Talking Techniques


rAAVs, host-cell contamination and ddPCR

Season 2, Ep. 10
In this episode of Talking Techniques, supported by Bio-Rad, we discuss a key component of many gene therapies: recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) and their production. These viruses act as efficient, accurate delivery vesicles for the gene therapy’s plasmid.Speaking to Associate Director of Biopharma Product Marketing atBio-RadLaboratories, Mark White, we take a look at the different expression systems used for their production and compare their advantages, before looking at some of the challenges involved in the production rAAVs, such as host-cell contamination.Discover the tools that can help minimize host-cell contamination and differentiate between nuclease resistant and nuclease reactive contaminant DNA and find out about some of the most exciting developments in rAAV technologies.Contents:The role of rAAVs in gene therapies: 00:40-02:15The production of rAAVs and gene therapies: 02:15-03:30Why are HEK cells so popular for cell therapy production? 03:30-05:45HEK vs SF9 Insect cell expression systems: 05:45-06:45Challenges in cell therapy expression systems: 06:45-08:05Host DNA contamination: 08:05-10:30The risks of host DNA contamination: 10:30-12:45Key techniques to minimize host DNA contamination: 12:45-14:40The advantages of ddPCR in gene therapy production: 14:40-17:50Distinguishing between nuclease resistant and nuclease reactive host cell DNA: 17:50-19:10The most exciting developments in rAAV technology: 19:10-20:20What is one thing you would ask for to improve rAAV and gene therapy development 20:20-26:38

HPV, epigenetics and cancer: sequencing for new insights and to correct healthcare inequality

Season 2, Ep. 9
In many regions of the world, HPV and its association with cervical cancer is a well-known but rarely considered issue, after the rollout of the HPV vaccine in the late 2000s. However, while this rollout significantly impacted cervical cancer rates where it was implemented, it was not universal and in many areas of the world HPV induced cervical cancer remains a critical issue.Cervical cancer is the leading cause of death for people with a cervix living in poverty in low-resource regions and on the continent of Africa, it is estimated that in 2020 as many people with a cervix died of cervical cancer as COVID-19.In this episode of Talking techniques, supported by Oxford Nanopore, Senior Investigator Michael Dean and Post-baccalaureate Fellow Nicole Rossi, from the NIH’s National Cancer Institute (MD, USA), discuss their research into the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer. Expounding on the points mentioned above, they reveal the tremendous insights into cancer and immunology still to be gained, document the key tools used in their studies and explain how their work can be translated into more effective immunotherapies and treatments for cervical cancer. ContentsIntroduction: 00:00-01:40How big an issue does HPV present to the world? 01:40-03:30HPV’s association with cancer: 03:30-05:15Why does HPV target DNA repair mechanisms? 05:15-06:00Key goals of research into HPV: 06:00-07:15Challenges of HPV research: 07:15- 08:20Solutions available to deal with these challenges: 08:20-09:30The most exciting discoveries in HPV using long-read sequencing: 09:30-11:00HPV16- the most oncogenic variant: 11:00-11:40Translating research into clinical results for HPV: 11:40-12:45How effective is the current HPV vaccine? 12:45-13:30What would you ask for to improve research into HPV and cancer? 13:30-14:30How big an issue is vaccine rejection? 14:30-15:40Final thoughts: 15:40-17:00

Liquid biopsy and cfNAs: driving forward diagnostics and disease research

Season 3, Ep. 7
The key diagnostic and prognostic information locked away in cell-free nucleic acids (cfNAs) has become increasingly accessible due to developments in genetic and epigenetic profiling techniques. These advances have engendered the rise of liquid biopsy techniques, which capture and analyze cfNAs from samples such as blood, saliva, urine and feces, in diagnostics and basic disease research.However, challenges remain in the detection and analysis of these nucleic acid fragments, in part due to their low abundance and fragile nature. In this episode, Ayla Maunighan-Peter, Epigenetics Product Specialist at Zymo research (CA, USA), details the utility of these molecules, the challenges associated with their development and implementation of liquid biopsies and their usein both basic research and diagnostic spaces.For an insight into how cfNAs can be used to identify novel drug targets, impact diagnostics development and be used to help soothe the organ shortage crisis, listen today!Contents:Intro: 00:00-00:40What are cfNAs? 1:50-02:35The role of cfNAs in Liquid biopsy: 02:35-04:25Markers analyzed in cfNAs: 04:25-06:10Epigenetic analysis of cfNAs: 06:05-07:55Techniques for epigenetic analysis of cfNAs: 08:00-08:55Introducing fragmentomics: 08:55-11:05Challenges in the development of liquid biopsy: 11:05-14:40How is the field trying to adapt to these challenges? 14:40-16:10Applications of cfNAs in basic research: 16:10-17:30The most exciting findings concerning the role of cfNAs in disease: 17:30-20:05One thing to improve our understanding and use of cfNAs: 20:05-21:10Conclusions: 21:15-22:15

