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Nat Graham

Nat received his biology degree from Truman State University in 2011 and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After gaining an appreciation for the scope of the impending food crisis, he has decided to spend his research time focusing on improving crop modification technologies. His current work focuses on chromosome modifications and the creation of minichromosomes in maize.

Articles by Nat Graham:

How to Grow Corn in a Greenhouse

Because of the ease of performing controlled crosses, maize (or corn (Zea mays)), has been a staple of plant genetics research for decades. Barbara McClintock herself chose maize as her research organism for her Nobel Prize winning work. If you are looking to get involved but aren’t sure how to get good yields in the…

Corn field
20 Jun 2018 Cells and Model Organisms

An Introduction to Fertilizers in Plant Research

If you have ever had a home garden, you are probably familiar with the fact that adding a little fertilizer to a plant can really do wonders. This can also be the case in a lab greenhouse! The difference is that instead of adding a bit of the “blue stuff,” we try to be a…

14 Mar 2018 Cells and Model Organisms

How to Manage Greenhouse Pests

In my last article I introduced what it takes to work in a greenhouse. While for the most part it is a pretty simple work environment, there is one aspect that warrants a more in-depth discussion: greenhouse pests. It doesn’t matter if the pest is an insect, virus, or bacteria, it can very quickly bring…

greenhouse pests
26 Sep 2017 Cells and Model Organisms

Tips and Tricks to Get Around Low Plasmid Yields in Agrobacterium tumefaciens

A while back, one of our readers asked for a quick and easy and quick way to extract plasmids from transformed Agrobacterium tumefaciens cells. They pointed out that plasmid copy number is often low in Agrobacterium and that yield can be poor in alkaline base miniprep protocols. The short answer is that there is no…

26 Apr 2017 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Earn That Green Thumb! An Introduction to Working in a Greenhouse

If you have worked in a lab before, you probably think you are prepared to work anywhere. You’ve done the safety classes, know how to store the chemicals, even know how to work the chemical shower. Unfortunately, that doesn’t fully prepare you for greenhouse work. Greenhouses are a different kind of greenery-filled animal entirely, and…

12 Mar 2017 Cells and Model Organisms&Basic Lab Skills and Know-how

Cloning Large or Complex DNA Fragments

Sometimes you know a project is going to be a pain before you even start it. For me, that is whenever I need to clone large (> 3 kb) or complex (e.g., a sequence with repeats) DNA fragments. Long and complex DNA fragments are more likely to create challenges during cloning. Such projects require extra care in just about…

21 Feb 2017 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How DNA Extraction Is Different in Plants

I know what you are thinking, everything is made of cells, so how different can DNA extractions be in plants? The answer is… sort-of different. The overall concept is the same. Cell membranes are lysed, DNA is separated from other cell materials, washed a few times, and then resuspended in water or Tris-EDTA buffer (aka…

13 Feb 2017 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis: Tips and Tricks

Running a pulsed field gel can be exciting. It isn’t often that you get to visualize such large pieces of DNA. However, it can also be extremely frustrating. It isn’t uncommon to wait 24 hours only to find out that your DNA was degraded before you started the run. Then, you have to start all…

pulsed field gel electrophoresis
14 Nov 2016 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Cut My Gene into Pieces– Introduction to Restriction Enzyme Cloning

At the heart of cloning are restriction enzymes. Restriction enzymes are a common tool in any molecular biology lab. Need to know how large your plasmid is? Cut it with a restriction enzyme. Need to chop your genomic DNA into smaller pieces for a southern hybridization or to prepare a library? Use a restriction enzyme.…

24 Oct 2016 Basic Lab Skills and Know-how&Cloning and Expression&DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis – The Basics

You have probably run a standard agarose gel hundreds of times. They are great for visualizing small DNA fragments up to 10 kb, but what if you want to examine really large pieces of DNA or even whole chromosomes? This is where pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) comes in! While the equipment required to run…

19 Oct 2016 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How to Plan a Restriction Cloning Experiment In Silico

Restriction cloning, at its core, is quite simple. You simply cut the target vector and insert with the same enzymes, clean digested vector and insert up, ligate the two together, transform the ligated vector and insert into bacteria, and then screen. While getting each of the steps correct can be a bit of a hassle,…

10 Oct 2016 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Multitasking in the Lab by Not Multitasking at All

Working in a lab can be stressful, there is so much to do, and so little time to do it that we often feel overwhelmed. Sometimes you come into the lab and there are 15 experiments that just need to be done, so you throw on some music and start doing a bunch of them…

09 Jul 2016 Survive and Thrive

Making Something out of Nothing: How to Put Together a New Protocol

One of the most exciting things about being a scientist is doing experiments that have never been done before. Unfortunately, this can also be one of the most daunting aspects of science. Read on to make taking on your next experiment less daunting.

new protocol
09 Jul 2016 Basic Lab Skills and Know-how

Baby Got BAC – Working with Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes

While they may not be as in demand as when they were the basis of sequencing projects, bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) are still used for a wide variety of projects. Based off of the F origin of replication, BAC vectors can stably maintain up to 300 kb of sequence in a single plasmid, lending themselves…

14 Jul 2015 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis&New England Biolabs

Making a Good Impression – How to Successfully Network at a Conference

For many, myself included, the idea of attending a large conference and talking to hundreds of new people can be terrifying. Often times there are people in attendance you may want to collaborate with, or that you see as possible future employers, and you really don’t want to make a bad first impression. Luckily, there…

11 May 2015 Career Development & Networking
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