Dr. Karen O’Hanlon Cohrt

Karen hails from Ireland, where she obtained an Honours Bachelor Degree in Biological Sciences and a PhD in Biotechnology before relocating to Denmark in 2011. She has a strong and broad research background, developed through a decade of work in various academic and startup labs in Ireland and Denmark. During a research career that spanned 10 years, Karen worked with yeast, filamentous fungi, bacteria, plants, moth larvae and mammalian cells, and has tried her hand at everything from Sanger sequencing to genetically modifying disease-causing fungi. Karen has always loved learning, asking questions and sharing knowledge with others – attributes that motivate her to write about many aspects of science for everyone from scientists to the next-door neighbour. She was a writer and editor with Bitesize Bio from 2014 until 2018. When she’s not writing or running around after her two kids, she is either designing knitwear or obsessing about flowers!

Articles by Dr. Karen O’Hanlon Cohrt

More About Microbes: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly!

In a previous article, we took a quick journey through the wonderful world of microbes. Let’s take a step back now and have a closer look at the benefits of microbes. We will also look at reasons to avoid many of them. For example, the ‘plague’ which is caused by a particularly nasty bacteria called…

Introducing You to the Wonderful World of Microbes!

Introducing You to the Wonderful World of Microbes!

Welcome to the microbe series where we have a very exciting line-up planned over the coming months. Here we will talk about everything microbial, including the uses of microbes in industry and medicine, emerging pathogens, diagnostics, and much, much more! Let’s kick off this series with an introduction into these wonderful, yet sometimes nasty, organisms…

Mysterious Plant miRNAs: What About Them?

Mysterious Plant miRNAs: What About Them?

Welcome to the last article in this series! Last, but by no means least, we will look at the importance of plant miRNAs and how they differ from their animal counterparts. When/How Were Plant miRNAs Discovered? Plant miRNAs were first described in 2002, a decade after the seminal miRNA study in the nematode C. elegans…

Mysterious miRNA: Identifying miRNAs and Their Targets

Mysterious miRNA: Identifying miRNAs and Their Targets

In my first article on this topic we delved into what miRNAs are, how they are generated, and their function. Now, we are going to discuss how to identify miRNAs and their targets. Why Do You Want to Look at Something So Small Anyhow? miRNAs play a crucial role in most physiological processes. It’s not…

Understanding Plasmid Incompatibility

Understanding Plasmid Incompatibility

Welcome to the last article in the series on E. coli origins of replication where we will touch upon plasmid incompatibility! This is a broad and complicated topic so we will mainly focus on points that might be relevant for you in the lab. What is Plasmid Incompatibility? Plasmid incompatibility is usually defined as the…

qPCR: RNA Quality and Why It Matters

qPCR: RNA Quality and Why It Matters

Gene expression analysis plays a pivotal role in a wide range of studies, including biomedical analysis and diagnostics. Of all the methods available for gene expression analysis, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) is the most rapid, sensitive, and accurate to measure mRNA, and its use in clinical diagnostics is rising steadily. RNA quality entails both purity and…

pUC18 – Probably the Best High-Copy plasmid in the World!

pUC18 – Probably the Best High-Copy plasmid in the World!

Today I would like to introduce you to pUC18, a plasmid most noted for its high copy number. In the first article in this series, we talked about how origins of replication (ori) control plasmid replication and copy number. To learn about this, we focused on the pBR22 ori and the role of Rop protein in…

Polymerase chain reaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA)

Polymerase chain reaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA)

As researchers, we are constantly on the lookout for new and improved ways to analyze, detect and quantify our favorite protein or gene. Luckily, we don’t always need to reinvent the wheel! PCR-ELISA is a good example of where two commonly used techniques have been merged together to create a very powerful analytical tool. What…

Article Series: E.coli Plasmid Origins of Replication: The Origin

Article Series: E.coli Plasmid Origins of Replication: The Origin

The literature is bursting at the seams with information about plasmids, sequences, origins of replication and more, and it can be overwhelming to sift through everything (at least for me!) when all you want is to find out a simple fact about your plasmid of choice!! This series of 3 articles aims to take a…

Getting the Most Out of Your Column: Optimizing Your HPLC Gradient

Getting the Most Out of Your Column: Optimizing Your HPLC Gradient

Let’s imagine the following scenario: You are researching a biosynthetic pathway in your favorite fungus. You know that this pathway produces a family of toxic compounds, and you want to see if you can block this pathway (or parts of it) with an antifungal drug. You have a control (no antifungal) and samples that have…

How You Can Use HPLC In Your Research

How You Can Use HPLC In Your Research

If you’re an HPLC guru, then you probably think that everyone should be using HPLC.  And you might have a point – HPLC is very powerful and has broad applications across many fields.  But it isn’t the answer to every problem. HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) is used to separate mixtures of compounds based on their…

Running You Through HPLC:  How Does it Work?

Running You Through HPLC: How Does it Work?

Your advisor tells you that he wants you to use HPLC to analyze your compound. You know that you’ve heard of this technique before, but you can’t remember what HPLC stands for, let alone how to go about doing it! We’ve all been there, though. Fear not! In this article, we will remind you about…

Running You Through HPLC:  How Does it Work?

Running You Through HPLC: How Does it Work?

Your advisor tells you that he wants you to use HPLC to analyze your compound. You know you’ve heard of this technique before, but you can’t remember what HPLC stands for, let alone how to go about doing it! We’ve all been there, and I bet you wish you had paid more attention in that…