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Emily Crow

Emily has a PhD in Molecular Biology from Northwestern University – The Feinberg School of Medicine. A skilled and confident scientific translator, editor and writer with a passion for scientific communication. I have extensive experience in copyediting, content editing, proofreading, developmental editing and writing for diverse clients, and have worked on projects including professional publications, online publishing, e-books, and more. In addition, I provide high-quality translations of scientific documents, including articles, grant applications, theses and more from French into English. My professional priority is to promote and facilitate scientific communication, and I have a particular interest in working with scientists for whom English is not their first language.

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Articles by Emily Crow

Jelly beans depicting agarose gel mistakes

5 Ways to Destroy your Agarose Gel and How to Avoid Them!

By Emily Crow | June 29, 2022

Pouring and running an agarose gel should be a simple and routine procedure, but there are a surprising number of ways to destroy your agarose gel.

jellyfish central to the development of GFP

How a Jellyfish Changed Biology: The Discovery and Development of GFP

By Emily Crow | July 9, 2016

Fluorescent tags are widely used for microscopy and expression studies – but it wasn’t so long ago that this everyday tool was unheard of. In this article we’ll talk about how GFP came to be, and what it means for you. Green fluorescent protein, or GFP, was first identified in a fluorescent jellyfish, Aequorea victoria.…

How To Write an Awesome Abstract

How To Write an Awesome Abstract

By Emily Crow | October 1, 2012

Let’s face it: when you said you read that paper, what you really meant was that you read the abstract. And that conference you went to? You probably scanned the abstracts of the posters instead of actually attending the poster session and chatting with the presenters. It’s a dirty little secret and a time-saving tool…

Image of someone filling vials with pipettes to represent successful postdoctoral interview preparation

How Do YOU Image Your Western Blots?

By Emily Crow | July 13, 2012

The last step in western blotting is imaging the blot – this is the moment of truth, when you finally get to see the results of the experiment you’ve been working on for so long!  There are a variety of different ways to image your blot.  The method you choose will largely depend on the…

5 Ways to Delay The Publication of Your Manuscript

By Emily Crow | July 5, 2012

Most scientists I know approach the publication process with fear and trembling: the endless discussions about what journal to submit to, the agonized consideration of impact factors, comparing the all-important “time to first decision”, etc. Now that I’ve been working for a scientific publisher for a few months, I’m surprised at how many manuscripts still…

How to Lyse Cells for Protein Extraction

How to Lyse Cells for Protein Extraction

By Emily Crow | July 4, 2012

The first step in most Western blotting experiments is lysing your cells to extract protein.  You need to break open your cells in order to be able to isolate the proteins, and you need to do this with the least degradation and the most reproducibility possible.  Depending on what your starting material is, there are…

Top 10 Most Hated Lab Tasks

Top 10 Most Hated Lab Tasks

By Emily Crow | April 25, 2012

Following closely on the heels of Cristy’s article “How to Clean a Waterbath”, I’d like to take a moment to rant about a few other hated (and carefully avoided) lab tasks.  Here are my top ten LEAST favorite things to do in the lab: Cleaning out the vacuum trap – truly gag-worthy…you never know what…

How To Preserve Your Samples In Western Blotting

How To Preserve Your Samples In Western Blotting

By Emily Crow | April 2, 2012

When running a quantitative Western blot, it’s crucial that your sample preparation is consistent.  Incomplete protein extraction from one sample will skew your results when you compare it to the protein content of a sample that was extracted more thoroughly.  And after the protein extraction, it’s important to handle the samples in an identical manner…

An image of colors to depict care for your pH meter.

Choosing the Right Molecular Weight Marker for SDS-PAGE

By Emily Crow | March 26, 2012

When it comes to choosing a molecular weight marker to run on your SDS-PGE gels, there are a lot of options out there.  How do you know which one is right for you?  Read on for tips on what to consider when choosing a standard for your protein gels. Before you go about selecting a…

How To Preserve Your Samples In Western Blotting

How To Preserve Your Samples In Western Blotting

By Emily Crow | March 19, 2012

When running a quantitative Western blot, it’s crucial that your sample preparation is consistent.  Incomplete protein extraction from one sample will skew your results when you compare it to the protein content of a sample that was extracted more thoroughly.  And after the protein extraction, it’s important to handle the samples in an identical manner…

3 Approaches to Western Blot Transfer

3 Approaches to Western Blot Transfer

By Emily Crow | March 5, 2012

I think that transferring Western blots is one the most enjoyable tasks to do in a lab: it’s quick, it’s messy, and on some gleeful level, it feels like a child’s art project gone wrong.  Of course, it’s also finicky and slippery and prone to tiny pitfalls that can noticeably affect the quality of your…

How Do YOU Make Sure That Your Western Blots are Evenly Loaded?

