Friday, June 7, 2013

Lenny Teytelman is awesome...

So I have been working with a couple folks who want to do single molecule RNA FISH in yeast, and they wanted to know if there were any updated protocols.  I used to use a variant of an old protocol from the Singer lab, but I had heard rumblings about some sort of issues with cell wall digestion using zymolyase, and I got referred to Lenny Teytelman (founder of ZappyLab).  Lenny then related to me a one and a half year saga about how he finally figured out that you need to use a lot more zymolyase than we had been using before.  Main point: not only did Lenny openly share his little protocol tip, but he did so without any wish other than to help other people out.  That's the scientific spirit at its best.  Lenny is cool!  So cool, in fact, that he let me share the tip with the world on our RNA FISH website.

I know many people who purposefully omit these little tips and tricks from their published protocols so that others can't use them.  What's the point of that?  Usually, I think the rationale is that "Oh, I have this new technique and I'm gonna rule the world, so I better keep it to myself".  From what I've seen, this is just a good way to limit other people using your method and ultimately to limit your impact as a scientist.  The notion that you can get a steady stream of new papers from a new technique is in my mind also pretty wrong: usually, you can get (maybe) 1-2 high profile papers that really bank primarily on the novelty of the method as applied to some particular area of biological research, but really not much beyond that.  So you're really best off just following your ideals and actually just trying to make your methods as transparent and practicable as possible.

Anyway, Lenny is also cool because he has been thinking a lot about the publication process, open access, and disseminating scientific information.  Check out ZappyLab!

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