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Kristen Haberthur

Kristen Haberthur has a Ph.D. in Viral Immunology from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cancer immunology (Crane Lab) at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She thinks that science is pretty awesome, and loves talking about it with whomever will listen, especially when the topic leans toward immunology and disease. Kristen currently channels that passion by writing for Bitesize Bio, as well as teaching for Saturday Academy (Portland, OR), and pursues Independent Contract work.

Articles by Kristen Haberthur:

Decisions, Decisions: How to Choose the Best qPCR Probe for Your Experiment

Before we go any further, we have to get some things straightened out: RT-PCR versus qPCR versus RT-qPCR. Sooo confusing, amirite?? They all refer to specific molecular biology assays, but the names are unfortunately used interchangeably, which can be awfully confusing for just about anyone. So without further ado: RT-PCR is short for reverse-transcriptase PCR,…

17 Oct 2017 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

20 Telling Signs You’re a Scientist

According to Bill Nye, “Science rules!” – and I think most of us would agree. We are learning more and more about the world around us each day, as well as about ourselves. But is there a difference between a Science Fan, and a Scientist? Everyone has their own parameters, but below are some that…

28 Aug 2017 Career Development & Networking

Brefeldin A v Monensin: How to Hunt for Proteins

As any good biologist knows, one of the easiest ways to determine if a cell is functionally active is the production and secretion of proteins in response to a stimulus. In many circumstances, the quantity of the secreted protein, and thus the level of cellular activation can be assessed by ELISA. However, if you are…

11 Jul 2017 Protein Expression & Analysis

Genetic Notation: Crack the Code!

Pop Quiz Time: You get a new bacterial strain from a culture collection, but you’re not quite sure what the genetic notation (i.e., all the letters and symbols) means. Do you: A. Cry? B. Ask around to see what your lab mates think? C. Cross your fingers that your friends at Bitesize Bio can help…

26 Jun 2017 Basic Lab Skills & Know-how&Soft Skills & Tools

Sheath Pressure: Nozzle Size Does Matter

Hello again, fellow Flow Cytometry Fan! It looks like you have your experiment all planned out, including staining protocols and gating schemes, and are ready to get some paradigm-shifting data. But before we start “plugging-and-chugging” samples through your cytometer of choice, we need to make sure that the nozzle size and sheath pressure are set…

13 Jun 2017 Flow Cytometry

The 3 Most Common Flow Cytometry Fallacies

Flow cytometry is fast evolving from a method only revered by immunologists, to one used by nearly every biological specialty. It’s pretty much my favorite tool. Unfortunately, as with most lab techniques, much of flow cytometry is taught on the job without a lot of standards. And too often bad habits are passed along like…

23 May 2017 Flow Cytometry

Get Your Polymerase Cycling Assembly Oligos Together

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the backbone of many lab techniques. In short, it allows for the exponential amplification of a specific segment of DNA. Through the use of primers encoding restriction enzyme sites, these amplified fragments are used in downstream cloning procedures, usually leading to the insertion of one, maybe two, PCR fragments…

18 May 2017 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Are You any Less of a Scientist after You Transition to Non-Bench Science?: Opinion

In this ever-evolving world, scientists in “alternative”, non-academic positions are more commonplace than ever. Gone are the days where ideas of leaving bench science would label you as a “sell-out”. Now there is a push to support every scientist, regardless of their goals. Whatever the reason for this shift in opinion, be it the realization…

08 Mar 2017 Personal Development

How a Career in Science Prepares you for Parenthood

Science is a career unlike any other. At times it can seem like the tools we gain can’t be used in any other profession. But that is where you are wrong! Unlike other occupations, going to graduate school and/or devoting your life to science actually prepares you for parenthood – in case you were worried…

27 Feb 2017 Fun Stuff&Personal Development

The Difference Between an Image, Flow, Time-lapse and Cell-sorting Cytometer

Ah, cell counting — it’s the oldest trick in the book! Well, not really, but people have been developing methods for counting cells since the late 1800s. It has been around for a while. But what different methodologies are available to biologists now? Well, hold on, because you’re in for a treat! In this article, we…

23 Feb 2017 Flow Cytometry

How Fluorescent Molecules Work: Shine Bright like a Diamond

Fluorescence is one of the most important and useful tools in a biologist’s toolbox. In biology, nearly every field, from physiology to immunology, uses fluorescent molecules (aka fluorophores) to detect proteins. However, the specific science behind how fluorescence works can be confusing or overlooked. Have no fear! In this article, we break down key points of…

27 Jan 2017 Flow Cytometry

Transitioning out of the Lab: B­­­­reaking up Is Hard to Do

Working in a research lab is not a normal job. The hours are often unconventional and the tasks can run from exciting to mundane—it’s a world all of its own. Even so, your loyalty to your field and people is unmatched; there is a level of comradery you experience that is unlike any other. This…

12 Dec 2016 Survive & Thrive

The Art of Scientific Authorship: Political Science

The elusive manuscript. It’s what we, as scientists, build our kingdoms on—throwing ourselves into our research, hoping to feel our time in the sun when it all comes to fruition in the form of that glorious body of work. But…what how do you determine who should share in that sunshine? Should you always put your…

08 Nov 2016 Writing, Publishing & Presenting

The History and Future of Fluorescent Labels: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

If you’ve been keeping up with our recent series of articles, welcome back! If not, you can catch up on how fluorescence works or what not to do with your flow experiment. In short, we have been discussing fluorescent labels and their role in flow cytometry. Today, I’ll round out our discussion by touching on…

08 Nov 2016 Flow Cytometry

Corralling Your Cells: How to Gate in Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry. Some people love it—most hate it—but all can agree that it is one of the most powerful analytical tools immunologists possess. Here’s a quick refresher: as the name suggests, flow cytometry measures the physical and chemical characteristics of cells. This is accomplished by fluorescently labeling cell surface markers/proteins using antibodies conjugated to fluorophores.…

27 Oct 2016 Flow Cytometry

Lighting the Way: Understanding Flow Cytometry Fluorophores

As science is becoming more interdisciplinary, the tools we use to answer questions are also crossing party lines. Case in point: flow cytometry. Once a tool only used by “real” immunologists, flow cytometry is fast becoming a method by which numerous questions can be answered, from the length of a cell’s telomeres, to the state…

18 Oct 2016 Flow Cytometry

Science Outreach: Why Should You Care?

All scientists should be involved in some aspect of outreach. There. I said it. I know, I know. This goes completely against why most scientists pursued their careers in the first place: to dedicate their lives to discovery, and to do so alone. With minimal human interaction, especially with non-scientists. Why You Should Reach Out…

28 Sep 2016 Science Communication & Ethics

How to Destroy your Flow Cytometry Data in 3 Easy Steps: Snap, Crackle, and Pop

While many scientists are methodical and precise, some of us like to live on the edge. Read a protocol all the way through? No thanks, I’ll take my chances and guess what concentration of HCl I should use. Label my tubes with the correct content? Puh-lease – it’s much more exciting deducing which is which…

18 Aug 2016 Flow Cytometry

Catching Greatness: Measuring Cellular Degranulation

One of the key characteristics of cytotoxic cells (i.e. CD8+ T cells, natural killer cells) is the presence of pre-formed cytoplasmic lysosomal granules. These structures house perforin and granzyme; two molecules that are essential for the lysis of target cells. Upon effector cell activation, granules are polarized toward the target cell and the contents are…

09 Jul 2016 Flow Cytometry

Pregnancy and Post-docing: A Case Study

Deciding to start a family with your partner is one of the most exhilarating and frightening times you’ll likely ever experience, outside of welcoming the little F1 to the world that is. Your job should not be an inhibitory factor in making that decision. We all know that post-docs live in a purgatory of sorts:…

09 Jul 2016 Personal Development