How Do YOU Make Sure That Your Western Blots are Evenly Loaded?

By Emily Crow | February 27, 2012

For Western blot data to be reliable, it is important that you load known amounts of sample into each lane of the gel.  This is of particular importance if you are doing a quantitative blot, where you really need to be able to compare band intensity in each sample.  In this article, we’ll talk about…

Mind Your P’s And Q’s: A Short Primer On Proofreading Polymerases

Mind Your P’s And Q’s: A Short Primer On Proofreading Polymerases

By Emily Crow | January 11, 2012

For applications such as site-directed mutagenesis, it is often recommended that you use a proofreading polymerase (also known as high-fidelity polymerases) to minimize the risk of introducing unintended point mutations.  But what is a proofreading polymerase?  What makes them different from other polymerases?  And when should you use them?  Read on to learn more… What…

An graphic of expanding circles to depict a method for cheaper bacterial transformation.

Are Purified Primers Really Necessary For Site-Directed Mutagenesis?

By Emily Crow | January 6, 2012

Most site-directed mutagenesis protocols strongly recommend that you use only PAGE- or HPLC-purified primers to mutate plasmid templates.  Using purified primers is supposed to minimize the introduction of unintended mutations, thus drastically improving the probability of generating your desired mutant.  However, specially purified primers can be extremely expensive, and take longer to synthesize than standard…

BioConference Live: a Free Online Conference for Life Scientists!

BioConference Live: a Free Online Conference for Life Scientists!

By Emily Crow | October 19, 2011

It’s that time again: BioConference Live is hosting its (free!) virtual life science conference next week. This two day, all-online event brings speakers on a huge variety of topics right to your desktop and is a great way to catch up with the latest and greatest in the life sciences without having to travel further…

How To Fail In Grad School

By Emily Crow | September 14, 2011

Graduate school is a challenging experience for everyone. The hours are long, the pay is low, and the prize often seems unattainable. So how do you ensure that you get the most out of your years in grad school, and emerge on the other side ready to tackle an exciting new career? Here are a…

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Screw Up Your RNA extraction

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Screw Up Your RNA extraction

By Emily Crow | August 22, 2011

Working with RNA is definitely an acquired skill.  It’s a lot more finicky than working with DNA, and requires careful attention to detail in order to avoid disastrous through RNase contamination.  Here are a few common ways to lose your hard-earned RNA:  1. Don’t keep everything on ice Keeping the temperature of all of your reagents cool is…

10 Things You Need to Know About Restriction Enzymes

10 Things You Need to Know About Restriction Enzymes

By Emily Crow | August 15, 2011

Restriction enzymes are a basic tool in the molecular biologist’s arsenal.  They’re super easy to use, and virtually essential for cloning and other applications.  Restriction enzymes are also a great example of a perfect “tool” from nature that scientists have co-opted for their own use.  Here are a few fun facts about restriction enzymes that…

Tips for Constructing Lab Databases in Excel

Tips for Constructing Lab Databases in Excel

By Emily Crow | August 8, 2011

Good organization is essential for keeping a lab in good running order.  Databases of strains, plasmids, primers, and stocks are useful for keeping track of your materials, and allow your work to be continued easily after you’ve left the lab.  In this article, I’ll talk about a few tools in Microsoft Excel that will make…

5 Ways to Destroy Your Yeast Transformation

5 Ways to Destroy Your Yeast Transformation

By Emily Crow | July 27, 2011

Transforming yeast with DNA is a very similar process to transforming E. coli, but with just enough differences to trip you up if you let your attention slip.  Whether you’re doing a yeast two-hybrid screen, or using yeast as a model system, here are a some mistakes to to avoid… 1. Forgetting to add single…

How Good Is Your Sterile Technique?

How Good Is Your Sterile Technique?

