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Doing it right: New book helps biologists conduct rigorous and reliable research

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. "If something's worth doing, it's worth doing well." This is the motivation for a new book, Experimental Design for Biologists, just released by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Engaging and accessible, it addresses important issues biologists must consider when designing research projects, filling the often overlooked "pre-statistical analysis" gap.

"In graduate schools throughout the United States, Ph.D. candidates receive almost no formal instruction in the effective design, conduct, and interpretation of experiments, even though these skills are critical to success as a scientist," says the author, David Glass. "Courses are typically devoted almost entirely to factual information, whereas scientific process is equally important."

Experimental Design for Biologists--a new source of theory and practical guidance--is based on a well-received course that Glass taught while working at a biopharmaceutical company. The course was for recent hires, new PhDs who--surprisingly but frequently--had received little training in basic experimental design.

Glass is the Global Head of the Muscle Diseases program at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass. He will use this new book as the core text for his experimental design "nanocourse" at Harvard Medical School next spring.

Suitable for classroom instruction or as a reference for students and professional scientists, Experimental Design for Biologists is not a statistics book: instead, it explains how to frame and set up an experimental question, devise experiments within that system, determine and use the correct set of controls, and derive verifiable models from the experiment. Separate chapters are devoted to negative controls, positive controls, and other categories of controls that are perhaps less recognized, such as "assumption controls" and "experimentalist controls." The book's aim is t
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Contact: Ingrid Benirschke
benirsch@cshl.edu
619-275-6021
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
19-Dec-2006


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