Hi Reddit! We’re the editors for Science Advances, an open access journal that accepts longer research articles (up to 6,000 words). Since our launch in February of 2015, we’ve published more than 1,500 papers and have a number of articles with tens (and even hundreds) of thousands of downloads, and hundreds of citations. As we mature as a publication, we continue our interest in areas of great scientific breakthroughs and innovation on both broad and disciplinary-specific levels. The journal is broadly organized in the areas of life and biological sciences, earth and environmental sciences, and physical and materials sciences. This month our publications range from water on the moon to the diverse interests of people who participated in the Women’s March to the internal GPS of seabirds. Feel free to ask us about what makes for a good research article, what topics we’re interested in, what questions we find most intriguing, and anything about open access. We’re also happy to chat about what makes us different and unique as an open access journal of AAAS, and what the editorial process here is like. We have editors Kip and Warren here to answer your questions as well as the managing editor Philippa Benson. What do you want to know about publishing and open access? We’ll be back at 2 pm ET to answer your questions, Ask us anything!
My name is Nicola Jones, and I am a freelance science journalist who writes for Yale Environment 360, Nature, New Scientist, Sapiens and more. My scientific background is in chemistry and oceanography, but I have reported and written on stories across the physical sciences, from climate change to quantum physics. I live in Pemberton, BC, where the wildfire smoke was so bad last summer that I had to evacuate my own family to a hotel for a week. In my recent story for Yale Environment 360, “Stark Evidence: A Warmer World Is Sparking More and Bigger Wildfires” [https://e360.yale.edu/features/the-evidence-is-clear-a-warmer-world-means-more-wildfires], scientists Stefan Doerr and Mike Flannigan join me to investigate the factors behind the increasing intensity and frequency of wildfires around the world. My name is Mike Flannigan and I am the director of the Canadian Partnership for Wildland Fire Science and a Professor of Wildland Fire at the University of Alberta. My research interests include wildland fire and weather/climate interactions including the potential impact of climatic change, lightning-ignited forest fires and landscape fire modelling. In Canada, we are already seeing the impact of climate change with longer fire seasons and more area burned. My name is Stefan H. Doerr, and I’m a Professor of Physical Geography and leader of the Environmental Dynamics Research Group at Swansea University in the United Kingdom. My research centers on wildfire impacts, including fire effects on landscape carbon dynamics, on soils and on water quality, as well as global fire patterns, trends and risk. The wildfire season is getting longer—it has increased by 19% from 1978 to 2013. The burned area in the U.S. West has gone from 250,000 acres in 1985 to 1.2 million acres in 2015. Siberia is seeing its worst fires in 10,000 years. In short, there’s an increased risk for fire on every continent, and things are only slated to get worse. Many of the causes of these fires are anthropogenic—but climate change isn’t the only factor. Other human effects, including forest management policy, have also played a role. Why are wildfires increasing, what should we expect wildfires to look like in the future, and what can we do to help prevent them? We will be answering your questions at 1 pm EST – Ask Us Anything!
First and foremost, full disclosure: I am the CEO of Posit Science, which is a company that develops BrainHQ, a brain training program. I joined Posit Science at its inception because I believed it was essential to form a company to help the basic science of brain plasticity become an applied science that could improve human lives. I am also a neuroscientist by training, earning my Ph.D. from UCSF in the lab of recent Kavli Prize Laureate Dr. Michael Merzenich, who was (and still is!) a pioneer in the discovery and characterization of adult brain plasticity. You may have seen his recent AMA here. Today, join me to talk about a recent paper – hot off the (digital) press – showing that speed of processing training – a specific type of brain training – uniquely and significantly reduces the risk of healthy adults going on to dementia. This is the first randomized controlled trial of any intervention – pharmaceutical, physical exercise, mindfulness, or nutrition – to show an effect on the risk of dementia. These results come from the ACTIVE study, an NIH-funded multi-site trial, and is authored by independent researchers, including Drs. Jerri Edwards and Fred Unverzagt from the University of South Florida and Indiana University. I’ve worked with both Dr. Edwards and Dr. Unverzagt, and I’m very familiar with the ACTIVE study in general and these results in particular. Check out the paper here and ask me anything! About the ACTIVE study, dementia, the field of brain training as a whole, what near transfer/far transfer/generalization really means, my favorite aspects of clinical trial design and analysis (handling missing data, of course), brain plasticity, and video games. Or take a left turn and ask me about being ranked silver in Overwatch (the struggle is real), your and my favorite vermouths and amari, what it’s like to go from academia to the private sector, and the best burrito in San Francisco. Proof Edit: Hi folks - thanks for all the great questions about brain training - how it works, what’s been shown, and who it can help. It was really fun to talk about these issues with you. I’ll keep an eye on the AMA for the rest of today and tomorrow, and answer any further questions that get posted.
