Laboratory management software is not a requisite for a functioning lab, but it is for a scaleable lab. When you need to track the location, quality, growth, and legal status of thousands of plasmids a day, like we do at Addgene, pen and paper will fail you. The benefits of lab management software aren’t just limited to large volume facilities; it can be useful in academic labs where postdocs, students, and lab mates are coming and going frequently - an environment ripe for valuable work and materials to slip through the cracks.In this post we’ll highlight some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years with the hope that our insights can help steer you in the right direction when writing your own software. None of this is gospel, but we think it's worth consideration.
Like graphing data, choosing controls, or mixing clear solutions—public speaking is skill that any scientist can learn. Any time you give a science talk, you are also giving a job talk. Even if not being interviewed, there could always be a future boss in the room, so it is a good idea to start thinking about public speaking early and often. Two of my jobs have indirectly resulted from someone seeing me speak in a non-interview setting. There are many resources on self-promotion (how hard it is for some people, especially women), visibility (how to get it, especially if introverted ), and networking (how to get people to remember you). What better way to accomplish all of these things naturally than to give a dynamite presentation? To that end, let’s chat about giving science talks and how to make them serve you well. The happy byproduct might just be a career opportunity.
This post was contributed by guest bloggers Marcelle Tuttle and Alex Chavez, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
Background on Cas9 Activators
CRISPR/Cas9 is an enormously plastic tool and has taken the scientific world by storm. While Cas9 has been most widely used to create specific edits in DNA, there has also been significant work on constructing Cas9 transcriptional activators. These constructs allow for the upregulation of essentially any gene by fusing mutants of Cas9 deficient in DNA cutting activity to a transcriptional activation domain (Fig 1).
When we talk about CRISPR applications, one negative always comes up: the low editing efficiency of homology-directed repair (HDR). Compared to the random process of non-homologous end joining, HDR occurs at a relatively low frequency, and in nondividing cells, this pathway is further downregulated. Like all CRISPR applications that use wild-type Cas9, editing by HDR also has some potential for off-target cleavage even when gRNAs are well designed. Rather than try to improve HDR, Addgene depositor David Liu’s lab created new Cas9 fusion proteins that act as “single base editors.” These fusions contain dCas9 or Cas9 nickase and the rat cytidine deaminase APOBEC1, which can convert cytosine to uracil without cutting DNA. Uracil is subsequently converted to thymine through DNA replication or repair. Komor et al. estimate that hundreds of genetic diseases could be good targets for base editing therapy, not to mention the potential basic and preclinical research applications. Read on to learn about this new way to make point mutations using CRISPR without double-stranded breaks.
An estimated 320,000 viruses can infect mammals. Even more abundant are the Earth’s estimated 1031 bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria), many of which are doing important work in our microbiomes. Given that viruses are everywhere and doing everything, it can be annoying when we try to use them in an experiment and they don't do anything.
Topics: Viral Vectors