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Software and Online Tools

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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Crafting Multi-panel Images Into Figures

So, you’ve slaved away in the lab for months and now you’re ready to create your first figure –whether it’s for a thesis or a journal – way to go you! Now you could always use Word or PowerPoint to compile your first image, but don’t – ever do that! (And if you plan to…

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Investigating an Expression Quantitative Trait Locus (eQTL)

Thousands upon thousands of genetic variants are now associated with every disease and trait you can possibly think of. Such traits range from cancers to blood pressure, intelligence, height, weight… and many more! This is largely because of the advent of genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, the vast majority of genetic loci associated with these traits are…

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Resources for Becoming a Programming Biologist

Have you ever entertained the idea of learning to program? Have you tried but felt discouraged by the overwhelming amount of information out there? If you answered yes to both of those questions, I encourage you to try again with the following resources. Computer science is one of the best subjects to self learn.  …

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Brushing up on your excel skills, part 3

Having brushed up on our referencing, constructing calculations and basic functions, let’s move on to some intermediate functions that could potentially save you time and hassle in the lab. First up, filling! Filling Filling is my new favourite useful function in Excel, one that admittedly I didn’t know existed until very recently, but I’m making…

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Brushing Up On Your Excel Skills: Part Two

Last time we brushed up on cell referencing and constructing formulae to use Excel for some basic and some slightly more advanced calculations. This time we’re going to move on to using some built-in Excel functions and go through how to apply all that we’ve done so far to a worked example that is relevant…

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Brushing Up On Your Excel Skills: Part One

Microsoft Excel can be a really powerful, useful tool for certain kinds of data processing and record keeping, and the chances are you probably don’t even know how to use half of the functions it comes with! That’s OK, personally, I find Excel a bit less user-friendly than Word, but also it’s a programme I…

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An Essential Toolbox for qPCR Users

Today, PCR is as common a feature to the lab as pipettes and beakers. The majority of us regularly need to amplify our DNA or RNA samples, sometimes for an ‘everyday’ PCR run just to check if our primers actually work, or in a quantitative (q)PCR run, where we might be comparing the levels of…

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Using Word to Write your Thesis: Creating a Master Document

Wow – your thesis is really coming along. First, you created an outline to help you organize your chapters. Second, you made a Table of Contents and learned how to insert captions and how to cross-reference within the document. Now it’s time to combine your chapters into a single master document, so that you can…

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