Crash Course in Microbial Identification

By Dr. Karen O'Hanlon Cohrt | July 27, 2017

Welcome to this crash course in microbial identification methods! Here, you will get an overview of the traditional and modern methods available for the identification of bacteria, yeast or filamentous fungi to the species level. Species level identification allows you to discriminate confidently between two species from the same genus, something that is often essential in the treatment of infectious…

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Defend Science Funding! A Brief Guide

By Adrienne Huntress | July 26, 2017

With the scientific community potentially facing deep cuts to grant-awarding agencies, like the NIH, advocacy for funding research efforts has been re-ignited. Not only does science funding provide financial support for academic and government scientists, it fuels product development and collaboration opportunities for scientists in industry and scientists abroad. Engaging in the advocacy process and…

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Maxam-Gilbert Sequencing: What Was It, and Why It Isn’t Anymore

By Cindy Duarte Castelão | July 26, 2017

In the mid-1970s, two methods were developed for directly sequencing DNA: the Maxam-Gilbert sequencing (or chemical sequencing) method and the Sanger chain-termination method. Indeed, in 1980, both Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger were awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids”. Actually, each got a…

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Applying Your MALDI Matrix Like a Boss

By Lakshini Mendis | July 25, 2017

Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (or simply, MALDI) is a type of mass spectrometry method. If you are new to mass spectrometry, check out our excellent primers, titled How Does Mass Spec Work and Get Out of Western Blot Hell: An intro to Mass Spec. Basically, however, mass spectrometry allows you to measure, sort, and quantify small…

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4 Tips for a Successful Postdoctoral Fellowship Application

By Ewout JN Groen | July 24, 2017

One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself as a postdoc is to get a personal postdoctoral fellowship. Your own funding covers your salary and (often) some research costs as well. As such, you will have a degree of independence that you would not have otherwise. Also, being able to show that you…

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The Sandwich Technique: How to Dish Out Critique

By Vicki Doronina | July 19, 2017

How time flies. One day you are giving your first presentation in front of your fellow students, seemingly the next you are listening to a presentation by your own student. And frankly, the talk is awful. It’s twice the time limit, the student weaves around the topic as a drunken sailor, and she acknowledges her…

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An Introduction to Nanopore Sequencing

By Cindy Duarte Castelão | July 18, 2017

DNA sequencing is the most powerful method to reveal genetic variations at the molecular level, leading to a better understanding of our body in physiological settings, and pathological conditions. It is the beginning of the long road towards better diagnostics and personalized medicine. Even though there have been great advances in DNA sequencing technologies there…

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Oligo Purification Methods: How, Why and for What?

By Cindy Duarte Castelão | July 18, 2017

Who amongst us hasn’t had the need for oligonucleotides in an experiment? It is a cornerstone in many procedures and techniques. Depending on the goal, it can be very hard to design just the right oligo for your experiment.  Oligos must have the right length; the right amount of C-G, T-A; they can’t form secondary…

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Can’t Decide Between Medical School or Graduate School?

By Ryan Heck | July 17, 2017

For the longest time I just couldn’t decide between medical school and graduate school. I mean come on, being a physician would be great. I could save lives just like they do on TV! But on the other hand, being a biomedical scientist excited me just as much. You can’t tell me you’ve never dreamt…

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Tips for Getting Your Neurons Firing… Consistently

By Manisha Sinha | July 13, 2017

Primary cultures of rodent (rat and mice) neurons are widely used for disease modeling and studying cellular mechanisms in neurobiology. If you are in this field and need help with protocols and batch-to-batch variability of your dissociated primary rodent neurons, read further below. Also consider watching several JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) articles.1-24 These cover…

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