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Bioscience Mastery

How to Survive a Difficult PCR

I am sure many of you have been there. Everything is going smoothly, and your project seems to be working out perfectly. And then there is this one PCR. For some reason, it just won’t work. It is a black dot on your record. Even though I have a scientific mind, I have to be…

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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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What to Do During That Awkward One-Minute Spin

We’ve all been there. Twiddling our thumbs. Staring off into space. Pacing back and forth. This is the dreaded one-minute spin. If you’ve dabbled in molecular biology, you’ve likely encountered this awkward time. Not exactly enough time to actually do anything else, but when you’ve got nothing to do but wait, one minute seems like…

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The Trouble with Disease Models: Case Study in Diabetes

The development of new drugs requires reliable and robust animal disease models. Since the cause of many diseases is still unknown, it is often difficult to identify adequate and predictive disease models. For example, researchers developing treatments for neuropsychiatric diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s face a particular challenge given the subjectivity of many of…

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5 Digital Tools to Increase Your Productivity in Research

Scientific research is a constant battle against time. Whether it is your Masters, PhD or Postdoc, you always feel the pressure to generate data for external validation. For that, you need to spend your time on the bench and not at the desk, but that can be hard. Unfortunately, non-laboratory tasks occupy a large segment…

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20 Telling Signs You’re a Scientist

According to Bill Nye, “Science rules!” – and I think most of us would agree. We are learning more and more about the world around us each day, as well as about ourselves. But is there a difference between a Science Fan, and a Scientist? Everyone has their own parameters, but below are some that…

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Flashing Red Signs During a Job Interview

In all the stress of having a job interview, it’s easy to forget that it takes more than one to tango. In fact, a job interview is like a new flat mate interview. While your prospective boss and colleagues are interviewing you and assessing your fit for the lab, you should also keep your eyes…

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Having a Family in Grad School

The question that many graduate students have is “can I have it all?” A successful, productive PhD and marriage? And kids too? There is no doubt that having a family in grad school takes away your focus for a while especially around the time your baby is born, but it can also increase your productivity.…

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Defend Science Funding! A Brief Guide

With the scientific community potentially facing deep cuts to grant-awarding agencies, like the NIH, advocacy for funding research efforts has been re-ignited. Not only does science funding provide financial support for academic and government scientists, it fuels product development and collaboration opportunities for scientists in industry and scientists abroad. Engaging in the advocacy process and…

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The Sandwich Technique: How to Dish Out Critique

How time flies. One day you are giving your first presentation in front of your fellow students, seemingly the next you are listening to a presentation by your own student. And frankly, the talk is awful. It’s twice the time limit, the student weaves around the topic as a drunken sailor, and she acknowledges her…

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Can’t Decide Between Medical School or Graduate School?

For the longest time I just couldn’t decide between medical school and graduate school. I mean come on, being a physician would be great. I could save lives just like they do on TV! But on the other hand, being a biomedical scientist excited me just as much. You can’t tell me you’ve never dreamt…

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Assertive Slide Titles to Guide Your Presentation

When I first learned how to design scientific presentations, I kept hearing the same advice from well-intentioned mentors: “Make sure your presentation tells a story!” they’d say. I understood what they meant in principle, but I had difficulty implementing this advice in my own presentations. In this article, I’m going to share a simple way…

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Recognizing Anxiety in Graduate School

Graduate school can seem like a constant battle between which of your friends works the hardest and which is the most miserable. However, if being miserable doesn’t interest you, I have some experience recognizing anxiety and seeking help. Depression and anxiety are conditions closely associated with getting a PhD. Experiencing these conditions can be isolating,…

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5 Surprisingly Accurate Science Movies

There’s nothing better than relaxing at the end of a long week with a good movie. As scientists, we are drawn to analyze (and sometimes overanalyze) the accuracy of science movies and especially their portrayal of scientists. Being the movie aficionado that I am, I looked for movies that are not typically touted for their…

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