Kristen Haberthur

University of Portland
Kristen is a biomedical research scientist by trade with a PhD in Viral Immunology. Enthusiastic science communicator and teacher. Currently adjunct faculty in the Department of Biology at the University of Portland.

Articles by Kristen Haberthur

Decisions, Decisions: How to Choose the Best qPCR Probe for Your Experiment

Decisions, Decisions: How to Choose the Best qPCR Probe for Your Experiment

Before we go any further, we have to get some things straightened out: RT-PCR versus qPCR versus RT-qPCR. Sooo confusing, amirite?? They all refer to specific molecular biology assays, but the names are unfortunately used interchangeably, which can be awfully confusing for just about anyone. So without further ado: RT-PCR is short for reverse-transcriptase PCR,…

Brefeldin A v Monensin: How to Hunt for Proteins

Brefeldin A v Monensin: How to Hunt for Proteins

As any good biologist knows, one of the easiest ways to determine if a cell is functionally active is the production and secretion of proteins in response to a stimulus. In many circumstances, the quantity of the secreted protein, and thus the level of cellular activation can be assessed by ELISA. However, if you are…

Sheath Pressure: Nozzle Size Does Matter

Sheath Pressure: Nozzle Size Does Matter

Hello again, fellow Flow Cytometry Fan! It looks like you have your experiment all planned out, including staining protocols and gating schemes, and are ready to get some paradigm-shifting data. But before we start “plugging-and-chugging” samples through your cytometer of choice, we need to make sure that the nozzle size and sheath pressure are set…

Get Your Polymerase Cycling Assembly Oligos Together

Get Your Polymerase Cycling Assembly Oligos Together

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the backbone of many lab techniques. In short, it allows for the exponential amplification of a specific segment of DNA. Through the use of primers encoding restriction enzyme sites, these amplified fragments are used in downstream cloning procedures, usually leading to the insertion of one, maybe two, PCR fragments…

Are You any Less of a Scientist after You Transition to Non-Bench Science?: Opinion

Are You any Less of a Scientist after You Transition to Non-Bench Science?: Opinion

In this ever-evolving world, scientists in “alternative”, non-academic positions are more commonplace than ever. Gone are the days where ideas of leaving bench science would label you as a “sell-out”. Now there is a push to support every scientist, regardless of their goals. Whatever the reason for this shift in opinion, be it the realization…

The Difference Between an Image, Flow, Time-lapse and Cell-sorting Cytometer

The Difference Between an Image, Flow, Time-lapse and Cell-sorting Cytometer

Ah, cell counting — it’s the oldest trick in the book! Well, not really, but people have been developing methods for counting cells since the late 1800s. It has been around for a while. But what different methodologies are available to biologists now? Well, hold on, because you’re in for a treat! In this article, we…

How Fluorescent Molecules Work

How Fluorescent Molecules Work

Fluorescence is one of the most important and useful tools in a biologist’s toolbox. In biology, nearly every field, from physiology to immunology, uses fluorescent molecules (aka fluorophores) to detect proteins. However, the specific science behind how fluorescence works can be confusing or overlooked. Have no fear! In this article, we break down key points of…

Transitioning out of the Lab: B­­­­reaking up Is Hard to Do

Transitioning out of the Lab: B­­­­reaking up Is Hard to Do

Working in a research lab is not a normal job. The hours are often unconventional and the tasks can run from exciting to mundane—it’s a world all of its own. Even so, your loyalty to your field and people is unmatched; there is a level of comradery you experience that is unlike any other. This…

The Art of Scientific Authorship: Political Science

The Art of Scientific Authorship: Political Science

The elusive manuscript. It’s what we, as scientists, build our kingdoms on—throwing ourselves into our research, hoping to feel our time in the sun when it all comes to fruition in the form of that glorious body of work. But…what how do you determine who should share in that sunshine? Should you always put your…

The History and Future of Fluorescent Labels: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

The History and Future of Fluorescent Labels: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

If you’ve been keeping up with our recent series of articles, welcome back! If not, you can catch up on how fluorescence works or what not to do with your flow experiment. In short, we have been discussing fluorescent labels and their role in flow cytometry. Today, I’ll round out our discussion by touching on…

Corralling Your Cells: How to Gate in Flow Cytometry

Corralling Your Cells: How to Gate in Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry. Some people love it—most hate it—but all can agree that it is one of the most powerful analytical tools immunologists possess. Here’s a quick refresher: as the name suggests, flow cytometry measures the physical and chemical characteristics of cells. This is accomplished by fluorescently labeling cell surface markers/proteins using antibodies conjugated to fluorophores….

Lighting the Way: Understanding Flow Cytometry Fluorophores

Lighting the Way: Understanding Flow Cytometry Fluorophores

As science is becoming more interdisciplinary, the tools we use to answer questions are also crossing party lines. Case in point: flow cytometry. Once a tool only used by “real” immunologists, flow cytometry is fast becoming a method by which numerous questions can be answered, from the length of a cell’s telomeres, to the state…

Science Outreach: Why Should You Care?

Science Outreach: Why Should You Care?

All scientists should be involved in some aspect of outreach. There. I said it. I know, I know. This goes completely against why most scientists pursued their careers in the first place: to dedicate their lives to discovery, and to do so alone. With minimal human interaction, especially with non-scientists. Why You Should Reach Out…

How to Destroy your Flow Cytometry Data in 3 Easy Steps: Snap, Crackle, and Pop

How to Destroy your Flow Cytometry Data in 3 Easy Steps: Snap, Crackle, and Pop

While many scientists are methodical and precise, some of us like to live on the edge. Read a protocol all the way through? No thanks, I’ll take my chances and guess what concentration of HCl I should use. Label my tubes with the correct content? Puh-lease – it’s much more exciting deducing which is which…

Catching Greatness: Measuring Cellular Degranulation

Catching Greatness: Measuring Cellular Degranulation

One of the key characteristics of cytotoxic cells (i.e. CD8+ T cells, natural killer cells) is the presence of pre-formed cytoplasmic lysosomal granules. These structures house perforin and granzyme; two molecules that are essential for the lysis of target cells. Upon effector cell activation, granules are polarized toward the target cell and the contents are…