Hello Reddit, I am Brenda Moore, Ph.D., a neuroscientist in Dr. Todd Golde’s lab at the University of Florida. We conduct disease-oriented research with a focus on Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. And I am Todd Golde, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute at UF, where I oversee, champion and facilitate neuroscience and neuromedicine research programs across our campus. I am also director of the 1Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center consortium of institutions. We recently published a study featured on the cover of the Journal of Experimental Medicine titled Short Aβ peptides attenuate Aβ42 toxicity in vivo. Our research shows that short Abeta peptides were not toxic in two animal models — a mouse and a fruit fly — and in fact were protective from the toxic effects of Abeta 42. The accumulation of Abeta 42 in the brain is widely recognized as key in promoting Alzheimer’s disease. Our findings hold the potential for a drug therapy that could go beyond treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and target the disease’s progression. To read our paper and news release, visit http://bit.ly/2nocJPI. We will answer your questions at 1 pm EST — Ask Us Anything! Thank you everyone for your great questions, we enjoyed answering them!
We are members of Livermore Computing (LC) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California. LC is home to some of the world’s fastest supercomputers, including Sequoia, the 4th fastest in the world. Scientists use our High Performance Computing (HPC) machines to run physical simulations: from geology, astronomy, and cardiac arrhythmia, to the US nuclear stockpile and other problems of national interest. We bring in the machines, keep them running fast, and provide scientists with the tools they need to run these simulations. We have varying roles in system administration, software development, data archiving, visualization, operations, facilities management, user interfaces to the center and data, user support, and research. Our developers lead and contribute to many open source projects: From Linux kernel infrastructure like file systems, such as Lustre and ZFS on Linux; to industry spanning cluster management tools, such as SLURM, Flux, and pdsh; and beyond to all aspects of scientific and cluster computing with spack, STAT, and SCR. For more info about our various open source efforts, visit https://software.llnl.gov/. For more information about our center, visit https://hpc.llnl.gov/. So if you have a question about any part of running or using supercomputers at HPC centers, we’ll be back at 1 pm ET, feel free to ask and we will answer as many questions as we can! EDIT: Good Morning from the West Coast! We see that everyone has started asking fantastic questions! We will start answering some questions! EDIT 2: Thanks for all the great questions. We hope to come back soon. Next time, we plan to try to answer your questions in parallel! Learn more, contact, or apply to join us here: https://computation.llnl.gov/. Our thanks to Reddit and r/Science for providing us with the opportunity to have this AUA! We leave you with a photo of some of us in front of Sequoia today! Have a nice day everyone! :)
I am Derek DuBois the founder of DOCjobs, the leading recruiting site specifically focused on careers in industry for people with advanced biomedical degrees. DOC started with a drinks meeting for 6 MDs from Columbia who had left traditional tracks and has since grown to 42,000 MD and PhD members pursuing careers in industry. I have experience in alternate and innovative careers for MDs/PhDs both through my own career as a partner at McKinsey and Accenture and through the 1,000 employers who have used DOC to recruit biomedical talent including investment banks/funds, biopharma, startups, consulting firms and others across the spectrum of healthcare. MDs and PhDs face similar challenges in navigating to careers beyond the established academic/clinical/research tracks, while more and more are seeking such opportunities with the rise in physician burnout and the relative paucity of academic research positions. Hi All – Thanks for the questions – feel free to add additional questions on or add to current threads and I will check back in later tonight and address as best I can. Take care. Best, DDD AMA about applying your skills to careers in pharma/biotech, finance, consulting, and beyond. My linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-d-dubois/ DOC: www.DOCjobs.com
Hello Reddit! We are: Hakhamanesh Mostafavi: Graduate student in biology at Columbia University Molly Przeworski: Professor of biology at Columbia University Joe Pickrell: CEO at personal genomics company Gencove and professor at the New York Genome Center. We are a few of the authors of a recent paper Identifying genetic variants that affect viability in large cohorts where we sought to use biomedical data sets to learn about mutations that affect survival. This paper was covered in a number of news outlets with titles like Massive genetic study shows how humans are evolving, and there was a great discussion of the paper on r/science What does it mean for humans to still be evolving? For a species to evolve simply means that mutations—the accidental changes to the genome that happen in the process of copying DNA—are increasing or decreasing in frequency in the population over time. Our basic idea was that mutations that affect the chance of survival should be present at lower frequency in older individuals. For example, if a mutation becomes harmful at the age of 60 years, people who carry it have a lower chance to survive past 60, and so the mutation should be less common among those who do. We therefore looked for mutations that change in frequency with age among around 60,000 individuals from California (as part of the GERA cohort) and around 150,000 from the UK Biobank. Across the genome, we found two variants that endanger survival in these individuals: (i) a mutation in the APOE gene, which is a well-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, drops in frequency beyond age 70, and (ii) a mutation in the CHRNA3 gene, associated with heavy smoking, starts to decrease in frequency at middle-age in men.We found genetic mutations linked to a number of diseases and metabolic traits to be associated with survival: individuals who are genetically predisposed to have highertotal cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, risk of heart disease, BMI, risk of asthma, or lower HDL cholesterol, tend to die younger than others. Perhaps more surprisingly, we discovered that people who carry mutations that delay puberty or the age at which they have their first child tend to live longer. Thanks for having us, this was a lot of fun
Hi Reddit! This is Johna Leddy, president of The Electrochemical Society (ECS). I’m joined by Jeff Fergus, editor of the Society’s official meeting proceedings, ECS Transactions (ECST). Today we’d like to talk with you all about open science, our Free the Science initiative, and our new preprint server, ECSarXiv, built and hosted by the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework. We’ll be back at 12 noon ET to answer your questions, ask us anything! ECS Chief Content Officer & Publisher Mary E. Yess (username: ecspublisher) will also help to field questions. More about us: Dr. Johna Leddy: I’m an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Iowa, an alumna of Rice University and the University of Texas, and the current president of ECS. I’ve been an ECS member for over 25 years and have served on various committees within the organization. I’m also a former chair of ECS’s Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry Division. My research interests range from fundamental electrochemistry through voltammetric methodologies and modeling to the technology of power sources. A major focus for me has been examining magnetic effects on electron transfer processes. Dr. Jeff Fergus: I’m a professor of materials engineering and the associate dean for program assessment and graduate studies in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. I’ve served as the editor of ECST, ECS’s official meeting proceedings, since 2013. I’ve also held positions on multiple committees within the organization and served as the chair of the ECS High Temperature Materials Division. My research interests are in materials for high temperature and electrochemical applications—particularly in understanding and mitigating performance degradation, such as chromium poisoning in SOFCs and capacity fading in Li-ion batteries. The Electrochemical Society (ECS): ECS is a nonprofit scientific society that has been publishing continuously since 1902. We’re an international membership organization that has over 8,000 members worldwide across more than 80 countries. Our mission is to disseminate and advance the science we steward through meetings and publications, and we believe the best way to do that is through transition to an open science paradigm. This mission is the driving force behind our Free the Science initiative: www.electrochem.org/free-the-science. We believe that by opening and democratizing research, we can enhance and accelerate the science that will ensure our survival and sustainability on this planet. We already give authors the opportunity to publish open access in our 2 peer-reviewed, hybrid open access journals—the Journal of The Electrochemical Society and the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology. Currently, over a third of our journal articles are being published open access. The upcoming launch of ECSarXiv will mark a major step forward for Free the Science toward the complete open access model we plan to one day implement, allowing all authors to publish for free and removing the paywall for readers. We invite anyone who wants to know more about open science, Free the Science, preprint servers, or scholarly communications to ask questions here. For more info about us, check out our website at www.electrochem.org. Edit: Thanks, everyone, for the insightful questions and discussion. That’s all the time we have today. We had a great experience talking with you all—you raised a number of excellent points about the open science movement that we’ll want to keep in mind as we move forward. Until next time, please feel free to reach out to us with questions at [email protected].
