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Finding and Joining Your Dream Lab

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Apr 8, 2014 10:50:00 AM

Choosing a lab can be a major decision. A science trainee will spend 4-7 years working for one person and with a group who all strive for a common big-picture goal. It is worth doing some some serious pre-work to find a lab that will be a good fit for you and your career ambitions. First, how does one stand out amongst a pool of successful applicants and get chosen to work in his or her lab of choice? Is the group micromanaged or does it thrive in an off hands environment? Does the group expect each other to be physically present at certain times during the day?

We asked three lab heads how they go about selecting new hires. This is followed by some perhaps surprising, yet important, factors to consider when seeking your dream lab.

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Topics: Career, Interview, Investigator Feature, Career Readiness

Plasmids 101: The Promoter Region – Let's Go!

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Apr 3, 2014 4:05:00 PM

Thus far in our Plasmids 101 series we've worked our way through the plasmid map: antibiotic resistance, origin of replication, and so on. Up to this point we can replicate our plasmid and make sure cells maintain it; the next step is getting the plasmid to express our gene of interest. Enter the promoter-- the element responsible for initiating the transcription of your insert into RNA.

In practice, the term "promoter" describes the combination of the promoter (RNA polymerase binding site) and operators (response elements). Promoters are about 100 to 1000 base pairs long and found upstream of their target genes. The sequence of the promoter region controls the binding of the RNA polymerase and transcription factors, therefore promoters play a large role in determining where and when your gene of interest will be expressed. 

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Topics: Plasmid Elements, Plasmids 101

9 Tips to Achieve Success in Academia

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Apr 1, 2014 1:33:00 PM

This blog post is the first in a series that will feature advice for students, postdocs, and young Principal Investigators (PIs). We've interviewed Addgene depositors who are at various stages in their careers to get advice on choosing a lab, picking your research topic, starting a lab, and more. Before we start, we'd like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Tom Ellis (Imperial College London), Dr. Connie Cepko (Harvard Medical School), and Dr. George Church (Harvard Medical School) who took the time to answer our questions.

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Topics: Career, Interview, Investigator Feature, Career Readiness

In Living Color: The Skinny on In Vivo Imaging Tools

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Mar 27, 2014 1:14:57 PM

If you start poking around on Addgene’s Fluorescent Protein Guide to In Vivo Imaging, you’ll pretty quickly notice the name Vladislav Verkhusha popping up again and again, and for good reason.

We all know scientists have used fluorescent proteins to observe what’s happening inside cells for at least a couple of decades. Green is the classic color, but fluorescent proteins are available in a variety of hues. While those tools are great for many applications, Verkhusha and his lab at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York recognized their limitations for peering right through living animals to see their organs – a liver or brain, say, or maybe a tumor. They wanted to find something better.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Hot Plasmids, Imaging

Plasmids 101: Mammalian Vectors

Posted by Marcy Patrick on Mar 25, 2014 11:15:00 AM

Although plasmids do not naturally exist in mammals, scientists can still reap the benefits of plasmid-based research using synthetic vectors and cultured mammalian cells. Of course, these mammalian vectors must be compatible with the cell type they are tranfected into – a bacterial origin of replication (ORI) will not allow for plasmid replication in mammalian cells, for example, and a toxin that kills bacteria may not have any discernable effect on mammalian cells. In this blog post we will discuss how mammalian plasmids differ from their bacterial counterparts, including how replication occurs and whether selection is necessary for transfected cells.

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Topics: Plasmid How To, Plasmid Technology, Plasmids 101

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