The Mismeasure of Science

The Radical-Free Corner | Gregory A. PetskoThe Mismeasure of Science

by Gregory A. Petsko

This article is reproduced from the IUBMB News, issue 1 (February 2016), with kind permissions of the author and IUBMB (Dr. Michael P. Walsh, Secretary General). Dr. Petsko is Adjunct Professor at Cornell University, a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and a former president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Cell Biology (among many other positions). His research provided major contributions for understanding structure-function relations of proteins, including many related to neurodegenerative diseases (Ed. Note)

High on my list of things that need changing in the culture of science today – and it’s a list that gets longer by the


The importance of a good laboratory Notebook

Thomas Edison

Contributed by Paolo Di Mascio

A good scientist knows the importance of keeping all experimental records very well organized. Keeping a good laboratory notebook (LNB) is essential at the time of writing papers and reports, but can also save your time when repetitions are necessary some time later. In fact, this is a practice adopted in various industries where, by legislation, the laboratory procedure must be well documented.

LNBs are, also, important as legal documents to prove patents and defend your data against accusations of fraud. LNB is a Scientific Legacy in the laboratory of your Institution.

Currently, you can also keep an electronic LNB, but in those


How I see the future of redox research

Henry Jay Forman

by Henry Jay Forman

With this issue, we start a series of short texts about the theme “How I see the future of redox research”. The radical-free corner was really radical in this regard and invited several prominent colleagues from Brazil and abroad. These comments are meant to be highly personal accounts, by known experts, of the directions they foresee redox research. We are sure these short insertions will kick on our minds to help our thinking.

And we started in great style, with no one less than Prof. Henry Jay Forman, a long-standing investigator of the area. Prof. Forman is the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Merced, and the former


Free radicals: should clinicians pay attention to them?

by Protasio L. da Luz*

Within the Cepid-Redoxoma, we are deeply involved in redox research and we consider this very important, of course. However, it is interesting at times to see how some meaningful outsiders interpret the area. The Radical-Free Corner challenged a highly experienced academic clinician-scientist, who kindly accepted this task (he happens to have been the Editor’s doctorate supervisor – a minor conflict of interest, I confess)

(Editor’s comment)

Oxidative stress pervades several areas of Medicine: aging, cancer, atherosclerosis and other degenerative conditions, principally. Several studies claim that it is the cause of aging. But while there is evidence for


A radical-free talk about the scientific career: 3 Ds that allow for an E

by Francisco Laurindo

Can professionalism be learned? Certainly, to some extent, but likely not in the way you learn Chemistry or Biology, for example. But you can – and you should – discuss it, in order to trigger further thoughts that can help to achieve personal improvement. This is the idea of this short essay, derived from lectures given at our annual retreats over the years. While written with the young student in mind, I think it fits other ages as well… It should not be read rationally, but emotionally, just like it was written.

A general feeling among scientists is that science is not for everyone and that the scientific career is unusual in many aspects. To a good extent


A critical look at peer review

Grant reviews by colleagues, i.e., peer-review, is a solid foundation of the science-making process. While this appears at first sight to be an immutable dogma, several criticisms have been increasingly voiced by the scientific community, indicating that the ideal peer-review process is far from established. One of the major criticisms has been a perceived lack of objectivity and expertise. In this context, a group of investigators from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, USA, led by Michael Lauer, performed a follow-up study of NIH RO1 grant (the equivalent of a “regular project”) impact and asked whether such impact could be predicted by the score grant level at the