Dr Nick Oswald

Bitesize Bio
After obtaining his PhD from the Dundee University School of Life Sciences, Nick Oswald moved into to industry, first working in a small team that designed Sophion Bioscience’s prototype Q-Patch system and then developing industrial bioprocesses with Ingenza Ltd. His time at the bench gave him the feeling that a) he would like to move into writing and publishing and b) he had something to offer in helping researchers to share their professional know-how to make science more efficient, more successful, and more enjoyable to be a part of. So while still working in the lab in 2007 he started BitesizeBio.com and began writing about what he knew himself. His first article was titled “5 DNA Ligation Tips” and was quickly followed by further articles about laboratory techniques soft skills and life skills gleaned from his experience in the lab. As researchers found his articles on Google, some came forward to contribute their expertise in articles and so began the growth of Bitesize Bio into the huge and vibrant knowledge-sharing community it is today. Bitesize Bio became Nick’s full-time job in 2010 but prior to that, while growing Bitesize Bio, he cut his teeth in publishing and marketing with stints of work with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press and the journal, Neuroendocrinology. These days Nick is focused on the further growth and improvement of Bitesize Bio as a knowledge-sharing hub, other projects within his company Science Squared Ltd, and assisting biotech companies to market their products and services with genuinely useful educational material via Bitesize Bio and the Life Science Marketing Society.

Articles by Dr Nick Oswald

How To Become A World Expert In Your Field

Only a handful of people ever become world experts in their field. The rest attain somewhere between a functional and world expert level of knowledge. So what makes the best better than the rest? Are they born with greater knowledge? Intelligence? Inner strength? Well, the latter is the more likely. Although some world experts are…

Ethidium Bromide: The Alternatives
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Ethidium Bromide: The Alternatives

How can you avoid the perils of exposing DNA to UV light during cloning procedure? Use an alternative DNA stain! Ethidium bromide is not your only option. In this article, we will compare the available DNA stains that can be used in electrophoresis to clarify the options available to you. Ethidium Bromide The classic DNA…

Sending Plasmids: How to Avoid Jail Time and Shredded Envelopes

Sending Plasmids: How to Avoid Jail Time and Shredded Envelopes

Whether you need to get your plasmid DNA to a lab on the other side of the world, or a few hundred miles down the road, it’s important to make sure your precious sample gets there, it is not degraded, and you don’t end up in jail. Here’s the Bitesize guide on how to send…

Warning: Dihydrogen Monoxide is Worse Than Ethidium Bromide

Please read and pass this life-saving information on to your friends. A chemical that all of us use in the lab has turned out to be highly dangerous. It is an asphyxiant, can cause severe burns and is a contributor to the greenhouse effect. Medical organizations all over the world confirm it to be responsible…

Who Else Thinks Biology Teaching Methods are Wrong?

Who Else Thinks Biology Teaching Methods are Wrong?

I shudder to think of the way I was taught about metabolic pathways as an undergrad. Lists of mysterious names connected by arrows – all to be memorized, with little reference to how the processes actually worked on a chemical basis. Even worse – and perhaps embarrassingly for me – I was almost at the…

Enzyme Commission (EC) Numbers

Enzyme Commission (EC) Numbers

In the early 1950’s so many new enzymes were being discovered in the burgeoning field of biochemistry that enzyme nomenclature was in danger of getting out of hand. With no guidelines on how to name enzymes, researchers simply chose their own. Some enzymes were given names, like diaphorase or Zwischenferment, that conveyed nothing about the…

Time to Think

Time to Think

Spare a thought for your poor over-worked neurons. In the information age, they are bombarded with input from the moment they are dragged into consciousness by the radio alarm clock each morning then throughout the day by e-mail, Google searches, RSS feeds, mobile phones, newspapers, books, blogs and more. In the post genomic era, it’s…

The Invention of PCR

Few technical breakthroughs have changed the face of their field like the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Gene cloning, sequencing of complex genomes, DNA fingerprinting and DNA-based diagnostics are just some of the techniques that were either inefficient, crude or plain impossible before PCR. The technique has revolutionized biological research and biotechnology to such an extent…

How to: Keep your data organized

How to: Keep your data organized

Talented, enthusiastic scientist required. Must have good organizational skills.Do you fit the bill? With the pace of molecular biology and biochemical research quickening year on year, the importance of good organization and planning skills for researchers is becoming increasingly important. Here are 5 ways to ensure that your data is organized and easily analyzed, samples…

Solved: Heterologous Gene Expression Problems

Solved: Heterologous Gene Expression Problems

When heterologous gene expression goes wrong it can be a real headache. Here’s my checklist for the steps to take when you encounter problems with this dark art. 1. Check the construct by sequencing the expression cassette to make sure that everything is as you expect. A lack of expression could result from a stray…

Competent E.coli: To buy or not to buy?

Competent E.coli: To buy or not to buy?

Buying competent cells from commercial suppliers is convenient, provides a guarantee of quality, and gives access to strains with a variety of in-built traits that assist with things like maintenance of plasmid integrity (more on these traits later). However, this can be an expensive business. Alternatively, competent cells of any strain, including the specially-constructed commercial…

Easier Gene Cloning With Positive Selection Cloning Vectors

Easier Gene Cloning With Positive Selection Cloning Vectors

Isn’t it a pain digesting, purifying and dephosphorylating your cloning vector prep to eliminate prevent high background in your ligation/transformation? A new generation of positive selection cloning vectors promises to eliminate all of that hassle by killing off any vector that has not taken up the insert you are trying to clone. Positive selection cloning…

Custom Gene Synthesis: A PCR alternative.

Artificial gene synthesis was first reported in 1972 when a group of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology synthesized a complete yeast alanine tRNA gene. Synthesis of the first peptide- and protein-encoding genes ensued in the following decade. Since then, synthetic biology has advanced in leaps and bounds, and custom gene synthesis, a one-time expensive option for…