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Equipment Mastery and Hacks

Reproducibility: Mastering the Art of Pipetting

Reproducibility: Mastering the Art of Pipetting Available On Demand Speakers Dr. Barbara Siefker Product Marketing Manager Eppendorf Barbara obtained her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology in 2004 at the University of Cologne, where she researched the asexual reproduction of jellyfish using molecular biology techniques. After her Ph.D., she gained different sales experiences at PerkinElmer and Microsynth…

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Becoming a Patch Clamping Pipette Wizard

Is patching clamping a problem? Struggling to get a good seal? There is no need to stress! We’ve got tips on picking and preparing the perfect pipette for your patch clamping experiment!

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How to Write a Flawless Methodology Section

Excellent research takes time and effort, and a publication is your chance to showcase your hard work. While your main motivation might be to share and discuss your results, your methodology section is key to the reproducibility of your work, acting as a foundation for other researchers to repeat and build upon your findings. In…

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Experimental Reproducibility: How to Get the Most “Bang” for Your Buck

As scientists, we are trained to design an experiment with the bigger picture in mind; the ultimate goals being to publish quality data and demonstrate scientific rigor. However, sometimes you need to focus on the little things, such as perfecting control and experimental samples, incubation times, and ordering reagents to truly ensure that you obtain…

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Ten Tips for Pipetting the 384-Well Plate

I was so excited to start using 384-well plates for my assays. With so many wells, these plates are useful for testing many conditions in parallel, as required in ELISAs, siRNA library screens, and drug treatment dilutions. However, I quickly learned that pipetting in these plates is more complicated than I thought. This article contains…

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Top 5 Errors in Pipetting

Pipettes are not just fancy handlebars for your tips, they are essential for precisely measuring and dispensing liquids. These standard ‘tools of your trade’ enable you to accurately repeat experiments, validate results, make important comparisons between projects and eventually publish that outstanding paper. But there are a few pipette pitfalls. And they don’t just trap…

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Advice for Working with Anaerobic Chambers

Working with anaerobic chambers is a unique skill set to have. It is only necessary if you are working with oxygen sensitive compounds. For example, some metallo-proteins require an oxygen free environment to stay in a reduced state, while others are sensitive and even reactive to oxygen. Sometimes working in anaerobic chambers requires a long…

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Drift in Measurements with Analytical Balances

Pharmaceutical laboratories and bioscience research institutes make extensive use of analytical balances that are highly sensitive. These analytical balances are greatly affected by their environment and also by the way they are installed and handled. This is why it is important to assess the lab environment to make the required on-site adjustments. The weighing equipment…

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How to Keep Your Centrifuge Alive

The more expensive your lab centrifuge, the more sensitive and the easier it is to break. What can we do to give these pricey monsters a long, successful tenure in the lab?

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How to Choose the Right Pipette Tips for your Experiment

The precision and accuracy of even the best calibrated pipette can be wiped out if you choose the wrong kind of tips. Depending on the experiment you are doing, the wrong kind of tips can also make your pipette a source of contamination, lead to waste of precious samples or reagents—or even cause you physical…

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Wrangling Your Liquid Handler

Sometimes working with a liquid handling machine seems a bit like wrangling a wild mustang—I know what I want it to do, but the software doesn’t work that way. That’s particularly true when working with 96-well plates. So, sometimes you have to think “outside the box.” Don’t limit yourself to what the manufacturer intended (but…

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Anaerobic Tents: General Tips for Use in Molecular Biology

Interested in whether your protein uses oxygen to mediate reactions? Wondering if oxygen is keeping your enzyme from its duty? Then what you need as an anaerobic tent! These tips provide some basic knowledge to help you perform experiments using an anaerobic tent. What is an anaerobic tent? Most biologists who work in oxygen-free environments…

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What To Do About Rust in Your Incubator

Rust spots provide a good shelter for bugs, which will get there one day, and from the rust into your tissue culture. Here’s what you can do to deal with the problem as soon as you see it.

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Strengths and limitations of your Nanodrop

Quantifying a DNA, RNA or protein sample concentration is now as easy as a click of the pipette, a push of a button and a dab of tissue to clean up. Here’s what you need to know about a few of the strengths and limitations of your Nanodrop – before you set up. Take a…

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10 Tips for Working at the Bench in Developing Countries

Working in a lab in a developing country can be a unique and exciting opportunity for any scientist. It can be very rewarding, but also challenging as you navigate foreign settings to conduct your research. Here are ten tips for working at the bench in developing countries. 1.  Expect cultural differences Everyone approaches science differently…

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How to Pick the Right Scale for Your Needs

There are many things that vary from one scale to the next. When picking which scale to buy or use, there are a few things to take into account: the two biggies being the maximum capacity and the readability range (also known as how sensitive the measuring system of the scale is). As both these…

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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…

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10 Top Everyday Items Useful in the Lab

Every research lab is full of equipment specially designed for specific technical and experimental requirements, unfortunately this means said equipment is often expensive. Thankfully there are simple and cheap everyday items which can help you with your experiments and generally make life a lot easier. 1)  Perforated metal ladle – to fish out samples from…

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10 Tips for Pipetting Perfection

Several years ago as a freshman in a research lab, the very first project I received was to pipette incremental micro-volumes of H2O onto a piece of parafilm. Boring! Weighing the liquid on parafilm and comparing the weight between 10 replicates for each micro-volume continued for a week before I touched anything else in that…

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Infrared Thermometers as Infrared Laser Detectors

I recently read an article on WIRED about an optics experiment cooked up by the scientists at NIST to allow office workers to test for potentially dangerous infrared (IR) leakage by inexpensive laser pointers. Like many who read it, I wasted no time attempting to replicate their experiment on my desk. (I’m not sure why…

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Pimp your Microcentrifuge

Microcentrifuges are pretty much the epitome of efficiency, but I have a couple of suggestions that may make using this instrument even easier. Divide by Three Not only is the number of tubes a microcentrifuge can hold divisible by two, but almost always by three as well. How does this help you? If you have…

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Respect the Ultra

Have a healthy respect for the ultra! Here are some hints and tips for using a preparative ultracentrifuge, disaster free.

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eBay – The other source of lab equipment

While almost all of you are probably familiar with the power of eBay to bring you everything from concert tickets to electronics to your very own Batmobile, you may not have realized that the world’s largest garage sale also has quite a collection of laboratory equipment. I’ve been turning to this source for equipment for…

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Lab Stuff I wish I could use in my kitchen

We recently had a feature from Jode on everyday equipment that you can use in the lab, but what about the other way around? Do you ever take a look at what you’re doing in the lab and think, “Wow, this would really come in handy at home?” Here are a few of the things…

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Lab Hacks: Lab equipment from the hardware store

While almost every lab has a small toolbox with some screwdrivers, pliers, and such, here are some tools that may not have obvious utility at the bench, but could make your life easier. A Butane Torch If your OCD is as bad as mine, then watching a bubble flow out of the flask onto the…

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RPM Does Not Equal RCF

RPM and RCF are two units that can be used to describe the speed of a centrifuge. Although they may look similar, they are oh-so-different and confusing them has resulted a disastrous end to many an experiment. So let’s set it out in black and white to make sure you don’t succumb to the same…

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