Welcome to the Abcam blog

Meet Padamjeet, member of our References team

A quick chat with Padamjeet on how you can find out if a product has been used in published work, the work of our References team, and cricket!

Q: Tell me a little about our background and the work you do

A: I joined Abcam about two years ago, after completing a research project on colon cancer.

I'm responsible for ensuring references for our products are up to date. This is really important as references give us proof that our products are working well, and also shows us what products everyone is using in their work, so it's very satisfying to be able to add them to our datasheets and share that with other scientists.

Q: How can our customers find out if a product has been used in published work?

A: Scientists can see if a product has been used in a publication in three ways: we show it in our search results, we list the references on the datasheet with the application and the species it was used in, and you can search on Pubmed (we list the PubmedID on the datasheet)

references section of the datasheet

Q: Before it goes on our datasheet, how do we find out about publications?

A: I receive lots of emails from researchers who have published using our products, letting us know so we can cite it on our datasheets and share it with all our customers.

We also check journal search engines and related publications. We look at a wide range of journals, from niche publications to the top tier, and across all research areas.

Q: Does that mean there's a big pile on your desk to read through :) ?

A: It's all digital, so there's a big pile on my computer! Every month, each member of the team adds between 350-400 publications - we receive many more than this, but not all of them make the cut.

We read through everything regarding our antibody, check the results, and only add a reference if we can match the product they used to an exact product code.

This means you can be sure it was the same product in our catalog.

Q: Apart from references, what other evidence is there that our products work?

A: Abcam's lab does a lot of work on characterization, we test our products in WB, ELISA, ChIP, ICC/IF and display these images and results on the datasheet.

We also publish customer reviews on the datasheet, positive and otherwise, so you can see completely independent results, images and experimental conditions.

Q: Finally, as I know you're a keen cricket fan... what do you think of the recent Ashes series?

A: Haha, I watched the last match at the weekend and I'm very happy England won!


Do you find our references useful? Is there anything we could do better?

If you've published using one of our products, please let us know so we can cite the reference on the datasheet.

Abcam focus groups and website design testing

"I guess everybody is dreaming of that eureka moment... a dream that probably most of the time does not come true. But still there's anticipation and trying to get a reward."
Attendee comment

Understanding your needs better

We're continually trying to improve our service and bring you the best possible solutions for your research, so at the end of July we held three focus groups to meet with scientists and discuss the challenges they face in their labs today.

Just as you would expect from Abcam, we kept these groups friendly and informal and we invited a great mix of attendees, with Head of Labs, Lab Managers, Research Assistants, Post-docs and Post-grads from a wide range of organizations and institutes.

Here's a brief overview of what topics came up in the discussions:

  • Lab environment
  • Support/technical help
  • Equipment
  • Consumables

These sessions were very successful at giving us an insight into your experience of day-to-day lab work, and how we can help you better.

Website design testing

early designs

Talking of meeting customers, last month I took a trip to UCL with Abcam's web designer Sarah. We were there to visit scientists from the Center for Perinatal Brain Protection & Repair and show them some very early designs of what improvements to our website could look like. (I've talked about similar sorts of sessions we've ran for other improvements to our website previously).

Thanks for having us round, I hope you enjoyed testing our new ideas out! We got some really useful feedback and some great information that we can use to develop our website designs and make them easier for scientists to use.

Keep in touch

Focus groups are just one of the ways we can keep in touch with our customers, learn how we can improve our products, and stay at the cutting-edge of research! If you have anything you'd like to discuss or comment on you can:

  • Meet our experts at the scientific conferences we attend (and the ones we organize)
  • Submit online feedback on our web pages, to let us know what you found useful, any suggestions for improvements, or if you're having any problems
  • Write reviews to share your experience of how our products perform, and gain that reward points you can exchange for Amazon or Abcam discounts
  • Contact us by phone, fax, or email for some old-fashioned human interaction :)

And you can even leave a comment on this blog!

What's the biggest challenge that you face in your labs?

What do you most enjoy about being in research?

Meet Todd, Abcam's resident cartoonist

Todd, the Support Team Leader in our lab, spends his days managing our consumable stocks, overseeing our equipment maintenance and servicing, and dealing with logistics between our lab and head office on either side of the Cambridge Science Park.

However he has a hidden calling... as Abcam's resident cartoonist! After seeing some of his work on the bottom of our lab's update emails, I caught up with him and 'commissioned' a cartoon for the blog :)

Abcam's global reach

Easy ordering, speedy shipping:

  • Global reach - currently shipping to 103 countries
  • Next day delivery for US and Europe
  • Worldwide deliveries three-five days

View our shipping information

"I've had a keen interest in cartoons for a long time now, and have even tried my hand at things like animation in the past. Now I have children I draw cartoons to entertain them and even ask them for ideas sometimes!"

Thanks Todd!

Origami, invoices and tested applications: a day in the life of Abcam's Customer Service

Jillian

My name is Jillian, and I'm a Customer Service representative in Abcam's US office. We're open around the clock...(Well, not literally, but close!)...in order to meet the needs of our customers!

In the US, we're here Monday through Friday, 8:30am until 8:00pm (EST, of course). We're even open Saturdays from 10am until 3pm! In the UK office we're open 8:00 until 17:00 GMT Monday to Friday.

Since we're always trying to find new ways to connect with our customers here at Abcam, we thought it would a great idea to walk you through a day in the magical world of Customer Service!

