Cristy Gelling's Profile

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Join the club: Ten benefits of joining a professional scientific society

If you already spend all day hanging out with other scientists, the last thing you might feel like doing is joining a professional scientific society. With today’s shrinking budgets, you might also start to question whether this line on your CV is worth the membership dues. However, joining societies has many career benefits in addition […]

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10 Uses for a PhD Thesis

Earning a PhD is something to be proud of. It represents years of hard work and an original contribution to science. And yet, the main product of this labor is a very large, rather dull book that gathers dust on a bookshelf. You will never read it again, nor will your labmates or even your […]

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In PhD Survival 22nd of October, 2012
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Which Type of Ethanol Should I Use?

Ethanol is super useful. It’s great for killing bugs, setting things on fire, and forcing nucleic acids out of solution. But not all ethanol is created equal, and not all kinds of ethanol are suitable for every task. To help you make sense of your flammables cabinet, here’s the rundown on the grades of ethanols […]

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How to Clean a Waterbath (When You Can’t Avoid it Any Longer)

There’s something disconcerting about going to incubate a sensitive and irreplaceable sample in a water bath, only to be confronted by the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Unfortunately, water baths are an inviting habitat for all kinds of life, are often shared by many users, and are a perennially unpopular item to clean.  To help […]

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In Equipment Mastery & Hacks 20th of April, 2012
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Make Better Figures Faster Using Illustrator

Against the advice of journals and printers, many scientists use Microsoft Powerpoint to assemble posters and figures. You should consider upgrading to Adobe Illustrator! For generating scientific figures, Illustrator is more powerful and flexible than Powerpoint and is designed to produce print documents at high quality resolution. This means that journals will stop sending your […]

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In Writing, Publishing & Presenting 6th of February, 2012
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How To Make Figures Right The First Time

Collecting the data took several years, writing the paper took several months, assembling the figures took several weeks, and converting those figures to PDFs took a frustratingly long day. You waited a month for the paper to come back from review, then two months re-doing experiments to satisfy a sadistic reviewer. Finally, your paper is […]

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In Writing, Publishing & Presenting 30th of January, 2012
avoid RSI thumb with correct pipetting technique read on

Danger: You Might be Pipetting Yourself Out of a Job

You might be proud of your pipetting skills (if not, check this article on how to stop pipetting errors from ruining your experiments) and be churning out data faster than a liquid handling robot, but beware… you might also be pipetting yourself out of a job. I almost did. Pain due to pipetting is common. […]

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In Lab Safety 23rd of November, 2011
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How to transfer one SDS-PAGE gel onto two membranes

Have you ever wished you could transfer the same SDS-PAGE gel twice? Sometimes, when you are blotting for many different proteins of similar size, stripping and reprobing multiple times can become impractical.  Here’s a simple diffusion transfer method that can be used to generate duplicate membranes from a single gel: Take a glass plate, or […]

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In Protein Expression & Analysis 24th of October, 2011
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Train Yourself to Measure OD600 by Eye: An Improved Approach

Back in August I shared my training regimen for guesstimating the OD­600 readings of microbial cultures with superhuman accuracy. Although my method is effective, I will admit that it has two shortcomings: you need to make a separate standard curve for each container type, and guesstimation is not an officially sanctioned scientific method. But now, […]

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In Cells and Model Organisms 10th of October, 2011
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Why You Should waste time chatting at work

Sometimes, you just need to put your head down and get some work done.  But if you spend 100% of your work time in that intensely focused state that most people only find when under the threat of a deadline, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. That’s because although everyone needs to be […]

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In Dealing with Fellow Scientists 26th of September, 2011