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Jill Muhling

I have a PhD in Molecular Virology from the University of Western Australia and have worked as a postdoc at research labs in Australia and the USA. I currently work as a Senior Scientist in the biotechnology industry in Cambridge Massachusetts. My main area of expertise is gene therapy and viral vectors, particularly vector production using different platforms.

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Articles by Jill Muhling

A wooden block with a letter t in front of several other blurred wooden blocks to represent the 3 Ts of introducing foreign DNA

The Three Ts of Introducing Foreign DNA: Transfection, Transduction, and Transformation

By Jill Muhling | August 27, 2021

Do you know your transfections from your transductions? We explain the differences between three of the most commonly used ways of introducing foreign DNA.

DIY method for isolating yeast

How to Get a Scientific Research Job in the US (If You Are Coming from Elsewhere)

By Jill Muhling | June 19, 2019

Growing up in Australia, I remember a common phrase: ‘only in America’. Sometimes this was in reference to bizarre cultural events or phenomena but it was generally accepted that the USA was an extraordinary place, where everything was bigger, brighter, and more outrageous. America has fostered a culture of big ideas and innovation, partly because…

lab cooperation

How to Foster Lab Cooperation

By Jill Muhling | October 4, 2017

Research isn’t easy. Not only do you deal with experimental failures and demanding supervisors, you also work with other lab members — people who are under the same pressures and stresses as you. Staff, postdocs, PhD students, and undergrads are often given bench space and a desk and encouraged to sort out the personal side…

outsourcing research

Outsourcing Research: Should Your Experiment Spend Some Time Away from You?

By Jill Muhling | January 18, 2017

As a researcher, it’s satisfying to manage your own projects and do the bench work yourself. After all, if you don’t have experience with a technique, you’re usually expected to figure it out (with or without direct supervision). In some situations, dealing with difficult molecular techniques is simply part of the job description. The scientific…

Virus myths

Viral Vector Production: Myths & Misconceptions

By Jill Muhling | January 10, 2017

Viral vector production is a worthwhile skill that can be made even easier with a few tips and tricks. In general, transfection of multiple plasmids into a producer cell line results in infectious, non-replicative virus. However, it is important to ensure that your vector preparation is efficient, giving your experiments the best chance of success.…

virus purification

AAV Production Part II: Virus Purification

By Jill Muhling | December 13, 2016

In Part I of AAV Production, I described how to produce crude (non-purified) AAV. In this article, I am going to tell you how to purify that crude prep. Virus purification is usually done by gradient ultracentrifugation. Two common methods involve gradients made from increasing concentrations of cesium chloride or iodixanol. A cesium chloride prep…

defend science

Why You Should Defend Science

By Jill Muhling | November 30, 2016

It’s probably safe to say that most people reading this article are big fans of science. As scientists, we love using rigorous methods to learn more about how the world works. So it may come as a shock to realize that science is often viewed as flawed, immoral or just plain wrong – especially when…

AAV Production Part I: Tips for Setting Up

AAV Production Part I: Tips for Setting Up

By Jill Muhling | November 15, 2016

What is Adeno-Associated Virus? Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a popular gene therapy vector. Different AAV serotypes infect different cell and tissue types with varying efficiency, so it’s a good idea to select the serotype most relevant to your work. The most commonly used AAV serotypes are 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and DJ, although…

organize a research lab

How to Effectively Organize a Research Lab

By Jill Muhling | August 17, 2016

An academic lab is a unique working environment. Lab members are expected to take responsibility for their own research projects and perform the work quickly and efficiently. However, unlike an industrial or corporate setting, there are often no clearly defined management structures. This means that when it comes to communal equipment, reagents and resources, individual…

Tips for Dealing with Research Failures

Tips for Dealing with Research Failures

By Jill Muhling | July 9, 2016

“It didn’t WORK!” The panic was tangible. Anyone who performs PCR on a regular basis is used to the ups and downs involved, but it occurred to me that this might be the first time in the student’s academic life where he had actually failed at something.

How (not) to write a terrible scientific thesis

How (not) to write a terrible scientific thesis

By Jill Muhling | July 9, 2016

So it’s time to write up your thesis. By now, you probably consider yourself an expert on your topic or you hate the sight of it (or both!). Either way, hundreds of typewritten pages are all that stands between you and graduation/freedom. One of your first requirements will be to review the current knowledge on…

Want to Increase Your Lentiviral Titers? Focus on Your 293T Cells

Want to Increase Your Lentiviral Titers? Focus on Your 293T Cells

By Jill Muhling | July 9, 2016

Producing lentiviral or retroviral vectors is theoretically fairly straightforward. However, anyone new to viral vector work is usually confronted with vast amounts of confusing information. It seems that anyone who has ever made a lentivirus has their own protocols and is adamant that their method is the best one to follow. In reality, there are…

How to Best Improve Your Lentivirus Titer

How to Best Improve Your Lentivirus Titer

By Jill Muhling | July 9, 2016

If you’re planning on using lentivirus for your next experiment, chances are you’re wondering how much virus to use. For in vitro work, multiplicity of infection (MOI) is the theoretical number of virus particles applied per target cell. That is to say, if you have 1 million cells and you want an MOI of 5,…

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