Benoit Giquel

Recent Posts

Quick Guide to All Things Lentivirus

Posted by Benoit Giquel on Mar 21, 2017 10:30:00 AM

If you are interested in using lentiviral vectors to introduce your favourite gene into your favourite cell line or into primary cells, this blog article will give you some tips to plan your experiment using the lentiviral vector system.

Viral vectors have been increasingly popular in fundamental and applied research since their first use in the early 90’s to genetically modify primary cells. Amongst the different vectors used, lentiviral vector constructs have proven very useful due to their ability to infect both dividing and non-dividing cells, including stem cells. These properties make lentiviral vectors fantastic options for delivering shRNA, CRISPR/Cas9 components, and fluorescent sensors.

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Topics: Viral Vectors

Plasmids 101: Knockout/Knock-In Plasmids

Posted by Benoit Giquel on Dec 1, 2016 10:30:00 AM

One of the most powerful strategies to investigate a gene's function is to inactivate, or "knockout", the gene by replacing it or disrupting it with an piece of DNA designed in the lab. Specially constructed plasmids can be used to replace genes in yeast, mice, or Drosophila through homologous recombination. The concept is simple: deliver a template with a modified version of the targeted sequence to the cell which will recombine the template with the endogenous gene. Here, we'll describe the techniques and the plasmids used to inactivate specific genes in mammalian cells. Despite the popularity of CRISPR-based knockout/knock-in systems, these systems remain valuable, especially in cases where CRISPR cannot be used (e.g. there are no suitable PAM sequences nearby or your gene of interest is difficult to target specifically with a gRNA). Be sure to keep these techniques in mind when choosing a knockout strategy!

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Topics: Plasmid How To, Genome Engineering, Plasmids 101

Tips for Using FRET in Your Experiments

Posted by Benoit Giquel on Nov 5, 2014 10:41:00 AM

The first time I heard about FRET during a journal club, my guitarist brain automatically thought about the raised element found on the neck of my guitar...not really useful for a biologist you would say. The student was of course talking about the now well-known FRET, aka Fluorescence (Förster) Resonance Energy Transfer, technique which allows the detection of molecules' interactions, modifications or dissociations in situ. Used since the mid-90s, this technique has revolutionised the way we apprehend molecular complexes and is still a very useful tool.   

Like a guitar hero (that I’m not), FRET loves playing “live”. Indeed, FRET was one of the first techniques which enabled the measurement of single molecule interactions in living cells using a microscope. Historically, molecular interactions were detected by indirect means often using probes with the potential to target several molecules. By analogy, it was like pointing out a group of students in a university hall but not knowing if these students know or interact with each other. FRET reduced the scale of our perception about molecular interactions.

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Topics: Imaging, Fluorescent Proteins

London Calling - Addgene’s New Europe Office in London

Posted by Benoit Giquel on Jun 10, 2014 11:20:00 AM

You’ve called. You’ve emailed. And Addgene has been there to answer your plasmid questions. But until now, you’ve always had to call the United States - Cambridge, MA to be exact. Today, that changes.

Today, Addgene launches a brand new Europe office located in London and operated in collaboration with LGC Standards. And now you’ll be able to call us - Benoit Giquel and Emma Markham - the newest Addgenies. Got a question at 9:00am GMT? We’ll be poised and ready to answer your questions about Addgene, plasmids, and depositing (all while our US counterparts are still sleeping).

Plasmid Sharing in Europe: Addgene’s Request Statistics

Since 2004, Addgene has shipped more than 75,000 plasmids to more than 1,500 different institutions in Europe. In the last four years alone, the number of plasmids distributed to Europe has doubled going from 9,500 in 2010 to more than 20,000 in 2013. And the number of plasmids requested by scientists based in Europe over the first five months of 2014 reaffirms this trend.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Inside Addgene

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