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Lab Statistics & Math

Use ddRAD-seq to Study Non-Model Organisms

Reduced-representation genome sequencing has been one of the most important advances in the last several years for enabling massively parallel genotyping of organisms for which there is no reference-grade genome assembly. An implementation of the approach known as ddRAD-seq, first conceived in the Hoekstra lab at Harvard, has been widely adopted by the plant and…

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What to Expect When Working with a Scientific Recruiter

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone helped you step-by-step through your job search? A good recruiter does exactly that! Recruiters provide value to job-seekers by reviewing resumes, finding jobs that may be a good fit, and providing interview tips. But how does that process work? In this article we’ll cover…

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Is Your Bacterial Culture Still Growing? A Primer on OD­600 Measurements

This article is for anyone who has ever wondered, “How do I know when my bacterial culture is ‘done’ growing? When should I harvest my cells?” Bacterial Growth Curves Review Let’s start by reviewing the 4 basic phases of a bacterial growth curve: log phase, lag phase, stationary phase, and death phase (Figure 1). A…

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Nine Tips for Clinicians Starting a Scientific Career

There are many examples of the impact of physician-scientists on translational research. Dr Barry Marshall swallowed a steaming culture of Helicobacter pylori which eventually resulted in antibiotics curing peptic ulcer disease. However, the process of training these individuals is as effortless as training fish to ride bicycles. Our journeys into the laboratory have been equally…

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Cre-loxP Recombination Essentials Part 2

The Cre-loxP recombination system is routinely used for the generation of mouse knockouts. In part 1 of this mini-series, I introduced the concept and applications of Cre-loxP. As with any other technology or research tool, it has limitations and pitfalls that need to be considered while planning experiments or interpreting results. This article will take…

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How to perform cell synchronization in specific cell cycle phases

The cell cycle has been very well documented over the years because of its dysregulation in diseases such as cancer. Many different processes contribute to cell growth and replication, which is ultimately controlled by a series of tightly controlled cell cycle phases. For some areas of research, especially within drug discovery and cancer research, cell synchronization in…

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Analyze Immunostained Slides with Semiquantitative Scoring

A  routine task in the lab is to investigate the presence of your favorite protein in a range of histological samples. No doubt, staining your tissue sections using good old immunohistochemistry (IHC) would be your first choice. You just got to love a technique that has celebrated its 70th birthday, and is still used in…

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Size-Selection Is Essential for Cell-Free DNA Studies

Advances in using cell-free DNA (cfDNA) to glean clinically meaningful information for a patient have been stunning. For the most part, these research studies (or downstream diagnostic tests) isolate fetal DNA in the mother’s blood or tumor-derived DNA from the background of healthy DNA in the bloodstream. Typically known as liquid biopsies, these minimally invasive…

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Troubleshooting Surface Plasmon Resonance: Resolving Non-Specific Binding, Regeneration and Other Problems

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR), a label-free, real-time way to examine protein binding and other molecular interactions, is getting easier as manufacturers have streamlined SPR instruments and supporting software. But problems can still arise. Troubleshooting Your SPR Assay Here are some common issues and suggestions to solve them: Inactive Targets Your target protein may have become…

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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…

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How Many Data Points Do I Need For My Experiment?

To draw a convincing conclusion from your data, you cannot simply shoot for the standard significance cutoff. You also need to consider the statistical power, which is determined in part by the sample size in your experiment.

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Choose the Statistical Package that Will Make Your Data Talk

In the last years, the need for using statistical testing in bioscience has grown exponentially and so has the development of statistical software. It is now common that everyone is using some sort of stats in their basic research. Among the skillful biostatisticians, R is the most popular software for data analysis, but not all…

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How to Choose a PhD Topic

Choosing a PhD topic can be very hard. There are a lot of things to consider from the subject to the supervisor. Here are some tips to help you choose. Find out what you really like This is the first topic because it is the most important. My first advice would be to get some…

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Brushing Up On Your Excel Skills: Part Two

Last time we brushed up on cell referencing and constructing formulae to use Excel for some basic and some slightly more advanced calculations. This time we’re going to move on to using some built-in Excel functions and go through how to apply all that we’ve done so far to a worked example that is relevant…

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Brushing Up On Your Excel Skills: Part One

Microsoft Excel can be a really powerful, useful tool for certain kinds of data processing and record keeping, and the chances are you probably don’t even know how to use half of the functions it comes with! That’s OK, personally, I find Excel a bit less user-friendly than Word, but also it’s a programme I…

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Problems amplifying GC-rich regions? Problem Solved!

No, it isn’t you that’s the problem, and you’re certainly not alone if you’re having trouble amplifying GC-rich sequence and/or understanding why GC-rich sequences are causing such problems in the first place! Amplification of GC-rich sequences by PCR has been an irritant for scientists for decades! When we say “GC-rich” we mean ?60% of the…

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A Beginners Guide to Studying Exosomes

In this webinar you will learn: Biology of extracellular vesicle biogenesis and secretion. Extracellular vesicle composition and contents. Functional activity of extracellular vesicles. Abstract: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous group of vesicles that include exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies.  There has been increasing interest in EVs in recent years not only as possible biomarkers for…

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Polymerase Incomplete Primer Extension (PIPE) Cloning Method

PIPE PCR is a ligase-independent, restriction enzyme-free cloning strategy like SLIC (link to my SLIC article), SLiCE and CPEC. The PIPE method eliminates sequence constraints and reduces cloning and site mutagenesis to a single PCR step followed by product treatment. It is fast, cost-effective and highly efficient. The key step is designing the primers; one…

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