Hi Reddit, my name is Haig Kazazian and I’m a geneticist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. For the past 27 years, I’ve been studying human genetics and I am passionately committed to understanding how “jumping genes,” also known as retrotransposons, affect how genetic diseases manifest in my patients. These pieces of DNA are capable of moving around the genome and can potentially disrupt functional genes and lead to diseases like hemophilia and muscular dystrophy. Interesting fact about myself, in 1999, my colleague Arupa Ganguly and I received a “cease and desist” letter from Myriad Genetics, for studying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes because they held the patent. We became the first plaintiffs in the 2013 Supreme Court Case, which unanimously ruled that naturally occurring DNA sequences aren’t patent eligible. More on the ruling here [ http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/06/details-on-association-for-molecular-pathology-v-myriad-genetics-inc/]. I’ve recently published a review on the last fifty years of “jumping gene” research and you can read all about it here: [http://www.fasebj.org/content/31/9/3712.full]. I’ll be back at 1pm ET today to answer your questions.
Hi Reddit, The mammalian immune system is fascinatingly complex. Our understanding of how the immune system recognizes and responds to foreign pathogens has increased tremendously in the last 100 years, however, we still have a great deal to discover. This point is highlighted by the recent discovery of a heterogenous family of tissue-resident lymphocytes (white blood cells) called innate lymphocytes (ILCs), which have been reported to regulate fundamental processes such as host metabolism, wound healing, and host defense. Given the importance of ILCs in these processes, my research focuses on the molecular and cellular signals that activate and sustain certain types of ILCs (Group 1 ILCs) in specific contexts. Understanding these mechanisms could have implications for the treatment of cancer, viral infection, and type II diabetes. While research from the past few decades has revealed that the immune system bridges virtually all physiological systems as a central regulator of host homeostasis, the general public (as well as scientists in other fields) only have vague ideas about immune function. Specialized jargon rampant in the field represents a barrier for the understanding of important advances in immunology, and for public consensus on its translation to the clinic (e.g. vaccination). Therefore, Immunologists need to make their work more accessible by presenting it in public forums and communicating their studies in a clear manner to try and eliminate these barriers. I think that Reddit AMAs present an excellent opportunity to highlight exciting findings in Immunology, and demystify academic science through informed discussion! I am happy to answer questions about the immune system, innate lymphocytes, and the implications for tissue-resident immunity in health and disease. I’m also happy to answer any questions about our most recent work http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)31183-2. Edit 1: Hi all! I’ll start answering questions at 3pm ET!! Edit 2: Thanks again everyone for your excellent questions! Hopefully I have satisfactorily answered them. I’m signing off for now, but if you have further questions you can contact me through www.osullivanlab.com
Hi Reddit, My name is Graham Lord and I am the Professor of Medicine at King’s College London. My research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause inflammatory bowel diseases. And my name is Richard Jenner and I am a Reader (Associate Professor) in Molecular Biology at University College London (UCL). My research focuses on understanding how gene transcription and chromatin modification regulate immune cell function in health and disease. We recently published a paper titled “Genetic variants alter T-bet binding and gene expression in mucosal inflammatory disease” in PLOS Genetics. We found that the transcription factor, T-bet bound to genetic variants associated with human mucosal inflammatory diseases, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We also developed a new technique called “OligoFlow” that allowed us to identify altered transcription factor binding to these variants. We will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask Us Anything! Click here for more information about Dr. Jenner’s lab.
Hello Reddit! We are PhD student Noam Brown and Professor Tuomas Sandholm at the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University. We do research on developing AIs that can reason about hidden information (which is widespread in real-world strategic interactions). Earlier this year we built Libratus, the first and only AI to defeat top humans in no-limit poker. We played four of the world’s best pros in a 120,000 hand, 20-day Brains vs. AI match of heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em, with a prize pool of $200,000. The AI won the match decisively, winning a combined $1.8 million (at $50/$100 blinds). The victory was statistically significant with a p-value of 0.0002. The details of the bot were just published in Science Magazine! We’re here to talk about Libratus, the competition, what this means for the future of AI, and any other questions you might have. We’ll be back at 9 am to answer your questions, Ask us anything! EDIT: We’re closing the AMA. Thanks for the questions everyone!
