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Cells and Model Organisms

World of Microbes Part 4: Food and Biofuels.

In this World of Microbes series, so far we’ve covered the importance of microbes in medicine including their use in vaccines, antibiotics, probiotics and protein production of antibodies for immunotherapy. Now we’ll diverge away from medicine and explore two other important fields where microbes are invaluable – food production and biofuel. Food Production When you…

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Mastering the Art of Growing THP-1 cells

Tissue culture can sometimes seem like a black art. Too careful—your cells go down. Not careful enough—your cells go down. A butterfly flutters its wings in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean—your cells go down. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, and there are times (and I’m speaking from personal experience here) that you’ll end up chucking…

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Phagebiotics: Part 1

The enemy of my enemy is my friend –Ancient Sanskrit proverb Luna, 20 July 1969. Neil Armstrong set his foot in another world for the first and only time in human history. But this is not a story about space exploration; it is a story about the vehicle they used to do it—the Lunar Module…

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Sonication – 7 Tips for Mastering the Art

Sonication is mostly used during preparation of protein extracts to help break apart the cell. Although most lysis buffers have buckets of detergent that lyse cell membranes, sonication just gives an extra hand in breaking everything apart. Sonication also breaks up, or shears, DNA in a sample—preventing if from interfering with further sample preparation. Have…

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How to Extract and Amplify Microalgal Genomic DNA

There is a growing trend in using microalgae as the expression system for heterologous proteins. However, I find most protocols dealing with microalgae available online are not that great or informative! So I would like to share my experience in using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as the model microorganism. Before you start expressing your protein, you need…

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The Messy World of Human Tissue Research

In neuroscience and other biomedical research fields, animal models allow us to answer critical but otherwise impossible questions. Despite the value of these models, however, sometimes nothing can replace the real deal—human tissue. The limitations of human tissue research stem from the variability between subjects and the risk for covariates that influence your results. Which…

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