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Suzanne Kennedy

Suzanne has a PhD in Microbiology/Immunology from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Suzanne’s interests include research and development, product development, corporate development/alliance management, expertise in life sciences, molecular biology, cannabinoids, oncology, therapeutics, microbiome science, medical foods, nutrition, and skincare.

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Articles by Suzanne Kennedy

Image of strawberry and tubes to represent how DNA extraction kits work in the lab

How DNA Extraction Kits Work in the Lab

By Suzanne Kennedy | October 27, 2021

Understanding how DNA extraction kits work is the key to troubleshooting your extraction issues.

Resume and pen on a table to represent someone applying for alternative careers for scientists

Alternative Careers For Scientists

By Suzanne Kennedy | January 28, 2021

Want to leave the lab but not sure what alternative career options are available? Our guide can help you decide what to do after hanging up your lab coat.

Two people shaking hands over a table, with a third person involved in the meeting, possibly having had a resolution meeting as a strategy for dealing with a difficult lab supervisor.

5 Types of Difficult Lab Supervisor and How to Handle Them

By Suzanne Kennedy | January 21, 2021

The lab is a melting-pot full of workers from different cultures and backgrounds, so some conflicts of personality are inevitable. However, when the lab head is the person that you are struggling to get along with, it can make your life a lot harder. Check out some different personality types and get advice on how to work with them effectively.

DNA from FFPE

The Key to Unlocking DNA from FFPE Tissues

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 9, 2016

Formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues are valuable samples that typically come from human specimens collected for examination of the histology of biopsies for the detection of cancer. But each sample contains much more information just waiting to be unlocked. Despite the tiny sample size, DNA can be extracted from the tissue sections and used…

DNA gel extraction

10 Tips for Better DNA Gel Extraction Results

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 9, 2016

Anyone who has worked in a molecular biology lab knows that DNA gel extraction can be surprisingly challenging. Why is this? Is it because of poor product yields, or maybe it’s because the gel extraction process uses harsh chemicals and conditions (e.g., chaotropic salts, ethidium bromide, ethanol, heat) that will damage or denature DNA and potentially decrease…

There's No Need To Be Paranoid About RNA Purification

There’s No Need To Be Paranoid About RNA Purification

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 9, 2016

RNA purification may be a common procedure in molecular biology but it is by far the one that people fear most. Why? Dreaded RNase. It’s everywhere… all over your bench and pipettes, and floating in the air, waiting for the chance to creep into your prep, shred your RNA into nucleotides, and ruin a day’s…

No More White Elephants! - Consider this Before Buying a Real-time PCR Cycler

No More White Elephants! – Consider this Before Buying a Real-time PCR Cycler

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 9, 2016

Does your lab have a closet full of white elephants; once expensive instruments that are no longer fit for purpose, or have broken down? In many cases, all of that wasted money and resource could have been saved if the buyers had made smart choices about matching the instrument more closely to their needs. A…

Plasmid vs. Genomic DNA Extraction: The Difference

Plasmid vs. Genomic DNA Extraction: The Difference

By Suzanne Kennedy | October 8, 2014

To isolate plasmid DNA, you crack your cells open and perform a miniprep, trying hard to avoid contaminating genomic DNA. For genomic DNA, you crack your cells open in a different way and try to isolate as much of the contents as possible. So what’s the difference in the protocols? In this article, we will…

Better Plasmid Midipreps Part II: What Causes Low Yields?

Better Plasmid Midipreps Part II: What Causes Low Yields?

By Suzanne Kennedy | May 12, 2014

Recently we received a question from Bitesize Bio reader Sonia after our article How to: Get Better Plasmid Midiprep Yields. She asked: “What could be the problem when one sample gives a good yield while the other plasmid gives poor a one, when both the samples were processed simultaneously, and in the same way.” This is a…

When Glycogen is not Your Friend – Isolating RNA from Glycogen-Rich Tissues

When Glycogen is not Your Friend – Isolating RNA from Glycogen-Rich Tissues

By Suzanne Kennedy | April 16, 2014

Bitesize Bio has had a lot to say about RNA isolation, mainly because it is one of the most anxiety-producing requirements for molecular biology; especially when you are first starting out (although isolating proteins from complex samples like soil and stool is far more difficult, let me tell you.  But that’s a future post.)  We’ve…

Troubleshooting RNA Isolation

Troubleshooting RNA Isolation

By Suzanne Kennedy | March 19, 2014

As widely used as it is, isolating RNA remains one of the more finicky protocols. Just about anyone who has performed the technique has their own personal tips and tricks to successfully isolate intact RNA from their samples with consistency. Although RNA can be somewhat unpredictable since it is so labile, there are a few…

10 Signs You'll Like Working in Biotech

10 Signs You’ll Like Working in Biotech

By Suzanne Kennedy | August 11, 2010

The decision to make the switch from an academic lab and career to a biotech company doesn’t come easy. Many scientists are wary of the lack of independence and doing science for profit.  But there are advantages too. Working in a biotech lab allows you to work on many varied and interesting projects that actually come to…

Important Considerations for a Career in Biotech

Important Considerations for a Career in Biotech

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 29, 2010

When I was in graduate school, it seemed that almost no one aspired to work in industry or be part of a company. But times are changing. Now, when I go to conferences and talk to scientists in training, I am asked, “how do I get a job in a company?” and “How did you get…

MIQE Guidelines: Do Your RT-qPCRs Make The Grade?

