UO’s Phillips featured in Nature commentary and podcast

Worms under a microscope

In February, UO biologist Patrick Phillips and colleagues at two other institutions unveiled their successful efforts to test potential compounds for extending the life of roundworms using similar approached in each lab.

In the UO’s announcement earlier this year, “A UO lab digs into worms in the quest to lengthen human life,” Phillips described the findings and how his team at the UO and teams at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California and Rutgers University in New Jersey worked to do the research in virtually identical ways.

The research team is making waves again.

In a written commentary, aimed at other scientists, in the journal Nature co-authored by Phillips, the three principal investigators on the project went deeper into how they pulled off the project, which was first announced in the journal Nature Communications.

The commentary details their primary challenge of streamlining their research approach. Once they had settled on protocols, the co-authors noted: “Once this system was in place, variability between labs decreased. After more than a year of pilot experiments and discussion of methods in excruciating detail, we almost completely eliminated systematic differences in worm survival across our labs.”

Two of the three co-authors on the commentary — Phillips, acting executive director of the UO’s Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, and Gordon J. Lithgow of the Buck Institute — also appeared in a Nature podcast to describe their project.

Read their commentary: “​​​​​​​A long journey to reproducible results.”

Listen to their podcast interview below. The audio contains the full 24-minute Nature podcast for the week of Aug. 24. Their segment, “Wriggly reproducibility,” begins at 08:21 in the show. (Simply move the progress bar to get there quickly.)