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Olwen Reina

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with a background in basic research, writing, mentoring and teaching. I studied Natural Science at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, specializing in biochemistry with immunology and I am currently undergoing ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals) certification. In my spare time, I enjoy studying HTML/CSS and SEO, doing acroyoga, making kombucha, salsa dancing, voluntary community projects and eating sushi. Feel free to send me a note with any writing opportunities or to say hello.

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Articles by Olwen Reina

Mischief in the Mastermix: Bothersome Bubbles

Mischief in the Mastermix: Bothersome Bubbles

By Olwen Reina | September 9, 2014

It happens to the best of us. You’re minding your own business and suddenly out of nowhere your mastermix is a bubble bath and your primers are enjoying a froth party. Let’s talk about how to deal with these foamy fiends! When you’re making up your mastermix, you could have a variety of ingredients going…

Facing Your Laboratory Freezer: Dos and Don’ts For Defrosting Day

Facing Your Laboratory Freezer: Dos and Don’ts For Defrosting Day

By Olwen Reina | September 1, 2014

Your stomach clenches. Sweat snakes down your torso. The world seems to slow down. You begin the long, terrifying walk down the corridor. Your mind calls out to you to, “Run! Run now!” but you soldier on until you reach the door and knock. There is no escaping the wrath you will evoke when you…

Don't Be Arrested for B.I.T.E. (Bunsen Ill-Treatment and Endangerment)!

Don’t Be Arrested for B.I.T.E. (Bunsen Ill-Treatment and Endangerment)!

By Olwen Reina | August 27, 2014

B.I.T.E., or Bunsen Ill-Treatment and Endangerment, happens every day. In the time since you started reading this article, somewhere out there, a Bunsen burner has been mishandled. This is a dark subject and while some flinch at the thought of discussing it (some stories may be too dark for the public to handle) this writer…

The A-Z of PCR Variants

The A-Z of PCR Variants

By Olwen Reina | August 15, 2014

The wide range of applications of PCR has led to an ever-growing list of variants of the technique. While some are optimizations to suit specific requirements and are very similar to basic PCR, others completely turn the technique on its head to formulate novel creative applications in various fields. This article lists some variants of…

The Establishment of the Nobel Prize

The Establishment of the Nobel Prize

By Olwen Reina | August 4, 2014

Let’s play a game. I’ll say a word and you say what comes to your mind. Ready? Go! Cat… Kitchen… Doctor… Airplane… Nobel… I have no idea what you said when I said cat but I’d say most of you said “prize” when I said Nobel. Alfred Nobel’s name is most often remembered because of…

The different Phases of PCR and Why They Are Important

The different Phases of PCR and Why They Are Important

By Olwen Reina | July 3, 2014

PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a biochemical technique developed by Kary Mullis in 1983 that is used to create large quantities of a sequence of DNA. Since this method of mass-producing DNA was first introduced, it has become significantly less labour intensive, more economical, and more routine. The technique relies on a few key players…

Red light/Green Light In Aseptic Technique: When Is The Flame OK?

Red light/Green Light In Aseptic Technique: When Is The Flame OK?

By Olwen Reina | July 2, 2014

My mom is a microbiologist and so I was a lot more informed about bugs than most kids. In fact, I probably gave more than one classmate nightmares with my talk of there being 10 times more bacteria that make up the human body than human cells. I remember my mom working by a Bunsen,…

10 Ways to Abuse a Pipette

10 Ways to Abuse a Pipette

By Olwen Reina | June 18, 2014

It seems like every movie that needs a shot of a scientist doing their sciencey-thing either gets the person to pour one pretty liquid from one flask into another or to stare intensely at a test tube with a look of knowing so much more than you ever could. Another favorite shot is of someone…

Agarose versus Polyacrylamide: Not All Gels Are Created Equal

Agarose versus Polyacrylamide: Not All Gels Are Created Equal

By Olwen Reina | June 11, 2014

Like athletes running on turf versus sand, the gel you run your DNA through can highly affect your results. The two main types of gels that people use for DNA electrophoresis are agarose and polyacrylamide (PA) gels, but figuring out the differences can be confusing. Basically, you choose a gel based on two main factors:…

Gel Electro-For-Whatsit? Breaking Down How Gel Electrophoresis Works

Gel Electro-For-Whatsit? Breaking Down How Gel Electrophoresis Works

By Olwen Reina | June 4, 2014

Run to red!  It’s a mantra I learned when first using gel electrophoresis to separate DNA molecules.  This can save you a lot of frustration and humiliation in the lab (stage right: a complaining scientist who swears the equipment is broken as a supervisor facepalms in embarrassment). But what about how does this jell-o like…

correct enzyme

Choosing the Correct Enzyme for PCR

By Olwen Reina | May 15, 2014

A wide variety of enzymes are available for PCR and RT-PCR and the optimal choice depends on a range of factors specific to your experiment. Some of these factors will now be explored to help you to make the most suitable and cost effective choices when ordering. PCR Type and Other Factors to Consider First,…

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