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:

Cell Culture: a Case of Mistaken Identity

While working in a UK university, I met a researcher who loved Italy much more than the UK. I asked her why she had left her favourite country. She told me that before coming to the UK, she had a 2-year fellowship in Italy where she was getting some promising results and had the chance…

20 Apr 2015 Cells and Model Organisms

Banish the Background with Toxin–antitoxin Cloning Systems

One of the most annoying traits of “classical cloning” is an imperfect system of discriminating between the clones containing an empty vector and vector with insert after cloning. Even when your self-ligation control plate is empty, you can have a lot of colonies containing an empty vector on the “vector + insert” plate. Even the blue-white…

16 Feb 2015 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Assembling the Puzzle: Cloning with Compatible Cohesive Ends

Consider a jigsaw puzzle. While most of the pieces have a different picture on their surface, all pieces fit together in an interlocking pattern. As unlikely as it may seem, restriction enzymes from different organisms can produce interlocking pieces of DNA – so called compatible cohesive ends (CCE). These are pieces of DNA, which fit…

17 Oct 2014 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Look Ma, No Kit!: A DIY Method for Isolating Yeast Genomic DNA

I recently moved to a different research institute and was happy to discover that my new lab had not one but several different kits for yeast genomic DNA isolation. I like trying new kits and protocols. I especially like trying new kits when they promise, like the Olympics, to yield results that are “Swifter, Higher,…

08 Oct 2014 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

A Sneak Peak at ‘The Bitesize Bio Guide to Protein Expression’ – a Bitesize Bio eBook

If I piqued your interest in the first post about my new e-Book ‘The Bitesize Bio Guide to Protein Expression – a Bitesize Bio eBook’ check out this excerpt from the book explaining what an expression system is and how to choose the right one.  What is an expression system anyway? There was a time…

23 Sep 2014 Protein Expression & Analysis

Have I Got Good Protein Expression News for You

While the art of reading hand poured sequencing gels is forgotten as the next generation sequencers spit out genome after genome, protein expression still often requires sweat, tears and a lot of luck. I think this happens not because there is something different about protein expression in comparison with sequencing, but because people do not…

21 Sep 2014 Protein Expression & Analysis

Stand By Your Poster

A lot of scientists hate presenting posters. Because more often than not, you stand near your carefully designed, full of great results placard, all alone, while there is a crowd gathered two posters down. There are some conclusions you could come to: You might think that the popular poster author’s work is brilliant – unlike…

08 Sep 2014 Writing, Publishing & Presenting

Dpn I The Strange

If you ever used a site-directed mutagenesis kit or ligation-independent cloning, then you also used restriction enzyme Dpn I. But what does it do and more interestingly, why? Restriction enzymes and methylases: the yin and yang of bacteria Usual restriction enzymes, the toolkit of genetic engineering, are one half of the “yin and yang” pair…

15 Aug 2014 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Seven Frivolous Reasons Not to Attend a Conference

Scientific conferences are a peculiar throwback to XIX century, when bearded white men in wool suits were meeting in ale houses to discuss the latest experiment they did at home – once. In our time of instant communication and telepresence, conferences are obsolete and I’ll tell you why. 1. The main reason not to go…

13 Aug 2014 Fun Stuff

Kick Start Your Research With Crowdfunding!

Like most scientists, you rely on grant monies to fund your research. Sustaining it depends on your ability to devise promising new ideas, collect new data and show proof-of-concept before writing another proposal to keep the cycle going. Only the best-of-the-best pilot projects seem to make the cut for experimentation when scarce lab funds are…

06 Aug 2014 Inspiring & Thought Provoking

Shooting Trouble During Cloning

As frustration goes, cloning is often up there with trying to thread a camel through the eye of a needle. You do everything carefully: prepare your vector and fragment DNA, cut them as the restriction enzyme manufacturer instructs (complete digest in five minutes!), ligate, transform and go home in anticipation of a good number of…

04 Jul 2014 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Tips for Heating up Agar in the Microwave

One of our readers posted the following question to us and we decided to pass it along to everybody’s favorite microbiology expert, Aunt Yersinia: For one year I am working in different research laboratories, after I got from school. I keep wondering why EVERYBODY is using pre-made Agar solutions for pouring plates, and EVERYBODY is…

17 Feb 2014 Basic Lab Skills & Know-how

Open Access Vultures

If ideas are born as a heresy and die as superstition, many enterprises are born for the bettering of humanity and serve as a source of scam at a later stage. For example, a couple of years ago Amazon was full of 30-40 page ‘books’ on obscure topics such as 18th century shipbuilding.  When a…

15 Jan 2014 Uncategorized

My favorite laboratory Freebie

I love free stuff. Maybe it’s because I am from the former Soviet Union, where there wasn’t enough stuff around, let alone free. Or maybe a little happiness about getting something for nothing is universal, but I am still amazed that companies are giving away things – whether they are useful, not so useful and…

09 Dec 2013 Equipment Mastery & Hacks

How to scale up a PCR reaction

Scientific creativity and repetitive tasks do not go well together.  There is nothing worse than having to repeat the same task over and over again – I know somebody who quit science because of this and became a castle curator. So how do you minimise the amount of one of the most repetitive tasks –…

02 Dec 2013 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

What makes a good collaborator?

In its beginning science was a solitary pursuit: most of the papers in scientific journals prior to the 20th century have just one author.However, the change in scientific culture from “publish when you are really sure about the results” –(it took Darwin many years after he wrote The Origin of Species  to publish it) –…

11 Nov 2013 Dealing with Fellow Scientists

Focus on Isoelectric Focusing

Isoelectric focusing electrophoresis (IEF) of proteins is nowhere near as popular as its cousin – sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis aka SDS-PAGE. While in both methods the proteins are denatured, IEF is a gel-based electrophoretic separation of proteins using difference in their overall charges. The sodium dodecyl sulphate – SDS part of the usual gel…

21 Oct 2013 Protein Expression & Analysis

How to Odentify Protein Motifs from Protein Sequences

Wouldn’t it be great to put your nucleotide sequence into a program and get back a 3D-structure of your protein and a full description of its functions? In theory, because the protein 3D-structure is determined by the aminoacid sequence, given the right algorithm and a powerful enough computer, this should be simple.  In practice, because…

07 Oct 2013 Protein Expression & Analysis

Do science and copyright mix? (or: if you love your writing, set it free)

American academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig  argues that digital technologies allow all of us to change from passive consumers of culture to the its creators. Producing books, newspapers and movies in the 20th century required a lot investment into manufacturing and distribution, which made most of the population unable to take part in a…

30 Sep 2013 Writing, Publishing & Presenting

Bad Reference? It’s Not the End of Your Science Career

The conventional sequence for getting a new job in science (or anywhere else) goes like this: 1) Apply for job 2) Get an interview 3) Ace the interview 4) Pray that your references hold up. So if you had a bad relationship with your last boss, you’re in trouble. Because no matter how well you…

18 Sep 2013 Career Development & Networking