PR for science

New York Genome Center’s Nathan Pearson on Public Outreach for Genomics

Nathan Pearson, formerly a genome scientist at Ingenuity and Knome, has been doing public outreach for genomics at the New York Genome Center for about a year now. In today’s interview, Nathan says he always wanted to be able to speak directly to the larger public about the great science he’s been involved in.

“Ever since graduate school, I’ve wanted to take insights from our field to the public more directly. Not just through the ivory tower--the education system that is set up to train scientists—but to help other people out there who won’t be professional scientists. They can benefit from the insights that science brings societally, and can also increasingly contribute to those insights by investing their own data on behalf of science," he says at the outset of today's show.

Nathan offers first an overview of the mission at the NY Genome Center and lists examples of their collaboration projects. Then the interview runs a bit like a review of genomic medicine as of summer 2015.

What are Nathan’s thoughts on the debate over how much of the genome is functional? What is Nathan doing to reach out to the general public? And is he concerned about the ‘hyperbolome,' or the over hyping of genomic discoveries and technologies?

A Tool to Strengthen the Voice of Science in Online Journalism

Emmanuel Vincent is the founder of Climate Feedback, a project which includes a new tool for scientists to comment directly on climate science news. The tool is a plugin which can be downloaded for free and gives a viewer real time access to the feedback of scientists on a particular online article.  Though the project is just for news about climate science, Emmanuel says in today’s interview, that the project could scale for other science journalism as well. 

What would it take to get something like this up an running for biologists who want to keep journalists honest about such topics as GMOs and the latest in genome editing techniques? Would the model be a non-profit such as Wikipedia, or a company like Reddit? 

Join us in probing a new approach to improving not only science, but the delivery of science to a wider audience.

So That Happened, The Mad Genius, and Selling SynBio

It’s a week of finding out again what we already knew. First that a nobel laureate can also be a total ***hole. And second that creative people really are crazy.

It’s also been a week for going into the future. This week Team Mendelspod attended IndieBio’s Demo Day. Twelve, mostly very young, founder/geeks pitched their new ideas for making the world a better place to a room of investors in downtown San Francisco. We saw some amazing technology, but the real question seems to be, how will they sell these new synthetic biology products?!?.

Mendelspod is avaliable on iTunes

Should We Hold Back the Reins on Biotechnology? with Chris Gunter

A very unique biotechnology event took place this week.

BEINGS 2015, or the Biotech and the Ethical Imagination Global Summit, was held at The Tabernacle, a former church turned concert hall in Atlanta, Georgia. The venue was not the only unusual thing for a summit about science. Speakers at the meeting included a well known linguist, a famous Canadian novelist, and Catholic rector along with professors of bioethics, law, and, of course, biology.

The summit was not particularly about science, but about biotech in a cultural context. Speakers pursued some of the most daunting questions humans face: Should we ever try to slow science down? Is this even possible? And if it is, who should be the regulators?

Chris Gunter is an Associate Professor at Emory University, host of the event. She not only attended the meeting but was one of the delegates who took part in a session after the main conference. The delegates were tasked with arriving at a consensus on standards to guide the future of biotechnology. That’s all.

“There’s never been an event like this before,” says Chris, a former editor at Nature, at the outset of today's show.

George Church at 60


George Church, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School 

Bio and Contact Info

Listen (6:11) Church's Law

Listen (6:45) Colbert, Der Spiegel and Regenesis

Listen (2:49) Do you have a hobby?

Listen (8:22) The promise of 3D sequencing

Listen (4:42) Is long reads the NGS story of the year?

Listen (6:02) Have you heard any good arguments against GMOs?

Listen (5:46) How much wet lab vs. coding for the new biologist?

Listen (2:57) 60th Birthday Bash

If we have celebrities in the life science industry, George Church of Harvard is one of them. Author, professor, entrepreneur, advisor—the list goes on and on. One of the special things about George is his commitment to advocate for science to the larger community. With everything else he has going on, he makes time to talk on programs like ours.

We launched Mendelspod with a George Church interview. Three years later, it’s a treat to have him on again to talk about his work, career, philosophy, and take a few questions from the audience.

Thanks to IDT for underwriting this show.

Podcast Sponsor: Integrated DNA Technologies - providing custom double-stranded gBlocks Gene Fragments of up to 2 kb, for easy gene construction.

Mendelspod Does That One Thing . . .

Yesterday, our partner Chempetitive Group challenged us to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease. So here we are, just under 24 hours accepting the challenge.

And we nominate three more:

Stefan Rover, CEO, Genia Technologies. Jill Hagenkord, CMO, 23andMe, Greg Cruikshank, CEO, Labroots

Let's see those videos folks. You have 24 hours!

PR Tips for Scientists: Erik Clausen, Chempetitive Group

Podcast brought to you by: See your company name here. - Promote your organization by aligning it with today's latest trends.


Erik Clausen, Managing Partner and Vice President of Public Relations, Chempetitive Group Bio and Contact Info

Each week we produce several interviews with folks from around the life science industry. But how do these guests prepare for these interviews? Today we put ourselves in the shoes of our guests with the first installment in a series on the subject of PR for scientists.

Our guest is Erik Clausen, a managing partner and VP of Public Relations at Chempetitive Group, a company devoted to life science marketing and PR. In his bio, Erik characterizes himself as "a professional storyteller, who dabbled in public affairs before realizing there are better stories to be told in life science PR than in politics." Having spent twenty years in PR, Erik shares some tips and stories for you scientists out there who want to get your message out.

Improving Your Brand: Gaetan Fraikin, Audacity

Podcast brought to you by: See your company name here. - Promote your organization by aligning it with today's latest trends.


Gaetan Fraikin, CEO, Audacity
Bio and Contact Info

Chapters (advance the marker)

0:42 With more competition, branding helps differentiate life science companies

5:17 How do you get to first or second market position?

9:54 Secrets of brand 'Illumina'

12:30 Steps to improving your brand

17:16 As the industry goes toward consumer market, should their brands change?

The life science industry has grown up quickly around new science and innovative technologies. Breakthrough products command high dollars and propel companies to market dominance. So how important is branding to a life science company's overall marketing strategy? Do their scientific customers really care about the color of a website or style of a logo when the company delivers data and quality? Gaetan Fraikin, CEO of Audacity, says yes. As the life science market becomes more and more competitive, branding can be key to differentiation. Being number one or two in a market makes all the difference, says Fraikin in today's interview.

So how should a company go about improving their brand? When should they first think about it? Fraikin points to Illumina, whom he calls the "Apple" of their space, as an example of good branding. Find out what led to Illumina's brand success and how you might improve your market position through branding in today's show.