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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

Overwhelmed? Take a Break With Our 5 Favorite Science Comics

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 5, 2013 10:27:28 AM

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. So, as we ease (or, if you have your first cold of the season like I do, sniffle) ourselves back into our regular post-holiday routines, why not take a little time to appreciate the humor in science and in the lab? Addgene is after all a place that encourages people to take some time out every once in a while – just read Melina Fan’s post on lunch. Why should our new blog be any different?
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Topics: Fun

Let There Be LITE Plasmids

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Nov 21, 2013 10:56:00 AM

When neuroscience graduate student Silvana Konermann first entered Feng Zhang’s lab at MIT, the use of customizable DNA-binding domains based on transcription-activator-like effectors (TALEs) as anchors for genome engineering applications was still very new. Now, Konermann and her colleagues including Zhang and Mark Brigham have taken the technology to another level with the addition of two light-sensitive ingredients - CRY2 and CIB1 – which they borrowed from Arabidopsis thaliana. The results are light-inducible transcriptional effectors (LITEs) designed to bind specific genes and turn them on or off, literally at the flip of a (blue) light switch.

Zhang’s team devised the plasmids now available in Addgene’s repository for use in neurons, both in culture and in living brain tissue. “The brain is such an amazing and dynamic organ,” Konermann explained. “It helps us adapt to influences in our environments. We are able to react and learn. All of this requires genes to be regulated dynamically.”

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, Optogenetics

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