Vicki Doronina

Vicki did her PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Edinburgh. She had been working as a postdoc in several Russel group UK universities, while honing her skills in scientific and creative writing. She is now a pen for hire. Check out my proudest achievement, which may be useful for you: The BiteSizeBio Guide for Protein expression

Articles by Vicki Doronina:

Flashing Red Signs During a Job Interview

In all the stress of having a job interview, it’s easy to forget that it takes more than one to tango. In fact, a job interview is like a new flat mate interview. While your prospective boss and colleagues are interviewing you and assessing your fit for the lab, you should also keep your eyes…

23 Aug 2017 Personal Development&Survive & Thrive

The Sandwich Technique: How to Dish Out Critique

How time flies. One day you are giving your first presentation in front of your fellow students, seemingly the next you are listening to a presentation by your own student. And frankly, the talk is awful. It’s twice the time limit, the student weaves around the topic as a drunken sailor, and she acknowledges her…

19 Jul 2017 Dealing with Fellow Scientists

Top 5 of the most commonly used cell lines!

Cell lines are an invaluable scientific tool. They allow us to dissect the internal workings of tissues in a controlled environment without the ethical implications of working with whole organisms. Starting with the first successful immortal cell line HeLa, the number of available cell lines has since diversified into a plethora of options. Just like model…

13 Apr 2017 Cells and Model Organisms

Setting up a Fermentation or Perpetuum Mobile Cell Culture

Some names are confusing. For example, ant-lion is not an ant – or a lion. Likewise, fermentation in the scientific sense does not involve using a ferment or brewing beer. In science, fermentation is the setting up of a long-term culture of eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells. Fermentation is invaluable in providing a steady flow of…

10 Apr 2017 Cells and Model Organisms

How to Use Proteases to Purposefully Digest Proteins

In this article I will not talk about ‘wild’ proteases, which destroy cellular proteins in your lysates like wolves destroy sheep. Instead, I’ll be talking about the shepherd dog proteases—purified, tame and useful to digest proteins your research. In Protein Research and Crystallization Several programs can predict your protein domains. However, we wet biologists know…

25 Aug 2016 Protein Expression & Analysis

How to Improve Plasmid Yield Using Antibiotics

After the initial excitement of growing and isolating plasmid DNA, routinely preparing plasmid mini/midi/maxi preps gets boring. You definitely want a way to squeeze the maximum amount of plasmid DNA out of your culture. Good news—you can increase your plasmid yield using antibiotics. Keep the Pressure On to Improve Plasmid Yield Remember that you need…

23 Aug 2016 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How to Become a Medical Writer

If there is one profession that benefited from globalization, it is the medical writer. While the university research groups shrink and global biomedical companies fire their research stuff, medical writing companies are expanding, providing stable jobs with good salaries. The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) reported in 2011 that the median salary of an experienced…

08 Aug 2016 Career Development & Networking

The Lab Detective: Finding the Right Blot Detection Method

When it comes to registering the signal output of your Southern/Northern/Western/probe hybridization, you are spoilt for choice these days. You can go all retro and use X-ray film. You can go digital and use a phosphorimager. Finally, you can go fluorescent and use a fluorescence detector. So, what are the pros and cons of each…

09 Jul 2016 Protein Expression & Analysis

How Sweet is Your Protein: Using Enzymes to Study Glycosylation

Most eukaryotic proteins exist as several isoforms, differing in posttranslational modifications, which allows them to perform slightly different functions or the same function under slightly different conditions. A common posttranslational modification of proteins is glycosylation.

09 Jul 2016 Protein Expression & Analysis

Lifecycle of a Scientific Technique

Research laboratory techniques come and go now faster than ever. What is very cool today will not fly even in a thesis tomorrow. This article provides an overview of the method lifecycle.

09 Jul 2016 Fun Stuff

How to Express Proteins Across Kingdoms: Prokaryotes vs Eukaryotes

In the sci-fi novel Terminal World by Alistair Reynolds, a planet consists of zones with defined characteristics of matter interactions on a subatomic level. These conditions permit different levels of technology sophistication in various zones. For example, in the “Steamville zone” nothing more complicated than steam engines works – electronic schemes fuse irreversibly. Something like…

09 Jul 2016 Genomics & Epigenetics

Burning bright: a brief history of ethidium bromide DNA staining

For several decades, Ethidium Bromide (EtBr) was the molecular biologist’s default dye for DNA staining. Now, EtBr is being consigned to the history books. It’s time to have a historical look at where it all started.

09 Jul 2016 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How to Deal with Stress of a Research Project Examination

A scientist’s life is full of stress. An experiment is not working— stress, experiment working but producing results opposite to the previous one— stress, somebody using the last of the reagent you need now— more stress. But these are unexpected stresses, small and overcome easily. The ‘planned stresses’ such as meetings with your supervisor or…

09 Jul 2016 PhD Survival

What To Do About Rust in Your Incubator

Ideally, your tissue culture incubator should be polished stainless steel, gleaming and immaculate like a surgical theatre. And I am sure you keep it in order, like new. It’s just sometimes you start in a lab where the incubators already have brown spots – rust. There’s Rust in My Incubator! Usually rust occurs because of…

09 Jul 2016 Equipment Mastery & Hacks

More Than a Clever Name: Northern Blots

You might think Northern Blots are an old-fashioned technique. However, qRT-PCR is prone to false positives and negatives, and reviewers may require Northern Blot confirmation of your qRT-PCR results. So sometimes Northern Blots are a necessary evil.

09 Jul 2016 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Sanger Sequencing: How the Genome Was Won

I’ve never run a sequencing gel in my life, but people around me did, and they spent a lot of time on getting it just right. Although the principle described by Sanger in 1975 sounds straightforward (1), sequencing gels are very long and very thin – less than a millimeter thick! They were easy to…

09 Jul 2016 Genomics & Epigenetics

Top Tips for Yeast Microscopy

Microscopy is one of the fun parts of working with yeast. If you fix your cells, you can get a snapshot of the structures. Live cells microscopy using fluorescent proteins tagged proteins is even better, as you can see the dynamics and cell machinery working before your own eyes. Light Microscopy to Check for Contamination…

19 May 2015 Microscopy & Imaging

Career Highlight: Technical Officer

An ad about a Technical Officer position is usually nebulous. For example: “The post holder work as part of a technical team and provide both routine and specialist services in support of undergraduate, postgraduate, outreach and revenue-earning activities.” What Does a Technical Officer Do? In fact, a technical officer role can be summarized in two…

18 May 2015 Career Development & Networking

Top Tips on How to Prevent Cell Line Cross-Contamination

Recently we wrote an article about widespread cell culture contamination and how to detect it. This follow-up article will provide practical tips on avoiding cross-contamination in the first place. Be Cautious While Working The first way of cross-contaminating cultures is by accidentally mixing two cultures together, which may lead to an unintended co-culture or the displacement…

22 Apr 2015 Cells and Model Organisms

Gene Synthesis: Cloning of The Future?

I remember the time when elves and wizards walked the Earth and DNA oligonucleotide synthesis was $5 a nucleotide. But the world has changed, nobody thinks twice about ordering an oligo. Whole gene synthesis, which is synthesis of long oligos and their assembly into a very, very long oligo. With prices of around 25–35 cents per…

20 Apr 2015 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis