Earlier this year, Reprints Desk introduced the Article Galaxy Gadget Store, featuring easy-to-use apps called Gadgets, designed with researchers in mind. Intended to help biotech and pharmaceutical companies save time and money, Gadgets help with a wide range of research tasks and processes—from literature search and discovery to lab management and time management, to in silico analysis of DNA, RNA and more.
Who creates these Gadgets, you ask? Why, the Gadget Squad, of course!
Our talented Gadget Squad team includes Gadgeteers a.k.a. product owners comprised of both software developers and research scientists. In other words, Gadgets are created by researchers, for researchers!
A Conversation with Dr. Karina Chavez
To help you get to know the people behind our Gadgets, we sat down with Dr. Karina Chavez to learn a bit about her background, and life as a Gadgeteer.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation.
Q: What is your educational background?
DR.CHAVEZ: I got my degree in Genomic Biotechnology, and during my undergraduate courses, I researched the molecular biology of cancer, using interference RNA (iRNA) for oncogene silencing. After I graduated, I began studying for a Masters in Immunology, with focus on gene therapy and its effects in tumoral angiogenesis. And finally, I received a PhD in Immunology, but this time doing research in a mix of gene therapy and immunotherapy in cancer.
Q: Tell us a bit about your PhD research projects. Have you published any papers?
DR. CHAVEZ: During my PhD research, our goal was to design a DNA vaccine against a tumor marker present in mouse melanoma cells; provide this vaccine by the traditional intramuscular injection and airway vaccination; and analyze and compare the prophylactic and therapeutic effect of our treatments on in vivo mouse cancer models. I have one published article to date and have another one on the go.
Q: What is your role at Reprints Desk?
DR. CHAVEZ: As a member of the Gadgets team, I do research to help identify and design new software tools we can develop, with a focus on helping researchers perform R&D in a faster, easier, and more delightful way.
Q: How long have you been working at Reprints Desk?
DR. CHAVEZ: I have been on the RD team for almost 4 years now.
Q: What is your favorite part about working for Reprints Desk?
DR. CHAVEZ: The team! Being surrounded by smart, creative, and hard-working people is incredibly inspiring.
Q: What are some of the Gadgets that you have been involved in creating?
DR. CHAVEZ: I’ve been involved with the creation of a number of Gadgets, including the iRNA Designer, the Relative Real Time PCR Quantifier—and the soon-to-be-released CRISPR/Cas-9 Screening Experiments Searcher.
(NOTE: You may be familiar with Dr. Chavez as the presenter on our instructional videos for two other Gadgets she helped create: the 3D Protein Visualizer Gadget and the DNA Restriction Mapper Gadget).
Q: What kind of software tools did you use back when you were researching?
DR. CHAVEZ: The tools I used the most during my lab work included Google Scholar, all of the NCBI feature-set, some Qiagen software, and NebCutter, among others.
Q: Are there any particular Gadgets you wish you had when you were working on your doctorate?
DR. CHAVEZ: Yes! Many of our existing Gadgets were created based on the issues we—as scientists, technicians, and researchers—experience on a daily basis. During my PhD, I would have been delighted to have had these tools while doing my DNA vaccine design. It certainly would have saved me lots of time and made it a whole lot easier!
Q: Customers may not know that they can provide feedback on Gadgets (via the “Get Help” button on the Dashboard). What kind of feedback would you and the Gadgeteers like to get on the Gadgets?
DR. CHAVEZ: Any feedback and Gadget ideas from the research community are very welcome! We are looking forward to seeing how to make it happen, so if you have ideas or Gadget enhancement requests, please let us know.
Q: We know you and the Gadgeteers are always working to create new Gadgets and to improve those we’ve already launched. Can you share any insights on what kind of Gadgets we might see in the future?
DR. CHAVEZ: Our focus is always to make Research and Development easier, faster, and more pleasant. We are currently working on a wide assortment of Gadgets that include Search and Discovery features, Data Management and Recording, Statistics, CRISPR-Cas9, and Cell Culture tools.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
DR. CHAVEZ: Sure! I’d like to invite the research community around the world to try out some of our Gadget Store tools. They're free and it takes less than a minute to create a new account using your LinkedIn credentials. There is a Gadget for almost every need. And if you have a need we haven’t filled, we welcome your ideas so we can ‘Gadgetize’ them!