MIQE Guidelines: Do Your RT-qPCRs Make The Grade?

By Suzanne Kennedy | June 4, 2010

Northern and Southern blotting are now a thing of the past. They’ve been replaced with a faster and more quantitative technique. No longer do we wait days to know whether a gene is expressed. We can have the answer in 45 minutes! Real-time PCR is now commonly employed in almost all molecular biology laboratories to…

Do Hand Sanitizer and Liquid Hand Soap Remove Viruses?

Do Hand Sanitizer and Liquid Hand Soap Remove Viruses?

By Suzanne Kennedy | May 26, 2010

While reading my back issues of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), I came across an interesting paper that detailed an in-depth study on the effectiveness of hand cleaners to remove Norwalk virus (NV) from intentionally contaminated hands. Yes that’s right – intentionally contaminated, and how. The study volunteers allowed a 20% stool suspension containing Norwalk virus to be…

Read all about these important considerations for determining qPCR efficiency.

Important Considerations for Determining qPCR Efficiency

By Suzanne Kennedy | April 19, 2010

One of the very first things you need to do when getting set up for quantitative PCR (qPCR) is to determine the efficiency of the assay because knowing the assay efficiency is critical to accurate data interpretation. Here’s how.

When Your Partner is NOT a scientist

When Your Partner is NOT a scientist

By Suzanne Kennedy | March 24, 2010

A recent  article published by The Scientist called Power Couples gave advice and examples for scientist couples who have successfully balanced their life at home and in the lab.  It was interesting from the perspective of how two very busy and career motivated people work together to have it all: raise a family, run a lab, and stay in love…

Tech Clinic #5: Copy Number Determination for Plasmid Standard Curves

By Suzanne Kennedy | March 10, 2010

We received the following question from Bitesize Bio reader, Beheroze Sattha. It relates to a problem with absolute quantification using plasmids for standard curves. Since many people use this technique it is an interesting one question for us to explore, and it also gives us a great opportunity to cover some important tips for performing…

A picture of a young boy with a bow tie and glasses concentrating on reading a book to represent reading a scientific paper effectively

RTFP (Read the F*****g Paper)

By Suzanne Kennedy | January 18, 2010

The critical review of scientific papers is a fundamental skill for researchers. Check out our tips to get the most out of reading a paper.

The Microbiology of Food

The Microbiology of Food

By Suzanne Kennedy | November 25, 2009

The fourth Thursday of November marks the annual tradition in the U.S. called Thanksgiving. Originally, Thanksgiving was a religious holiday that has sinced turned secular and became a national holiday in 1941. Now, for families celebrating Thanskgiving, it is a time to cook a whole lot of food and eat way too much pumpkin pie.…

Be The Golden Child In Your Lab

Be The Golden Child In Your Lab

By Suzanne Kennedy | November 9, 2009

In a previous article, I listed some ways that people annoy their co-workers and many of you added some of your own pet peeves. Now I would like to discuss some ways to be the lab favorite, also known as the “golden child”. Does your lab have a “golden child”? Someone who is always perfect,…

10 Ways to Piss Off Your Co-Workers

10 Ways to Piss Off Your Co-Workers

By Suzanne Kennedy | October 16, 2009

Every day you go into the lab and you spend the 8-14 hours with the same group of people. And when you spend that much time with people, bench to bench, for anywhere from 3-6 years, you really need to learn how to get along. Usually, after some time, most people learn the rules of…

Better Than Betaine: PCR Additives That Actually Work

Better Than Betaine: PCR Additives That Actually Work

By Suzanne Kennedy | September 30, 2009

If you’re like many researchers, problems with PCR amplifying high GC DNA templates will be a major annoyance for you.  Many strategies developed to overcome this issue. Betaine is the most common PCR additive used to enhance amplification of GC rich sequences because of its ability to dissolve secondary structure that blocks polymerase action.  But…

Read This Before You Design Those qPCR Primers

Read This Before You Design Those qPCR Primers

By Suzanne Kennedy | September 21, 2009

qPCR is a technique used daily in most labs, but the first step, designing your qPCR primers, can be the biggest obstacle to even getting started. Without a good pair of primers, you can’t start asking the real questions and generating data.  And sometimes the effort involved in optimizing an assay for high efficiency and sensitivity…

