Quantcast
Skip to content

Nick Oswald

After obtaining his PhD from the Dundee University School of Life Sciences, Nick Oswald moved into to industry, first working in a small team that designed Sophion Bioscience’s prototype Q-Patch system and then developing industrial bioprocesses with Ingenza Ltd.

His time at the bench gave him the feeling that a) he would like to move into writing and publishing and b) he had something to offer in helping researchers to share their professional know-how to make science more efficient, more successful, and more enjoyable to be a part of.

So while still working in the lab in 2007 he started BitesizeBio.com and began writing about what he knew himself. His first article was titled “5 DNA Ligation Tips” and was quickly followed by further articles about laboratory techniques soft skills and life skills gleaned from his experience in the lab. As researchers found his articles on Google, some came forward to contribute their expertise in articles and so began the growth of Bitesize Bio into the huge and vibrant knowledge-sharing community it is today.

Bitesize Bio became Nick’s full-time job in 2010 but prior to that, while growing Bitesize Bio, he cut his teeth in publishing and marketing with stints of work with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press and the journal, Neuroendocrinology.

These days Nick is focused on the further growth and improvement of Bitesize Bio as a knowledge-sharing hub, other projects within his company Science Squared Ltd, and assisting biotech companies to market their products and services with genuinely useful educational material via Bitesize Bio and the Life Science Marketing Society.

Institution : Bitesize Bio
Discover more about Nick on their professional profiles

Articles by Nick Oswald

Careers for Scientists - Business Development Manager

Careers for Scientists – Business Development Manager

By Dr Nick Oswald | April 8, 2011

Looking for a new direction in your career? This is the latest in our new series of articles that focus on careers for scientists.  When we started this series, we thought you’d be interested in finding out about who does what behind the scenes at Bitesize Bio, and how we got here.  I interviewed our…

BioConference Live 2011: Free Online Conference for Life Science Professionals

BioConference Live 2011: Free Online Conference for Life Science Professionals

By Dr Nick Oswald | March 2, 2011

BioConference Live is fast becoming a permanent fixture on the Bitesize Bio office calendar. And this year is no exception. This two day, all-online event brings speakers on a huge variety of topics right to your desktop and is a great way to catch up with the latest and greatest in the life sciences without…

Super-Charge Your Skills and Career: New Web Seminars at Bitesize Bio

Super-Charge Your Skills and Career: New Web Seminars at Bitesize Bio

By Dr Nick Oswald | February 4, 2011

Our new webinar series has something for every biologist – take a look.

Careers for Scientists - Editorial Manager

Careers for Scientists – Editorial Manager

By Dr Nick Oswald | January 24, 2011

Looking for a new direction in your career? Well you’ve come to the right place. This is the first in our new series of articles that focus on careers for scientists.  We’ll be looking at jobs that are off-the-beaten-track (and sometimes on no track at all) and ones that are certainly not on the standard…

BioPop Rap Battle: Tom McFadden vs Science Rapper. Who Gets Your Vote?

BioPop Rap Battle: Tom McFadden vs Science Rapper. Who Gets Your Vote?

By Dr Nick Oswald | November 29, 2010

Get ready for a battle between two red-hot rappers who have smashed onto the BioPop scene in the last year. Introducing the Contestants Tom McFadden Tom McFadden, a former Stanford biology course instructor-turned scientific communicator emerged from the California BioPop scene (BioRap branch) with his hit single Regulatin’ Genes, which saw him featured in newspapers such as The Guardian.…

Nervous About Speaking in Public? Here’s Some Advice You Should Ignore

By Dr Nick Oswald | November 24, 2010

Books, training manuals and blog posts on speaking in public have a really bad habit of glossing over the issue of nerves. Even I did it in a post I wrote back in 2007. Here’s the advice I gave: Accept that you are going to be nervous and embrace it. There will always be some…

5 Ways to Use Coffee to Power Up Your Research, Career and Lab Group

5 Ways to Use Coffee to Power Up Your Research, Career and Lab Group

By Dr Nick Oswald | October 27, 2010

Coffee is powerful stuff, but did you ever think of using it for….

