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Jason Erk

Jason holds a BS in Biochemistry and is a faculty research assistant at an Oregon university. While current research efforts span the fields of behavior, neuroscience, and molecular biology, he manages copious amounts of data and freezers full of samples.

Articles by Jason Erk:

Share Your Samples at a Reagent Repository

Have you got a plasmid that others are begging to use? Perhaps your cell line is in high demand? We’ll show how using a repository can take the hassle out of sharing your reagents.

People sharing food around a table showing benefits of sharing resources
26 Mar 2020 Organization and Productivity

Reduce, Reuse, Refine Your Animal Model Resources with the ‘3Rs’

Russell and Burch first described the ‘3Rs’ concept in 1959. It acknowledges that animals are a valuable resource through which great discoveries can be made, but it is up to you to use them ethically and judiciously. The ultimate benefit is that people and animals will be able to live longer, happier, healthier lives! So…

Happy Lab Mice
06 Feb 2019 Cells and Model Organisms

From Cells to Scope: Chamber Slide Immunochemistry

Immunolabeling is the tried-and-true immunochemistry method of getting the stain you want onto the molecular target you want. Whether that target is contained within a large region of tissue (immunohistochemistry) or inside a single cell (immunocytochemistry), the ability to accurately label large numbers of samples will simplify your workflow and help you to achieve excellent…

01 Nov 2017 Microscopy and Imaging

Amplify Your PCR Success with the Right PCR Instrument!

Nowadays, almost every biology lab has a PCR instrument — from portable, battery-operated machines, to “PCR-by-water baths”, do-it-yourself PCR, or familiar vendor packages, including those with real-time quantification or droplet digital capabilities, DNA amplification depends on a robust thermal cycler. If you are looking to upgrade, add to, or even replace the lab’s current PCR…

21 Sep 2017 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

How to be an Excellent Scientific Leader

It’s often said that great leaders have a knack for bringing out the best in those that follow. In turn, followers enjoy the work they do and will take the initiative to soar far above and beyond what is asked of them. A less effective scientific leader may unknowingly squander potential that might have flourished…

scientific leader
21 Sep 2016 Dealing with Fellow Scientists

Strengths and limitations of your Nanodrop

Quantifying a DNA, RNA or protein sample concentration is now as easy as a click of the pipette, a push of a button and a dab of tissue to clean up. Here’s what you need to know about a few of the strengths and limitations of your Nanodrop – before you set up. Take a…

09 Jul 2016 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis&Equipment Mastery and Hacks&New England Biolabs

5 Funny Things I Have Seen in the Lab

Given enough time, even the worst rookie research disasters seem amusing. It’s a comedy of errors that test our wit and our patience, but ultimately leave a lifelong impression on how to try experimentation a little bit differently the second time around. With that said, here are 5 brief stories of amusing things I’ve witnessed…

12 Oct 2015 Lab Safety

12 Top Tips for Working in Your Cell Culture Hood

Whether you’re about to become keeper of the cells, or are just passing through to run a pilot study, knowing how to use the biosafety cabinet is just as essential as knowing how to use the fume hood when working with non-crawling, chemical reagents. We’ve seen a brief protocol for how to use the biosafety…

11 Mar 2015 Cells and Model Organisms&Lab Safety

10 Top Tips When Working With Your Fume Hood

Little chemical, BIG SMELL: Leave it to a pinch of beta-mercaptoethanol to overpower the lab. While not every chemical has such a pungent reminder about where it should be handled (hint: not at the bench), a good rule of thumb is to make use of your chemical fume hood whenever possible! We looked recently at…

25 Feb 2015 Lab Safety

Beginners Guide to Fume Hoods and Safety Cabinets

As with any experiment, choosing the right personal protective equipment is essential. In this series we’ll take a look at what different types of hoods add to your arsenal of PPE, what they do and how you can benefit by using them. First, why do I even need a hood? It’s common to run a…

28 Jan 2015 Lab Safety

Deciphering your Materials Safety Data Sheet

For all the chemical reagents that we may use on a daily basis, there are many for which we still need to learn how they work and what they can do. Thankfully, for a good majority of chemicals (especially the ones in our lab!) there IS a lot that we can understand because of the…

12 Nov 2014 Lab Safety

The Dos and Don’ts of Weighing Dangerous Chemicals

A lot of chemical reagents are relatively nonhazardous. But there are just as many that are extremely hazardous, which means you’ll want to take precautions to reduce any risk of exposure, repeated exposure and of course, accidental contamination of anything – or anyone – that walks out of the lab at the end of the…

12 Nov 2014 Basic Lab Skills and Know-how

Safe and sound: Gloves, goggles, gowns (and more lab safety basics)

The longer you work in research, the greater chance you have of witnessing – or experiencing first hand – a hazardous situation that can lead to an accident. These are the moments that are passed down to future scientists as scary, funny, or “I can’t believe how bad that situation could have been!” stories with…

05 Nov 2014 Lab Safety

Starters and Finishers: Who are the Most Valuable in the Lab?

Life seems to smile often on the work of the Starters. They pitch one idea after another and get to claim all the credit, whilst depending on others – namely the Finishers – to complete the job. Starters: Of course you’re ready. Let’s go! A Starter is the kind of person who jumps at the…

03 Sep 2014 Fun Stuff

5 Ways to Wreck Your Centrifuge

Surprise, surprise: That low frequency wobble isn’t your colleague’s dubstep. Before your centrifuge leaps off the bench and into a spirited dance, power down to see what’s the matter before it catastrophically destroys itself, your samples and the entire lab. Here are five unfortunately easy ways to wreck a centrifuge…and how to make sure it…

02 Jun 2014 Equipment Mastery and Hacks

Why You Should Talk to Sales Reps

People often joke about hiding from sales reps, but the fact of the matter is that valuable opportunities are lost when scientists disappear into thin air. Think twice before attempting your own vanishing act; a brief chat could reward you with amazing deals, introduce you to faster, better technology and keep you in the loop…

12 May 2014 Survive and Thrive

15 Laboratory Items You Can Buy In Any Store

A variety of lab supplies can be purchased off the shelf in your neighborhood, which can save you time and money* especially when compared to the added cost of shipping, handling, and markup of various items when ordering from lab vendors (*your mileage will vary). How to get reimbursed The method for procuring supplies on…

26 Mar 2014 Equipment Mastery and Hacks