Cloning Methods: 5 Different Ways to Assemble

Cloning Methods: 5 Different Ways to Assemble

Over the past few decades molecular biologists have developed procedures to simplify and standardize cloning processes, allowing vast arrays of artificial DNA structures to be more easily assembled. Are you familiar with all the cloning options out there? Let’s look at five different cloning methods you can use to get your construct. At the end…

4 Important Considerations for Your Cell Lysis

4 Important Considerations for Your Cell Lysis

You’ve cultured your cells and completed your treatments, now it’s time to harvest them and proceed to the downstream effects. Cell lysis is the crucial stage that determines if your experiment has a chance of producing the data that you have been waiting for. Part of the starting biological material is inevitably lost on each…

Ten Tips for Pipetting the 384-Well Plate

Ten Tips for Pipetting the 384-Well Plate

I was so excited to start using 384-well plates for my assays. With so many wells, these plates are useful for testing many conditions in parallel, as required in ELISAs, siRNA library screens, and drug treatment dilutions. However, I quickly learned that pipetting in these plates is more complicated than I thought. This article contains…

Why Isn’t My Culture Growing?  The S-Curve Explained

Why Isn’t My Culture Growing? The S-Curve Explained

Whether you work with human cell lines or microbes, their growth is governed by the same principles. I invite you to learn about something that lies at the base of any work with cell culture, whether cells have circular or linear chromosomes: the S-curve of the population growth. The length of each phase depends on…

Why You Should Use Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein Transformation for CRISPR Genome Editing

Why You Should Use Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein Transformation for CRISPR Genome Editing

Imagine directly creating a mutation at (almost) any site in your target genome instead of screening thousands or millions of random mutants! The CRISPR/Cas9 system does just that. In its traditional form, this forward genetics approach takes 7 steps from start to mutated genome. However, there is a way to obtain your designer genome in…

The Good, the Bad and the Expensive of Whole Genome Sequencing

The Good, the Bad and the Expensive of Whole Genome Sequencing

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is still very cutting edge, sequencing technology and while there are a lot of perks to using it, there are also a few drawbacks. The good, the bad and the pricey are outlined below to help you navigate when it’s worth using WGS! Whole Genome Sequencing: The Good Lots of Data…

What to Do During That Awkward One-Minute Spin

What to Do During That Awkward One-Minute Spin

We’ve all been there. Twiddling our thumbs. Staring off into space. Pacing back and forth. This is the dreaded one-minute spin. If you’ve dabbled in molecular biology, you’ve likely encountered this awkward time. Not exactly enough time to actually do anything else, but when you’ve got nothing to do but wait, one minute seems like…

Introduction to DREADDs – Control Over G Protein Coupled Receptor GPCR signaling

Gee, Protein, What Do You Do? Manipulation of a system under investigation is the backbone of experimentation. A new tool called Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs) allows us to hijack cell signaling and study cell function within living organisms. Like its cousin technique, optogenetics, DREADD technology uses a viral vector to introduce…

PCR Pitfalls: The Devil is in the Details

PCR Pitfalls: The Devil is in the Details

PCR was actually one of the first lab techniques I learned as an undergrad. Despite being sometimes labeled as a pretty basic lab skill, PCR doesn’t always work as expected. This “fickle” success is due to small details or hidden hazards within the PCR workflow that can cause your seemingly uncomplicated experiment to fail.  This…

Don’t Let Bubbles Burst Your Experimental Excitement

Don’t Let Bubbles Burst Your Experimental Excitement

Bubbles isn’t just the name of my favorite cartoon character from Power Puff girls, or just the best activity for a kid to play with, in general. In my adult world, they stand for a whole lot more, but can still cause extreme emotions. At the lab bench, seeing bubbles brings happiness or sadness depending…

How to Store Your Reagents, so They ‘Do Exactly What It Says on the Tin’

How to Store Your Reagents, so They ‘Do Exactly What It Says on the Tin’

Your reagents should do ‘Exactly what they say on the tin.’  This only happens though if you look after them in the way the manufacturer states on their data sheets. We have all been guilty of using reagents past their expiration date.  Usually we can get away with it, but there are a few things…

Water your choices? Understanding Types of Water in the Lab

Water your choices? Understanding Types of Water in the Lab

If you are working in a scientific laboratory, it is very important to be aware of the various types of water available, because the purity may not be acceptable for your specific experimental application. In most labs, there are generally two types of water piped in to the sinks: Industrial Water Industrial water is non-potable…

Mastering the Art of Growing THP-1 cells

Mastering the Art of Growing THP-1 cells

Tissue culture can sometimes seem like a black art. Too careful—your cells go down. Not careful enough—your cells go down. A butterfly flutters its wings in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean—your cells go down. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, and there are times (and I’m speaking from personal experience here) that you’ll end up chucking…

Three Steps for Setting up a Drug Screening Assay

Three Steps for Setting up a Drug Screening Assay

An anti-cancer drug or antibody drug conjugate (ADC) screening assay is the first step to establish the utility of a drug candidate in killing cancer cells. Nevertheless, these assays are time consuming and tedious. The purpose of this article is to make things easier when you are required to set up these in vitro screening…

Optimize Bacterial Protein Expression by Considering these 4 Variables

Optimize Bacterial Protein Expression by Considering these 4 Variables

So, you have successfully cloned your gene of interest and are eager to purify buckets of protein. No matter your eventual application—kinetic experiments using a SPR instrument, structural analysis using X-ray crystallography, or any other experiment—you’ll need to express your protein first.  Now, it’s time to put your expression plasmid into E. coli and get…

Four Tips for Working with Human Clinical Samples

Four Tips for Working with Human Clinical Samples

While using human clinical samples in your research can provide robust and heterogeneous results applicable to larger portions of the population, working with these samples presents its own set of challenges. Here are some tricks I have learned to help isolate and grow your cells of interest while eliminating stromal, blood, or other undesired contaminants….

How to Clean and Unclog Your HPLC Column

How to Clean and Unclog Your HPLC Column

In my last article, I discussed how to best keep your lab’s HPLC running smoothly. However, even the best-maintained HPLCs and columns need periodic cleaning. Today, I’ll describe how to identify and troubleshoot a clogged HPLC column. Columns Are Finite First of all, it’s important to realize that columns do have a finite lifetime. The…

Under Pressure: Tips for Keeping Your HPLC Up and Running Properly

Under Pressure: Tips for Keeping Your HPLC Up and Running Properly

If you’re anything like me, your biggest lab fear is working with expensive equipment prone to damage. HPLC is a wonderful tool, capable of separating, identifying, and quantifying a vast array of compounds, but it requires an attentive scientist to properly handle and maintain each component. In this article I’ll describe a few basic handling…

How to Plan a Restriction Cloning Experiment In Silico

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,…

A Beginner’s Guide to Tag-Removing Proteases

A Beginner’s Guide to Tag-Removing Proteases

Every biochemist is familiar with proteases. More often than not, proteases cause a lot of anxiety. To this end, a lot of research has been done in developing techniques to prevent the activity of proteases. But some of these proteases can be the good guys too! For example, you can use them to separate your…