MATT MacDONALD ’98: Yes, Virginia encourages believers | JULIE CAMPBELL ’82: Focus on food allergies | BRAD COHEN ’96: BUAA Outstanding Young Graduate Award | BRIAN KRUEGER ’05: Facebook for scientists | ANNE MAPLE FOX ’63: Building honor | RACHEL WEST KRAMER ’94: Singing with spirit
Facebook for scientists
BRIAN KRUEGER ’05 has had little spare time. After finishing his thesis in December 2009, Brian earned his doctorate degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Iowa.
In his free time, he promotes science. The 27-year-old is the creator of LabSpaces, a professional social networking Web site. It’s Facebook or MySpace specifically for scientists. “These communities are there for people to keep in touch with old friends,” said Brian, who came up with the idea as a senior at Bradley when he created a Facebook profile. “I thought turning that into a more productive network, such as sharing scientific ideas or talking about protocols, would be a good idea for the scientific community to stay in touch with each other. It’s a way to use the most recent technology to further the field.”
Like many new Web sites, LabSpaces has progressed slowly, but Brian has increased the traffic by updating the news portion of the site regularly. His approach has taken him to 100,000 visitors per month since March 2006. The news portion, in which he posts science articles and allows viewers to interact through the comments section, is the most popular feature. It has gained traction through social networking applications like StumbleUpon, Twitter, Fark, Digg, and Reddit. An article in the science journal BioTechniques recently called LabSpaces “a great online resource for science news.”
As a Bradley student, Brian created Web pages for the biology and chemistry departments without formal training. He would have taken Web design courses, but was busy with biology coursework, and working as a research assistant at the USDA lab for two years. He credits Dr. Barbara Frase with steering him toward graduate work in molecular biology. “I spent one summer with her doing research at her research site in Colorado,” he said. “She interested me in the scientific method and doing research and answering scientific questions.”
The Schaumburg native accepted a postdoctoral position at the University of Florida, where he will conduct scientific research. All the while, he plans to promote science through LabSpaces. “I’ll keep up with it as long as people keep coming,” he said.