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Will You Be My Mentor? Finding and Asking for Mentoring Support

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Feb 4, 2014 10:50:00 AM

 “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

- Abigail Adams, 1780

There are potential mentors all around you. This third article in the Addgene Blog Mentoring series will cover 2 of the 7 mentoring questions I set out to answer. First, I will describe some of the many ways you can approach finding someone to give you advice and guidance. Second, I will offer some advice on how to “make the ask” once you have found someone you admire and want to learn from.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

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Topics: Career, Mentoring for Scientists

Plasmids 101: Antibiotic Resistance Genes

Posted by Marcy Patrick on Jan 30, 2014 10:29:00 AM

Resistance to antibiotics is a widely used tool in molecular biology, yet scientists rarely stop to think about how much easier it makes our lives. Plasmid transformation into E. coli is a fairly inefficient process– just 1 out of 10,000 cells on average! Without some means of quickly determining which cells successfully received the correct plasmid, scientists would spend hours to days trying find their correct clones. Additionally, the presence of a plasmid is disadventageous from the bacterium's perspective – a plasmid-containing cell must replicate the plasmid in addition to its own chromosomal DNA, costing additional resources to maintain the plasmid. Adding an antibiotic resistance gene to the plasmid solves both problems at once – it allows a scientist to easily detect plasmid-containing bacteria when the cells are grown on selective media, and provides those bacteria with a pressure to keep your plasmid. Viva la (bacterial) resistance! 

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Topics: Plasmid How To, Plasmid Elements, Lab Tips, Plasmids 101

Save Time and Money by Making Your Own Competent Cells

Posted by Melina Fan on Jan 28, 2014 10:10:58 AM

We perform over 100 transformations each week at Addgene, so we need to be cost and time efficient. We do this by making our own competent cells and using a little-known reagent for streamlining the transformation step.

Read on to find protocols and tips that you can use in your own lab.

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Topics: Plasmid How To, Inside Addgene, Lab Tips

Quick, Versatile Plant Transgenesis with GreenGate Plasmids

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Jan 23, 2014 10:23:00 AM

A few years ago, researchers introduced what’s been called a major breakthrough in cloning technology with the Golden Gate method. For the first time, it was possible to quickly and efficiently assemble a large number of building blocks with just two or three inexpensive enzymes. Now, a new toolkit - aptly named GreenGate – offers all of those same advantages to researchers working in plant model systems.

“The cloning is all done in vitro; it’s no different in mouse, human or plants,” explained Jan Lohmann of Heidelberg University. “What is different is the plasmids you use to bring this into your target organism. We have designed a Golden Gate system based on the daily needs of an advanced molecular plant science lab.”

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, Synthetic Biology, Plasmid Kits

Extracurricular Activities for a Strong Science Career Path

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Jan 21, 2014 10:08:00 AM

Which graduate student hasn’t been asked the question: “Academia or industry?” Once academia was the clear answer with a well-defined path to professorship. But recently a downward trend in funding and space in academic research labs has more students looking for other options. While graduate programs provide support for academic career development, it's often left to students to identify and build the necessary skills for alternative careers. Science Careers has developed a web-based, career-planning platform called theIndividual Development Plan (IDP) and uses it to match qualified scientists to jobs in industry, academia, and government. This great resource allows the undecided to learn about a variety of science professions based on their skills and interests. Once scientists identify potential career pathways, education and mastering new skill sets must occur by doing work outside of the lab.

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Topics: Career

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