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Kendall Morgan

Kendall is a science writer based in North Carolina. She has a PhD in Biology from the University of Oregon and a certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She writes about science, medicine and science culture and is dedicated to making it easier for scientists to share what they make and do with each other and the world.

Recent Posts

Pooled CRISPR Libraries Offer Genome-Wide Control for Large-Scale Functional Screens

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Feb 24, 2015 2:50:00 PM

CRISPR technology has changed how scientists edit and control genes, but according to the Broad Institute's Silvana Konermann, the first generation of CRISPR-Cas9 plasmids were not designed with gene activation in mind. “We had not managed to create a system to allow us to reliably activate essentially any gene,” she says. The technical leap from mutating and deactivating a gene or genes to selectively activating them with the CRISPR system was a large one.  The question for her then was this: Can you engineer CRISPR-Cas9 activators that work well enough on any gene that they could be used by people with little bioengineering expertise?

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, CRISPR, pooled libraries

Make a Splash: Notions of Scientific Impact Are Evolving

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 5, 2014 9:54:09 AM

Of course, all of you toiling away in laboratories this holiday season want the work you are doing to have an impact, to move science forward, or perhaps even society. One obvious way to do that is and has been to publish in journals with a high “impact factor,” a measure that dates back to 1975 and is based on the average number of citations for recent articles. Of course, a publication in Science or Nature is always nice, but in the wired world we are living in, there are plenty of other ways to define and measure scientific impact.

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Topics: Career, Scientific Sharing

How Exercise Purges Stress and Keeps Depression at Bay

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Nov 25, 2014 11:02:00 AM

It’s well known that exercise can help fight stress and depression, and now researchers have reported a mechanism based on studies of transgenic mice that helps to explain how it works. The findings in a recent issue of Cell demonstrate how PGC-1a1, a transcriptional coactivator induced in skeletal muscle by exercise and endurance, protects the brain from depression.

Mice that are genetically modified to produce extra PGC-1a1 only in their skeletal muscle show resistance to stressful circumstances – including unpredictable loud noises and flashing lights - that sent average, control mice into depression. In case you were wondering, depression shows up in mice as poorer performance on forced swim tests and less interest in sweets.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, News

Introducing an All-in-One CRISPR/Cas9 Vector System for Multiplex Genome Engineering

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Nov 12, 2014 10:54:00 AM

A newly established all-in-one vector construction system for CRISPR/Cas9-mediated multiplex genome engineering is now available thanks to researchers at Japan’s Hiroshima University who described their new tool in Scientific Reports in June.

“The multiplexity is one of the most advantageous properties of CRISPR/Cas9 compared to ZFNs and TALENs,” said Tetsushi Sakuma of Hiroshima University. “However, there had been no systematically established way of making an all-in-one vector for multiplex genome engineering.”

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Topics: CRISPR, Plasmid Kits

A Scientist's Guide to Ebola

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Oct 16, 2014 11:01:00 AM

It’s pretty hard to escape news and fears of Ebola these days, as the infectious disease once limited to small pockets in Africa has spread to urban areas and across the ocean. A nurse in Dallas was the first to be infected in the United States while caring for a patient, despite wearing protective gear, and now comes news of a second Texas healthcare worker with symptoms. The World Health Organization says the number of new cases could rise to 10,000 a week within two months.

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Topics: News

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