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Bioscience Mastery

Hot Tips for Creating a Scientific Special Interest Group at Your Institute

Universities are often organized by faculties, colleges, schools, and/or departments. So, as an academic, you often work closely with colleagues studying similar subject areas. A common interest, however, often transcends the boundaries of this organizational structure. Enter scientific special interest groups. What Are Scientific Special Interest Groups? Scientific special interest groups are member-led initiatives within…

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Phd Skills That Landed Me My Corporate Job!

Transitioning from a PhD in Biotechnology to the industry of my choice (scientific communication and marketing) involved an intense period of application and rejection. Every time I got a rejection letter, I feared that the industry probably did not want fresh graduates like me, that they wanted someone with years of experience. These were moments…

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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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Intellectual Property: How Not to Shoot Yourself in the Foot

So you’ve discovered the Holy Grail all life scientists in your field are searching for – congratulations! The dollar signs start appearing and you realize that there is a huge scope for commercializing your research. But before you can actually collect the rewards, you need to have been thinking tactically about how to protect your…

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Performing Pipette Calibration Yourself

A pipette is used to precisely measure and transfer small volumes of liquid in the laboratory in experiments that demand high accuracy. However, the sources of error in pipette measurements could arise from device failure or due to misuse by the operator. Any discrepancy in volumes dispensed may affect the outcomes and reproducibility of an…

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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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Ways to Pursue Science Careers in Business After a PhD

Obtaining your doctorate is one of the toughest academic and professional tasks that you can take on. The stats on future employment in academic science careers are horrifying at worst or misleading at best. At the same time, many argue that we need more scientists with a PhD.1,2  With these statistics, it might be time to…

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Simple Tips for a Clean(-ish) Lab Drawer

Picture it: 6:00 pm on a Friday night. You have one or more experiments running. Maybe you’re doing a western blot, or following a staining protocol for an immunohistochemistry experiment, or just labeling tubes. But rather than working on active experiments, you’re helplessly searching through the lab drawer for that one pair of forceps, that…

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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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What the Heck Is “Training Potential,” Anyway?

As a newly-minted PhD, I began my postdoc with wild fellowship dreams. I set a schedule, applying to 1-2 fellowships a month. Research experience and broader impacts were a breeze. Research strategy and specific aims, with help from my new PI, solidified quickly. For weeks, however, my “training potential” document remained empty. At first, I…

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Labs and Casinos: Sisters from Another Mister

Casinos and labs have absolutely nothing in common… or do they? While scientists often dedicate their life’s work to a specific mechanism/protein/etc., those that frequent casinos are also fueled by a desire to get that perfect hand dealt/Keno score/etc. Curiously, several aspects of the laboratory and casino environments are eerily similar. I know, I was…

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How to Become a Bioinformatician

If you want to start a journey towards being a bioinformatician, you must first know the meaning of the term bioinformatics. You will also need to know what bioinformaticians do, and what you need to know to land your first entry level job as a bioinformatician. Most bioinformaticians work within different medical science and health…

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What to Do If You Want to Become a Freelance Writer

A lot of people today are drawn to freelancing and want to become a freelance writer. There are great benefits when you work from home (like doing work in your pajamas) or wherever you feel most comfortable. The appeal is even greater when you count in that you make your own hours and you are…

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What Is Reproducible Research?

Once upon a time, I thought reproducible research meant if someone else showed X in a paper, then I should be able to get X in my experiment. However, this actually refers to replication, an important but separate concept. Reproducible research is data analysis that starts with the raw data and arrives at the same…

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How to Foster Lab Cooperation

Research isn’t easy. Not only do you deal with experimental failures and demanding supervisors, you also work with other lab members — people who are under the same pressures and stresses as you. Staff, postdocs, PhD students, and undergrads are often given bench space and a desk and encouraged to sort out the personal side…

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