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Comment Re:Sounds expensive (Score 1) 101

It important to keep in mind that while many established researchers at Princeton are well funded and can likely pay publication fees without an impact on their science, to many new researchers (like myself) and researchers with small labs, this is not an insubstantial sum of money. It really can make a difference in the quantity and quality of work done in these labs. For Princeton to force investigators to pay to publish, they're in effect punishing new investigators and those in underfunded labs. Having the choice to publish where you want is VERY important. What if a University said you could only publish in journals with an impact factor of 10 or greater? What would the repercussions of that be? It's only a small step beyond what Princeton has done. Both restrict the freedom of the investigator, and both are wrong in my opinion. As far as the discussion of indirects goes (the 30-50% that departments and universities take from every federal grant), I'd be hard pressed to find a fellow researcher who can point to something in his/her lab that was paid for by their department or university. Every time I've made a request to my department for new equipment or facilities, I've been told to "write a grant to pay for it". I know our library is funded by state funds and by their own federal grants. I seriously doubt any of my indirects make it to the library. I would expect that endowments get used in lieu of state funds at private universities. To think that the indirects we pay get back to researchers is, in my opinion, naive.

Comment Sounds expensive (Score 2) 101

While open access journals do encourage the dissemination of ideas, they are by no means without a cost to the researcher who produces the work. While open-access journals may be free to read, they are not free to publish in. On average, open access journals cost around $1500 per article. That's $1500 the researcher has to pay out of their grant and the taxpayer is paying for out of their pocket. While I'm all for open access journals, as a researcher myself, I know how difficult it can be to pay these exorbitant fees from the grant money I was awarded to do research. It comes down to whether or not I want to do an experiment or publish a paper, and I shouldn't have to make that choice. Having the option to publish in a traditional journal frees up much of my research funds for doing what it was intended for: research. These journals have good intentions, but the tax payer is paying for them in the end. Personally, I have very mixed feeling when it comes to open access journals. I publish in them when I can, but if it means sacrificing an experiment, you can bet I'll pay. Until the publication fees drop, I don't see widespread adoption.

Comment Re:Magnetogenetics (Score 1) 70

That might be blowing the effectiveness of the tool out of proportion a bit. For one thing, "memory" is spread over numerous regions of the brain, among hundreds of different neuronal and non-neuronal cell types. Simply affecting one type via magnetogenetics would likely not have too much of an impact on something this complex. However, stimulating dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra of a parkinsons patient using a tool such as this would theoretically restore motor function similarly to deep brain stimulation (which currently has FDA approval). Erasing memories may not be a bad thing either. Think of all the help that could be given to PSTD patients...

Comment Magnetogenetics (Score 1) 70

An alternative technique to Optogenetics is called Magnetogenetics, which in my opinion may have even more clinical relevance. In optogenetics, viral vectors are used to transfect the opsin of choice in the neuronal population of choice, and then those neurons can be stimulated by the wavelength of light specific to that opsin. The newer and less well known technique of Magnetogenetics, uses viral vectors to transfect a specific ion channel that opens in response to magnetic stimulation of a certain frequency (see This means that once the virus was injected and the new receptor in place, stimulation can be done with a "magic wand" type stimulator, and wouldn't require fiber optics to be implanted in the brain or mounted to the skull. This would be considerably easier to use from a treatment perspective, and would have less room for hardware failure, etc. Of course, it would also be easier for a non-medical professional to activate such a system... Clearly more work needs to be done in both fields, and it's certainly an exciting time to be in neuroscience!

Comment Fun ways to save cash: (Score 5, Insightful) 699

On top of outsourcing Sun employees, I think one of the big money savers for IBM was laying off approximately 5000 of their own employees just a few months ago. I guess they needed the cash to buy Sun, so they could outsource Sun's employees to save more cash... This hardly seems like good corporate policies in our current economic climate. I just don't see how average Americans tolerate companies who fire 5000 of their own (American) employees to raise enough cash to buy another company to increase their stock margins. Isn't this the sort of business policy that got us into this recession?

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