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Getting started: Biology literature searching
Tackling a new topic?
Try looking for a review article first. Review articles attempt to summarize the state of research on a scientific topic. While lengthy, & not generally including the very latest research, review articles are a great way to start to get a handle on a topic.
Don't overlook the literature cited at the end of the review - the bibliography contains a wealth of information about the key discoveries & main researchers in the field.
Most databases (including BIOSIS Previews, PubMed & Web of Science below) will allow you to limit your search to include only review articles or literature reviews.
For articles describing primary research using scientific methods, written by experts in the field or scientists, try these biomedical, biology and life sciences databases:
Biological Abstracts, the premier database of research in Biology and related disciplines. International coverage of scholarly articles, books and book chapters, meetings and conferences, patents and software. 1969-present, updated weekly.
Use this link for direct full-text access to Northeastern's resources through PubMed.
PubMed comprises more than 32 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. For tips on searching efficiently and effectively in PubMed, click here
Web of Science
Web of Science is a database that broadly covers all of the sciences with strengths in natural sciences, health sciences, engineering, computer science, materials sciences. Great for interdisciplinary research, it also includes coverage of social sciences, arts, and humanities. Web of Science contains over 73 million records.
Really not sure where to start?
If you're beginning your research and are looking for articles in mainstream sources such as magazines and newspapers, aimed at a general audience, try:
- Academic Search Complete: to locate newspaper articles, select "newspaper" from the "Publication Type" options.
- Nexis Uni: to locate newspaper articles in the New York Times: In the 'Find Publication' search box, enter: New York Times
Pivot is a comprehensive database that users may search for:
- funding opportunities, such as grants, fellowships, prizes, other types of funding within a broad range of disciplines.
- collaborating and publishing opportunities by viewing matching faculty from inside or outside Northeastern University.
Check out the Pivot YouTube channel for training on other topics or contact the library for additional help.
Use the Pivot search box below to start finding funding opportunities for you!
New databases for the 2021-2022 academic year:
Market research reports and forecasts covering a wide scope of industries and technologies including the sciences.
Henry Stewart Talks, Biomedical and Life Sciences
Online seminars on biomedical topics, including audio lectures and supplemental materials such as slide and notes, by faculty members and researchers from around the world.
New encyclopedia and reference books for the 2021-2022 academic year:
Biotechnology Entrepreneurship by As an authoritative guide to biotechnology enterprise and entrepreneurship, Biotechnology Entrepreneurship and Management supports the international community in training the biotechnology leaders of tomorrow. Outlining fundamental concepts vital to graduate students and practitioners entering the biotech industry in management or in any entrepreneurial capacity, Biotechnology Entrepreneurship and Management provides tested strategies and hard-won lessons from a leading board of educators and practitioners. It provides a 'how-to' for individuals training at any level for the biotech industry, from macro to micro. Coverage ranges from the initial challenge of translating a technology idea into a working business case, through securing angel investment, and in managing all aspects of the result: business valuation, business development, partnering, biological manufacturing, FDA approvals and regulatory requirements. An engaging and user-friendly style is complemented by diverse diagrams, graphics and business flow charts with decision trees to support effective management and decision making. Provides tested strategies and lessons in an engaging and user-friendly style supplemented by tailored pedagogy, training tips and overview sidebars Case studies are interspersed throughout each chapter to support key concepts and best practices. Enhanced by use of numerous detailed graphics, tables and flow charts
Publication Date: 2014
Cell Biology, 3rd Edition by The much-anticipated 3rd edition of Cell Biology delivers comprehensive, clearly written, and richly illustrated content to today's students, all in a user-friendly format. Relevant to both research and clinical practice, this rich resource covers key principles of cellular function and uses them to explain how molecular defects lead to cellular dysfunction and cause human disease. Concise text and visually amazing graphics simplify complex information and help readers make the most of their study time. Clearly written format incorporates rich illustrations, diagrams, and charts. Uses real examples to illustrate key cell biology concepts. Includes beneficial cell physiology coverage. Clinically oriented text relates cell biology to pathophysiology and medicine. Takes a mechanistic approach to molecular processes. Major new didactic chapter flow leads with the latest on genome organization, gene expression and RNA processing. Boasts exciting new content including the evolutionary origin of eukaryotes, super resolution fluorescence microscopy, cryo-electron microscopy, gene editing by CRISPR/Cas9, contributions of high throughput DNA sequencing to understand genome organization and gene expression, microRNAs, IncRNAs, membrane-shaping proteins, organelle-organelle contact sites, microbiota, autophagy, ERAD, motor protein mechanisms, stem cells, and cell cycle regulation. Features specially expanded coverage of genome sequencing and regulation, endocytosis, cancer genomics, the cytoskeleton, DNA damage response, necroptosis, and RNA processing. Includes hundreds of new and updated diagrams and micrographs, plus fifty new protein and RNA structures to explain molecular mechanisms in unprecedented detail.
