I am a fifth year PhD candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles interested in careers and opportunities in medical communication and medical writing, as well as promoting scientific literacy. I started my undergraduate training as an English major, but a year from finishing I took a biology class that was effective in communicating science in way that was exciting. I changed majors and finished my B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology and entered a doctoral program to study B cell signaling during the germinal center reaction, with a particular interest in the intersection with metabolic changes and correlations with B cell malignancies like lymphoma. Now, my career focus is to combine my English skills with my scientific training to effectively communicate science to various audiences in the field of medical communication or medical writing.

Articles by lwaters:

How UV Radiation Causes DNA Mutations

We all know that we are supposed to put on sunscreen in the summer months to protect ourselves from skin cancer, and the connection between sun exposure and cancer is well documented (Koh et al., 1996; Armstrong and Cust, 2017). UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun interact with the DNA in our skin and…

19 Sep 2017 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How to Properly Streak a Single Bacterial Colony

Bacteria are the workhorses of many molecular biology laboratories, and mastering the basic techniques to manipulate bacteria is an important stepping-stone towards achieving great results. When isolating DNA from bacteria, it is important to start with a single colony to ensure a homogenous population of bacteria in your culture. Isolating a single bacterial colony from…

01 Sep 2017 Cells and Model Organisms

Demystifying the Flow Cytometry Optics System: A Peek Under the Hood

To many users, the flow cytometer is a magic box: put in cells, get out data. You click the button to tell it which colors to look at without much thought about how the machine does this. However, not all fluorophores are created equal—some configurations might exclude the spectrum you’re really looking for. Here’s a…

24 Nov 2016 Flow Cytometry

How to Give a Great Scientific Talk and Engage Your Audience

We have all been to awful talks—hours of slides crammed with data, given by presenters who assume you know as much as they do. But hopefully you’ve also seen a great scientific talk. A talk in which you’re walked through a story, eagerly anticipating each question and data point, until you finally reach a conclusion…

14 Sep 2016 Writing, Publishing & Presenting

Cell Cycle Analysis by Flow: DNA Stains and Beyond

While you can observe mitotic cell cycle progression using immunofluorescence, flow cytometry is a great tool to delineate details that aren’t apparent by chromosomal morphology alone. DNA stains are a great way to get a general idea of what your cells are up to. There are also a number of other stains you can use…

08 Sep 2016 Flow Cytometry

Common Mass Spectrometry Contaminants: I Messed It Up So You Don’t Have To!

Through many trials, and lots of error, I learned that there are many considerations for mass spectrometry that might not be obvious to you as a molecular biologist. Common contaminants, even in small quantities, can mask important peaks in your mass spec data and have a huge impact on the final results.

01 Sep 2016 Protein Expression & Analysis

The Care and Keeping of Primary Murine B Cells

So you want to work with mouse B cells? Primary murine B cells are a difficult, yet fascinating system to work with and can help deepen your understanding of an immunological system. You can study many things with primary B cells, including: immune activation antibody production cell-cell interactions between immune cells and immune phenotype These…

11 Aug 2016 Cells and Model Organisms