Scientists Stand With Sci-Hub

Scientists Stand With Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub is the closest thing in the world to a compendium of all human knowledge. The largest scientific organization in the world wants to destroy it. Full Story »

Verdant Wins ACS Green C&EN Competition

Verdant Wins ACS Green C&EN Competition

Learn how Verdant is improving the relationship between industry and green technology with a breakthrough in chemical recycling. Full Story »

Microscope Adapter Creates Educational Opportunities

Microscope Adapter Creates Educational Opportunities

Learn how Verdant is expanding the impact of science education. Full Story »

 

Verdant Commits Scientific Expertise to ALS Patient Advocacy

In all of our mortal lives, there will come a day when we will be faced with a malady for which there is no cure. Among the incurable, untreatable, and terminal diseases, we have been particularly touched by our individual experiences with patients suffering from the neurodegenerative condition known as ALS. We believe that we are in a unique position to do more good by committing our scientific, regulatory, and business expertise to the patients themselves.

We believe this because we’ve already been doing it for individuals who are close to us, personally. We’ve used our scientific expertise to cut through the noise and identify the most promising options available, and still in the pipeline. We’ve educated patients and their doctors on possibilities that no one has yet considered – including how to access them. We’ve used our modest lab to conduct preliminary investigations and confirm hypotheses. And we’ve freely collaborated with the organizations who truly want what’s best for patients without regard to our personal benefit.

Advocacy also often requires conflict resolution, and that’s most effective with the kind of teeth a business can wield. We’ve used our legal expertise to lock horns with the FDA over patient rights. We’ve used our business leverage to lean on drug patent holders in order to get better clinical trials underway in more locations. And (when we’ve had to) we’ve used our experience with the pharmaceutical industry to fight every bit as dirty as they do.

In short, patients are passengers in a pharmaceutical engine. We can’t change that about the world, but we can certainly square up the odds in favor of the patients. We’re understand the industry from the inside, and we’re not beholden to anyone in it. Patients just want the therapy that’s truly best for them, and as scientists, we have a responsibility to present them with the best options – not what has the best patent protection, or the most investors. That may paint a target on our back, but small targets are hard to hit, so we’re strangely comfortable with it.

Scientists Stand With Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub provides unfettered access to nearly every scientific article ever written. It is the closest we have ever come to a compendium of all human knowledge, and it’s available to anyone for free. Despite this, the American Chemical Society recently sought and was awarded a default judgment of $4.8 million & ISP Blocking against Sci-Hub. Those demands are causing many scientists to question whether the ACS (the world’s largest scientific organization) is still acting in the best interests of science. And it’s no surprise that scientists are taking a clear side. A growing number of scientists have advanced their research because of a Kazakhstani grad student they’ve never met; yet struggle to think of a time the ACS has done anything but send them a bill.

The ACS could almost be compared to a real estate mogul that buys up all of the land in an area in order to raise the prices – except they don’t actually pay for the articles. Scientists are expected to pay several thousand dollars on top of relinquishing all claim to copyright. It’s no accident that we say “publish or perish”. If you don’t agree to their terms, you don’t publish. If you don’t publish, you don’t get funded or employed. So what exactly are their terms?

Deviant data? Your instrument might not be to blame

Environmental Conditions in the Lab

There’s always some variation between measurements, but when it goes beyond the norm, it can be a challenge to identify the cause. Small problems might go unnoticed only to be magnified at the end of a project. Error is compounded as it propagates through an experiment – into a screwed up spectrum, lanes lost from a gel, or a puzzling percent yield.

In the real world, most scientists focus on troubleshooting their technique. A logical first step, it accounts for the most of the wiggle room directly within your control. But the most overlooked (and underestimated) source of error has nothing to do with you or your instruments. Every measurement made in your lab is influenced by the environmental conditions: the temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. We also include a discussion of electrical power for good measure.

Obsolescence in the Lab – and How to Defeat it

Lab instruments become obsolete for a variety of reasons. There’s planned obsolescence, in which manufacturers stop supporting one product to promote another. There’s incidental obsolescence, where an instrument is no longer compatible with modern hardware or software. But the least common type is true obsolescence, which occurs when a major technological advance renders an instrument obsolete. An instrument is truly obsolete when it is more trouble to use than to upgrade. In all other cases, there is no reason to replace an instrument that can generate accurate, reproducible data.

The fact is that very little has changed since most instruments were developed between 1920 and 1970. Most of the relevant patents have expired, so manufacturers struggle for relevance in one of two ways. High quality manufacturers promote updated models, sporting design improvements and beneficial features. Less scrupulous manufacturers go down the “proprietary” rabbit hole. After such a purchase, lab managers discover that their “upgrade” requires expensive accessories & consumables sold only by the manufacturer; or only runs on software that requires a subscription fee. They find themselves ensnared by absurd costs of ownership – hidden in micro-transactions – too late to remedy the situation.

Verdant Joins Grand Buffet in Holiday Drives for Less Fortunate

Grand Buffet is one of my favorite local businesses for several reasons, and I’m happy to support them. The owner pours a lot of energy into important causes like community involvement and recycling cooking oil into biofuel. This year I was honored to help with their Thanksgiving dinner for the less fortunate, and will be teaming up again for a Christmas toy drive!

Their team did an astounding job with the dinner. Simply organizing an event of that scale is stunning, and they managed it all while open for regular business! They prepared food for 400 families in two hours with only three cooks in the kitchen – while serving their normal customers! For me personally, the event was especially timely, because it brought together an entire community. And with it came the reassurance that – despite impressions to the contrary from the news or social media – people still care about each other. Community involvement is the best way to remind ourselves that we are all more alike than different, and that common ground can bring us together with greater force than differences can divide.

If you’re local to the Southeastern Indiana / Greater Cincinnati region and would like the help with the upcoming toy drive, there are a number of ways to contribute:

Microscope Adapter Expands Science Education

Smartphones are a part of daily life, and each new feature developed is an opportunity for innovation. One example is an inexpensive adapter recently developed by Verdant which allows a smartphone to interface with a microscope. Designed as a minor convenience, its impact on science education was completely unexpected.

With educational budgets stretched thin, schools are frequently forced to choose other priorities over microscopes. Institutional quality microscopes cost several hundred dollars each, and camera attachments run into the thousands. But educators are no longer forced to do without while the necessary tools rest in their pockets.

Verdant Wins ACS Green Chemistry & Engineering Competition

After a vigorous five month competition against some of the most innovative companies from around the world, Verdant emerged victorious from the American Chemical Society’s 2015 Green Chemistry & Engineering conference in Washington D.C. with a $10000 Grand Prize. The technologies vying for recognition ranged from biofuel to bionomics. We extend the greatest respect to our competitors, all of whom are making very impressive strides toward a common goal.

Verdant presented a system capable of refining complex mixtures of chemical waste back into pure, reusable chemicals. The economic viability of process was the key to victory – separating the chemicals in just a few steps with a yield above 90%.  But the greatest breakthrough is the message it sends to industry.