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Cells and Model Organisms

The World of Microbes (II): The Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease

If you google “What’s hot in medicine,” you will see the word “gut microbiome” popping up in every corner of the webpage. Microbes keep your body functioning in balance – from digesting complex carbohydrates to fighting off foreign pathogens and educating your immune system. They have even been linked to maintaining brain function as well.…

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Commercialize Reagents for Fun and Profit

How long has it been since you checked your lab freezer? Remember that plasmid you designed? How about that cell line you developed that now sits idly in the vapors of a liquid Nitrogen tank? And the novel peptide or enzyme from a few years ago that remains buried in permafrost? It’s time to revisit…

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Counting Cells: Is There a Better Way?

If you do cell culture you will inevitably need to count your cells. Counting cells can be tedious, but it is important to do accurately. Your assessed quantity of living cells will affect all your downstream applications. In this article I will not only cover how to manually count your cells and how to do…

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Five Simple Steps For a Successful MTS Assay!

The MTS cell viability assay is one of the most important yet often daunting assays to perform for researchers in cancer biology, immunology, drug delivery pharmacy, etc. This chromogenic assay is extremely dependable for assessing the effects of a drug on different cell lines. However, it is only an easy assay to master if you…

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The World of Microbes Part 1: Antibiotics and Vaccines

The world as we know it couldn’t exist without microbes. It is estimated that there are tens of trillions of bacteria living just in and on humans. (Ewww?) One trillion has 12 zeros. To put that in perspective, the entire human population on earth is only 7.3 billion with a measly 9 zeros. With that many microbes…

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Beginners Guide to Setting Up Migration and Invasion Assays

So you have a gene or protein that you think may be involved in migration or invasion and the next step is to embark on migration assays. These assays are useful for testing fundamental migratory processes, such as embryonic development, immune response, metastasis and angiogenesis. For a long time these have been an invaluable mainstay…

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Cell Culture is No Longer Flat: Three Dimensional Cell Culture

Three dimensional cell culture mimics the extracellular matrix (ECM) that offers the structure and support for cells in vivo, thus creating the complex architecture and network required for cellular communication. For 3D cell culture beginners (or enthusiasts), the information available may seem overwhelming. It sure was for me. But it can be simplified. For example,…

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How to Culture Primary Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells

Human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) are a challenge to culture. As highly specialised cells that exist in carefully ordered multi-layered structures, they are especially fickle and finding optimum conditions to keep them happy is tricky. The cultures are also extremely sensitive to tiny changes in routine or environment. However, there are certain basic principles that…

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Troubleshooting and Optimizing your Mouse Breedings

Anyone working with laboratory animals has probably realized that simply putting two animals together does not always yield new offspring and reliable continuity of the animal line – unfortunately animal husbandry isn’t that simple! Of course, apart from making sure that the two animals put together are from different genders, there are a lot of…

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Measuring Invasion – Round is the New Flat

I’m sure many of us are aware that the world of cancer research is exploding with the idea of cancer stem cells. This exciting hypothesis suggests that there is a small population of cells in the tumor that have stem cell-like properties. These stem-like cells are able to proliferate and differentiate into all the different…

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Five Great Resources to Learn About Stem Cells

Whether you’re already in the field or an undergrad looking to enter the scene, here are some great places to keep up to date with the latest news and trends in stem cells. Listen About It For auditory learners, or people that listen to music on their way to the lab, you could switch it…

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Want to Increase Your Lentiviral Titers? Focus on Your 293T Cells

Producing lentiviral or retroviral vectors is theoretically fairly straightforward. However, anyone new to viral vector work is usually confronted with vast amounts of confusing information. It seems that anyone who has ever made a lentivirus has their own protocols and is adamant that their method is the best one to follow. In reality, there are…

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The 31 Flavors of Drosophila Electrophysiology Recording Solutions

Lab techniques are often shrouded in a veil of perceived voodoo and superstition – almost everything and anything a person does in lab can have an associated dance, prayer, or ritual to ensure their success. This is especially true for Drosophila electrophysiology. From lab to lab there are different prescriptions for electrode resistance, dissection technique,…

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How to Become Immortal: Generation of Immortal Cell Lines

Normal cells are unable to replicate past several rounds of proliferation (termed the Hayflick limit) as with each round of proliferation the telomeres shorten. When the telomeres reach a critically reduced length, DNA damage is triggered leading to cellular senescence. Therefore, if you tried to culture a primary cell population it would eventually die unless…

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