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Emily Crow

Emily Crow has a PhD in Life Sciences from Northwestern University. She is currently working as an editor for a scientific publishing company. Her many scientific interests include microbiology, parasitology, and prion diseases.

Articles by Emily Crow:

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

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.…

09 Jul 2016 Microscopy and Imaging

Feed Your Head: Books for Scientists and Their Loved Ones

Over the past year, we’ve published several book reviews on BitesizeBio. With the holidays approaching, we thought this would be a good time to highlight some of our favorite science reads. Why not add a few to your shopping list – a gift for a friend, or maybe yourself? Read on for our recommendations!  …

13 Dec 2012 Fun Stuff

Can Post-Publication Peer Review Really Work?

I recently became aware of Webmedcentral.com, a collection of biomedical journals that publishes research articles online under the unique philosophy of “post-publication peer review”.  The flagship journal of this website, WebmedCentral, promises publication of any article within 48 hours, with absolutely no review process beforehand.  Articles are then open for commenting by members of the…

07 Nov 2012 Writing, Publishing and Presenting

How To Write an Awesome Abstract

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…

01 Oct 2012 Writing, Publishing and Presenting

How Do YOU Image Your Western Blots?

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…

13 Jul 2012 Protein Expression and Analysis

5 Ways to Delay The Publication of Your Manuscript

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…

05 Jul 2012 Writing, Publishing and Presenting

How to Lyse Cells for Protein Extraction

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…

04 Jul 2012 Protein Expression and Analysis

Top 10 Most Hated Lab Tasks

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…

25 Apr 2012 Organization and Productivity

How To Preserve Your Samples In Western Blotting

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…

02 Apr 2012 Protein Expression and Analysis

Choosing the Right Molecular Weight Marker for SDS-PAGE

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…

26 Mar 2012 Protein Expression and Analysis

How To Preserve Your Samples In Western Blotting

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…

19 Mar 2012 Protein Expression and Analysis

3 Approaches to Western Blot Transfer

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…

05 Mar 2012 Protein Expression and Analysis

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

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…

27 Feb 2012 Protein Expression and Analysis

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

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…

11 Jan 2012 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

Are Purified Primers Really Necessary For Site-Directed Mutagenesis?

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…

06 Jan 2012 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

What Do You Get For The Grad Student Who Has Everything?

As the holiday season approaches, I’m sure many of you are asking yourself what to get for that special grad student in your life.  Or perhaps you’d like to treat yourself this year!  But what do you get for the grad student who has everything? Why, more ways to procrastinate, of course! Looking for something…

22 Dec 2011 PhD Survival

Is Google making Scientists Dumber?

The last time you forgot an address what was your first instinct: to look it up on a map, or type out the bit you remember into GoogleMaps and wait for it to auto-complete?  What about looking for a new restaurant: did you ask a friend for recommendations, or search for restaurants in your area…

08 Dec 2011 Software and Online Tools

Your Enthusiasm for Science: Free Refills Here

Do you often get lost in the tedium of day-to-day research?  Have you forgotten the passion and curiosity that drove you to science in the first place?  As biologists we are privileged to be asking the big questions and probing the mysteries of nature. That our jobs actually involve messing around with DNA, looking inside…

28 Nov 2011 Inspiring and Thought Provoking

BioConference Live: a Free Online Conference for Life Scientists!

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…

19 Oct 2011 Of Interest

How To Fail In Grad School

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…

14 Sep 2011 PhD Survival

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Screw Up Your RNA extraction

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…

22 Aug 2011 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How to Get Perfect Protein Transfer in Western Blotting

Accurate transfer of proteins from the SDS-PAGE gel to your membrane is an important step in Western blotting.  However, optimizing transfer times is hit-or-miss, and it can take several tries to get a publication-worthy image.  Here are a few hints on how to ensure that your transfer is accurate and complete: Always include a pre-stained…

16 Aug 2011 Protein Expression and Analysis

10 Things You Need to Know About Restriction Enzymes

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…

15 Aug 2011 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Tips for Constructing Lab Databases in Excel

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…

08 Aug 2011 Organization and Productivity

5 Ways to Destroy Your Yeast Transformation

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…

27 Jul 2011 Cells and Model Organisms

How Good Is Your Sterile Technique?

