Nick Oswald

I started Bitesize Bio on a Macbook on my kitchen table in 2007 while in my 7th year of working as a molecular biologist in biotech. My aim was to share the know-how that I had acquired from the school of hard-knocks in the lab, so that others could learn from my mistakes and small victories. Nowadays my mission is to facilitate the gathering of hardcore know-how from whole spectrum of bioscientists and share it here on Bitesize Bio to create a super-mentor that any bioscientist can turn to for much-needed guidance.

Articles by Nick Oswald:

DIY Electrocompetent E. coli

If you buy competent E.coli regularly, you’ll know that they are pretty expensive. So the cost of screwing up a cloning or transformation experiment is pretty high in terms of money, as well as your time and sanity! But you don’t need this extra worry because despite what their high commercial cost would suggest, making…

02 Feb 2015 Protein Expression & Analysis

10 Do’s and Don’ts for PhD Students

My PhD is rapidly becoming a distant memory. Before nostalgia completely obscures my recollections of this chapter of my career, I thought I’d jot down some pointers for prospective and current PhD students. These are mainly based on things I wish I had done during my PhD, or mistakes I have seen others make. I…

29 Dec 2014 PhD Survival

20 Ways to Increase your Productivity

No matter how efficient you are, it’s always possible to improve your productivity and improving your productivity means that you get more of the rewards you are trying to obtain: results, publications… or dare I say it, money. Here are 20 ways to improve your productivity. Some are focussed toward improving the productivity of bench…

17 Dec 2014 Organization & Productivity

DNA Ligation: How it Works

It takes a real effort to keep your basic knowledge of molecular and cell biology fresh, in addition to everything else you have to do. Wouldn’t it be great to if there was a place where you could find easy-to-read articles that allow you to brush-up on those basics in just a couple of minutes?…

05 Dec 2014 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Sleigh or Wormhole: Has Santa’s Delivery Method Evolved?

We all know the traditional Christmas Eve scene of Santa flying in his sleigh through the crisp night air, pulled by his troop of reindeers. Over the years, debate has raged in the scientific community as to just how he could be pulling off this feat. We still don’t know how he does it. But…

01 Dec 2014 Fun Stuff

Stop Pushing, Start Enjoying and Get Better Results at the Bench (and in Your Life)

Most of the time, research (and life!) can feel like a struggle. Constant deadlines, incessant demands, pressure to get results, grants, job, publications – and dealing with irritating colleagues and bosses. You know what I mean. The struggle saps your energy, and removes the color from your life. It reduces your capacity to focus on your…

24 Nov 2014 Inspiring & Thought Provoking&Personal Development

The Basics: How Alkaline Lysis Works

Alkaline lysis was first described by Birnboim and Doly in 1979 (Nucleic Acids Res. 7, 1513-1523) and has, with a few modifications, been the preferred method for plasmid DNA extraction from bacteria ever since. The easiest way to describe how alkaline lysis works is to go through the procedure and explain each step, so here…

08 Oct 2014 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How to: Get Better Plasmid midiprep Yields

I get many people complaining to me about poor DNA yields from commercial plasmid plasmid prep kits. In this article I will explain the main pitfalls in plasmid isolation and how to avoid them.

12 May 2014 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Breaking Up is (Not That) Hard to Do: Sonication for Cell Lysis

To answer some of the more interesting research questions, you often need to get a good look at what’s going on inside the cell. Whether you’re running a Western blot or measuring enzyme activity, many assays require access to the materials (e.g. proteins, DNA, subcellular fragments) contained within the cell walls. There are several ways…

19 Aug 2013 Protein Expression & Analysis

One Part Science, Two Parts Murder: A Book Review of “The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York” by Deborah Blum

The canonical motto in Toxicology is ‘the dose makes the poison.’ That is, enough of anything can kill you. But, as Deborah Blum notes in the end of her book, “poison by water doesn’t unnerve us. The real scare comes from those elements and compounds whose toxicity is measured in drips and drops.” In The…

15 May 2013 Inspiring & Thought Provoking