By Emily Crow | April 28, 2011

Virtually every research scientist has a use for sterile technique in the lab, whether you study infectious microorganisms, do tissue culture, or use E. coli for cloning. Good sterile technique is a basic lab skill required to avoid contamination of your materials and experiments; and fortunately, the principles are simple to learn and easy to…

5 Ways to Destroy Your Western Blot

5 Ways to Destroy Your Western Blot

By Emily Crow | March 30, 2011

Western blotting is a common lab technique used to detect and analyze proteins. It also happens to be a really long and complicated procedure, with many steps along the way that are easy to mess up. How do you make sure that your Western blot is successful? Avoid the following five ways to destroy your…

Ligation optimization

By Emily Crow | December 15, 2010

I learned most of my molecular biology skills in the first lab I worked in almost 10 years ago.  I realized recently that I was in desperate need of a refresher course, so I did a little bit of reading to see if I could improve the efficiency of my cloning reactions.  In the process,…

Choosing a rotation lab

Choosing a rotation lab

By Emily Crow | December 1, 2010

In the US graduate school system, students do “research rotations” in two or more labs to get a feel for the research and lab environment before committing to one lab for their thesis research.  For big schools, it can be hard to know where to start when choosing rotation labs.  Here are a few tips…

Your No.1 Time Management Lesson: Just Say No

Your No.1 Time Management Lesson: Just Say No

By Emily Crow | September 7, 2010

Research is a challenging field that demands a tremendous amount of skill and dedication.  We are required to be creative but logical, independent but team players, innovative but grounded, proliferative but focused.  This balancing act requires not only a very broad set of skills and talents, but also the ability to manage it all with…

Tiny, Tragic Lab Pleasures

Tiny, Tragic Lab Pleasures

By Emily Crow | August 6, 2010

John’s comment on Jode’s recent article here on Bitesize Bio: “Good idea on marking the rotor for 3 tubes Jode. One of those tiny (perhaps tragic) pleasures is when you drop the 3 tubes in quickly and get in spaced perfectly first time. Because usually its drop them in and then move one tube 1…

The Art of PCR Primer Design

The Art of PCR Primer Design

By Emily Crow | July 21, 2010

Primer design can sometimes feel like more of an art than a science, and designing the best primer can significantly affect the success or failure of your experiments. Here are a few tips on optimizing primer design for several different applications: PCR amplification/cloning One of the most common primer-based applications is cloning.  The desired amplicon…

10 Great Things About Being a Graduate Student in the Summer

10 Great Things About Being a Graduate Student in the Summer

By Emily Crow | June 18, 2010

Being in graduate school can be tough – deadlines, professors, and experiments, can get you down.  But there are a lot of silver linings, too.   Here are a few of my favorite things about being a grad student this summer: Since it stays light so much later, I don’t mind working a few more hours;…

Cloning: Where to Hit The Pause Button

Cloning: Where to Hit The Pause Button

By Emily Crow | June 14, 2010

We recently featured an article about how to streamline your cloning.  But what about those days when you have too much on your plate, and need to put some things off until later?  Here are a few hints on where you can pause in your cloning experiments while working on other projects: Restriction digests can…

Lab Stuff I wish I could use in my kitchen

Lab Stuff I wish I could use in my kitchen

By Emily Crow | April 30, 2010

We recently had a feature from Jode on everyday equipment that you can use in the lab, but what about the other way around? Do you ever take a look at what you’re doing in the lab and think, “Wow, this would really come in handy at home?” Here are a few of the things…

Streamline Your Cloning

Streamline Your Cloning

By Emily Crow | April 14, 2010

I always keep an ear open for helpful tips in the lab – those little tricks that can make your experiments faster, easier and better. Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up for trimming down the time it takes to do your cloning: Restriction digests Many digests are complete within 10 minutes of digestion…

10 Ways to Be Your OWN Boss In The Lab

10 Ways to Be Your OWN Boss In The Lab

By Emily Crow | March 26, 2010

In an ideal world, every PI would be a nurturing and challenging mentor who carefully guides your project and is invested in developing your skills as a scientist. In the real world, however, that kind of leadership can be hard to find. In any case, one of the most important and useful mental steps you…

How to Create an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

By Emily Crow | March 4, 2010

Presenting your work is a fantastic opportunity to get feedback on your project, demonstrate the significance of your results, and make the connections that will enhance your future career. And yet, how many incomprehensible lab meetings have we all sat through? How many seminars have you attended that left you feeling more confused than inspired?…

How To Prevent Other People's Mistakes from Affecting Your Work

How To Prevent Other People’s Mistakes from Affecting Your Work

By Emily Crow | February 19, 2010

Chances are, in the course of your scientific career, you will encounter a common problem in research: losing time due to someone else’s mistake. Whether the problem is an incorrect strain or plasmid given to you by another lab, incorrectly made buffers or media from within your own lab, or, in the most extreme case,…

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