Wednesday, February 6, 2013

JoVE: god of thunder, journal of techniques

If you don't know about the Journal of Visualized Experiments, now is the time to learn.

god of thunder, journal of techniques (source)
Methods sections of papers should contain enough detail that a scientist reading it could replicate the results of the paper. But this is rarely the case. Research in computational neuroscience has an advantage because the actual code used to run the simulations can be deposited and downloaded. But for experimental work, the nuances of exactly how to do each step in a process can get lost.

Protocol papers are often able to fully describe a process, but nothing can beat actually seeing the researchers performing the technique. For this there is JoVE.

You can get lost on their website watching fascinating 10 minute video after fascinating 10 minute video. For example, the very first video listed under 'neuroscience' when I checked it is called "Optogenetic activation of zebrafish somatosensory neurons using ChEF-tdTomato" and it shows you how stimulate the zebrafish neurons with light. But it doesn't just show you someone doing it, it shows each step in detail. How to modify the optic cable, how to position the zebrafish embryo, and even to be careful when using lasers. (Also, it taught me what the Pasteur Pipette can be used for.)

I think this is a great addition to scientific literature, and will be useful to many people. However, I still have some doubts about how easy it would be to replicate these techniques from the video alone. But fortunately accompanying the videos are detailed protocols with more details and equipment specs. 

I'd be interested to know if anyone has used a JoVE article and their sole resource and been able to replicate a technique successfully.
Palanca, A., & Sagasti, A. (2013). Optogenetic Activation of Zebrafish Somatosensory Neurons using ChEF-tdTomato Journal of Visualized Experiments (71) DOI: 10.3791/50184

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