Nick Oswald

I started Bitesize Bio on a Macbook on my kitchen table in 2007 while in my 7th year of working as a molecular biologist in biotech. My aim was to share the know-how that I had acquired from the school of hard-knocks in the lab, so that others could learn from my mistakes and small victories. Nowadays my mission is to facilitate the gathering of hardcore know-how from whole spectrum of bioscientists and share it here on Bitesize Bio to create a super-mentor that any bioscientist can turn to for much-needed guidance.

Articles by Nick Oswald:

Run More Organized Experiments using LabGuru’s Free Electronic Lab Notebook and iPad App

Back in 2010, Bitesize Bio’s senior editor, Jode Plank wondered whether the release of the iPad would eventually see us ditch the paper lab notebook in favor of more searchable, organized and legible electronic lab books. Electronic lab books have been around for a while, but the disconnect between the desktop computer – and to…

09 Apr 2012 Organization & Productivity

10 Ways to Work RNase Free

Working with RNA? What fun! Those little, nearly indestructible RNases are everywhere – on your skin and mucous membranes, in the water and (some of the) enzymes you use, on lab surfaces, even in airborne microbes! Here are 10 ways to keep the RNases at bay, and keep your precious samples safe:

01 Apr 2012 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

5 Laboratory Sterilisation Methods

Effective sterilisation techniques are essential for working with isolated cell lines for obvious reasons you don’t want bugs from the environment growing in your nice culture medium, and equally, cultures must be sterilised before disposal. So what are the most common methods of sterilisation, and how do they work? Unsure? Read on… WET HEAT (Autoclaving)…

28 Mar 2012 Cells and Model Organisms

A New Release from ScienceRapper

You might remember that late last year we featured two red-hot biology rappers, Tom McFadden and Zach Powers (aka Science Rapper). Well we have good news for the fast-expanding fan base of  these biorappers (as we like to call them), because Science Rapper is back. Narrowly losing out to McFadden in our BsB-t-shirt-fuelled BioRap battle…

23 Sep 2011 Fun Stuff

Make Every Day As Effective As Deadline Day

I’m sure you’ve heard of Parkinson’s Law, or at least the modern-day generalisation of it. It states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  When I first heard this, back in the mists of time, I thought Mr Parkinson was damn right, had a chuckle at a very accurate…

03 Aug 2011 Personal Development

Tell Good Stories About Yourself To Get The Job

In our recent webinar on 10 Tips to Maximize Your Job Hunt Success, career development author and guru, Peter Fiske give an excellent tip on acing interviews that I’d like to highlight. Peter’s assertion is that one of the most important things you can do to prepare for a job interview is to construct and…

25 Jul 2011 Career Development & Networking

Three Approaches to Site-directed Mutagenesis

Site-directed mutagenesis studies can be extremely useful for elucidating the function of a gene or protein, or for creating variants of an enzyme with new and improved functions. There are now many approaches available for generating site-directed mutants, whatever your purpose. In this post I’ll summarize three techniques that will enable you to produce a…

20 Jul 2011 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Top 10: Worst Lab Smells

Time for a bit of fun. Here are my top 10 worst lab smells, in reverse order. Please share your worst smells in the discussion! 10. I’ll start off gently with Latex Gloves. Not truly a offensive smell, just a little off-putting 9. Ever stewed a turnip for far too long? No. If you did,…

08 Jul 2011 Fun Stuff

How to Make the Perfect Agar Plate Every Time

Making agar plates, whether they contain LB, M9 or any other medium, is a simple procedure. But there are a few finer points that will kill your experiment, make a mess or just cause you inconvenience if you get them wrong. So let’s put on the record exactly how to make the perfect agar plate.…

05 Jul 2011 Cells and Model Organisms

Make Your Manuscripts More Readable in 5 minutes per Day

We scientists are all so focussed on getting our work published that many of us seem to forget something very important; that publication is just the beginning. After publication is when our manuscripts really have to do their essential work of communicating our science to our peers. If no-one reads the manuscript, we might as…

30 Jun 2011 Writing, Publishing & Presenting

Easily Organise Meetings with a Free Tool: Doodle

Organising lab meetings, journal clubs and even lab get-togethers can be a bit of a hassle, with emails flying about and spreadsheets coming out of your ears. Luckily, thanks to some nifty, free online tools you can remove the pain of being the resident meeting organiser forever. The best of these at I’ve seen is…

28 Jun 2011 Organization & Productivity

Use Less Vector, Killer Cut for Success in Plasmid Cloning

Here’s an all-too-often repeated scene in the lab: First thing in the morning, you approach the 37°C incubator with trepidation, open it and through one half-open eye you take a look at the LB plate that you spread your ligation-reaction-transformed E.coli aliquot onto. Looks good – thousands of colonies. Emboldened, you take your “no ligation…

27 Jun 2011 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

How To Read Manuscripts (and anything else) Twice As Fast

I always thought that doing a speed-reading course would be a good thing to do as a scientist. With the amount of literature we need to consume, speed-reading (the art of reading faster without reducing comprehension) would save a lot of time. But it turns out that you don’t really need to spend any cash…

13 Jun 2011 Taming the Literature

Should You Use Magnetic Beads for Immunoprecipitation?

Sepharose beads are porous, which gives them a high surface area for interaction with proteins and allows them to hold a lot of liquid. This is perfect for the application that they were originally designed for: purifying milligrams of protein in columns. When immunoprecipitation (IP) – a small-scale technique for pulling specific proteins out of solution using…

08 Jun 2011 Protein Expression & Analysis

What’s The Problem With Ampicillin Selection?

Ampicillin is commonly used as a selection marker for plasmids in gene cloning and protein expression in E.coli and other bacteria. While it serves it’s purpose, there can be problems using this selection marker if the user is unaware of it’s limitations. This article provides a quick overview of what these limitations are and how…

09 May 2011 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

The Bitesize Bio Podcast, and More New Goodies

I just wanted to make a quick announcement to let you know about three new goodies we have just added to Bitesize Bio.  We have been trembling with excitement at the thought of releasing these (or maybe it was just the late night caffeine) — we hope that you will be just as excited! First…

15 Apr 2011 Of Interest

Careers for Scientists – Business Development Manager

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…

08 Apr 2011 Career Development & Networking

BioConference Live 2011: Free Online Conference for Life Science Professionals

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…

02 Mar 2011 Of Interest

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

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

04 Feb 2011 Of Interest

Careers for Scientists – Editorial Manager

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…

24 Jan 2011 Career Development & Networking