9:30am

I stumble off my bike, walk up to the 3rd floor, and settle onto the exercise ball, which I use for a chair. The phones have already been on for an hour, and we've been receiving faxes since before I woke up, so I start processing the two fax orders I found waiting on my desk, while I take my first call of the day.

It's a technical call, which I was recently trained to start handling. Customer Service fields all of the technical calls, and we are trained to handle first line calls, such as questions about products that can be answered by using the datasheet. This usually includes price, availability, reactivity, tested applications, concentration, where to find Abreviews and much, much more! Feel free to check out the datasheet of your favorite product on our website to see what I mean!

If you need info on things like positive controls or you're having a problem with one of our products, then we would transfer the call so you could speak to a member of our expert Scientific Support department.

11:30am

After returning from my 15-minute break, I examine the pink origami flower I just made as I check our shared inbox. This is where we receive and distribute the inquiries and orders that customers send to us via email. We work on these throughout the day, so if you need a quick response try shooting us an email. Checking your inquiries while processing faxes and phone calls keeps us busy, and out of trouble!

As I started responding to a customer's email, a customer phoned with a few questions about her invoice so I called up one of the lovely people in our Accounts department to give them a heads-up before I transferred the call to them. We're really good at looking out for each other here at Abcam. It's just better for everyone when we keep each other informed about inquiries that affect more than one department.

2:30pm

Today is our weekly meeting, where everyone in our office (all 60 of us!) gets together for a short meeting: to touch base, and find out what's going on in each department, in our other offices. Don't worry, even during the meeting we have coverage in Customer Service and Scientific Support! This week is my turn, along with two other reps, to stay back during the meeting and cover the phones.

6:00pm

As another day comes to a close, I make sure I've completed all my work for the day before leaving my exercise ball to rest under my desk for the night. When everything seems in order, I grab my bike helmet and say "See-yah!" to the rest of our team working until 8:00pm.

So that's a day in the life of a Customer Service Rep at Abcam. We're busy little bees, but we do our best to stay on top of our game and always put our customers first.

Meet Abcam in Singapore!

Abcam is heading to the Far East this February! We're hosting two scientific conferences in Singapore, our first-ever conferences in Asia: 'Chromatin: Histones, Nucleosomes, Chromosomes and Genomes' and 'Regulatory Networks in Stem Cells' will be running during February 9-13, with an overlap day in the middle, another first for Abcam. That way, we can bring researchers from the two fields of Chromatin and Stem Cells together to share advances with one another and develop future strategies.

In order to celebrate our first Asian events, and keep in touch with as many of our customers as possible, we're extending the invitation further... Even if you haven't registered for either of the events, we're going to run drop-in sessions at the Pan Pacific Hotel. You'll be able to meet with our Chromatin and Stem Cells experts, and some of our Scientific Support team too.

You can view more information and arrange an appointment if you like, or just turn up between 09:00 and 12:00 each day Monday-Friday, February 9-13, at the Pan Pacific Hotel. (Visitors should make their way to the Pan Pacific Ballroom).

We'd love to meet you and find out what you think of our antibodies :)

Interview with Ken from Abcam's scientific support

As one of our scientific support team in the US, Ken is used to fielding calls. But recently he got a rather unusual inquiry... I phoned him up for an interview!

Q: Hi Ken, what do you do in an average day?

A: I would say that I spend 50% of my time on the phone with customers, troubleshooting protocols and helping them selecting the correct product for their research.

A large proportion of callers are scientists that I've spoken to before. They see us as their main scientific resource, and I think that's important: being more than just 'tech support' for our antibodies but being 'science support' for the people who call us. It's great to know that they trust our judgment.

tubesQ: How does it feel to be the 'human face' of Molly the sheep! :)

A: Very easy! I think we're already making a big effort to be a friendly and 'human' company already, so science support is a part of that, but not the only part. We get lots of good feedback about the website being very easy to use, maybe that's a bit 'personable' too. So hopefully scientists have the expectation before they even call us.

Q: What experience do you have?

A: I have a bit of a weird background because I am an organic chemist by training. That's been useful in some ways and not so useful in others! It does mean I have a lot more instrumental experience in IHC and FACS.

Q: What's the strangest inquiry you've had?

A: The strangest inquiry I've ever had was when somebody rang up about an antibody against a steroid and wanted to know how much he should inject! I guess he must have thought an antibody against a steroid was as good as the real thing.

Q: I don't think he would have got the results he wanted... what did you end up saying to him?

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'The fine art of science': Abcam's new calendar

It may be a little early to start Christmas shopping for you lab, but Abcam have released the 'must-have' for this season, our 2009 calendar! This year's theme is 'The fine art of science', and in addition to Molly the sheep, it features 12 great characterization images from our lab.

Munch: The ScreamUpdate: as well as giving out the calendar in all orders, we have also produced some limited-stock fridge magnets based on the designs!

I had a quick chat with John, the designer who's worked on the calendar, our pathway posters, and the famous Molly...

Q: Hi John. What's the idea behind the Abcam calendar, and how many years have we been making these?

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Meet Abcam: Kim

Kim is responsible for our antibody licensing scheme, which makes her a very busy person! However, she was nice enough to let me interrupt her in the middle of some intimidating-looking Excel spreadsheets for a quick chat.

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