Emily Crow's Profile

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5 Sure-Fire Ways to Screw Up Your RNA extraction

Working with RNA is definitely an acquired skill.  It’s a lot more finicky than working with DNA, and requires careful attention to detail in order to avoid disastrous through RNase contamination.  Here are a few common ways to lose your hard-earned RNA:  1. Don’t keep everything on ice Keeping the temperature of all of your reagents cool is […]

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In DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis 22nd of August, 2011
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How to Get Perfect Protein Transfer in Western Blotting

Accurate transfer of proteins from the SDS-PAGE gel to your membrane is an important step in Western blotting.  However, optimizing transfer times is hit-or-miss, and it can take several tries to get a publication-worthy image.  Here are a few hints on how to ensure that your transfer is accurate and complete: Always include a pre-stained […]

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In Protein Expression & Analysis 16th of August, 2011
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10 Things You Need to Know About Restriction Enzymes

Restriction enzymes are a basic tool in the molecular biologist’s arsenal.  They’re super easy to use, and virtually essential for cloning and other applications.  Restriction enzymes are also a great example of a perfect “tool” from nature that scientists have co-opted for their own use.  Here are a few fun facts about restriction enzymes that […]

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In DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis 15th of August, 2011
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Tips for Constructing Lab Databases in Excel

Good organization is essential for keeping a lab in good running order.  Databases of strains, plasmids, primers, and stocks are useful for keeping track of your materials, and allow your work to be continued easily after you’ve left the lab.  In this article, I’ll talk about a few tools in Microsoft Excel that will make […]

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In Organization & Productivity 8th of August, 2011
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5 Ways to Destroy Your Yeast Transformation

Transforming yeast with DNA is a very similar process to transforming E. coli, but with just enough differences to trip you up if you let your attention slip.  Whether you’re doing a yeast two-hybrid screen, or using yeast as a model system, here are a some mistakes to to avoid… 1. Forgetting to add single […]

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In Cells and Model Organisms 27th of July, 2011
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How Good Is Your Sterile Technique?

Virtually every research scientist has a use for sterile technique in the lab, whether you study infectious microorganisms, do tissue culture, or use E. coli for cloning. Good sterile technique is a basic lab skill required to avoid contamination of your materials and experiments; and fortunately, the principles are simple to learn and easy to […]

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In Cells and Model Organisms 28th of April, 2011
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5 Ways to Destroy Your Western Blot

Western blotting is a common lab technique used to detect and analyze proteins. It also happens to be a really long and complicated procedure, with many steps along the way that are easy to mess up. How do you make sure that your Western blot is successful? Avoid the following five ways to destroy your […]

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In Protein Expression & Analysis 30th of March, 2011
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5 ways to destroy your agarose gel

Pouring and running an agarose gel is a simple and routine procedure that you probably learned soon after joining your first lab. A procedure that couldn’t possibly go wrong. Or so you’d think. In fact, there are a surprising number of ways to destroy your agarose gel. Here are some of my favorites: 1. Use […]

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Should children ever be in the lab?

Have you ever brought your children to the lab, or found your colleagues’ kids running around unexpectedly?  A research lab is a risky place to bring a kid, considering all the potential hazards.  In the UK, Health and Safety laws explicitly forbid the presence of children in the lab, because it is such a dangerous […]

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In Lab Safety 11th of March, 2011
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Review articles: yea or nay?

I’ve written two review articles over the course of my graduate career, and read many many more…but I have to say, I’m not that convinced about their usefulness.  As an author, I don’t really feel like I’m contributing anything new to the field, and as a reader, I find that the questions I have often […]

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In Writing, Publishing & Presenting 14th of February, 2011