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Bioscience Mastery

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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The Night Shift: Experiences at a National Synchrotron

Pulling an over-nighter is a common theme for many of my college friends. I, however, like my sleep—particularly between midnight and 7 am. Therefore, I tend not to stay up late to study and avoided jobs that required me to work a night shift. Then, I went to grad school and had to put in…

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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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Genetic Notation: Crack the Code!

Pop Quiz Time: You get a new bacterial strain from a culture collection, but you’re not quite sure what the genetic notation (i.e., all the letters and symbols) means. Do you: A. Cry? B. Ask around to see what your lab mates think? C. Cross your fingers that your friends at Bitesize Bio can help…

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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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Networking – You Know It’s a Thing

A supportive network is important for your mental health and happiness. This is particularly true during stressful times, like grad school and career transitions. Networking – meeting people in the science community is important for professional development and meeting people outside of science is good for balance. At every transition after grad school, you start…

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A Quick Guide to Organizing Your First Academic Event

Scientific meetings provide an opportunity to learn, network, and explore new ideas.  They are also an exciting break from the usual lab routine. Although organizing a Departmental or Institutional academic event takes up your research time, the experience helps develop leadership, project and budget management, and problem solving skills that will make your CV shine.…

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The Seven Top Benefits of Starting Grad School Early

Your grad school acceptance letter finally came in the mail. Congrats, that’s no small thing to accomplish! You did your happy dance, but then it hit you: Grad school in the fall is a reality and things in your life are going to change. So now you’re wondering how to fill those awkward months between…

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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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How to Cope With Overwhelm in the Lab: Taming Your Inbox

Look around you in your lab, your institution, and even in the world in general and you’ll see how much we all gravitate towards stress and overwhelm. Stress is just the workplace norm. Overwhelm means you are working “hard enough”. Being so occupied that you are frantically buzzing around from one task to another means…

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How to Pick a Great Postdoc Position

Are you finishing up your PhD and starting to think about the next step? It can be overwhelming to consider all of the personal and professional aspects involved in deciding and beginning this next stage of your career journey. With personal perspective from someone who has been there, here are some tips on how you…

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Don’t Let Bubbles Burst Your Experimental Excitement

Bubbles isn’t just the name of my favorite cartoon character from Power Puff girls, or just the best activity for a kid to play with, in general. In my adult world, they stand for a whole lot more, but can still cause extreme emotions. At the lab bench, seeing bubbles brings happiness or sadness depending…

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Don’t Be Discouraged in a Lab with Minimal Resources

My first lab experience was in a lab on a really strict budget: no kits, no technicians, no media kitchen, or glassware washing service. We really had only minimal resources.  I was close to paranoid about not wasting one tip or glove. Later, when I started in other labs, I spent my first days going…

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