Dr Nick Oswald's Profile

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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 […]

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In Protein Expression & Analysis 2nd of February, 2015
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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 […]

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In PhD Survival 29th of December, 2014
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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 […]

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In Organization & Productivity 17th of December, 2014
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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? […]

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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 […]

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In Fun Stuff 1st of December, 2014
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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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In Protein Expression & Analysis 19th of August, 2013
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The MetaMorph Super-Resolution System: Expanding Your Imaging Capabilities

In 1873, Ernst Abbe made the discovery that the resolution of widefield optical microscopy is limited by the diffraction of light. This means that object details spatially smaller than 200 nm are not readily discernible by light microscopy. This poses an obvious limit to the study of many biological problems at the cellular level. Looking […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 23rd of May, 2013