Judith R. Brouwer's Profile

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Book Review: Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre

With a subtitle that says ‘How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients’ you’re hardly expecting a comedy. Shockingly: on page 5 Ben Goldacre already dissolves all hopes that it might not be as bad as the title suggests, by saying: ‘… it is so deep-rooted that even if we fixed it today – right […]

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Book review: D.T. Max: The family that couldn’t sleep: a medical mystery

Imagine: you are an average middle-aged relatively healthy person. One day you start sweating. When you look at yourself in the mirror you see that your pupils have shrunk to pinpricks. You have noticed some constipation and the impotence is new to you as well (if you are a man, that is. If you are […]

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Scientists: Can any of us REALLY multi-task?

Unlike Nick Oswald I think I can multitask in the lab. If I organize my day efficiently and perform lots of experiments and other tasks in parallel, I get more done. But there is a school of thought – the one described in Nick’s article – that says no-one can really multitask, that our brains […]

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In Personal Development 25th of March, 2013
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Why do relatively few women rise to the top in academia?

Fact: The vast majority of professors are male. By the time you reach the top of the ladder, only roughly 20% of professors are female In most European countries and in quite a few countries the figure lingers around a depressing 15%. Biosciences are no exception. The balance is being redressed but only very slowly. […]

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How to Screen for CpG Methylation by Methylation Specific PCR

In a recent article, I gave some tips about how to obtain good results with sequencing DNA after bisulfite conversion (it contains some tips that apply to the approach described in this article, too). Bisulfite sequencing is a very useful technique if you want to know the methylation status of every CpG in your genomic […]

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In PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR 30th of January, 2013
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7 Tips for Preparing Chromatin for ChIP from Tissues (Rather than Cells)

A commonly used technique in epigenetics is Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, or ChIP for short. This technique can show you whether a certain protein (e.g. transcription factor or histone modification) binds to DNA, when in its native conformation, namely chromatin. Insightful, but difficult This information can be very insightful, but difficult to obtain. Most protocols and suggestions […]

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In Genomics & Epigenetics 24th of January, 2013
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10 Ways to Improve Your Bisulfite Sequencing Results

The importance of epigenetics in biology is increasingly acknowledged (if you’re not convinced yet, read my crash course). One commonly studied epigenetic mark is CpG methylation: cytosines that are directly followed by a guanine nucleotide (indicated by CpG), can be methylated, unlike non-CpG Cs. Since attachment of a methyl group to a cytosine can affect […]

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In Genomics & Epigenetics 18th of January, 2013
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The Pressure to Publish and Scientific Misconduct

Every once in a while a big case of scientific fraud reaches public attention. Does that mean these well-known cases are exceptions, a few rotten apples…or might the rest of the fruit bowl also be affected? A major part of a scientist’s work is to secure funding for future research. Obtaining funding is strongly connected […]

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Book Review: “In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind”, by Eric R. Kandel

We tend to take textbook knowledge for granted, but once upon a time these ‘facts’ were still to be discovered. Eric R. Kandel (1929) witnessed and importantly contributed to this small-step-by-small-step process in the field of neuroscience. His work culminated in being awarded the Nobel Prize in 2000, for unraveling the physiological basis of memory […]

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In Inspiring & Thought Provoking 23rd of November, 2012
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Research is Stressful: What Can We Learn From Science?

Everybody seems busy nowadays, and for many of us, this results in stress. Scientific research in particular is a highly stressful occupation. Perhaps in reaction to this phenomenon, more and more scientists are starting to explore the biological aspects of stress. Since there’s a good chance that you will run into stressful situations in your […]

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In Personal Development 5th of November, 2012