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Celebrating Accomplishments in the Lab

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on May 8, 2014 11:07:41 AM

The recent conversations with three lab heads have revealed that a combination of hard work, determination, passion, and patience are required to build and lead a productive and successful research lab. Once goals are reached, how do science labs celebrate accomplishments and their team's hard work? Do succesful scientists have time for fun and life outside of the lab? This final post in the PI Interview Series investigates how these three PIs reward their team and manage work-life balance.

How do you celebrate your lab’s achievements?

Tom Ellis highlights the importance of acknowledging his teams successes. “When PhD students graduate there has to be champagne, that's a given.” Furthermore, anyone leaving the lab receives send-off via a gift, card, and trip to the pub. Dr. Ellis adds “we probably don’t celebrate enough... I’ll ask my team at our next group meeting and see if we should start celebrating papers and grants too with pizza or pub.”

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Topics: Fun, Interview, Investigator Feature

Hot Plasmids: FRET-Based Biosensors

Posted by Kendall Morgan on May 6, 2014 9:07:55 AM

Oliver Griesbeck of the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology has been working on genetically encoded indicators of calcium and other small molecules since the very beginnings of the field. Those engineered sensors were designed to replace synthetic calcium dyes, which had been in use since the 1980s.

“Synthetic dyes were the standard in the field, but there is one problem: how to get that into the cells of interest,” Griesbeck said. Because they are chemical compounds, they have to be applied or injected, and they don’t always end up where you want them to go.

Griesbeck is motivated by a particular interest in monitoring the activity and biochemistry of living neurons in an effort to understand the connection between molecular- and cellular-level events and behavior. It’s a problem that he considers “one of the greatest challenges of neuroscience.” 

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Hot Plasmids, Fluorescent Proteins

Why Do I Need an MTA Anyway?

Posted by Carissa Fish on May 1, 2014 4:23:00 PM

We understand - you’re a busy scientist working hard on research, and you need the right experimental materials. Who has time for paperwork? Here’s why a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) matters:

Science thrives on collaboration (it’s the heart and soul of Addgene’s mission), but legal complexities can arise when scientists are sharing their materials. Questions about intellectual property rights, pending publications, and commercial use often come up. An MTA can resolve those questions! MTAs protect you and your institution, and almost all universities and institutions require them for material transfers.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Inside Addgene

Advice for Scientists Starting a Lab

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Apr 29, 2014 9:43:00 AM

In the blink of an eye, the long days in the lab as a graduate student and postdoc come to an end and your next professional adventure begins. While many career pathways exist for scientists and engineers, a few brave scientists will choose to start their own academic research laboratory.

How does one even go about starting a lab? Obviously, funding and support are crucial parameters, and familiarity with equipment always helps. But how does one build a strong collaborative research team motivated by similar visions and goals? We continue our conversation with three PIs who have successfully built their own labs.

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Topics: Career, Interview, Investigator Feature, Career Readiness

Your Lentiviral Plasmid FAQs Answered

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Apr 23, 2014 9:08:00 AM

Lentiviruses are useful and efficient tools to introduce your gene of interest into cells. Unlike gamma-retroviruses that can only infect dividing cells, lentiviruses can infect dividing and non-dividing cells. 

Addgene has an extensive collection of lentiviral plasmids created for a variety of applications including cDNA expression, shRNA-mediated knockdown, Tet and Cre-regulated expression, CRISPR genome editing, and more. Not surprisingly, we receive many questions from scientists all over the world looking for some additional information or clarification on these vectors. Read on to find the answers to our most frequently asked lentiviral questions.

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Topics: Plasmid How To, Plasmid Elements, Lab Tips, Viral Vectors

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