Should You Use Calf Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase (CIP) in Plasmid Cloning

By Dr Nick Oswald | October 18, 2010

CIP has been around for a while, but there is a better alternative.

What’s Wrong With News Reporting of Science?

By Dr Nick Oswald | October 12, 2010

A focus on two blog articles by Martin Robbins that pull apart the tangled web of science news reporting.

10 More iPhone / iPad Apps for Bioscientists

10 More iPhone / iPad Apps for Bioscientists

By Dr Nick Oswald | October 6, 2010

In the time since Bala wrote his article for us about iPhone apps for bioscientists, many individuals and companies have jumped on the bandwagon to deliver some great new apps that you might find useful in the lab. Here’s my pick of the 10 best apps available at the moment: 1. Pubmed Library Price $9.99/£5.99…

Use Cell Banks to Save Time Growing Routine Cultures

Use Cell Banks to Save Time Growing Routine Cultures

By Dr Nick Oswald | September 1, 2010

If you regularly grow up the same bacterial culture, whether it’s the strain that expresses your favorite protein, the culture you make your competent cells from, or just your regular control strain, it can be a bit of a pain growing it up from scratch each time. Before you even get to grow your actual…

Say Goodbye USB Sticks, Hello Dropbox

Say Goodbye USB Sticks, Hello Dropbox

By Dr Nick Oswald | June 21, 2010

When you’re writing up your latest report, next paper or your PhD thesis, its best to get out of the lab and work somewhere where there are fewer distractions. Normally that means stuffing all of the work files you need onto a USB stick (or emailing them to yourself) so that you can work on…

So You Think You Know PCR?

So You Think You Know PCR?

By Dr Nick Oswald | May 24, 2010

Well, after much anticipation, we finally got the Bitesize Bio seminars off the ground with a rip-roaring presentation from SYBR Green I and Lightcycler inventor, Carl Wittwer. Carl’s talk took us from the early days of rapid cycle PCR to the development of the Lightcycler through to the diversification of real-time PCR  into different applications…

Free Online Bioconference, Astronaut Included

Free Online Bioconference, Astronaut Included

By Dr Nick Oswald | May 11, 2010

Back in November 2009, we told you about a ground-breaking new concept from the people at BioconferenceLive – a whole three day conference, complete with lobby, exhibitor booths and great presentations, held entirely online. Suzanne and I were  “there” (in a virtual sense), attending some of the talks and manning the Bitesize Bio booth, and…

A Facelift, Questions and World Class Seminars

A Facelift, Questions and World Class Seminars

By Dr Nick Oswald | May 8, 2010

We have been working furiously for the past 6 months to bring you a new, improved and dramatically upgraded Bitesize Bio. And now we are now ready to share. So what’s in the new version? The first thing you’ll notice is the facelift. But the new logo and colors are just the start. The site…

Does Anyone Know the Funny Handshake?

Does Anyone Know the Funny Handshake?

By Dr Nick Oswald | March 31, 2010

Greg Petsko, President of the American Society for Biochemistry wrote a very interesting article recently in which he drew attention to the parallels between the PhD/Postdoc system and the medieval trade guilds, and the problems our profession faces because it is drifting away from that system. In the trade guild system the right of an…

How Plasmids Became Embroiled in The Cold War

How Plasmids Became Embroiled in The Cold War

By Dr Nick Oswald | February 17, 2010

The humble plasmid. We now know it so well, but as little as 60 years ago the field of extra-chromosomal heredity was decidedly murky. Not only was it the subject of great debate, conflict and friction within the scientific community, it was even used as a politico-religious tool during the Cold War! The origin of…

Becoming an Expert, Brick by Brick

Becoming an Expert, Brick by Brick

By Dr Nick Oswald | February 10, 2010

As a newcomer to a research lab, looking at the seasoned, experiment-beaten postdocs around you, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the task of acquiring their level of knowledge and expertise, and of making any sort of impact within the lab and wider community, is huge and daunting. But…

Evernote: Never Lose Data or Ideas Again

Evernote: Never Lose Data or Ideas Again

By Dr Nick Oswald | January 21, 2010

Evernote is an amazing FREE application that could change the way you record, store and retrieve your data, in the lab as well as at home. The idea behind Evernote, as shown on the right, is to allow you to capture all of your ideas and put them into your personal database on Evernote’s servers…

How is Lab Grade Water Purified?

