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Bioscience Mastery

How to Read a Scientific Paper Efficiently

Keeping up with the scientific literature in your field of interest is incredibly important. Not only does it keep you informed as to what your competitors have been working on, it will also help shape and guide your experimental plans. But let’s face it, in our results driven world reading new scientific papers often falls…

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How to Share Your Lab Protocols and Why It Benefits You

Reproducibility is a cornerstone of scientific research and your results need to be reproducible not only by yourself but also by others, both in and outside of your laboratory.  This reproducibility is key for validation of your results as well as to further expand on the knowledge gained during the experiment. In order to accurately…

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DIY Centrifugation-Based Purification of cfDNA

There are many reasons you may want to study circulating, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) such as non-invasive prenatal testing to generate a molecular karyotype of an unborn fetus or for use in cancer to detect, diagnose and monitor the disease. Qiagen’s QIAamp circulating nucleic acids extraction kit is consistently cited in the scientific literature as the…

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How to Write an Effective Lab Protocol

We’ve all been there. You’re looking to replicate a result you have read in a paper, or maybe even one that has come from someone else in your own lab. But try as you might, you can’t get your head around the less than effective lab protocol that’s been provided. Or, worse still, you are…

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How to Organize Your Lab Space for Better Productivity

The physical arrangement of a laboratory can have a strong effect on a bioscientist’s efficiency; those extra steps and seconds of time can really add up! Here is a compilation of tips to help you organize your lab space to minimize inefficiencies and maximize your productivity in the lab. Organize Your Lab Space with Stations…

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Get a Grip: Dealing with Sweaty Glove Hands

Gloves protect the skin from the numerous hazards lurking in research labs. There are many varieties and types of gloves available depending upon your need, whether you want protection from chemical hazards, biological hazards or simply preventing surface contamination. However, a very noticeable side effect of using gloves is ‘sweaty glove hands’. Perhaps many of…

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The How and Why of Limit of Detection

When developing an assay, whether it is for basic research or for use in diagnostics, you will often be asked about your assay’s sensitivity. This is perhaps one of the most important performance characteristics you can determine for an assay, and in regulated work, such as in vitro diagnostic (IVD) development and clinical diagnostics, it…

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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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How Scientific Researchers Can Write Effective Emails

Have you ever found yourself wondering why your emails don’t get quite the response you expect? Or no response at all? It is very easy to overlook the importance of constructing clear and concise emails that deliver the right message. In this article, we’ll cover key aspects of emails for your purposes as a scientist.…

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Struggles of a Life Scientist

Working late nights or weekends in the lab—we’ve all been there. Why isn’t your cell culture considerate enough to get to exponential phase during normal business hours, anyway? Maybe you just need utter peace and quiet while you pipette hundreds of wells worth of stinky beta-mercaptoethanol. Or perhaps you’re using your wealth of microbiology knowledge…

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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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How to Marie Kondo Your Laboratory

Does your laboratory resemble the nest of an overly enthusiastic laboratory rat that went on a scavenger hunt and squirrelled away all that it has found? Do you find yourself playing Jenga with stacks of Petri dishes and freezer boxes? Have you ever attempted to decipher the meaning of the mysterious string of numbers on…

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Why Early Career Scientists Should Care about Mentoring Undergraduate Students

Let’s be honest: the mentoring of undergraduate students is sometimes the lowest on the list of priorities for a busy postdoctoral research fellow. Amidst experiments, research progress meetings, reviewing of literature, manuscript writing, grant applications, and convincing your PI to let you attend that conference in Hawaii, your undergraduate charges may be just mere afterthoughts.…

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To Sonicator and Beyond – Large Cell Volume Lysis Methods

At some point you have to leave small-scale cell lysis and move to large culture volumes for experiments currently in vogue, be it microarrays, total RNA libraries, or large-scale pull-downs for interactome or metabolome analysis. And at this point, you have to change your lysis method from an on-the-bench in eppendorfs to one capable of…

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Four Free and Easy-To-Use Online Primer Design Tools

Designing and running PCR reactions in the lab has become so commonplace that the number of primer design tools available can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner (or even an experienced molecular biologist!). Below are four of my favorite online programs available to make primer design quick, easy, and effective. A quick note before…

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How to Reconcile Being an “Aspie” and a Scientist

I received a very late diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, when I was already twenty. Before that, I was ashamed of my “social awkwardness”, but my passion for life sciences and research relieved me of my sorrow. After I learned about my condition, I was able to self-accept and be proud of myself (and continued to…

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