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Daphne Ng

Daphne is currently a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University. She has a PhD and BSc from the National University of Singapore. Daphne is a microbiologist by training and her work focuses on the biotechnological applications of microorganisms. When she is not at the laboratory investigating yet another microbial superpower, Daphne enjoys writing popular science articles for the wider audience beyond scientific reviewers. She also pens humorous thoughts and draws cartoons about life as a researcher.

Articles by Daphne Ng:

Culturing the Unculturable: Working with Difficult Bacteria

As the vast majority of bacteria cannot be readily cultured in the laboratory [1], culture-dependent methods to investigate bacteria grossly underestimate the diversity of bacterial communities. To investigate unculturable bacteria without isolating them, culture-independent methods such as sequencing have been used. Unculturable bacteria can be identified by PCR amplification and sequencing of housekeeping genes such…

26 Sep 2019 Cells and Model Organisms

How to Transform Microalgae

What is the first image which comes to mind when you think about microalgae? Green scum that covers the surfaces of ponds? Unsightly stains on pavements and walls? Far from being a nuisance in ponds, lakes, drains and on surfaces, microalgae are fascinating microorganisms which are used to understand various biological processes. Microalgae have been…

08 Aug 2019 Cells and Model Organisms

An Introduction to Digital Images in Publications

Previously, I wrote about the different ways to use scientific illustration to communicate research. In this article, I will introduce the technical aspects of digital images and the most common image file types that scientists will encounter when preparing images for publication. Raster Versus Vector Digital images are classified based on how information is stored.…

16 Jul 2019 Microscopy and Imaging

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…

22 May 2019 Soft Skills and Tools

Emerging Model Microorganisms Take to the Stage

Estimates indicate that there may be up to 2 billion living species of organisms, each with conserved and unique biological mechanisms that are vital for survival. How do scientists understand them all? Enter model organisms. Model organisms, as the name implies, are living things which are used as representative models for understanding other organisms. They…

11 Apr 2019 Cells and Model Organisms

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.…

26 Feb 2019 Soft Skills and Tools

10 Steps to Enjoying Fieldwork for Sedentary Scientists

Note: Physically competent field scientists who find fieldwork a breeze may scoff at the suggestions here As a bench scientist whose only form of physical exercise in the laboratory is pipetting, I vividly remember my first fieldtrip to the wilderness. It was a trip to an island off the coast of Singapore to collect water…

20 Nov 2018 Basic Lab Skills and Know-how

Scientific Illustrations Part I: Schematics and Cartoons

Biologists have a long tradition of drawing specimens as a form of data collection before the invention of the camera. The ability to present information in the form of illustrations is an important but often understated skill in a scientist’s toolkit. Scientific illustrations in publications run the gamut from schematics, 3D models, cartoons, and even…

19 Oct 2018 Writing, Publishing and Presenting

“Viable But Non-Culturable (VBNC)”: Zombies of the Bacterial World

Imagine that you want to test the efficiency of an antimicrobial treatment in inhibiting a certain bacterial pathogen. As part of the experiment, you expose the bacteria to the treatment and monitor the cultivability of the microorganism by counting the number of colony forming units (CFU) formed on culture media. If the microorganism is sensitive…

14 Sep 2018 Cells and Model Organisms