The epigenetic clock

Season 3, Ep. 5
In this episode, supported by Zymo Research, we discuss the epigenetic clock: what is it? How are researchers using it and what are some of the key tools available to study it? Elucidating the link between epigenetics and aging is Keith Booher, Director of Services at Zymo research including aging and epigenetics research services. Keith reveals how our behaviors and environment, such as diet, exercise and air quality, can impact our epigenetics and the impact that the epigenetic clock has played in the development of new therapeutics.Find out how you can reverse your biological age, the implications of aging populations the latest developments in epigenetic research and more in this episode of Talking Techniques.Contents: Introduction: 00:00-02:15The issue with population aging: 02:15-03:30Introducing epigenetics: 03:30-04:20The link between epigenetics and aging: 04:20-05:50The impact of exercise on epigenetics: 05:50-06:40The epigenetic clock: 06:40-08:00What can the epigenetic clock tell you about someone’s health: 08:00-10:05Can you reverse the epigenetic clock? 10:05-12:00The latest experiments in epigenetics and aging research: 12:00-14:10Finetuning exercise using the epigenetic clock: 14:10-15:30Challenges in epigenetics and aging research: 15:30-17:00Key technologies in epigenetics and aging research: 17:00-18:05Where are the main developments coming from? 18:05-19:30Aging and lobsters: 19:30-20:45How will the field develop in the next 5 years? 20:45-22:00What would you ask for to improve your understanding of the epigenetic clock? 22:00-23:00The most exciting aspects of aging intervention: 23:00-24:00

Resolving spatial biology in neuroscience

Season 3, Ep. 4
In this episode of Talking Techniques, supported by Resolve BioSciences, we explore the realm of spatial biology, with a particular focus on the techniques involved in this approach to biological exploration, and the exciting insights gleaned from these techniques that have led to this approach being labeled Natures Method of the year 2020! Stefano Pupe, Postdoctoral Researcher at German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, takes me through this field, revealing – amongst other fascinating insights –the neuroscience studies that can now be conducted on live mice to monitor their neurological cell expression profiles as they perform specific behaviors. We also discuss the potential immortality complexes that could be driving a large amount of investment into the field and highlight some of the challenges to watch out for when conducting spatial biology studies. ContentsIntroduction 00:00-02:20 The concept of spatial biology 02:20-03:30 The key techniques involved in spatial biology: 03:30-05:10What does the combination of transcriptomics and proteomic profiling enable you to determine: 05.10-06:00Unique insights from spatial biology: 06:10-07:20Spatial biology in the characterization of cells from the medial septal: 07:20-8:20First impressions of working with spatial biology: 8:10-09:20How many omic datasets you can generate from one tissue sample? 09:20-10:45The impact of spatial biology in diagnostics: 10:45-11:50 Exciting breakthroughs in neuroscience from spatial biology: 11:50-14:00Predicting neuronal activity with spatial data: 14:00-15:55 Developments in microscopy pairing with spatial biology: 15:55-18:05The challenges of working with a new technique: 18:05-19:45The role of automation in resolving with vast data sets 19:45-21:45Why Facebook and Google are looking assisting with spatial biology: 21:45-24:15What would you ask for to take spatial transcriptomics to the next level? 24:15-25:40Challenges of reproducibility in an emerging field: 25:40-29:05Final comments: 29:05-30:25

Introducing STEM Tea

Season 3, Ep. 2
In this episode of Talking Techniques, we introduce a new podcast series, produced by BioTechnques and hosted by the enigmatic Antentor Othrell Hinton Jr, Assistant Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at the Vanderbilt University (TN, USA), and bring you a sneak peek of the first episode of the series.In this podcast series, Antentor will discuss all things diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM, meeting with different guests each episode from across the spectrum of fields and people in the research community. Each episode will keep science at its core, exploring each guest's research and finding out how they encourage open and productive environments in their working communities.In episode one, dive into the discussion around mentoring practices, LatinX representation in STEM and the role that scientific societies, such as the American Society of Cell Biology, can play in the development of their members with our first guest, Christina Termini Assistant Professor at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research center (CA, USA).Contents:Introduction: 00:00-02:40Christina's Research in hematopoietic stem cells and cancer treatments. 02:40-05:45Molecular regulators of the hematopoietic system: 05:45-06:20Building mentoring networks and addressing microaggressions: 06:20-09:00Isolation in academic spaces and countermeasures: 09:00-10:35The community of scholars and the 1000 Black scientists lists: 10:35-17:00What are you drinking? 17:00-17:40Mental health in mentoring: 17:40- 20:45The work of the American Society of Cell Biology developing mentors: 20:45-23:00Equalling opportunities with virtual and non-traditional faculty interviews: 23:00-26:50Building the 100 Latinx list: 26:50-29:30Contact Tina: 29:30-31:55Coming up on STEM Tea: 32:10-34:54

Cell proliferation in drug screening

Season 3, Ep. 1
In this episode, supported by BioRad, we explore cell proliferation monitoring and its role in drug discovery, guided by the expert advice of Rachel Preston, Product Development researcher at Bio-Rad. We discuss techniques available to monitor cell proliferation, their advantages and disadvantages and the importance of selecting the right combination of techniques for different experimental targets. Rachel also provides some tips for best practice and some pitfalls to avoid regarding DNA damage and highlights the importance of good quality antibodies in cell proliferation assays.Don’t miss out on the most exciting applications of cell proliferation today, and find out what still needs to be improved for cell proliferation assays to continue driving drug discovery forward; all in the first episode of Season 3 of Talking Techniques!Contents: Intro: 00:00-00:34Why measure cell proliferation in drug discovery? 00:34-2:20Techniques involved in the detection of cell proliferation: 02:20-04:20The advantages and disadvantages of different techniques: 04:20-06:50 Selecting the most appropriate technique: 06:50-09:30How do you account for DNA damage in these assays? 09:30-11:00The best combination of techniques for drug screening studies: 11:00-12:00The biggest developments in technologies for cell proliferation monitoring: 12:00-14:15 Exciting findings of cell proliferation studies in cancer research: 14:15-15:35What element of cell proliferation detection and monitoring would you choose to improve? 15:35-17:40Closing remarks: 17:40-19:10