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Daphne Ng

Deciding to plunge headlong into science writing, Daphne is currently a professional science communicator who writes about research for a general audience. Daphne is passionate about the applications of microorganisms in areas such as sustainability, the intersection of science and society and how new technologies such as artificial intelligence can revolutionise research. A recovering lab rat, she was formerly a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore who investigated the microbiological and physicochemical changes of water stored in underground caverns, a potential solution that ensures the availability of water in land-scarce countries. With a BSc and PhD from the National University of Singapore, Daphne still thinks of herself as a microbiologist although she now spends her days typing in front of computer screens instead of performing microbial screens. When she is not doing any of these, Daphne draws humorous cartoons about science, research and life. She also enjoys reading and is trying her hand at writing book reviews and science fiction.

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Articles by Daphne Ng

Image of two hands altering DNA to depict CRISPR genome editing

A Brief History of CRISPR-Cas9 Genome-Editing Tools

By Daphne Ng | June 30, 2020

Learn how the CRISPR prokaryote immune response systems were first discovered and the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool.

T4 DNA Ligase: The Only Ligase You’ll Ever Need?

T4 DNA Ligase: The Only Ligase You’ll Ever Need?

By Daphne Ng | February 27, 2020

T4 DNA ligase is the swiss army knife of ligases, but it can’t always do it all. Find out what it’s good at and the alternatives available for the things it struggles with.

How to Preserve Microorganisms: the long (and short) game

How to Preserve Microorganisms: the long (and short) game

By Daphne Ng | December 12, 2019

Given the importance of microorganisms as cell factories in biotechnological applications and as model organisms for the study of various biological processes, the preservation of microorganisms plays a key role in ensuring reproducible results and continuity in research. Maintaining a library of microbial stocks also enables microorganisms to be easily stored and retrieved, as compared…

Culturing the Unculturable: Working with Difficult Bacteria

Culturing the Unculturable: Working with Difficult Bacteria

By Daphne Ng | September 26, 2019

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…

How to Transform Microalgae

How to Transform Microalgae

By Daphne Ng | August 8, 2019

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…

An Introduction to Digital Images in Publications

An Introduction to Digital Images in Publications

By Daphne Ng | July 16, 2019

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.…

How to Marie Kondo Your Laboratory

How to Marie Kondo Your Laboratory

By Daphne Ng | May 22, 2019

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…

Emerging Model Microorganisms Take to the Stage

Emerging Model Microorganisms Take to the Stage

By Daphne Ng | April 11, 2019

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…

Mentor

Why Early Career Scientists Should Care about Mentoring Undergraduate Students

By Daphne Ng | February 26, 2019

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.…

Seining in a Stream with Partners

10 Steps to Enjoying Fieldwork for Sedentary Scientists

By Daphne Ng | November 20, 2018

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…

Scientific Illustrations Part I: Schematics and Cartoons

Scientific Illustrations Part I: Schematics and Cartoons

By Daphne Ng | October 19, 2018

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…

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

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

By Daphne Ng | September 14, 2018

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…

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