How is Lab Grade Water Purified?

By Dr Nick Oswald | January 11, 2010

There’s something in the water, and it would love to go after your experiments. Straight out of the tap, water contains microorganisms, endotoxins, DNase and RNase, salts and other impurities that could gobble up your experiment in one bite. Of course we avoid this drama completely by using purified water from which these nasties have…

The Best of Bitesize Bio 2009

The Best of Bitesize Bio 2009

By Dr Nick Oswald | January 6, 2010

Before we get our brains fully back into gear after the festive season and embark on what we hope will be a momentous year for Bitesize Bio (watch this space, we’ve got some cool stuff in store), we thought this would be a good time to look back at the best articles we published in…

How To Make Fewer Mistakes In The Lab

How To Make Fewer Mistakes In The Lab

By Dr Nick Oswald | November 23, 2009

How often do you make errors in the lab that ruin a good experiment? Rather than flaws in experimental design, I mean errors like forgetting to add a reagent, pipetting the wrong amount or following a protocol step wrongly. Especially early on in your career, errors like this can be a real drain on your…

Which is Best: TAE, TBE or Something Else?

Which is Best: TAE, TBE or Something Else?

By Dr Nick Oswald | November 19, 2009

TAE or TBE, which is best? Well, of course, it depends on what you want to do. Here are the pros and cons of both: TBE (Tris-borate-EDTA) is a better conductive medium than TAE (Tris-acetate EDTA) so is less prone to overheating so use TBE for long runs Borate is an enzyme inhibitor so TBE…

Does (Should) Your Lab Rock?

Does (Should) Your Lab Rock?

By Dr Nick Oswald | November 16, 2009

My PhD was a soul-less affair. It was also rock-less, jazz-less and pop-less. And all because my supervisor was of the opinion that music in the lab was a distraction that reduced concentration and our ability to do the job. “Rubbish!”, I thought, “Nothing helps you through a mindless task like splitting cells, pipetting or…

A Halloween Treat: 10 Molecular Bio Tips

A Halloween Treat: 10 Molecular Bio Tips

By Dr Nick Oswald | October 30, 2009

This Halloween we want to treat you with some molecular biology goodies in the shape of 10 juicy tricks. We’ve been bringing you advice since August 2007, but some of our readers may just be discovering our hallowed grounds. Join us in bringing some of these old tricks back to life. 1. Save money by…

Even Better Free Molecular Biology Software: Serial Cloner

Even Better Free Molecular Biology Software: Serial Cloner

By Dr Nick Oswald | October 8, 2009

In 2007, I wrote a couple of articles on the best free software for molecular biologists on Mac and PC. One of the highlights of those lists was a fantastic cross-platform for in silico DNA cloning, sequence analysis and visualization, called Serial Cloner (move over VectorNTI!). The creator of Serial Cloner, Franck Perez, contacted me…

Spare a Thought for the Old Scientists

Spare a Thought for the Old Scientists

By Dr Nick Oswald | September 25, 2009

You youngsters don’t know how easy you’ve got it. Kits, outsourcing and improved practices are making research easier and easier. At least in theory (who are we kidding?). In the old days things were much tougher, and many wiley old scientists bear the scars, mental and physical, of carrying out techniques that were mind numbing,…

Open Access Publishing Is Not Perfect, Yet

By Dr Nick Oswald | September 24, 2009

No-one would disagree with the goals of open access publishing: free access to scientific literature for all. If you work in an institution or small company that can’t afford to pay journal subscription fees you’ll know the problems that lack of access can cause. But publishing costs money, and someone has to pay those costs.…

How to Shine in a Small Biotech Company

How to Shine in a Small Biotech Company

By Dr Nick Oswald | August 5, 2009

So you finally got your PhD (or your masters or batchelor’s) and you are making the big switch to a small biotech company. You will probably have been hired for the specific skill set that you have built during your training, but now you have to learn to apply those skills to solve real world,…

Tech Clinic #4: Can a single E.coli take up 2 plasmids?

