Major Scientific Discoveries in 2015 Can Be Aided by Electronic Lab Notebooks
Last year was a banner year for scientific discoveries. In 2014, scientists took one step closer to finding a cure for cancer when researchers at Cornell University discovered a new way to eliminate metastasizing cancer cells by “hitching” a cancer-killing protein to the backs of white blood cells. Other scientists successfully grew parts of a mouse’s cerebral cortex and eyes from an embryonic stem cell. Then, to top it all off, scientists successfully landed a probe on a comet approximately 310 million miles from Earth!
Although 2014 was incredible, 2015 could be even more remarkable. Below are five incredible scientific breakthroughs that are likely to take place this year:
- Confirmation of Gravitational Waves – According to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, gravity is a result of the curvature of spacetime. These curvatures are produced as a result of a large mass in space, like a star. As these masses move around in space (accelerate, decelerate), they create changes in the curvature, which results in gravitational waves. Although gravitational waves have been inferred, to date nobody has been able to prove or disprove their existence. However, a new gravitational wave detector called Advanced LIGO will be switched on later this year.
- Ebola Will Be Stopped – For the past year, the Ebola virus has plagued Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, a number of new vaccines are currently being tested and are expected to be ready for deployment later this year, in an effort to stop the spread of the devastating disease. These new drugs, combined with improved public health measures will hopefully stop or at least slow the outbreak of Ebola.
- Genome Sequencing of Prehistoric Man – In 1997, an excavation team in Spain’s Atapuerca Mountains retrieved from a deep cave a number of human skulls among a pit of human bones. The bones turned out to be a 400,000-year-old human ancestor, who was nicknamed Sima de los Huesos. These bones were retrieved and a number of palaeogeneticists began to study them. In 2013, these scientists were able to sequence Sima’s mitochondrial genome. This year, the team hopes to decode the rest of the genome. This will lead to greater understanding of how humans evolved.
- Dengue Vaccine – Although it is not usually fatal, dengue is an extremely painful disease that is currently transmitted by mosquito. Over half of the world’s population currently lives in potential danger of being infected by this disease. However, scientists have developed a vaccine that provides a degree of protection against it. This vaccine is expected to be ready sometime later this year.
- First Synthetic Organism – Craig Venter, a scientist who was instrumental in mapping the first human genome, believes that his team will create the first synthetic organism with its own set of computer designed genes. It is expected that this life form will resemble bacteria, but will be able to self-replicate.
As science continues to evolve, so do the tools that scientists use to make and record these remarkable discoveries. One tool that needs to meet the changes in science is the laboratory notebook. Most scientists have begun to realize that paper and pen are not sufficient in tracking all of the large data sets that are generated as part of advanced experiments. They also are realizing that paper notes are more difficult to share with collaborators. Realizing these limitations, many scientists have started to adopt electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) instead.
ELNs offer advantages over paper, including the ability to capture and store large amounts of data in a centralized location. In addition, electronic lab notebooks ensure that all notes and records are stored digitally, making them significantly easier to share with collaborators. They are the ideal laboratory tool in helping to discover new vaccines, study genomes or create new organisms.
Although last year was a great one for science, 2015 looks to be even better. What new scientific discoveries are you excited about this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
For more information regarding the BIOVIA Notebook and how it can support your research this year, please visit our website today.