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Equipment Mastery and Hacks

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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Lab Hacks: Tips to Save You Money and Time

Not every lab has the cash to shell out on fancy equipment. And let’s face it, in today’s climate of budget cuts, even the baller labs are looking for ways to be more frugal. Years of lab work has taught me a thing or two on how to make ends meet. So, if you’ve found…

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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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14 Pipetting Hacks to Become an Instant Expert

After a long day, you finally push back your chair, hang up your lab coat and take a well-deserved stretch. Time to go home! Your hand is aching, your thumb is quivering and your shoulder feels like it just ran a marathon. Another day in the lab, another day spent pipetting. Some say it takes…

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