Tech Clinic #4: Can a single E.coli take up 2 plasmids?

By Dr Nick Oswald | July 31, 2009

The following question was emailed to Bitesize Bio by Beheroze Sattha and I gladly took up the challenge, and I immediately knew the answer. Or so I thought. After delving extensively into Pubmed, Genes V (I know, I need a new version) and Molecular Cloning I have come up with an answer, but it is…

Why Bioscientists Should All Buy Macs

Why Bioscientists Should All Buy Macs

By Dr Nick Oswald | July 22, 2009

Macs are great and there are a lot of reasons I recommend them to anyone who asks my opinion on which computer they should buy. But for bioscientists, perhaps the best reason to buy a Mac is summed up by one word: Mekentosj. Mekentosj is dedicated to producing fantastic software that addresses the needs of…

Delivering Effective Criticism

Delivering Effective Criticism

By Dr Nick Oswald | July 16, 2009

Criticism is not just valuable, it is essential for a person’s development as a scientist, or anything else for that matter. Well that’s not entirely true. Not all criticism is valuable, it has to be the right kind of criticism. It has to be constructive and better still, well delivered in order to inspire the…

How to Become a World Class Speaker

How to Become a World Class Speaker

By Dr Nick Oswald | June 16, 2009

Really great presentation skills. Some people in science seem to have them, and some don’t. I am one of the don’ts. Sure, I can get up in front of people and talk when needed, but it won’t be a polished performance by any means. I can get my message across but my delivery is not…

10 Stupid Lab Safety Mistakes

10 Stupid Lab Safety Mistakes

By Dr Nick Oswald | June 15, 2009

Keeping safe in the lab really only requires one thing: common sense. But if you look at what people are doing in the lab, you might think that that common sense isn’t so common after all. What are the most stupid things you have seen people do in the lab to put the safety of…

A Quik Way Around Partial Restriction Digests

A Quik Way Around Partial Restriction Digests

By Dr Nick Oswald | June 4, 2009

No matter how many times you look at it, it’s not going to change. You are planning your next cloning experiment, but there’s a problem. The only restriction enzyme that cuts in a suitable position on your plasmid vector also, as luck would have it, cuts in another position elsewhere in the vector so you…

15 Ways to Make Contacts at Conferences

15 Ways to Make Contacts at Conferences

By Dr Nick Oswald | May 20, 2009

Going to conferences normally involves a significant investment of time and money. So it’s important to get as much as you can out of them. One of the most valuable things you can get from a conference is contacts. These can build into a network of people that will be valuable to you throughout your…

RPM Does Not Equal RCF

RPM Does Not Equal RCF

By Dr Nick Oswald | May 11, 2009

RPM and RCF are two units that can be used to describe the speed of a centrifuge. Although they may look similar, they are oh-so-different and confusing them has resulted a disastrous end to many an experiment. So let’s set it out in black and white to make sure you don’t succumb to the same…

The Best Way to Desalt DNA for Electroporation

By Dr Nick Oswald | April 20, 2009

After ligation, the method you use for desalting your sample prior to electroporation is critical, especially if your ligation is inefficient, according to a study by Schlaak et al [1]. Under standard electroporation conditions, the electric field of 12-18 kV/cm generated in a 0.1mm-gap electroporation cuvette means that the conductivity of the sample must be…

Why You Should Never Trust a Patent

By Dr Nick Oswald | April 17, 2009

If you search the literature using a comprehensive search engine like Google Scholar, you will get several types of articles listed. Most of them are peer reviewed journal articles and many are patents. But beware of an important distinction between the two: Although patents can contain useful information, they are not authoritative because they are not…

Reasons to be a Scientist Part II

Reasons to be a Scientist Part II

By Dr Nick Oswald | March 16, 2009

Scientists often complain about the job, and here on Bitesize Bio we are no different. For an example, take a look at my rant about why not to be a scientist – written about a year ago after a particularly frustrating couple of weeks in the lab. Very recently, I decided to leave bench science,…

Scroll To Top