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Adrienne Huntress

Adrienne is an aspiring science raconteuse. When she's not improving the stability of microbes, she participates in outreach and education events. Her goals include bringing science to rural areas and creating a sustainable homestead.

Articles by Adrienne Huntress:

How Scientific Researchers Can Write Effective Emails

Have you ever found yourself wondering why your emails don’t get quite the response you expect? Or no response at all? It is very easy to overlook the importance of constructing clear and concise emails that deliver the right message. In this article, we’ll cover key aspects of emails for your purposes as a scientist.…

25 Jul 2019 Soft Skills and Tools

Struggles of a Life Scientist

Working late nights or weekends in the lab—we’ve all been there. Why isn’t your cell culture considerate enough to get to exponential phase during normal business hours, anyway? Maybe you just need utter peace and quiet while you pipette hundreds of wells worth of stinky beta-mercaptoethanol. Or perhaps you’re using your wealth of microbiology knowledge…

09 Jul 2019 Survive and Thrive&Tecan

What to Expect When Working with a Scientific Recruiter

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone helped you step-by-step through your job search? A good recruiter does exactly that! Recruiters provide value to job-seekers by reviewing resumes, finding jobs that may be a good fit, and providing interview tips. But how does that process work? In this article we’ll cover…

29 May 2019 Lab Statistics & Math

How (and Why) to Label Nucleic Acids

Have you ever wished you could snag individual strands of DNA or RNA with a lasso? Or look at them one by one, figuring out exactly where they are or what they are doing? Fortunately, there are techniques that exist to label nucleic acids for their visualization and purification! Nucleic acids can be labeled at…

27 Mar 2019 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

An Introduction to Alexa Dyes

Long before “Alexa” was a household name, Alexa dyes were an established series of fluorescent dyes. The inventor Richard Paul Haugland named the dyes after his son Alex. Originally a trademark of Molecular Probes, the Alexa family is now a part of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Alexa dyes are frequently used as labels in fluorescence microscopy,…

06 Mar 2019 Flow Cytometry

Picking the Right DNA Isolation Kit for Your Application

If you plan to work with purified DNA in the lab, it’s likely that you will use a commercial DNA extraction kit to isolate and purify your DNA of interest. With so many types of kits available, it can be a major challenge to choose the best one to use when working with an unfamiliar…

07 Feb 2019 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How to Eliminate 99% of the Water from Your Culture, or Solid State Fermentation

When you think about culturing bacteria or fungi in large quantities, you likely envision flasks shaking or maybe bioreactors filled to the brim with liquid media. But did you know that many bacteria and fungi can grow on solid carriers without being submerged in liquid? Enter solid state fermentation (SSF). In this article, I’ll introduce…

24 Jan 2019 Cells and Model Organisms

Four Free and Easy-To-Use Online Primer Design Tools

Designing and running PCR reactions in the lab has become so commonplace that the number of primer design tools available can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner (or even an experienced molecular biologist!). Below are four of my favorite online programs available to make primer design quick, easy, and effective. A quick note before…

22 Jan 2019 Basic Lab Skills and Know-how

Is Your Bacterial Culture Still Growing? A Primer on OD­600 Measurements

This article is for anyone who has ever wondered, “How do I know when my bacterial culture is ‘done’ growing? When should I harvest my cells?” Bacterial Growth Curves Review Let’s start by reviewing the 4 basic phases of a bacterial growth curve: log phase, lag phase, stationary phase, and death phase (Figure 1). A…

29 May 2018 Cells and Model Organisms&Lab Statistics & Math

Meet Nature’s Oldest Doomsday Preppers: Endospores

My favorite reason for being a biologist is that I am endlessly amazed by how life adapts to various pressures on planet Earth. This especially holds true for endospores, one of nature’s most resilient means of surviving for thousands of years in non-ideal environmental conditions. In this article, we’ll explore some of the extreme environments…

08 Feb 2018 Cells and Model Organisms

The Amazing World of Biofilms

What do water pipe slime, dental plaque, and persistent contact lens case contamination have in common? All are the result of biofilms! Biofilms are aggregates of microbes that adhere to surfaces using secreted matrices. Although relatively under explored, this fascinating phenomenon plays a critical role in some of the biggest challenges currently facing medicine, ranging…

08 Dec 2017 Cells and Model Organisms

Get Your Dream Job! How to Best Organize Your (Many) Applications

If you’ve ever been on the job market, you know how many job applications you can end up filling out and submitting. Sometimes the entire process takes months or even years to culminate in the right job offer! It can be overwhelming to keep track of what you applied for and when. This is especially…

31 Aug 2017 Soft Skills and Tools

Defend Science Funding! A Brief Guide

With the scientific community potentially facing deep cuts to grant-awarding agencies, like the NIH, advocacy for funding research efforts has been re-ignited. Not only does science funding provide financial support for academic and government scientists, it fuels product development and collaboration opportunities for scientists in industry and scientists abroad. Engaging in the advocacy process and…

26 Jul 2017 Career Development & Networking

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…

28 Jun 2017 Survive and Thrive

Why You Should Apply to Science Jobs Early and Often

There are many reasons to apply for jobs. You might be in the latter stages of grad school, busy getting those last experiments done so you can focus on writing your thesis. You might already have a job, but want to move to a different location or step into a new field. Or maybe you’re…

24 Apr 2017 Career Development & Networking

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Part II: How to Gracefully Exit a Graduate School Program

This is Part II in the “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” series. Part I focused on how to evaluate whether staying in graduate school is a good idea for you. In this article, I’ll discuss the logistical aspects of exiting a graduate program if you’ve made the decision to leave. If you are or have…

20 Mar 2017 Survive and Thrive

ChemDraw: a Versatile Molecule Sketching Tool for (Bio)Chemists

Have you ever wondered how to make professional, easy-to-understand figures of molecules for presentations or publications? While several programs exist for this purpose, ChemDraw is like the Swiss Army knife of chemical sketching programs that most chemists and journals use to prepare figures. Beyond the ability to create chemically accurate and legible figures, ChemDraw can…

28 Feb 2017 Basic Lab Skills and Know-how&Chemistry for Biologists

Are Proteins Adsorbing to Your Labware?

One of my favorite things about being a biochemist is to imagine everything at the molecular level—sometimes, in very corny ways. I envision the proteins I pipet and mix as dynamic characters in a molecular soap opera that intermingle with each other in complex ways. The biomolecular characters in my soap opera interact and react,…

21 Dec 2016 Basic Lab Skills and Know-how

How to Clean and Unclog Your HPLC Column

In my last article, I discussed how to best keep your lab’s HPLC running smoothly. However, even the best-maintained HPLCs and columns need periodic cleaning. Today, I’ll describe how to identify and troubleshoot a clogged HPLC column. Columns Are Finite First of all, it’s important to realize that columns do have a finite lifetime. The…

31 Oct 2016 Analytical Chemistry and Chromatography Techniques

Under Pressure: Tips for Keeping Your HPLC Up and Running Properly

If you’re anything like me, your biggest lab fear is working with expensive equipment prone to damage. HPLC is a wonderful tool, capable of separating, identifying, and quantifying a vast array of compounds, but it requires an attentive scientist to properly handle and maintain each component. In this article I’ll describe a few basic handling…

17 Oct 2016 Analytical Chemistry and Chromatography Techniques