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Soft Skills and Tools

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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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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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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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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Top 5 Tips for Maintaining Your Sanity During Thesis Writing

For many scientists the most intimidating aspect of undertaking a PhD isn’t the long hours in the lab or the uncertain nature of the job length in academia that follows it. It’s the thought of attempting to write up 4+ years of work into a single cohesive thesis! The thesis writing process can vary greatly…

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Reducing Lab Waste One Experiment at a Time

As a scientist myself, I have always been focused on performing experiments to achieve my sole goal of producing data for a publication. Recently I started paying attention to the waste I solely generate on a regular basis in the lab. Starting from disposable Eppendorf tubes and pipette tips, to labels and Petri plates, it…

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