I am Barry Lam, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College and the Executive Producer and Host of the Hi-Phi Nation podcast, the first story-driven documentary-style show about philosophy. I just completed production and release of the first season of Hi-Phi Nation as Humanities Writ-Large fellow at Duke University, where the first season covered stories and philosophy ranging from the possibilities of posthumous harm, the morality of war, the referent of religious terms in Christianity and Islam, the philosophy of music, the replication crisis in the statistical sciences, philosophy of gender, Kuhn and scientific realism, and the philosophy of love. I would be happy to talk about any of the substantive issues that arose from these episodes, as well as discuss any issues concerning doing philosophy in a story-driven way. Here are a few select episodes on Soundcloud: Episode 1: The Wishes of the Dead Episode 3: The Morality of War Episode 4: The Name of God Episode 7: Hackademics II (Epistemology of Replication Crisis) Some interviews and discussions about Hi-Phi Nation: My posts about the show at Leiter Reports The American Philosophical Association Blog interview Vassar’s Interview Elucidations Podcast, extended discussion of the wishes of the dead My own philosophical work has been in epistemology and the philosophy of language, particularly on the nature of epistemic rationality, and in experimental semantics and pragmatics. I would be happy to have a discussion about those topics. In the past two years I’ve set technical research aside to produce what I hope will be an ongoing series of narrative story-driven philosophy akin to the best productions we have for economics and the social sciences, such as Freakonomics Radio and Invisibilia. It is my hope that having a high-production story-driven show about philosophy will open up the field to lots of new people, as well as let existing fans of philosophy appreciate the way it connects with journalism, history, law, and nonfiction writing. Links: Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcast Go to the website and subscribe to the blog for announcements Follow on Twitter Follow on Facebook Paypal donation page Patreon Page
Hi Reddit, My name is Ronnie Sebro and I am an Assistant Professor in Genetics and Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. As a statistical geneticist and radiologist, my research interests center around genetic analysis of quantitative imaging phenotypes. More recently, I have been exploring the impact of non-random mating on genetic association studies. I recently published a study “Structured mating: Patterns and implications” in PLOS Genetics in conjunction with collaborators at the University of California, San Francisco and Boston University School of Public Health. The aim of the study was to assess how the mating patterns in a European-American population changed over time (over 3 generations, starting in 1948) and to discuss the implication of these findings for current genetic studies. We found there were primarily three clusters of individuals – those with Northern/European ancestry, those with Southern European ancestry and those with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. In the first generation, we found that individuals were more likely to choose spouses with similar genetic ancestry (i.e. from the same cluster), however the strength of this association decreased with each successive generation, suggesting gradual intermixing between clusters. Some of the physical and behavioral similarities seen between spouses may be as a result of their similar genetic ancestry. I will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask me Anything!
I’m Dr. Adrian Owen, a professor of neuroscience, here to answer your questions about our breakthroughs in brain science. I’ve been fascinated with the human brain for more than 25 years: how it works, why it works, what happens when it doesn’t work so well. At the Owen Lab at Western University in Canada, my team studies human cognition using brain imaging, sleep labs, EEGs and functional MRIs. We’ve learned that one in five people in a vegetative state are actually conscious and aware (I recently wrote a book on it – www.intothegrayzone.com, if you’re interested). We’ve also examined whether brain-training games actually make you smarter (pro tip: they don’t). Now my team is working on a cool new project to understand what happens to specific parts of people’s brains when they get too little sleep. We’re testing tens of thousands of people around the world to learn why we need sleep, how much we need, and the long- and short-term effects sleep loss has on our brains. A lot of scientists and influencers, such as Arianna Huffington and her company Thrive Global, have already raised awareness about the dangers of sleep loss and the need for research like this. Since we can’t bring everyone to our labs, we’re bringing the lab to people’s homes through online tests we’ve designed at www.worldslargestsleepstudy.com or www.cambridgebrainsciences.com. We hope to be able to share our findings in science journals in about six months. So … if you want to know about sleep-testing, brain-game training or how we communicate with people in the gray zone between life and death … AMA! I will be here at 1:00pm EDT (10:00am PDT / 5:00pm UTC), with researchers from my lab, Western University and the folks who host the www.worldslargestsleepstudy.com platform—ask me anything! Update: We’re here now! Ask us anything! Proof that I am real: http://imgur.com/a/NvPMK Update 2: I appreciate all the questions! I tried my best to answer as many as I could. This was really fun. See you next time. Now, time for some pineapple pizza! http://imgur.com/a/Yy88r