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…

28 Apr 2011 Cells and Model Organisms

5 Ways to Destroy Your Western Blot

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…

30 Mar 2011 Protein Expression and Analysis

5 ways to destroy your agarose gel

One of the earliest things you probably learned soon after joining your first lab was agarose gel electrophoresis. Pouring and running an agarose gel should be a simple and routine procedure, one that you wouldn’t think could go wrong. In fact, there are a surprising number of ways to destroy your agarose gel. Here are…

25 Mar 2011 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Should children ever be in the lab?

Have you ever brought your children to the lab, or found your colleagues’ kids running around unexpectedly?  A research lab is a risky place to bring a kid, considering all the potential hazards.  In the UK, Health and Safety laws explicitly forbid the presence of children in the lab, because it is such a dangerous…

11 Mar 2011 Lab Safety

Review articles: yea or nay?

I’ve written two review articles over the course of my graduate career, and read many many more…but I have to say, I’m not that convinced about their usefulness.  As an author, I don’t really feel like I’m contributing anything new to the field, and as a reader, I find that the questions I have often…

14 Feb 2011 Writing, Publishing and Presenting

New Year’s Resolutions for the Lab

The beginning of a new year is a great chance to make a fresh start in the lab Here are a few of my resolutions for the upcoming year: 1. I will faithfully update my lab notebook every day. No more marathon sessions once a month with a handful of post-it notes and a few…

03 Jan 2011 Personal Development

Ligation optimization

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,…

15 Dec 2010 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Choosing a rotation lab

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…

01 Dec 2010 PhD Survival

Preparing and Presenting a Journal Club

Journal clubs are a great time to catch up on current literature in your field, but when prepared poorly or presented hastily, they can often lead to confusion.  Here are some simple guidelines for presenting a clear, concise paper summary. 1. Provide background Before you dive in to the data, spend a few minutes talking…

12 Nov 2010 Writing, Publishing and Presenting

Lab, and Life, Lessons From the Treadmill

Going back to running to de-stress has taught Emily some surprisingly useful things about life and the lab.

02 Nov 2010 Personal Development

Product Review: Snap i.d. Rapid Western blotting system

My lab recently purchased the Snap i.d. rapid Western blotting system from Millipore, and it has quickly become my favorite piece of lab equipment. The standard Western blotting procedure involves blocking for thirty minutes or more, incubating in primary antibody for at least an hour, and incubating in secondary antibody for an additional hour, interspersed with multiple wash…

01 Oct 2010 Protein Expression and Analysis

Your No.1 Time Management Lesson: Just Say No

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…

07 Sep 2010 Organization and Productivity

Tiny, Tragic Lab Pleasures

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…

06 Aug 2010 Fun Stuff

The Art of PCR Primer Design

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…

21 Jul 2010 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

10 Great Things About Being a Graduate Student in the Summer

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;…

18 Jun 2010 PhD Survival

Cloning: Where to Hit The Pause Button

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…

14 Jun 2010 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Murphy’s Law in Science

Murphy’s law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  Nowhere is this law more abundantly evident than in the life of a scientist.  Here are just a few of the examples that I’ve witnessed: if you drop one tube from the whole rack, it will be the one that contained your most…

20 May 2010 Fun Stuff

Lab Stuff I wish I could use in my kitchen

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…

30 Apr 2010 Equipment Mastery and Hacks

Streamline Your Cloning

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…

14 Apr 2010 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

10 Ways to Be Your OWN Boss In The Lab

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…

26 Mar 2010 Personal Development

How to Create an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

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?…

04 Mar 2010 Writing, Publishing and Presenting

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

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,…

19 Feb 2010 Organization and Productivity
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