Author Archives: Mikhail Shapiro

Top institutions on Epernicus

People have asked us what institutions are most represented on Epernicus. Here are the top five. We are proud to say that our members come from some of the finest research institutions in the world!








1 Harvard University 1068 30 316 370 113 239
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 775 29 362 231 32 121
3 Indiana University 494 2 258 36 101 97
4 Stanford University 399 14 206 101 25 53
5 University of California, Berkeley 396 34 223 77 26 36

Rounding out the top 15:  U. Washington, Yale, U.T. Austin, UCSF, Ohio State, Rice, UCLA, Northwestern, Michigan State and U. Michigan


Niche Social Netwoks — PC Magazine

Epernicus was recently featured on a list of “10 Cool Niche Social Networks” by PC Magazine. While I’m not sure how I feel about us making the same list as MuggleSpace (a network for people who love Harry Potter), I do believe there is significant value to social/professional networking platforms that do a really great job of addressing the needs of a certain group of people. One of our core tenets has been that researchers are a unique bunch (with concepts like one’s scientific genealogy being a strong part of our culture, for example) whose needs can only be addressed via a networking platform that understands the way science works.

Other specialized networks mentioned on the PC magazine list would include Shelfari for book collectors and Bottletalk for wine aficionados. Members of both of these networks have very specialized knowledge across a number of categories.

By the way, given the popularity of Harry Potter, I wouldn’t be surprised if MuggleSpace were the most popular site on this list ;).

posted by Mikhail Shapiro, Co-founder

Good article on Social Networking in Science in Bio-IT World

Bio-IT World recently published a great article on social networking for scientists. It explains the benefits of scientific social networking and why you need specially-built networks like Epernicus to do it right.

Epernicus as a new quantum state

Somewhere in physics heaven Erwin Schrödinger must be having a laugh. The following T-shirt design by Jonathan Littleton of Purdue University (thank you Jonathan for sharing it with us!) claims to solve the issue of the superposition of two mutually exlusive quantum states: academic and social.


Drumroll Please… One Figure contest winners

As promised, is happy to announce the winners of our first One Figure contest, recognizing the ten people whose Figures have been complimented the greatest number of times in the month preceding Marie Curie’s birthday (Nov 7). This year’s winners will each receive a (BPA-free Camelback) Epernicus water bottle. Our congratulations go to:


Here’s a sampling of the winning figures:


(A) “Developing zebrafish pancreas and liver” – Duc Dong
(B) “A 10.5 day old mouse embryo, stained to show canonical Wnt signaling. Wnt signaling is seen here in the forebrain, midbrain, limb buds, and neural tube.” – Vanessa Horner
(C) “Obstruction of the ammonia channel by the T-loop of GlnK as determined by the 1.96 Angstrom crystal structure 2NS1. “ – Franz Gurswitz
(D) “Gecko Feet” – Jeff Karp
(E) “Nitric Oxide production in Arabidopsis taliana mitochondria” – Maria Cristina Palmieri

Thanks to everyone who complimented these figures, and to the hundreds of members who have put up One Figures of their own. We hope you will agree that these figures are a great way to share something special about your work. You can add one to your profile under the Edit Profile tab. And browse the latest, most complimented, or in-your-network One Figures in the One Figure Gallery.

Locating expertise in your scientific network

When we’re not doing experiments at our bench or practicing in the clinic, we’re often looking for information: What’s the latest with adult stem cells? How do you identify phosphoproteins on a gel? What polymers swell when heated? To find answers, we often have to spend hours searching resources like Pubmed or Google. Occasionally, we get lucky and remember that someone we know has relevant expertise. Getting help from a colleague is often the fastest way to answer our question or solve our problem.

But why should finding a person who can help us be a matter of luck? We all have rich networks of scientific expertise comprising our current and former labmates and people in our departments and institutions. The average scientist’s network contains hundreds of years of research experience; and chances are that someone in your network has exactly the knowledge you need.

We built Epernicus to help you locate the right person in your network with the right expertise at the right time. And with our new and improved search, you can do so more easily than ever.

For example, if you’re looking for someone who could help you troubleshoot a DNA ligation, search for “DNA ligation” on Epernicus. We will show you everyone in your network (and in general) who lists ligations as an asset, has it mentioned in their publication abstracts or otherwise contains it in their profile. You can see how you’re connected and quickly and easily contact the right person. Because you’re part of the same lab, department or institution, they’ll be happy to help you out.

The Epernicus community was launched only recently, but you’d be surprised at the amount of knowledge it already contains. Try searching it next time you’re looking for help!

By the way: Your ability to find expertise in your network will grow as more of your colleagues join Epernicus. Invite them!

What makes you valuable to your scientific colleagues?

You might have noticed the growing number of scientists who have recently joined Epernicus. But did you know that another rapidly growing area of Epernicus is the assets our members have listed in their profiles? As of this writing, there are more than 850 different topics, methods and materials represented on our network.

Looking for someone who does whole-cell electrophysiology? Works on vibrio cholera? Uses BioBrick vectors? Cultres Sf21 cells? Runs experiments in a Franz diffusion chamber? Codes simulations in Python? They’re all here! And chances are they’re in your lab, department or institution.

A major goal of Epernicus is to make it easier for scientists to find help and give help to colleagues in their scientific networks. And your assets represent all the ways you can help the people you know. It’s expertise you’ve accumulated over several years of hard work, and it’s one of the things that makes you valuable in the world of science.

Of course, we know that it’s impossible to remember all your topics, methods and materials in one sitting, so here are a couple tips on adding assets to your Epernicus profile:

– When you sign on, think of the things you worked with in the last couple days and add them (you can add assets right at the bottom of your dashboard page).

– When you see an asset on someone else’s profile that should also be on yours, just click it, then click “Add” and it’ll be automatically added to your profile

On the flipside, when looking for someone with a certain expertise, just do a search. Any assets or publications that include your search term will show up. Click on them to find out to whom they belong. And look for an announcement in the near future about enhanced search, which will make searching your network even easier.