclosure, I am involved in the project mentioned in both articles. The two articles are not published in scientific revues ( who said:"Ha !"?). However, the Washington Post is nothing to snuff at, right ?
David Brown wrote an article 2 days ago about the importance of cell-sorting as biological tool to identify cells HIV patients who have developed AIDS and how it came about. A video illustrating the issue can be found here.

We presented the project at a business plan competition here in campus and finished 2nd out of 48 original projects entered. Not too bad for a nonprofit organization, no ?
And if you think I mentioned the last two articles because I felt threatened by the intelligence of the three studies published in Science, you are absolutely right. Hey, everyone cope with their own insecurity the best way they can.

(cell sorting via the washington post).

4 comments:

  1. Congrats to I-mei :D

    P.S: Ary ilay lahatsoratra mikasika ilay resaka kadradraka trandrahan'ny mpikaroka sinoa ?

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  2. Congratulations ! Un couple qui vole tres haut, I-Mei et Lova.

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  3. @tomavana,

    Ieny, mbola misy an'iny marina :).

    Merci sipakv,
    I have a video that might interest you about the O-man ;).

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  4. Hey you'll make it to Science, Nature and all of them if the cd4 stuff takes off... so not to worry. I think the main thing is to work on important problems... so even if you don't get the star attraction at least it's useful for somebody.

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