It's Like Getting RNA From a Blood Sample

It’s Like Getting RNA From a Blood Sample

By Suzanne Kennedy | August 4, 2009

So you have some blood stored in the -20C or -80C and you want to isolate RNA from the samples. If you wanted DNA, you would have many products to choose from. But for RNA, your choices are more limited. Obtaining RNA From Frozen Blood is Difficult Why is that?  The reason is that most RNA from…

Pointers for New Graduate Students

Pointers for New Graduate Students

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 29, 2009

If you ask any finished graduate student, most of us starting a Masters or PhD program were very excited at what awaited us and if you were anything like me, you were foolishly idealistic and thought you were going to pull on a lab coat, cure cancer and save the world. Ok, maybe most people…

Tech Clinic #3: DNA digestion, precipitation and clean-up

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 15, 2009

Thanks to Bitesize Bio reader, Muthu Arumugam for contacting us about some problems he has been having with restriction digestion and clean up of DNA. I have boiled his query down to four main questions that are pertinent for most molecular biologists, so I hope that Muthu and everyone else can learn something from my…

Reality TV for Scientists

Reality TV for Scientists

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 10, 2009

It seems there is a reality TV show for virtually every type of person or profession. From Alaska king crab fishermen to surviving the outdoors to living the life of a privileged housewife, you name it and there is a show about it. So why not a show on the challenges and antics of people…

Tech Clinic #2: Gel Extraction - Avoid/Rescue a Bad 260/230 Ratio

Tech Clinic #2: Gel Extraction – Avoid/Rescue a Bad 260/230 Ratio

By Suzanne Kennedy | July 1, 2009

Gel extraction — what could be easier? Now we have quick and easy gel extraction kits, we no longer need to use time-consuming old fashioned methods like electro-elution or “freeze and squeeze”. Thank goodness. When Gel Extraction Goes Wrong But even the simplest of procedures can go wrong. Maybe you were distracted, confused, or thought…

Six Important Factors for Successful Reverse Transcription

Six Important Factors for Successful Reverse Transcription

By Suzanne Kennedy | June 22, 2009

The reverse transcription (RT) step of RT-PCR for converting RNA to cDNA is critical for accuracy in quantification and for finding low copy messages. Thus, you want to make sure that this step is performed with the highest efficiency but without having to optimize every single step. To help you further in optimizing the RT…

Tech Clinic #1: Removing Unwanted DNA from Vectors -- beat Murphy's Law.

Tech Clinic #1: Removing Unwanted DNA from Vectors — beat Murphy’s Law.

By Suzanne Kennedy | June 8, 2009

Whether cloning is your everyday work, or you just dabble, you are bound to meet the situation where you need to remove a stretch of unwanted DNA from your vector, e.g. to remove unwanted sequences or make an insertion. If you are lucky, two rare-cutter restriction sites will neatly flank the piece you want to…

Fast, Accurate and Green PCR

Fast, Accurate and Green PCR

By Suzanne Kennedy | May 27, 2009

Attending the 2009 American Society of Microbiology meeting this week in Philadelphia, I decided to take my own advice and visit the exhibits to see whether any of the exhibiting companies had any really innovative and unique products on display. I focused mainly on products I might use in my own lab, such as PCR…

Don’t Forget to Visit the Exhibits!

By Suzanne Kennedy | May 8, 2009

Attending conferences is critical for your research.  It is a great way to reinvigorate your enthusiasm and inspire  new ideas, as well as see old friends and make new ones. But it is also a valuable opportunity to visit many of your favorite companies. For some scientists the value is in collecting pens and free…

Read Papers? I’d Rather Watch a Video.

By Suzanne Kennedy | February 17, 2009

As a scientist in academia or industry, you spend a large portion of your time looking up and reading research papers. What if instead of printing out piles of papers and taking them home to read all weekend, you could click on a video and visualize the experiments and results by the actual researchers doing…

7 Ingredients for a Successful Job Application

7 Ingredients for a Successful Job Application

By Suzanne Kennedy | November 11, 2008

In my current position, I had the opportunity to hire a new R&D scientist to join the team. I was excited at being able to build my team and take my time to find the perfect fit for our company. My experience in the process of hiring gave me a new perspective on all the…

Choosing a Post Doc Position

Choosing a Post Doc Position

By Suzanne Kennedy | November 15, 2007

After all that hard work, you finally have your PhD. Now what? If your career choice is academic research, your first post-doc position beckons. The choice of where, and with whom, to take up a post-doc position is a very important one as it is at the post-doc stage where publications are required to move…

Spare a Thought for Tech Support Reps

Spare a Thought for Tech Support Reps

By Suzanne Kennedy | November 5, 2007

Have you ever called technical service departments for advice and help in troubleshooting or choosing a product? Depending on the reason for the call, the experience can vary from positive and helpful all the way to torture for both people. Working in technical service can feel like a very unrewarding job as you are handling…

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