Publication Date: 2017
Encyclopedia of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology by Encyclopedia of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology: ABC of Bioinformatics combines elements of computer science, information technology, mathematics, statistics and biotechnology, providing the methodology and in silico solutions to mine biological data and processes. The book covers Theory, Topics and Applications, with a special focus on Integrative -omics and Systems Biology. The theoretical, methodological underpinnings of BCB, including phylogeny are covered, as are more current areas of focus, such as translational bioinformatics, cheminformatics, and environmental informatics. Finally, Applications provide guidance for commonly asked questions. This major reference work spans basic and cutting-edge methodologies authored by leaders in the field, providing an invaluable resource for students, scientists, professionals in research institutes, and a broad swath of researchers in biotechnology and the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. Brings together information from computer science, information technology, mathematics, statistics and biotechnology Written and reviewed by leading experts in the field, providing a unique and authoritative resource Focuses on the main theoretical and methodological concepts before expanding on specific topics and applications Includes interactive images, multimedia tools and crosslinking to further resources and databases
Publication Date: 2018
Human Biochemistry by Human Biochemistry includes clinical case studies and applications that are useful to medical, dentistry and pharmacy students. It enables users to practice for future careers as both clinicians and researchers. Offering immediate application of biochemical principles into clinical terms in an updated way, this book is the unparalleled textbook for medical biochemistry courses in medical, dental and pharmacy programs. Winner of a 2018 Most Promising New Textbook (College) Award (Texty) from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association Offers immediate application of biochemical principles into clinical terms in an updated way Contains coverage of the most current research in medical biochemistry Presents the first solution designed to reflect the needs of both research oriented and clinically oriented medical students
Publication Date: 2017
Molecular Biology by Molecular Biology, Third Edition, provides a thoroughly revised, invaluable resource for college and university students in the life sciences, medicine and related fields. This esteemed text continues to meet the needs of students and professors by offering new chapters on RNA, genome defense, and epigenetics, along with expanded coverage of RNAi, CRISPR, and more ensuring topical content for a new class of students. This volume effectively introduces basic concepts that are followed by more specific applications as the text evolves. Moreover, as part of the Academic Cell line of textbooks, this book contains research passages that shine a spotlight on current experimental work reported in Cell Press articles. These articles form the basis of case studies found in the associated online study guide that is designed to tie current topics to the scientific community.
Publication Date: 2018
Omics Technologies and Bio-Engineering, Volume I by Omics Technologies and Bio-Engineering: Towards Improving Quality of Life, Volume 1 is a unique reference that brings together multiple perspectives on omics research, providing in-depth analysis and insights from an international team of authors. The book delivers pivotal information that will inform and improve medical and biological research by helping readers gain more direct access to analytic data, an increased understanding on data evaluation, and a comprehensive picture on how to use omics data in molecular biology, biotechnology and human health care. Covers various aspects of biotechnology and bio-engineering using omics technologies Focuses on the latest developments in the field, including biofuel technologies Provides key insights into omics approaches in personalized and precision medicine Provides a complete picture on how one can utilize omics data in molecular biology, biotechnology and human health care
Publication Date: 2017
Omics Technologies and Bio-Engineering by Omics Technologies and Bio-Engineering: Towards Improving Quality of Life, Volume 2 is a unique reference that brings together multiple perspectives on omics research, providing in-depth analysis and insights from an international team of authors. The book delivers pivotal information that will inform and improve medical and biological research by helping readers gain more direct access to analytic data, an increased understanding on data evaluation, and a comprehensive picture on how to use omics data in molecular biology, biotechnology and human health care. Covers various aspects of biotechnology and bio-engineering using omics technologies Focuses on the latest developments in the field, including biofuel technologies Provides key insights into omics approaches in personalized and precision medicine Provides a complete picture on how one can utilize omics data in molecular biology, biotechnology and human health care
Publication Date: 2018
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Featured resource: JoVE
JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) is a science video resource that includes a variety of resources for use in the classroom and in the lab. It has two components:
- Science Education Video Collection: Teaching-focused videos including concept animations, ‘scientist in action’ videos to see concepts applied, and lab manual videos that cover preparation procedures for common labs
- Video Journal: A peer-reviewed video methods journal, consisting of video demonstrations and detailed text protocols of new and standard methods in physical and life sciences. Students and researchers can see the details of experiments and concepts, in addition to text-based descriptions.
Below are a few links to components of JoVE relevant for Biology: