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Megan Cartwright

Megan gained a PhD in Toxicology from the University of Washington and is an experienced scientific and technical writer/editor.

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Articles by Megan Cartwright

An image of caution signs to depict dangerous laboratory chemicals.

More Bad Laboratory Chemicals, and What They Do to You

By Megan Cartwright | November 1, 2021

It’s all too easy to forget how many common lab chemicals are dangerous. Read on, as we bring you even more dangerous lab chemicals that you should not be messing with.

An image of green smoke and a toxic warning sign to depict 10 dangerous chemicals in the lab.

Ten Bad Chemicals in the Lab and What They do to You!

By Megan Cartwright | October 25, 2021

With hazards all around, it’s easy to forget how deadly even common chemicals in the lab are. But don’t worry—we’ve compiled a list of common, dangerous chemicals to help you out.

How to Store Your Concentrated Proteins

By Megan Cartwright | April 25, 2017

Like graduate students, proteins are sensitive to rough handling. This is particularly true when they (the proteins, not the students!) are being concentrated, purified, and stored. We’ve covered the many options out there for concentrating your proteins, along with how to handle protein extracts to keep your proteins safe from degradation. But proteins can degrade…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

By Megan Cartwright | July 9, 2016

Whether you’re doing a quick Miniprep or labeling hundreds of PCR tubes, listening to science podcasts can help keep you sane, entertained, and informed! With so many podcasts out there, we’ve pulled together this list of twelve great options: 1. 60-Second Science (1 – 2 minutes, updated weekdays) This Scientific American podcast offers quick news about…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

Top 5 Protein Quantification Assays

By Megan Cartwright | May 27, 2015

What could be simpler and faster than measuring the amount of protein in your sample? Well, don’t get too confident – even the most humble protein quantification assay uses some sophisticated chemistry that can trip you up (especially if you’re working with detergents!). To help you choose the right method to “simply” measure your protein,…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

6 Common Lab Uses of Detergents

By Megan Cartwright | March 16, 2015

Detergents are all around us in the lab – and that’s a good thing! Thanks to their chemical structure, detergents can solubilize and interact with many types of molecules, making them vital to research. To show you why detergents are such a good thing for scientists, we’ll go through six examples in molecular biology where…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

Know Your PPE – Face Protection

By Megan Cartwright | February 18, 2015

Like all PPE, goggles and face shields are your last line of defense against the many lab hazards that may hurt you. But not all goggles and face shields are equal! To help you keep safe and sound, we’ll review the most common types of eye and face protection in the lab, and give you…

An image of lab gloves to depict a guide to lab gloves.

Guard Yourself with Our Guide to Gloves

By Megan Cartwright | January 26, 2015

We scientists wear them all the time, but have you ever stopped to ask: what good are gloves? Why are there so many kinds?

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

Let’s Dish About Soaps: A General Overview of Detergents

By Megan Cartwright | November 3, 2014

What do cell lysis, clean dishes, and gallbladders all have in common? Answer: detergents! These useful chemicals can solubilize fats and other proteins in water. They are the key to applications as varied as lysing cell membranes, extracting DNA, and solubilizing proteins for gel electrophoresis. To help you understand these important chemicals, we provide a…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

Ten Non-Chemical Lab Hazards and What They Do to You!

By Megan Cartwright | August 11, 2014

Your lab is full of non-chemical hazards that can explode, stab, kill, and – as if that wasn’t enough – bite.  Here’s a list of those hazards to remind you why Environmental Health & Safety exists! 1.  Centrifuges Centrifuges are dangerous, especially when not cared for!  An unmaintained ultracentrifuge imploded in an American lab in…

How to Switch Mentors, Part 3: Actually Switching – Is it Worth it?

By Megan Cartwright | June 9, 2014

Grad school is a big investment of your time, with a lot riding on a successful relationship with your mentor.  Unfortunately, you may have realized that the relationship is not working and resists improvement.  You’ve taken the steps to switch to a new mentor. Now comes the hardest part. What do you actually say to…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

How to Switch Mentors, Part 2: Planning and Preparing to Switch

By Megan Cartwright | May 14, 2014

Much of your success and happiness in grad school depends on an effective relationship with your mentor.  Despite your best efforts, sometimes the first relationship doesn’t work out, and you need to switch mentors to succeed in your program.  But how do you prepare to change mentors mid-PhD? Step 1: Write it all down Before…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

How to Switch Mentors, Part 1: Recognizing Red Flags

By Megan Cartwright | May 7, 2014

Grad school is a long, hard, long, time-consuming, and–wait for it–long process. A bad relationship with your primary mentor can make it worse, and may even drive you away from a science career.  Unfortunately, you often can’t spot incompatibility until you’ve spent time with a mentor and lab.  Even then, how do you tell the…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

A Quick Primer on Enzyme Kinetics

By Megan Cartwright | June 12, 2013

As biological catalysts, enzymes transform target substrates into products. Enzyme kinetics is the rate of that transformation. By understanding how an enzyme’s behavior is affected, you can figure out how it functions in physiology or fails to function in disease. Now it gets complicated… What Affects an Enzyme’s Kinetics? In the first place, most enzymes…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

Three Tips (and Two Tricks) for Using BLAST

By Megan Cartwright | January 16, 2013

The Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) algorithm is at the heart of a free suite of online resources available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).  While most researchers are aware of BLAST as a sequence alignment tool, NCBI’s BLAST suite offers so much more!  I’ll cover in-depth how to use these resources…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

How Does 2D Gel Electrophoresis Work?

By Megan Cartwright | November 19, 2012

2D gel electrophoresis (2DE) is a key technique for purifying individual proteins from complex samples based on their isoelectric points and molecular weights.  Simple enough in theory, but as the plethora of protocols and articles shows, 2DE demands patience and meticulous optimization.  But whether your samples are human sera or HUVEC lysates, 2DE uses these…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

4 Tips for Better Scientific Image Processing in Photoshop

By Megan Cartwright | June 27, 2012

For scientists, Photoshop is a double-edged sword with a dagger nailed to the hilt. Its power in image processing is unrivalled; its ability to gut you with ethics violations is unmatched. An earlier article outlined how to keep your conscience clean when Photoshopping, here we offer four tips that will help walk with the Photoshop balancing…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

How Proteases and Protease Inhibitors Work

By Megan Cartwright | June 15, 2012

Proteases: wild, mysterious, destructive.  What are these untamed elements ravaging your precious lysate? How can a drop of EDTA or a smidge of “cocktail” protect that sample, which is gently cradling your hopes, your dreams, and your desire to survive the next lab meeting? Brace yourself for a biochem flashback: in this article, we’ll explain…

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

How to Keep Track of Lab Orders

By Megan Cartwright | May 14, 2012

How often have you torn apart the lab looking for the reagent you need right now for some thawing samples?  That reagent which you (possibly) ordered a week ago and which (maybe) came in yesterday?  If your answer isn’t “just once in my entire career,” please read on!  I will outline four steps to setup…

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