Information technologies that may be useful for course work and research

Scientific literature

It is difficult to keep up to date with new publications in your area(s) of interest. In addition to standard Google searches, I use some of the following strategy each day.

Bioinformatic resources

Time management

There are many software packages for designing, executing and managing large projects that involve many people. Most of these packages are built for companies. However several are particularly useful for modern life science labs.

Resource management

Especially with wet labs, a consistent effort is needed to order, track and invoice reagents, kits, and other expendables. Moreover, there is a need to precisely and accurately handle samples. For instance, as we process samples donated by cancer patients, we have a moral obligation to ensure that the material is not lost or mislabeled. Our lab certainly finds it challenging to maintain a “chain of custody”. We have experience with several software systems.


The slides and website for this course were developed in Markdown, specifically a dialect deigned for R (\({\tt RMarkdown}\)). Fluency in Markdown is a useful skill to have as more and more tools and information migrates to the cloud.


Modern lab notebooks

Citations and bibliography

6 You can download a BibTeX file of all the non-web-based readings in the course.

  1. Note that Western has subscriptions to many (non-open-source) journals. You need to connect to Western’s VPN (instructions here).↩︎

  2. Each morning I troll through these emails for relevant papers.↩︎

  3. A problem with preprint servers is that it is like drinking from a fire hose. It’s hard to zero in on the papers you want to see.↩︎

  4. I spend a considerable amount of micro-breaks following links to tweets of interesting look papers. Also, I find that Twitter allows you to expand out a bit and see groups/papers you might otherwise not run into.↩︎

  5. I often rely on journals to tweet new papers rather than going to the journal’s webpage or having them send me an email (yikes).↩︎

  6. {-} You can open the file in BibDesk on macOS, JabRef on Windows, or Zotero or Mendeley online. I personally use Paperpile with Google Docs.↩︎