Alex Chen's Profile

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An Introduction to MassTag PCR

New ways to perform PCR emerge all the time. This speaks for the speed of technological advances, and reflects the ongoing need to keep up with fast-moving research. We all know that PCR’s main purpose is to amplify a stretch of nucleic acids based on sequence-specific primers. Nowadays, a wide range of PCR techniques exist, […]

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In PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR 16th of February, 2017
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CRISPR Technology Explained: Towards a CRISPR Genome!

Okay, if you are working in the biomedical research field and you have not heard about CRISPR technology, then you are way behind the trend curve. Don’t worry; I would like to share what I have learned about this gene-editing tool with you. Surprisingly, this new technology came out of left field. And for the past […]

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In DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis 25th of January, 2017
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A New Frontier in Protein Quantitation: AlphaLISA

If you ever worked in a biology or biochemistry laboratory, you probably already heard about ELISA. You may have even used it. But do you know what’s behind it? And how you can improve it? Let me guide you through the basics of ELISA, and introduce you to my favorite ELISA technique—AlphaLISA. First Things First… So, […]

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In Protein Expression & Analysis 17th of January, 2017
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Hydrodynamic Focusing in Flow Cytometry

If you have sorted samples or phenotyped cells by surface expression of proteins, you’ve probably wondered how each cell is sorted or phenotyped in a flow cytometer? This question seems trivial, but in reality it took a while for engineers to figure it out. Before I get into today’s topic on “hydrodynamic focusing,” I’ll walk […]

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In Flow Cytometry 10th of January, 2017
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Multiplex Cytometric Bead Array: The ABCs of CBAs

Multi-parameter data acquisition is key to the modern era of science research. I, for one, wish every single experiment that I design would give me the maximum amount of information. For example, in cell biology and immunology, we want to capture as much information (be it cytokines/hormones/chemokines) as possible about a given cell population. Of […]

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In Flow Cytometry 13th of December, 2016
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Analyzing Cell Signaling with Flow Cytometry: Go with the Flow

Phosphorylation Equals Cell Signaling! How do cells communicate and respond to their environmental cues? This question has been on the hot list for scientists ever since the discovery of the cell. Cells use signaling cascades based on biochemical reactions to deliver or receive messages. How cool is that? The major secret of cell signaling was […]

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In Flow Cytometry 11th of October, 2016
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Choosing the Right E. coli Strain for Transformation

Cloning, purifying, and expressing modified genetic material is routinely done in microbes such as Escherichia coli (E.coli). Relatives of this molecular biology workhorse normally live in the intestinal track of humans. The particular E. coli strain (K-12) that scientists use all over the world was isolated from the feces of a diphtheria patient in 1922.1 […]

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In DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis 29th of September, 2016
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A Biologist’s Guide to Choosing Your Fluorophore Palette

You may notice that nature is full of vibrant, even fluorescent, colors. The human eye detects wavelengths ranging from 390-700 nm and our perception of colors is actually a narrow part of the light spectrum. Other organisms can detect color from a wider spectrum. Why do colors exist? Arguably, colors are communicative, from tropical fish […]

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In Flow Cytometry, Microscopy & Imaging 1st of September, 2016
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How to Make Your Own Chemically-Competent Cells

I once had the terrible experience of not being able to run an assay because I ran out of commercial stock of transformation-competent Escherichia coli (E.coli). From that day, I learned to make my own chemically-competent cells in the lab. I recommend that everyone makes their own stash of transformation-competent E.coli stocks—among other suggested laboratory […]

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In DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis 31st of August, 2016
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Top 5 Tricks for Using FlowJo

Are you planning to do cellular immunology research?  Then chances are you will be introduced to the flow cytometer –  “a modern immunologist’s best friend.” This modern magic box is a highly versatile machine packed with cutting-edge fluidics and photonics (lasers). Combined with the monoclonal antibodies conjugated to fluorochromes capable of emitting light signals from a […]

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In Flow Cytometry 9th of August, 2016